Wednesday, 18 January 2017

BREXIT Harvest

Meagre pickings on the Brussels this year. By a process of protracted negotiation the position is this: Despite my dislike for them I agree to grow enough Brussels for Christmas dinner.  This year's crop was laughable so we had to buy some in. (It must be said that the purchased brussels were pretty small and a bit holy too, which I found encouraging).  Today I picked the lot from the plot and tonight it's Meera Sodha's "Shredded Brussels Sprout Thoran" - and that's it with Brussels - for this year.  Negotiations for next year start here.

Also picked today a selection of trusty cabbages. Now you know what you're dealing with with your cabbage...

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Chelsea Top The Table Again

Much as I hate to admit it these spirals are winners. 


After Baking

Crumby Shot - Penalty? - No it's a Corner
It's the sort of weather for staying indoors and baking something sweet and warming.

You Spin Me Round

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Out of Time?

Yesterday I visited the plot and planted some garlic:

The garlic arrived too for autumn sowing and too early for spring sowing.  My reasoning for planting it now was a. I was going to the plot (to drop off compost pick parsnips) b. there would be a real danger that these would end up in the cooking. These, by the way, are bulbs grown in Northumbria for a couple of generations. c. Once delayed things have a habit of being forgotten. Carpe Diem!

Some sources suggest that a cold spell is required in order remind the seed cloves of garlic that they have to split into multiple cloves. My elephant garlic has come up more like onions in shape rather than garlic. On the other hand there are several varieties of garlic described as suitable for spring sowing. I don't know if this is one of those so in the face of uncertainty the best policy is to blunder on - and keep a record of what you have done. We are due a cold snap very soon according to the forecaster.  I could be luck or I could be Out of Time

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

January Icicles

Something new this January. Not the January King or the Swede but the Daikon Radish/Mooli variety Icicles.  I've never grown these before (although I have bought and eaten them). So I gave them a punt and sowed them in the brassica patch late last summer. Today, to celebrate my first allotment visit of the year I dug up the first  to see what had grown underground and was well pleased with the result,

OK I understand they are just long radishes -  that quick growing fill in hardly given a thought by most gardeners - but these radishes have volume.  Also given the pathetic results for my French Breakfast Radishes earlier in the growing year I am decidedly more impressed by well grown radishes than I was previously!

Another root untouched until the new year is Jerusalem Artichoke.  Last year they were all knobbly so my expectations were not high.  These come from two plants only weighing in at about 2lbs per plant (1lb after trimming and peeling) and are fabulously not knobbly.  Converted to soup already they are a seasonal delight.

After all that I forgot to dig up any parsnips so I will be going back to the plot tomorrow.  

Other tasks to be undertaken provided there are no real icicles:

Pick Brussels 
Cut back autumn fruiting raspberry canes.
Prune Gooseberries, Currants and Blueberry bushes
Dig up last carrots 
Transplant rhubarb from one end of plot to the other.
Transport compost from home - ready for the potato planting in spring.

All in all it is a hectic time of year when the weather permits.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Merry Christmas Panattoni New Year

I was at the plot today for the Christmas veg, but rather more warming is the panattoni I baked today. 

It is probably a whole year since I last baked one so I was well pleased to get a good rise!

Another recent Italian bake has been Taralli.  These are rusky textured snacks made from /flour, olive oil salt and white wine. Each batch is then flavoured with fennel seeds, chilli, black pepper or rosemary. Different family members have different favourites so I am encouraged by requests for more of each! You drop them into boiling water before baking to a crunchy consistency. Then they keep for ages in an airtight container.  I made these a few days in advance. (The rolling is rather labour intensive.)

Wishing all readers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Friday, 16 December 2016

No Knead Bread

After making this bread I had to decide how to market it.  It has the following claims.

  • No additives  
  • Simple ingredients (Flour, water, salt)
  • 100% Rye
  • Wholemeal
  • Sourdough
  • No kneading required
You can tell by the title which I decided to go for.  You really just mix the ingredients and pour into a tin and wait.  There is no point in kneading as rye has such a low gluten content.

By the way it takes 2 days to make. It Russian Rye from Andrew Whitley's Bread Matters book,  Provided you don't rush it you get a good aerated bread. The plastic bag, by the way, is there for a reason: to store the bread for a day or two while the crumb becomes less "gummy". It works.

I would like to add caraway seeds but the rest of the household are refusniks on that front. (They will also, to be totally honest, only eat this toasted).

This has been a most encouraging bake and I am might even go for a pumpernickel in the near future!

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Pitta Patter Parsnip

Rustling up a batch of pitta bread I was pleased with the results. Can you spot the one that refused to puff up?

Back at the plot there is not much happening since the fall in temperature. It's all swede cabbage and parsnip.  Here's a snap of the first parsnips pulled: