Monday, 26 January 2009

Allotmenticity - 26-01-09 Aston FM Sod It Grow Your Own

Well here's the latest madness called "Sod It Grow Your Own" with Gary James on Aston FM. We have great fun doing this, but there are some good tips and the recipe is worth a try.
I managed to get a few hours down on N0 87 today while the weather was fine. I've planted the rest of my Isle of Wight Garlic, the Solent Wight variety. I also sowed some Cauliflower seeds in one of my mini propagators from my mate Choff.
Trouble is just when I could get a few more visits in, the weather is due to change. Typical!
Below is the recipe for Patatas Bravas, a great Tapas snack or a spicy accompaniment to Chicken.

1 lb 8 oz all-purpose potatoes, cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
For the Sauce
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed

2 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Place the potato pieces in a 12x8 inch baking dish, pour the oil over, sprinkle with some salt and toss to coat. Bake in the top half of the oven for 40 minutes, turning once, until the potatoes are cooked through and light brown.

To make the spicy tomato sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, chili and paprika and cook for 1 minute. Increase the heat to high, add the wine and simmer for 30 seconds, then reduce the heat to medium and add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until the mixture is thick.

Process the sauce in a food processor or blender until smooth. Return the sauce to the saucepan to reheat and stir in the parsley. Check the seasoning.

Pour over the potatoes and serve.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Allotmenticity - The Canadian Ambassador's Spicy Crunchy Coating.

As I said on Sod It Grow Your Own, this is a really versatile recipe. You can hammer out a Chicken Breast really thin and use it to make an escalope, I've tried it with a mix of mashed Potato and fresh Salmon to make a tasty Fishcake, and also with just mashed Potato on its own.
This is for the Potato Cakes,

Ingredients for about 6:

3 Large Potatoes.

Packet Ritz Crackers.

1 Large Egg beaten.

2 Tablespoon Plain Flour.

1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper.

1 Teaspoon Italian Dried Herbs.

Oil for shallow frying.

Salt & Pepper.

Peel and chunk Potatoes and boil in water until just soft. 20 Mins.

Drain and roughly mash. Allow to cool.

Form into patties about ½ inch thick and 3 inch across.

Put in fridge for 1 hour to set.

Meanwhile make the crunchy coating.

Take ½ packet of Ritz crackers and place in large plastic bag. (Freezer bags are great for this.)

Tie bag loosely and using a rolling pin or similar object crush the crackers.

You should aim for a breadcrumb consistency.

Add the Cayenne Pepper, Italian Dried Herbs and Salt & Pepper.

Shake the packet to mix all the flavourings together.

Take 3 shallow bowls and in the first put the plain flour.

In the second the beaten egg and in the third the crunchy coating.

Take the potato patties from the fridge.

Using the same hand (this takes a little practice!) coat the pattie first in flour, then the beaten egg and finally the crunchy coating.

Shallow fry the pattie in the hot oil until golden brown.

Another great use is to cut a Beef Tomato in half and sprinkle about a tablespoon of the mix onto it. Squirt a small amount of honey on it and put under a hot grill.

Allotmenticity - 19-01-09 Aston FM Sod It Grow Your Own Pt 8

More "Sod It Grow Your Own" madness from today's Gary James Show on Aston FM.

I managed an afternoon's digging and tidying up on Saturday, just before the weather changed again. I've dug over the proposed Brassica bed and limed it ready. I might give it another blast as I detected some clubroot on the previous crop of cabbage. The plan is for the cage which will completely enclose the bed. Hopefully it might stop the pigeons eating all the tops off the Brocolli and Kale. I read that birds don't bother with Kale, but I can assure you they certainly do! Also I can disprove the idea that if you take off the sprout tops they won't bother with them. WRONG! They do that too.

Does anyone remember an idea, I think it was on Gardeners World, about growing 6 different vegetables in a bed measuring a square yard? I'm sure it had Sweet Corn in the centre and beans that grew up the corn along with various other crops around the base.
I might even contact the BBC. I've looked on the net but can't find any reference to that particular idea.
Last Wednesday I went down to B&Q with a friend who has a Diamond "Geezer" discount card. Useful for getting 10% off everything, seeds etc. The £1 section is well worth a look. Balls of twine & string for a quid - 10%. Picked up a great lounger for the corporate area.
I got a packet of Lavender seeds, so I can alternate the Rosemary and Lavender bushes for my hedge (eventually!)
I've just bought a paper shredder for the office and according to a source you can mix it in the compost heap. Avoid shiny paper like magazines, but it's good for soaking up a damp bin. Obviously like lawn mowings, make sure it's well mixed in.

Well, that's all for now.

The Legend is down south at the weekend so I'm packing the bag ready,

The Captain.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Allotmenticity - Sod It Grow Your Own Pt 7 - 12-01-09

It's been very cold down on No87 of late so not much has happened since I dug over the spud bed. I took delivery of the aluminium poles for my brassica cage the other day. 19 x 4 metre lengths. Possibly a little excessive, but ordering direct from the manufacturer does keep the cost down and I managed to get twice the amount for 1/2 the price of using one of the garden suppliers. The next challenge is to construct it! Photos to follow.
The Garlic and Japanese onions look like they're doing OK. I've just sown some herb seeds in my mini trays from my mate Choff. Dill, Oregano, Basil Marjoram and Thyme. There seems to be a lot of Thyme grown on our allotments, not sure why.
Was reading Matron's very impressive site "Down On The Allotment" the other day. I really must get into successive planting. Early Purple Sprouting Brocolli. I'm jealous!
And finally I've been up to the antics of "Sod It Gr
ow Your Own" again and the latest episode can be heard above. I've also included the Credit Crunch busting recipe given to me by my friends Lord & Lady Formby who I met in Southport.
I must admit since I've been doing my little spot I've had some great recipes given to me. If anyone has any good ones that I can use, please send them. I'll give a credit to all who do.

The Captain

Lord & Lady Formby’s Ham Hock.


1 Ham Hock per person.




Vegetable Stock Cube.

Fresh Bay Leaf, Thyme & Rosemary tied in bunch.

Bring Ham Hock to boil in enough water to cover and simmer 1 hour. Remove from heat and skim off top.

Add herbs & crumbled stock cube and bring back to boil then reduce to “smile” for 1 hour.

Add carrots chunked and potatoes cut in quarters.

Cook until ham starts to fall off bone, (about 30 mins)

Add cabbage/kale shredded for last 10 mins.

Remove ham and pull meat from bone. Remove bunch of herbs.

Arrange veg in large serving bowl with chunks of ham and pour on stock.

Enjoy with crusty bread and a glass of foaming beer!