August 30, 2010

Sticky Plum Flapjacks

Sticky Plum Flapjacks

MUNCH RATING: 5/5

I have to say that I’m really enjoying all the fruits that are available at this time of year, especially ones that are free! I was at my Dad’s house on Sunday and his friend brought round a big bag of plums from her tree. I’m not sure what variety they were, but I quickly asked my Dad if I could take some home as I’d had this flapjack recipe from my BBC Good Food magazine in my folder for ages and I was just waiting to acquire some lovely plums to make it!

 

CHANGES TO THE RECIPE:

Luckily I’d checked on the BBC Good Food website before making the flapjacks, as a lot of the reviews said the recipe contained way too much butter. So I followed the reviewer’s advice and I only used 200g instead of 350g of butter.

I only had about 2 Tablespoons of golden syrup so I made up the 3rd Tablespoon with honey. I didn’t have any walnuts so omitted them.

I used less sugar – 200g instead of 300g.

 

TASTE TEST:

Extremely yummy! The plums are indeed sticky and jammy and there’s just enough sweetness from the sugar to offset any sourness.

200g of butter was definitely sufficient!

 

The recipe below is how I made it, you can find the original here.

 

    • Oven temperature: Gas mark 6/400°F/200°C
    • Oven shelf: middle
    • You will need: square 8-inch tin, lined with non-stick baking paper

 

  • 450g fresh plums, halved, stoned and roughly sliced
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • 200g light muscovado sugar
  • 200g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 300g rolled porridge oats (not jumbo)
  • 140g plain flour
  • 2 Tablespoons golden syrup and 1 Tablespoon honey

 

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to Gas mark 6/400°F/200°C. Tip the plums into a bowl. Toss with the spice, 50g of the sugar and a small pinch of salt, then set aside to macerate.
  2. Gently melt the butter in a saucepan. In a large bowl, mix the oats, flour and remaining sugar together, making sure there are no lumps of sugar, then stir in the melted butter and golden syrup/honey until everything is combined into a loose flapjack mixture.
  3. Grease a square baking tin about 8 x 8 inches. Press half the oaty mix over the base of the tin, then tip over the plums and spread to make an even layer. Press the remaining oats over the plums so they are completely covered right to the sides of the tin. Bake for 45-50 mins (45 minutes is fine) until dark golden and starting to crisp a little around the edges.
  4. Leave to cool completely, then cut into 18 little bars. Will keep in an airtight container for 2 days or can be frozen for up to a month.

Cherry Pie

 

Cherries

 

MUNCH RATING: 5/5

 

In July we went to Garsons Farm in Esher and we picked some lovely cherries. I pitted them and then put them in the freezer, intending to make a cherry pie. Since it’s bank holiday weekend and the weather has been a bit miserable, I thought it was the perfect time to make my pie.

 

I already knew I was going to use my favourite sweet pastry recipe - pâte brisée – but I made a double batch so I could freeze some to use for another pie. I made the pastry the day before and kept it tightly covered in the fridge. Then I took it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before I needed to use it, to allow it to soften up to make it easier to roll out.

 

But it took me a little longer to find a recipe I liked for the filling. Nearly all of the recipes I found said to just mix the cherries with sugar, some cornflour and other flavourings and place straight onto the prepared raw pie crust. But I didn’t like this idea as I thought it might be too watery and make the pastry soggy.

 

Then I found a recipe on The Food Network website and the method of cooking the cherries first with the sugar and cornflour until the mixture was nice and thick seemed ideal. I didn’t have enough cherries, so I adapted the recipe quantities by reducing the amount of sugar and cornflour.

 

28-08 Cherry Pie

My filled pie before baking – the filling is thick and delicious!

 

 

Since I had less cherries than the recipe stated, I used a slighter smaller 7-inch metal pie dish.

 

My pie took longer than 50 minutes to bake – more like 70 minutes – as the pastry underneath was still a little bit underdone. But after 50 minutes the top looked really lovely and golden brown, so to stop it burning I covered the pie with some foil.

