Saturday, August 28, 2010

Who Ordered The Soup.....?

This is my first foray into edible pumpkins, as opposed to pointless great show off ones.

They are "New England Pie", supposedly a good culinary variety, and this is the crop from two plants, which germinated and grew easily, but seemed very susceptible to powdery mildew. More so than other types growing nearby.

The fruits could have done with ripening on the vine a bit longer, but as the plants are completely dead, and in view of the current sub-aquatic weather, I decided to get them in.....Luckily, the cottage has walls, and therefore windowsill about 18" thick!
Apparently, according to young Mr. Buckland, (a boy doing a man's job if ever there was) it's important to leave a short "handle" of vine at the top of the stalk, rather than cutting the stalk off flush. This then dies off and seals the stem, and helps prevent rotting during storage.

Once they have ripened sufficiently, like all squashes & pumpkins they will keep best hung in a net, in a cool dry place, and can be stored right up until Christmas if necessary.

Odd One Out....

Using your skill and judgement, try to spot which one of these is actually a dinner plate.

And before anyone starts, sunflowers do not count as flowers when grown on an allotment.

.........They are garden architecture.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Beans And Beets........

......Are taking over my diet just now.

What I Know About Fennel.....

1. It germinates easily, grows freely, and looks mighty impressive on the plot.

2. Comparatively few people grow it, so be prepared to face a barage of questions such as:
What is it? .....“Fennel”
What does it taste like? .....“Pernod”
Why are you growing it? .....“It looked sexy on the packet”
How do you cook it? .....“Fucked if I know. Look, don’t you have something better to do than standing here like a curious three year old?”

3. It tastes like Pernod. I know I just said that but it’s worth repeating. If you don’t like aniseed it’s probably not the veg for you.

4. Although it romps away (use the thinnings in salads) it’s incredibly hard, if not nearly impossible, to get it to “bulb up” like the commercial varieties in the supermarkets. If you get some fattish but flattish, blade shaped, results, then you should settle for that. Still tastes the same.

5. It goes to seed quickly. Keep an eye on it and harvest before the bulbs start to produce one big central spike, or they get too tough. This tendancy can be counteracted by planting it late, after the longest day, and keeping it well watered.

6. Lightly browned in butter for a few minutes, then simmered in a weak chicken stock for 20 minutes, it’s rather good actually. If you like Pernod of course. It's also good in a stir fry, a rissotto, or grated in salads.

7. It's a powerful diuretic if you eat too much of it. (Remember how freely it grows?) Something you only find out after the event, as they don’t mention that on the packet, or the recipe cards.

………Which is taking the piss if you ask me.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

And The Veil Lifted..........

Hello World. (Ya big troublesome conundrum! )

I'm back online, and back on schedule at the plot. ...Only things have moved on quite a bit it seems.

Nature still toils undeterred, when hard drives falter and monitors dim .....More to follow.