Monday, 31 December 2018

Harvest Monday - Happy New Year!

Just time for a little post before we head round to friends' for New Years Eve. It will be an extravagant night of nibbles and board games (and maybe the odd boozy drink). Jan is actually busy making mince pies to take round, she even made the mince meat! I snuck a quick photo before she shoo'd me away.
The mince meat is really tasty, not as sweet as shop-bought, including lots of apples and some chopped nuts for a bit of texture.

We had a quiet Christmas here in Norwich. Our cat is very elderly (18) and needs lots of looking after, so we're trying not to leave her on her own for too long. She was quite poorly for a couple of days but has made an amazing recovery (possibly thanks to all the extra cuddles). So we have been popping out to see friends (which has been lovely) but also spending lots of time at home. A plus-side to being at home is all the time that Jan has had to spend baking.....This is the third batch of mince pies! Yum. 

Our Christmas lunch was really tasty, and kind of healthy. We made a chestnut pie using sweet chestnuts and walnuts that I'd previously foraged, with homegrown potatoes, kale, Brussels sprouts and market-bought carrots. We also made a mushroom gravy and bread sauce from scratch. It felt like a nice balance of comforting wintery foods and healthy greens. I didn't get a photo apart from the sprouts! 
They had a lovely flavour, and Jan even tucked into them despite saying she was only going to eat a couple (unfortunately for me, as I was looking forward to a larger share!). The plants have recovered well after being swamped with grey aphids. Some of the lower sprouts have started to 'blow' but rather than harvest them, I've left them to grow out further, as I like them as spring greens. I picked some more the other day but we haven't eaten them yet (a New Year's Day bubble n squeak?). I also harvested more lambs lettuce, kale and chard...but no photos!

Instead, here's my overwintering chilli peppers, inside by the window. They actually live inside permanently now, as they make nice houseplants and it saves space in the greenhouse for sweet peppers. On the left of the photo is a leaf from my home-sprouted mango plant, grown from a mango seed. I'm quite proud of that! The mango needs re-potting though as it drys out quite quickly in the small pot, which it doesn't like.
I harvested all the lovely deep red chillis from one plant but left the lighter ones for a bit more ripening.
Oh and here's some non-edible foraging from just before Christmas....holly and ivy harvested from the local woods. In the photo below, I've started winding ivy around a solid metal circular frame which I re-use each year to make a wreath for our front door.
It looks better on the door than on the bike but you get the idea!
And just to finish, a piccie of our lovely, cute, little old lady cat Minxie....if only she was as untroublesome as this all the allotment seeds box is strategically placed to stop her getting in and having a wee behind the bike (and yep, we have a bike in the lounge, but that's another story). 

On that note, I wish you all a Happy New Year and look forward to seeing what everyone has been up to (via Harvest Monday kindly hosted by Dave at Happy Acres) and to hear what your plans are for the coming spring. Cheers!


  1. Happy New Year to you! I have enjoyed reading about your harvests through this year, so here's hoping for another good year in 2019

    1. Thanks Kathy. Yep, no doubt some things will do better than others but fingers crossed for a good year overall for us all.

  2. I'm in the same situation as you with an old cat that needs a lot of attention. He's become quite the sweet cuddly guy in his waning days, quite different from his feisty youth when one of his nick names was "the terrorist". Those chillis (chiles here) are a lovely vibrant red. I have never bothered to harvest the blown sprouts, it's good to know that they're good to eat since quite a few of mine seem to be inclined to blow.

    1. Hi Michelle, wow he must've got up to quite a lot of mischief in his youth!
      I leave the blown sprouts until they're about 2 - 3 inches long (about 6 - 10 cm) depending on how they're looking, and making sure the stem is still soft. They make yummy greens.

  3. The sprouts look lovely. Hope you all (including Minxie) have a happy and healthy 2019!

  4. Sounds like you had a good Christmas day with lots of homegrown veg on your plate and mince pies, yum. Wish i had made some as the supermarket ones have shrunk in size, and your right too sweet too. Wishing you and Jan a Happy New Year and Minxie x

    1. Thanks Shaheen. Yes, even the shop-bought mince pie filling seems to be quite sweet. I'm glad Jan likes making pastry, she did the topping for our chestnut pie as well. Happy new year to you too X

  5. Your sprouts have done far better than ours. Ours suffered an aphid attack but didn't recover. Happy New Year.

    1. Hi Sue, sorry to hear your sprouts didn't recover, those aphids have been a real problem this year on lots of brassicas. At the community farm where I volunteer, the kale is covered with enviromesh as soon as it's planted out and that seemed to keep the worst of the aphids off.

    2. All our brassicas including sprouts were grown under enviromesh, Lou. It has been under cover permanently since it was planted. All I can think is some got in when we were harvesting as that’s the only time they were exposed. Being undercover we didn’t notice until they had colonised the plants.

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