 

TASTE TEST:

This was the first time I’d ever made a cherry pie and I was pretty impressed. The recipe for the filling was incredibly easy and it worked a treat. I will definitely use this method for other fruit pies, as I have a stash of blackberries and blackcurrants in the freezer.

 

Everyone liked the pie, although Steve said the cherry flavour could have been stronger – but he thinks this is because he’s used to a very synthetic cherry taste from shop-bought products. I personally thought it tasted quite strongly of cherries!

 

Sadly I’ve not got any more cherries in the freezer, but I will try using Hartley's Fruit Filling Black Cherry which comes in tins, as I’ve read it’s very good.

 

The recipe below is how I made my pie – you can find the original recipe on the The Food Network website.

 

28-08 Cherry Pie cooked

 

    • Oven temperature: Gas mark 5/375°F/190°C
    • Oven shelf: middle
    • You will need: round 7-inch tin

 

Sweet Pastry Ingredients (makes enough for 2 pies):

  • 500g plain flour
  • 30g sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 200g butter, chilled

 

Sweet Pastry Directions:

  1. Sift the flour into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
  2. Put the sugar, butter and eggs in the well and gently rub into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs, then press the dough together to form a ball of dough until it is smooth and pliable.
  3. It’s a good idea to let you pastry rest before cooking. You can either roll the dough out on a lightly floured board until it is about 3mm thick and line your tins and then chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes, or stick the whole lot of dough in the fridge to use the next day.

 

Filling Ingredients:

  • 3 cups frozen cherries
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons cornflour
  • ½ Tablespoon butter, to dot
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar, to sprinkle

 

Filling Directions:

  1. Place cherries in medium saucepan and place over heat. Cover. After the cherries release considerable juice, which may take a few minutes, remove from the heat.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cornflour together. Pour this mixture into the hot cherries and mix well.
  3. Return the mixture to the stove and cook over low heat until thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and let cool. If the filling is too thick, add a little water, too thin, add a little more cornflour.

 

Assembly Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven Gas mark 5/375°F/190°C.
  2. Use your favourite pie dough recipe. Prepare your crust. Divide in half. Roll out each piece large enough to fit into an 7-inch pan.
  3. Pour cooled cherry mixture into the crust. Dot with butter. Moisten edge of bottom crust. Place top crust on and flute the edge of the pie. Make a slit in the middle of the crust for steam to escape. Sprinkle with sugar.
  4. Bake for about 50-70 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool.

August 29, 2010

ukveggardeners.com

I follow a great blog called My Tiny Plot and the owner of that blog, Gillian Carson has set up a fantastic site called UK Veg Gardeners. It’s basically a place where people who love gardening can meet and interact with other gardeners to share information, their photos and anything else they like!

 

I’ve already found it incredibly useful, by being a member of the Chilli Lovers Group, as to why my chillies were developing black patches. I thought they were diseased or dying, when in fact this is a sign that they are turning from green to red! I posted a question and I got a reply from another member extremely quickly.

 

I’m just waiting for someone to help me with my squash and tomato problems!

 

I’ve only been a member for about a week, but it’s been brilliant so far and I recommend you to join!

Chocolate fudge brownies with Chocolate Drizzle

Chocolate Fudge Brownies with Chocolate Drizzle

MUNCH RATING: 5/5

 

Even though I thought I’d found the perfect brownie recipe with my Best Ever Chocolate Brownies recipe, I still like to try new recipes to see if there is one better.

 

Steve’s Mum picked me up a recipe card from Tesco’s for their Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies with Chocolate Drizzle and it looked extremely good. I liked the fact it contained less sugar (I always add less than the recipes state anyway) and a bit more flour. Even though I like brownies to be squidgy, they can sometimes be too squidgy and almost runny.

