Monday, 22 August 2016

Harvest Monday - blackberry and apple loaf

After a long period without much rain we finally had a decent downpour last night, hooray. It was quite windy at times too but there doesn't seem to have been any damage.
This week the harvests have picked up even more, loads of runner beans, courgettes and cucumbers. I haven't photographed them all but you get the idea....
Couldn't resist a little face, hehe
Several batches of beans like this
More self-sown chard too
And kale
I've made a tasty curry (freezing a portion of leftovers)
And a big batch of a more Mediterranean - type thing, with courgettes, tomatoes, red onions, lots of garlic and rosemary. My red onions are teeny, the slugs really attacked the stems, which hindered their growth.
I also added in some kale plus some haricot beans which I cooked-up today in the slow cooker, after soaking them yesterday. Haricots seem to be one of the quickest pulses to cook that I've tried so far (they're quite small).
This week I've harvested the first sweetcorn, it was really good, mmm, didn't even need any butter. On the whole the corn hasn't done too well but we'll get a few cobs.
Onto more fruity things...
First tiny sweet peppers with a pen for scale (I think they're meant to be bigger!)
A crown prince squash from one of my plants plus a spaghetti squash from an allotment neighbour. I'll try roasting the spaghetti squash - I cooked one that way years ago which I think is nicer than when just boiled. I'm not sure how many winter squashes I'll get this year, they sulked for a long time before doing much, so we'll have to see how the next few weeks go weatherwise.
I've had a couple of nice big bowls of tomatoes though
Picked today
I'm continuing to remove lower leaves and thin out ones higher up to let in more light and air..this is the 'after'. I'll remove some more soon too.
From the allotment I've had a few apples including these below. You can see some codling moth damage (and the caterpillars were still inside). There was still a good amount of edible apple though.
(A joke from my childhood "Q: what's worse than finding a maggot in your apple? A: finding half a maggot")
I cut into these apples rather than biting into them and risk finding half a maggot!
These were better. There were a load more windfalls too, which I combined with blackberries, ginger and cinammon, and froze in tubs (after a shuffle round in the freezer to make more room).
I used the peel and (non-maggoty) cores to make a couple of batches of cider vinegar - just add water and a few teaspoons of honey. Mix around, cover with something breathable (I've used kitchen towel), leave for a couple of weeks to bubble and ferment (check occasionally to push any poking-out bits back under the liquid, otherwise they might develop mould), then strain out the liquid and leave it to mature a few weeks or longer (I use old cider vinegar bottles and feel rather good when I see a price sticker still on them, knowing I've just made some for virtually free)
Talking of honey, my friends who have a couple of hives in their back garden in the city gave us a jar from their latest harvest, mmm. By the sounds of it they've had a bit of a nightmare with swarms this year but the honey looks good.
My friend Andrew has a greengage tree on his plot. The fruits all seem to ripen at different times, which means you have to keep checking for windfalls, but they've got quite a nice flavour
I've picked a couple of big tubs of blackberries again (and eaten quite a lot straight from the canes). There are some lovely big plump ones which attract your attention but also when I tried a few tiny ones of a different variety they were super sweet. The smaller ones take longer to pick but it's worth adding a few to the mix. There are so many though, I can't pick them all (well I would if I had more freezer space).
I wanted to use some up in a cakey-thing so a Google search came up with Blackberry and Apple Loaf on BBC Good Food. I simplified the recipe by just using Demerara sugar and didn't bother separating out any of the mix. I also doubled the recipe to make two loaves. Some blackberries get gently mixed in whilst others are popped on top. Oh, also I didn't include any orange zest but it didn't seem to matter.
Turned out nicely!
And it wasn't too sweet either. I gave half a cake to our neighbours, shared some with friends and family, and we ate quite a few slices ourselves, hehe.
We're having a picnic with friends at the weekend so this recipe may come in handy again, especially as there's so many blackberries around at the moment.


Thanks for reading this week, I'm linking in as usual with Harvest Monday kindly hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres.



  1. We have always cut fruit in half since years ago, on holiday in France, Martyn bit inti a peach and found a cluster of earwigs where the stone should have been. Fortunately no halves!
    Red onions never seem to do as well as the yellow varieties and the white ones even worse.
    Any mildew on your courgette plants?

    1. Eurgh, peachy earwigs were a bit grim Sue.
      My red onions were kind of ok for a while but then the tops were devastated before they got chance to bulk up, and ended up not much bigger than when I planted out the sets...darn slugs.
      Yes I have loads of mildew. The plants started getting it at home before I even set them out at the was so hot and dry earlier. I treated them a couple of times with milk spray which helped for a bit. Fortunately there are enough healthy leaves for the plants to keep producing.

  2. I also have a friend with bee hives and getting a jar of honey is always such a treat!

    I recall the same childhood joke but we talked about half a worm rather than half a maggot. Both equally gross.

    Your tomatoes all look very perfect!

    1. Haha, a worm sounds worse in some way Susie, urgh.
      Thank you, Most of my toms have been ok actually this year, not too much blossom end rot or splitting, only a couple of each. The red pear fruits seem to be most susceptible to blossom end rot from the varieties I've grown.

  3. Wow - such a great harvest this past week! I don't know what looks better - the beans, the greens, the tomatoes...or the blackberries...yum!!

  4. Lots of goodies coming in for you now! That blackberry cake looks yummy. I've made muffins with ours but I don't recall ever making a cake, so I'll have to give that a try. Your tomatoes look great too!

    1. Thanks Dave, I've made the cake again this week, it turned out well so the recipe is definitely a keeper.

  5. Your blackberry loaf looks so good. And your winter squashes are just lovely, as are your tomatoes and beans. We hardly got any courgettes or beans this year.

    1. Thanks Phuong, I didn't get too many courgettes last year, so it's nice to have a better season this time round. Hopefully you'll get more next year too.