Archive for April, 2013

Rhubarb fool recipe

rhubarb foolNot everybody likes rhubarb – a fact I find it hard to accept. This simple recipe is lower in sugar and yet tastier, than many others. The addition of ginger gives warmth to a fruit many find too acidic for their tastes.

Ingredients

• 400 grams rhubarb, cleaned and chopped
• 2 tablespoons caster sugar
• 200 grams Greek yogurt
• 1-2 tbsp icing sugar
• 1 teaspoon ginger syrup
• Thumb-sized piece of preserved ginger (I used Gran Stead’s ginger in syrup – best flavour ever!)
• 200ml double cream

103 rhubarb 20 apr 13Method

1. Put rhubarb in a baking tray with the finely chopped ginger and sprinkle with sugar. Roast for 15-20 minutes at 170C until soft when pressed. Pour into colander to strain off juice.
2. Cool.
3. Put yoghurt in a bowl and beat with icing sugar and ginger syrup (spoon it from around the preserved ginger) until smooth and then gently beat in the cream.
4. Fold in the rhubarb gently, so it ripples through the mixture rather than being fully blended.
5. Spoon into pots, chill, serve.

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Our April seedlings … the good, the bad, the ugly!

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Raymond Blanc … be still my beating heart!

And other bits of my anatomy, come to that!

I can’t help it, I find chefs sexy – blame it on my upbringing in hotels. I also find gardeners sexy (sometimes) and gardens very sexy so if only I could enter this, I would be in a tizz until the winner was announced.

But I can’t because I am pretty fully employed and OH would not appreciate me vanishing to Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons … so I shall just have to envy the eventual winner instead!

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Book review in the making!

growing up the wallLook what arrived today! It couldn’t be more timely, as there were some mutterings at our Allotment Association AGM last night about the limitations of 5 rod plots and how unfair it was that a grower who’d proved they could handle more than 5 rods was likely to have to relocate to get 10 rods … perhaps vertical growing could be (part of) the answer?

I am really looking forward to reading this, and trying out some of the techniques, so watch this space for a review very soon!

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Wordless Wednesday – foggy strawberry spiderweb

strawberry plant

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Allotment tasks – potting on leeks

tray of leeks

Leeks develop long strong roots really fast

leek seedling

Individually potted on, they start to ‘fill’ really swiftly.

Sunshine at last – a chance to get to grips with the seedling leeks in the greenhouse!

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Allotment harvests, caring for overwintered plants and relocating perennial crops

rhubarb, purple sprouting broccoliSo the weekend’s haul from plot #103 was lots of purple sprouting broccoli, at last! Speaking to other plot holders it seems there are two problems affecting broccoli right now. The wind – which has been strong across most of the UK and has shrivelled or ‘crisped’ many of the florets, stopping them being succulent and the lack of rain, which has been a general problem. Snow and rain have different effects on plants – snow falls and if it settles, it doesn’t penetrate the ground, it actually compresses the surface layer, then when it melts, the compacted soil underneath often takes up none of the melt-water which just runs off. As a result, a winter where there are several snowfalls and thaws may mean plants don’t actually get to take up any water.

We’ve been bottle watering our brassicas, and it seems to have done the job, as they have, eventually, produced a wonderful harvest. Looking at the diary they are 3 weeks behind last year’s harvest which is exactly the same time lag that we’re seeing in germination of summer crops.

rhubarb plantWe also got a nice big bundle of rhubarb, which is great as we relocated all our crowns last year, so it was unclear how much we’d get to harvest this year. Rhubarb is often stuck in the corner of a plot which is a shame, as it’s capable of being a delicious fruit as well as a highly decorative allotment plant. We’ve split ours into two locations – two crowns on a mound of old soil under our neighbour’s elder tree and one crown by the pond (sunken bath) in the wildlife and medicinal garden. They are all doing well, probably because they too get watered very regularly. It’s easy to neglect perennials like rhubarb but given a little extra care you can double or treble your harvest as well as having some structurally gorgeous specimens to add interest to your plot.

lovageIn addition to rhubarb, we grow lovage, which is a stunning plant, a long-lived perennial which is cut to the ground every year and shoots up again in scarlet growth which soon becomes big green spikes. Lovage is a renowned digestive, which is made into a liqueur and has been known since Roman times as a good addition to bean and lentil dishes as it cuts down on flatulence!

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