 

CHANGES TO THE RECIPE:

As I stated, I used less sugar – 200g instead of 225g – and I used a mixture of half soft brown sugar and half caster sugar.

 

I didn’t have enough dark chocolate, so I substituted some with milk chocolate, which I think gives a good balance anyway. The milk chocolate was used for the chunks mixed in at the end and also for the chocolate drizzle. I didn’t need to add any water to the drizzle as it was runny enough.

 

I used a different sized tin than what the recipe stated. I used a 9-inch square metal disposable box which are the perfect size for baking brownies as they’re quite deep. I lined the tin first with a strip of non-stick baking paper to make the brownies easier to remove.

 

TASTE TEST:

Everyone loved these brownies and Steve’s Mum said they were the best she’d ever tasted! So I think I’ll be using this recipe from now on!

 

I think I could reduce the sugar even more next time, especially as I used part milk chocolate which is quite sweet anyway.

 

I’ve written the recipe as I made it – you can find the original on the Tesco website.

 

    • Oven temperature: Gas mark 4/350°F/180°C
    • Oven shelf: middle
    • You will need: square 9-inch tin, lined with non-stick baking paper

 

Ingredients:

For the brownies

  • 175g (6oz) plain chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 140g (5oz) butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 large eggs
  • 100g (4oz) caster sugar
  • 100g (4oz) soft brown sugar
  • 100g (4oz) plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tbsp cocoa powder
  • 50g (2oz) milk chocolate, chopped into little chunks
 

For the chocolate drizzle icing

  • 25g (1oz) milk chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 2tbsp double cream
  • ½ tsp golden caster sugar

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to Gas mark 4/350°F/180°C. Line a 9-inc square tin with non-stick baking paper.
  2. For the brownies: Place the dark chocolate into a small heavy-based pan with the butter. Melt over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  3. When the chocolate has cooled, whisk the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl using an electric hand mixer, until thick, pale, fluffy and almost doubled in volume. Pour in the cooled chocolate, then gently fold in. Sift over the flour, baking powder and cocoa and gently fold in. Carefully stir in the chopped milk chocolate, without over-mixing.
  4. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and lightly spread it into all the corners. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the middle is just set and the top is slightly crusty. (If still wobbly in the centre, leave a bit longer.) Remove and leave until completely cold before removing from the tin.
  5. For the icing: Put the chocolate into a small heavy-based pan with the cream and sugar. Melt over a low heat very briefly, just until the chocolate starts to melt, removing it before it boils. Drizzle over the brownies (I found using a whisk was the best way to get a random drizzle) then, when set, cut into 16 squares.

 

Cook's Tip

Leave the brownies in the tin until completely cold, as they'll crack if turned out too early.

August 15, 2010

Grow your own Mange Tout Peas 2010

Pea SeedsPLANT: ‘Oregon Sugar Pod’ Mange tout/Snow pea

The pods are large and flat (4½ inches long by ¾ inch wide) and stringless when young. They grow on extremely hardy 3 foot vines which are high yielders and hold their colour well. This pea variety is extremely disease resistant and high in Vitamins A, B and C.

I love mange tout and I decided to grow these instead of “normal” peas because it seems like such a waste of time/effort/food to pod them.

 

Sow under cover: February - May 26th Feb
Sow direct: March - June  
Germination time: 7-10 days First 2 sprouted 2nd Mar
Plant out: May – June  
Harvest: May - October 3 peas on 17th June!
Time from seed to plate: 68 days  


SOW:

  • Don’t plant where you have grown beans or peas during the previous couple of years.
  • Indoors: sow in pots or guttering 5cm apart, cover with 2.5cm of soil then water and keep under cover.
  • Outdoors: sow 5cm (2in) deep in 15cm(6in) wide rows 5cm(2in) apart.

GROW:

  • When seedlings are about 8cm tall, transfer seedlings outside. If you used guttering then slide the whole lot (seedlings plus compost) into a shallow drill that you’ve dug, firm them down and water.

