Monday 11 December 2017

Harvest Monday - wintery

I've seen so many photos of lovely snowy scenes over the last couple of days but here in Norwich it's been cold, heavy rain (with a tiny bit of sleet). We're not jealous at all, nuh uh. But it's definitely the weather for warming stews and one morning last week I set up a slow-cooker meal, including a couple of small squashes (cubed), chard and rosemary from the allotment, plus carrots, lentils and a tin of tomatoes. We had it with mashed potato (potatoes stored in the shed). It's nice coming home to a ready-cooked meal, I seem to lose enthusiasm in the evenings at this time of year. And there were enough leftovers for the next day too.
Today I made something similar, using one end of my remaining mega green butternut squash but added curry powder for a bit of spice instead of the rosemary.
The flesh colour isn't as deeply orange as the previous squash but it tasted alright. These squashes do seem to be quite watery though, as you can see with it seeping out after cutting.
And throughout the week we've been continuing to have salad leaves from the lean-to in our sandwiches, like this sweet rocket and winter purslane, plus green lentils which I sprout in a jar on the kitchen windowsill. I sometimes feel like this is a bit samey each week but then remind myself that we're still eating homegrown salad in December, which isn't bad going.
There's a small wood not too far away from us, which we walked down to last week to snip off some bits of holly and ivy - these grow prolifically in the wood so worry not, we're not depriving the local wildlife at all (and we saw a song thrush in a tree on the edge of the wood, which was lovely). So I made us a Christmas wreath for the front door - I have a solid metal ring (which was actually a plant support) that I re-use every year and twist the holly and ivy stems around it...tah dah....

Actually the photo isn't very good, it was at an angle so the wreath doesn't look properly round, but I was rushing to take it during a brief dry moment. Well, it looks a tad uneven too, so I might stick a bit more foliage in if I get round to it. I'll try and get a better photo next time. Maybe with a bit of snow ha.


Oh and some good news is that Norwich Farmshare (who I mentioned the other week) have been successful in their crowdfunding campaign, so can get cracking on developing their new CSA (community supported agriculture) site in the city, hooray.


That's me for the week, I hope you're all getting on okay where you are. I'm linking in as usual with Harvest Monday kindly hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres.


Monday 4 December 2017

Harvest Monday - surviving the frost

It's been very frosty here in Norwich recently, and we even had sleet and snow the other day. So I haven't been to the allotment much, it's too damp to get on with things like weeding. But I did nip down there this morning to harvest some goodies....first up is the mizuna, which doesn't seem to have minded the frost at all. I have a few plants (sown at home in plugs and planted out in the area I had some maincrop potatoes), so I just harvested the larger outer leaves, leaving the rest to grow on.
The chard doesn't mind frost much either. The stems on these are quite vibrant, nice to brighten up winter dishes.
The Nero kale is also ignoring the frost, with its dark leaves. There seems to be less whitefly around since the temperatures have dropped so that's a bonus too.
I picked a bit of rosemary to make a cleansing tea .....although it's early in the Christmas season I already feel like I'm overdoing the sugary foods (and not being as active because of the weather), so a refreshing tea is very welcome (and very easy - just snip off a couple of inches, pop it in a mug and pour in boiling water, then leave to infuse for a couple of minutes (I find if its left too long the tea has a bitter flavour).
We were going round a friend's to eat the other day, so I decided to take roasted beetroot. I have some beets stored in the front shed but thought it probably best to use up the ones still outside in the backgarden. They roasted up nicely with a few cloves of garlic, yum. I also mixed in a handful of winter purslane leaves from the lean-to (not pictured).
On the puddings side, I already had a tub of stewed fruit in the fridge (blackberry, raspberry, gooseberry and apple mix), which we have on our muesli in the mornings, so I made a cake batter and mixed in a good dollop of the fruit. It created a sort of raspberry ripple effect and was pretty tasty, though the cakes did sink after I took them out the oven. I'm sure there's a scientific reason for that...anyone know? Here they are before baking (I didn't get an after shot).
On a completely different tack, we needed a quick dinner the other day, so had some curried rice and additional veggies from the freezer, including some red pepper for a bit of colour. It ended up being a bit like a risotto, not bad.
Talking of peppers, I used up last week's fresh pepper in sandwiches, along with sweet rocket from the lean-to and homemade chutney.
After eating loads of almonds last week I felt bad for ignoring my hazel nuts, so cracked a load open and toasted them in the oven (when it was on for some other baking too).
The skin flakes off after they've been toasted, which makes them even tastier....mmmm.

Today we made a non-edible harvest...holly and ivy trimmings from a nearby wood, which I'll make into a Christmas wreath - photos to follow. And I have another 'harvest' this week too, if the weather holds out - bagging up a load of lovely well-rotted horse poo to take to the allotment. Not sure which one I'm most excited about (yes let's face it, it's the horse poo).


Thanks for reading, I'm linking in as usual with Harvest Monday kindly hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres. Head over there to see what other people have been harvesting too.