Well that was wonderful weekend and I hope everybody managed to get down on their plots and enjoy the weather. Looks like we're in for a "splash" later today, but maybe it'll save me going down to water later.
I had my first cos lettuce yesterday. Oh the taste!
The Brassica cage is looking good and healthy. There's a couple of cauliflowers hearting up already. Also as it's enclosed I can use slug pellets without worry. Although I've still got the copper bracelets down.
Saturday was spent doing an intense weeding on the Asparagus bed, the Beans and Peas and Herbs and flowers.
Rain + Sun = WEEDS!
It shouldn't be too long before the first Garlic can be harvested. I forked up a tester and they're looking good.
My Carrots in the plastic trays are really tasty. I've used Suttons Parmex which are the small round variety. Keeping them in the containers has avoided the Carrot fly and because they're round, I don't have to worry about the depth of soil.
My neighbour Danny has got 12" high mounds which he flattens the top and plants his carrots ready started in 1/2 toilet rolls. He does the same with Beetroot. I'll keep an eye on that for future reference.
I'm hoping to acquire some stable manure. As much as I've been digging compost in, I think a good heap of manure will add that bulk to the soil and help it retain more moisture. I think my Onion & Garlic beds will definitely benefit. Also to readjust my rotation system, I'm going to leave the Brassica cage in place next year and just swap the Peas and Beans with the Spuds. So a good dose of manure will help.
I found some Scarlet Lily Beetles last week. The RHS has a form where you can report sightings. It's a vivid red colour about 1/4" - 1/2" long. If you can, squash it with your fingers before it lays its eggs. The larvae will eat all the leaves very quickly. You can get a spray, which seems to have done the trick, called Provado Ultimate Bug Killer from B&Q.
This weeks recipe is a fabulous Roast Monkfish tail. I was down the fishmarket the other day and there were some fresh in, which prompted me to share this. Not a cheap meal, but great for a dinner party.
Until next time,
Gigot de Mer / Whole Roast Monkfish
- 1 monkfish tail - about 18 oz.
- 12 thin slices prosciutto - enough to cover the fish
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1-1/2 cups sliced mushrooms - about 8 oz.
- 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 lb. vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped or 2 large cans chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons sour cream or crème fraîche
- a handful of basil leaves, chopped
- coarse sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Set the prosciutto on a work surface with the slices slightly overlapping each other. Put the monkfish on top, belly up. Wrap it in the bacon with the ends overlapping across the belly.
Turn it over and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt and cook until browned, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, then add the wine, and cook over high heat for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, and simmer gently for 5 minutes.
Pour this tomato sauce into a baking dish just large enough to hold the fish. Set the fish on top and roast for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 400°F and roast for 30 minutes more. Remove from the oven and put the fish on a plate. Stir the sour cream and basil into the tomatoes. Set the monkfish on top and serve. Serves 4-6.