CARE:

  • Stake for support and to allow plants to climb.
  • Protect immediately from birds. Pinch out the top shoot of each plant as soon as the first pods are ready and harvest regularly to encourage new pods to grow.
  • Don’t overwater in the early stages of growth, as this will encourage them to produce too many leaves. As soon as flowers appear, give the plants more water.

HARVEST:

  • Crops over a period of 4–6 weeks. Begin cutting pods at about 7.5cm/3" when the peas are just beginning to develop. Pick regularly to prevent pods fully  maturing on the plant.


March 2nd:

02-03 First Pea sprout My first seed to sprout was a pea! I was so surprised when I checked on them this morning and saw this little sprout as it’s only been 3 whole days since I planted them! I sowed 7 pea seeds and only one has sprouted, so we’ll see if the others will soon follow…
… just been to check on them this afternoon and another one has sprouted!

March 7th:
07-03 Peas 5cm I am genuinely shocked at how fast the peas have grown in the past 5 days! The tallest one is already 5cm tall and according to the experts they should be planted out when they’re about 7.5cm. The roots on some of them are really long already, so I think I’m going to have to transplant them into their own small pots. But this will have to wait until next weekend as Steve and I are house-sitting for his sister this week.
March 13th:

13-03 Peas repottedLike my French beans, the peas have been some of the fastest growing plants I’ve ever seen. At around 12cm tall, they were touching the cover to my windowsill propagator by the time I came home and I had to re-pot them as it’s still too cold outside. The roots were really long, so the propagator did a good job. I was worried that I would disturb all the other seedlings by removing the peas and beans, but I just used a pen to poke them out from the bottom and they were just like plug plants you can buy.








13-03 Peas leavesApparently the pea shoots are good to eat, so later I might sow some more seeds just for this purpose, especially as they’re so easy to grow.






 

 

 


March 21st:

21-03 PeasThe peas have come quite a long way in the past week with the leaves opening up and developing a pretty white pattern. The tendrils are starting to sprawl as they search for something to latch onto.

 






21-03 Peas 2 I really need to plant them out as they’re now 18cm tall and starting to droop, so I’ve had to stick bamboo sticks (the kind you use for cooking) as a temporary support. I started the ‘hardening off’ process today by leaving them outside during the day and bringing them in at night, so they get used to a change in temperature and it’s not so much of a shock when they get put outside permanently. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 25th:
25-03 peas Like my French beans, the peas haven’t really appreciated being put outside as it’s been too windy. So I put them in a trug to give them a bit more protection and they seemed a bit happier with this situation! It’s raining for the rest of this week, so I don’t think I’ll be putting them outside very much, mainly because I don’t want to go out in the rain!

 

 

APRIL 6TH:

06-04 Peas

I’m a bit worried about my peas. They’re looking a very sickly pale green colour and some of the leaves are shrivelled and turning brown. It’s possible that they need more light as I’ve been keeping them off the windowsill. I’ve read that it’s possible they need more nitrogen, which isn’t surprisingly as I planted the seeds in seed compost and they’ve probably used up all the nutrients by now. Or it could be a lack of/too much water. I’m not very good at judging the thirst levels of plants!

 

I tried hardening them off again today but it’s still so cold and miserable that I’m scared it will kill them off! I think I will have to be brave and just commit to hardening them off this week and planting them outside at the weekend. If they all die then at least I will still have time to sow more seeds indoors or even try sowing some direct, so all will not be lost. It’s just a shame to see something you’ve grown from seed die!

APRIL 9TH:

09-04 Peas

I started hardening off the peas again yesterday as it was lovely and warm! They looked a bit parched so I gave them some water and I don’t think they liked it very much as this was the result for half of the seedlings. So I’ve only got a couple left that look vaguely salvageable. I think I’ll plant these tomorrow in the raised bed and cover them with one of my large propagator lids to keep them warm at night, as I’m getting a bit fed up of taking them outside and bringing them in at night. If they die, then they die. I’ll be sowing more directly in the soil anyway.

