Monday, 16 March 2009

Allotmenticity - 16-03-09 Aston FM Sod It Grow Your Own

Well the final section of "Casa Tongo" is now complete. With a massive amount of help (and a cheek) from "Her Cissyness" we finally got it finished. It's amazing how hot it can get with those huge windows. I think I grew 2" on Sunday just sowing some seeds! As you can see I've cut through the back panel to gain access to the flight deck!
At the same time, I dug out a bed just in front of the end which was where the old "Compost Corner" used to be. This is now going to be an Asparagus bed. Something I've always wanted to try. Many years ago I made an attempt, but the soil was too clay heavy. This time it's got the remains of years of compost and I'll add a mix of new and some multi-purpose to give it a good start. The only drag is waiting 2 years before reaping the rewards!
I ordered my crowns from Suttons. I went into B&Q last week and they were selling Horseradish, Ginger, Asparagus & Jerusalem Artichokes. Great until you chech the state of the packages. All the Asparagus had dry roots and spindly pale green shoots. The ginger was soft and every pack the compost was dry as dust, mainly because they're onsale in the main building which is warm. I think B&Q should review their plant selling methods. Also I noticed a small box of Garden Lime for £3.00. I just bought a sack of the same stuff from a builders merchants for £6.00. I'm determined to fight the club root this year, so plenty will go into each planting hole and then fresh compost.
It's great to have some nice weather as all your neighbours get out and you can get to know them all. We seem to be filling all the vacant plots at last, which is great news. There's nothing worse than an overgrown plot full of weeds.
I hope you enjoy the jokes from my Irish friends. The recipe is fabulous and well worth a try. Make sure you cook the beef until it melts in the mouth.
I'm off down to Bournemouth this week to play a concert at the BIC called Dorset Rocks. Thousands of really talented kids. Should be fun.
(Don't think I'll mention The Reds though!)

Happy St Patrick's Day!

The Captain.

Liam & Fanny O'Boyle's Corned Beef & Cabbage.


  • 2 large onions, quartered
  • 6 carrots, chopped into large chunks
  • 3 pounds beef brisket or Silverside
  • 1/2 cup malt vinegar
  • 1 glass Irish stout beer
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon dill seed
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Large head of cabbage, rinsed and quartered
  • 1 pound small red potatoes, scrubbed
  • Colmans English mustard.


You'll need a large heavy-duty pot for this recipe.
Place the beef in the stockpot. Add the half of the chopped onions and carrots, malt vinegar, stout, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, dill seeds, whole allspice and bay leaves. Add enough water to cover the corned beef, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer about 2-3 hours until meat is fork-tender.

Add the remaining onions and carrots and the red potatoes to the cooked corned beef, with the cabbage on top. Cover and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes, until potatoes and cabbage are fork-tender.

To serve, cut the corned beef against the grain into slices and accompany with the cooked vegetables.

And of course a large dollop of Colmans English Mustard.

Makes 4 hearty servings.


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