Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Allotmenticity - 26-05-09

Well there's no Gary James Show this week as he's away in Turkey, but the work still continues apace down on No87.
More maincrop spuds going in and transplanting cabbages, sweetcorn, peas & beans.
The first Broad beans are in flower and looking healthy, although the Black flies are never far away. I've planted French Marigolds as a companion so lets hope they do their job.
I had a trip down to Malvern on Sunday and thanks to the Country Bumpkin, came back laden with cuttings from Cherry and Hazlenut trees so fingers crossed I might get a couple that take.
Then yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure to work with a Midlands Legend, Steve Gibbons, at the Lord Mayor's Show in Birmingham. It even stayed fine while we rocked the Council House!

As can be seen in the photo, Captain Tongo's pee does not help Parsley grow!!!

And finally we seem to have a couple of resident Ducks. They just appear and stroll around quite unfazed by us all working away.

Gary & I will be back next week with more fun so until then,

Enjoy the weather, but don't forget to cover up!

The Captain.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Allotmenticity - 18-05-09 Aston FM Sod It Grow Your Own

It was a fantastic day on Saturday when Captain Tongo had a Gazebo Party on Plot 87 to help celebrate Cissy Stone's Birthday. Lots of friends turned up with a Bottle, a Brolly and a Sense of Humour. Gale force winds and torrential rain one minute and baking sun the next ensured there was never a dull moment. The shed will NEVER be the same again.
I think I'll rename it "The Spud Diggers Arms"!!!
The new Barbi was called into action and the burgers, chicken, beer and wine were all dispatched as can be seen below. We even had a couple of friendly ducks drop in for a chat!

Congratulations to Man Utd for winning the Premiership AGAIN. (Eat your heart out Rafa!!!)

And finally back to the real stuff, hopefully if it stays fine today I'm going to sow my Kerr Pinks which are patiently sitting in their egg tray.

The Brassica cage is full and with all the rain we've had recently they're all looking healthy. Also as it's completely covered, as well as my copper rings & crushed egg shells, I can use slug pellets as their won't be any birds in there. Hopefully it will defy the high winds and remain standing. Now I know what it's like to be a tent rigger at Billy Smart's Circus!!!

I'm going to transplant my Nasturtiums and French Marigolds as companions and I've got more Sweet Corn and French Beans ready to go in.

Thanks to Doug for pointing out that last week's photo quiz was Borage and also to Matron for your continued support and always welcomed comments.

And finally here's the Eggplant (Aubergine) Hummous recipe.


This luscious (but healthy) dip is great with pita chips or raw vegetables.

Makes about 2 cups.


1 large eggplant (about 1 1/4 pounds)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup drained canned chickpeas
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons (generous) tahini (sesame seed paste)*
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
*Available at some supermarkets and at natural foods stores and Middle Eastern markets.


Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise, then score flesh in crisscross pattern at 1-inch intervals, 1/2 inch deep. Rub cut sides with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil; sprinkle with salt. Place eggplant on rimmed baking sheet, cut side down; bake until tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Cool slightly, then scoop flesh into processor (discard skins). Add chickpeas, remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, tahini, and garlic; puree until mixture is almost smooth. Transfer to bowl; stir in parsley. Season hummus to taste with salt and pepper.

Add scoops of the hummus along with feta, tomatoes, olives and cucumber.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Allotmenticity - 11-05-09 Aston FM Sod It Grow Your Own

I've been working hard erecting my Brassica cage and after a couple of hairy moments with the wind it's finished. FINALLY I can get my awaiting plants in. Let's see if the Cabbage White's can get in THERE!

First results from my Parsley competition, the Boiling Water and the Normal method have taken the lead and are first to show. No sign yet of the Fridge method or Captain Tongo's Pee!

Does anyone know what this is?

I'm very happy with The Reds at the moment but I won't bore you with that!

"All roads lead to Rome!"

Today it's a major planting day. I'm going to try a little piece of Rhubarb in the hole with the Brassicas as well as a handful of Lime. They've all been sown in my plastic trays and then potted on, so no contact with the soil as yet.

Here's the Nettle Soup recipe. We've gone all Country-fied this week.

Enjoy, The Captain.

Nettle Soup

4 large handfuls of young nettle tops (Not with flowers)
1 large onion
50 g (2 oz) butter
2 potatoes

2 pints of vegetable stock
1 tablespoon of creme fraiche
Seasoning, including grated nutmeg

1. Strip the nettles from the thicker stalks, and wash.
2. Melt the butter and simmer the chopped onion until golden.
3. Add the nettles and the chopped potatoes and cook for two to three minutes.
4. Add the stock, and simmer for 20 minutes, using a wooden spoon from time to time to crush the potatoes.
5. Add the seasoning, plus a little grated nutmeg and serve with a whirl of creme fraiche
6 Or, if you would prefer a smoother soup, put the mixture through a liquidizer first. Reheat, and add seasoning and creme fraiche.