 

 

APRIL 10TH:

10-04 Peas

For the peas I stuck 3 canes into the raised bed in a straight line, then tied them together at the top with a rubber band. I only had 4 seedlings that looked healthy enough to plant and I planted them in a staggered row, but then I managed to bend one (second from the right) so I’ve probably killed that one too! I tied string across the canes to give the pea tendrils something to latch onto, if they survive my brutal transplanting!

 

 

APRIL 13TH:

2 of the seedlings died, so I dug them up and planted 2 more seeds in their place today.

 

 

APRIL 19TH:

19-04 Pea OK 19-04 Pea deadOnly two of my pea seedlings survived the transplanting, but then I found today that something has picked off the leaves on one of them! (right-hand photo). I’m a bit annoyed as I’ve tried my best to keep away any birds by covering the peas with fleece at night and I’ve tied a CD across the canes the peas and French beans as that apparently scares the birds. So today I upped my defences and wrapped some really fine mesh that I kept from a photoshoot I helped Steve’s sister on. It was for a kid’s garden party theme and she bought the mesh from a haberdashery. It’s got a special name but I can’t remember what it’s called. But hopefully it will do the trick!

19-04 Wigwam CD19-04 Peas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

APRIL 27TH:

27-04 Peas new

I was starting to think that the 2 new seeds I’d planted on the 13th were never going to germinate, but yesterday I noticed that they had both sprouted and are on their way up! Hopefully they will be stronger and healthier having been started directly in the ground, as all the messing around with hardening off my indoor sown seeds did not go down very well.

 

 

 

 

 

27-04 Peas

But the one indoor grown seedling that did survive is actually making progress! It’s reached the first line of string that I’d tied between the canes and the tendrils have taken hold. The blue mesh seems to be doing its job of deterring the pigeons or whatever was eating my precious peas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

may 26th:

26-5 Peas

I am so chuffed with how well my mange tout peas are doing. I’ve basically left them to their own devices and just watered them when the weather has been hot. They’ve happily climbed up the netting, although I have detangled a few of the tendrils so that they’re not completely stuck to the netting as I will need to remove it when the time comes to picking the peas.

 

So I now have 5 healthy pea plants and they’re at different growth stages, which is good as hopefully I won’t have too many peas to pick all at once.

 

I think next year I won’t bother starting off seedlings indoors as they grow so fast and it’s a bit of a pain to keep them happy before planting out. It was so much easier just to plant them directly into the bed and leave them to it.

 

 

 

5th june:

05-06 Peas

I am so behind with my gardening and blogging it’s untrue! Working full time in London means I hardly have any time to go out into the garden after getting in from work and cooking dinner.

 

But the peas seem to be doing fine without any help from me - here’s the first flower that grew on my strongest plant…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17th june:

17-06 Peas

And here’s the start of a mange tout pea growing! I got quite excited about this and ran to get my camera. As I was searching around for more of these little peas growing, I spotted these…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17-06 Peas 2

As I said, I haven’t had time to properly tend to any of my vegetables, so I totally missed these growing! They were lower down on the plant than the new ones growing.

 

I tasted one raw and it was absolutely delicious – so sweet!

 

I cooked the other 2 and it just so happened that I was cooking some shop-bought mange tout tonight. So I cooked them separately and did a taste test. Steve and I both agreed the home-grown ones were far superior and I can’t wait for more to grow!

 

Interestingly, they were much lighter in colour than the shop-bought ones.

 

 

 

 

19th June:

Today I pulled up my my French Bean plant because it had snapped in half due to my rather aggressive handling, so in its place I sowed three Mange Tout Pea seeds. Hopefully this will mean that I will have quite a long season of picking lots of the lovely sweet and crunchy peas.

 

I also pinched out the top (meaning: cut off the top) of the plants that are already producing peas. This is so the plants put all their energy into producing the peas, rather than putting all their effort into growing taller.

 

3rd july:

03-07 Mange tout

Returned from a week’s holiday to find a handful of peas had grown rather large! They felt quite thick and tough, so I didn’t think they would be good for eating as all the advice I’ve read says they need to be picked before they grow too big. But I opened up some of the pods and I ate some of the peas inside raw – they tasted incredibly sweet. Steve said we should try the whole mange tout pods cooked, so I chucked them in the pan with some instant noodles and they were absolutely fine.

 

Unfortunately a snail got into my raised bed and has munched its way through my established pea plants. Surprisingly it hasn’t touched the 3 new plants that have grown from the seeds I planted on the 19th June.

 

15th August:

Today I cut down the 3 plants that I’ve been harvesting from, as they’ve come to an end now the plants have turned all yellow and the peas are growing rather deformed! I’ve left the roots in the soil as all the advice I’ve read says that this will leave the nitrogen in the soil as they break down.

 

My 3 new plants are growing well and have started flowering, so hopefully I will still be able to harvest lovely mange tout peas over the next couple of months. This is the great thing about successional sowing, however next year I would like to have at least 6 plants growing at the same time, so that I can pick a decent amount for one meal. Apparently you can’t plant peas in the same space for the next couple of years, so I’ll have to try growing them in my tub trugs next year.

Grow your own Tomatoes 2010

Tomato SeedsPLANT: ‘Gardener’s Delight’ Cherry Tomato
TYPE: Cordon/Indeterminate = remove side shoots

It is a very reliable and prolific greenhouse or outdoor type, with long trusses of sweet bite-sized fruits. Has gained the Award of Garden Merit (AGM) by the RHS.


Since I had so many seeds leftover from last year and I had relative success with the Gardener’s Delight variety, I decided to grow them again this year.

 

Sow under cover: February - April 26th Feb
Germination time: 7 – 14 days 7th Mar
Plant out: April - June  
Harvest: June - October  
Time from seed to plate: 65 days  

 

SOW:

  • Sow seeds thinly in seed trays or modules. Cover with a thin layer of compost and water carefully from underneath if possible.
  • Ideal temperature for germination is 18°C and when seedlings appear move to somewhere with bright light and a constant temperature of 21-27°C.

GROW:

  • When the 1st set of true leaves appear (after the initial pair of ‘seed’ leaves) and the plants are 10-15cm tall, transplant into small individual pots 5mm below the height of the ‘seed’ leaves.
  • Plant out 45cm apart when the plants are 20cm tall and they have flowers on the lowest truss.

CARE:

  • Feed weekly with high potash/tomato feed once first truss has set (flowers have formed fruits).
  • Water regularly, little and often.
  • Stake for support and pinch out sideshoots/growing tip.

HARVEST:

  • Leave on the vine until they are fully ripe and ready to eat.


Useful websites:
How To Prune Tomato Plants

March 7th:
07-03 Tomatoes sprouted









After I turned up the heating the tomatoes started to sprout.
March 13th:
13-03 Tomatoes The tomatoes are making good progress with the initial pair of ‘seed’ leaves opening up. I planted 2 seeds per module and as you can see both seeds have sprouted. So when I come to re-pot them I will separate them.




March 21st:
21-03 tomatoesThe tomatoes are coming along nicely and are starting to develop their first true leaves. Where there were 2 seeds that sprouted in 1 module I have cut down the weaker one. They’ve got a bit of growing to do before transplanting into individual pots.

 

 

 

 

APRIL 6TH:

06-04 Tomatoes 2

I finally transplanted all my seedlings into small pots as they’ve all developed true leaves and they were 10cm tall. I should have planted them in the compost 5mm below the height of the ‘seed’ leaves, but I had so many other seedlings to pot up and my legs and back were aching from crouching down (I really need a nice potting bench!) so I couldn’t be bothered to mess about getting the measurement right! I can always add a bit more soil later on if they need more support.

APRIL 15TH:

15-04 Tomatoes

The tomato seedlings are doing extremely well. They’re now roughly 12cm tall and they’re well on their way to reaching the right height for planting out (20cm) in June when they have formed flowers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MAY 1ST:

01-05 Tomatoes

The fastest growers of the month have to be the tomatoes. On April 26th the tallest ones were 20cm and now they’re 30cm. The smaller ones are 20cm and it’s interesting at the height difference, even though I’ve been treating them the same.

 

 

 

 

 

4th July:

04-07 toms

I knew I was far behind with my blogging but I didn’t realise my last post on the tomatoes was in May! I planted them out sometime in June but I haven’t fed them yet. I will do so later today as they have started to set fruit. I will need to take more photos of the plants as they look nothing like the photo I took in May!

 

 

 

 

 

6th July:

06-07 tomatoes

It’s really hard to take photos of my plants in our garden because there’s so much green stuff everywhere! No matter which angle I tried to take this photo there were trees or plants in the background and I couldn’t be bothered to move 3 tall plants (I would have probably broken them in half by accident) so I’m sorry it’s really difficult to see my tomato plants.

 

Here’s an update:

 

They are pretty tall and kept falling over on windy days. So I had to put in another supporting cane and tie the plant to it securely.

 

They didn’t look that healthy as some of the leaves were yellow and all curled up. So I started to feed them with tomato food and they looked a bit better.

 

I think the pots are too small as they dry out quite fast. I put a watering spike tube into the soil so that when I water them, it goes straight down to the roots. I removed all the lower leaves below the fruit trusses.

 

I’m not very happy with my tomato plants this year and I have a feeling I won’t get many fruits. But I will persevere and keep my (not-so-green) fingers crossed that I’ll get at least some I can make a salad with!

 

31st July:

31-07 TomatoesWell I was a bit premature in thinking that my tomato plants wouldn’t produce many fruits, as they’re all doing pretty well now. Each plant only has a couple of branches, but they’re full of fruits and one has started to turn red today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15th August:

15 Aug Toms

I’ve eaten a couple of tomatoes that fell off and I allowed to ripen on the windowsill. They were very sweet and juicy, so I was looking forward to tasting the rest. But they don’t look particularly healthy right now. I’m not sure if it’s the vast amount of rain we’ve had in the last few days that has caused these brown spots on the fruit, or if they are diseased. The leaves are all curled up and have black spots on them (I should have taken a photo!) and I should really cut them off and dump them.

August 14, 2010

Squash potstickers

Squash potstickers

 

MUNCH RATING: 3/5

Now that I’m working full time I really don’t have a lot of time for cooking and blogging. As soon as Steve and I get in from work I cook something quick and simple and I just don’t have the inclination to faff about photographing the dish.

 

But I made these potstickers last weekend. I had some leftover butternut squash that I’d simply roasted in the oven. I mashed it up and chucked in some finely home-grown sage (all the plants are doing well – still need to update those blog posts!) and some salt and pepper. Then I filled the gyoza wrappers (these were frozen but they only took a couple of hours to thaw out on the kitchen counter) and folder them in half and sealed with water.

 

I think I’ve finally got the knack of cooking potstickers. I heated some oil in a pan and put about 5 dumplings in and cooked them for about a minute on each side until they were nicely browned. Then I added about 2 tablespoons of water and clamped on a lid and cooked for about 3 minutes (I’d cook for longer if the dumplings contained raw meat) until all the water had disappeared. Then I put them in the oven on a low heat to keep warm.

 

Technically these aren’t really potstickers as I used a non-stick pan so they didn’t stick – I just find it easier this way.

 

TASTE TEST:

I served them with some ketchup manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce) and because the butternut squash was sweet, it was all a bit too sweet! But they did taste nice, we just prefer meaty dumplings!

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