Monday, 24 August 2009

Allotmenticity - 24-08-09 Aston FM Sod It Grow Your Own

Another Monday after a beautiful weekend. Lots of sun and everything is looking great on No87.
I've just been awarded my Official Share which makes you feel part of what's going on.

I planted the Lavender earlier this year and it's now really strong with a lovely perfume every time you walk by. I've also sown some French Lavender which has a shorter flower bud at the top.

The Climbing French Beans are producing loads of long pods. I'm having to utilize the freezer as I can't keep up with them.

The Sweet Corn is starting to ripen and really benefiting from being in the cage.

This is the Asparagus bed. I'm not quite sure when to cut the growth down. I think when it starts to go brown. After that I'll give it a good mulch of the Horse Manure I got recently.

These are the 100's & 1000's Tomatoes. They're really sweet.

And here's a visitor really enjoying the Oregano in flower.

Here's a recipe for Blackberry & Apple Pie from the Duchess of Edgbaston. It uses all the fruit from the Brambles which are really prolific right now.

  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 9 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • 2 tablespoons (about) ice water

  • 2 pounds tart green apples (such as Bramley), peeled, quartered, cored, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1 1/2 cups blackberries
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plain purpose flour

  • Milk

For crust:
Combine flour and sugar in medium bowl. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until coarse crumbs form. Mix in beaten egg. Mix in enough ice water by tablespoonfuls to form moist clumps. Divide dough in half. Gather dough into 2 balls; flatten into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate until firm enough to roll out, about 30 minutes. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.)

For filling:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix apples, blackberries, 1/3 cup sugar and flour in large bowl.

Roll out 1 dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish.

Spoon filling into crust. Roll out second dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round. Place on top of filling. Fold top crust edge under bottom edge and pinch to seal. Crimp edges decoratively. Brush crust with milk. Sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons sugar. Cut several slits on top of pie.

Bake pie until crust is golden brown and fruit is tender, covering edges of pie with aluminum foil if browning too quickly, about 55 minutes. Cool pie on rack 30 minutes. Serve pie warm with whipped cream.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Allotmenticity - 17-08-09 Aston FM Sod It Grow Your Own

Sorry for the delay in posting Monday's broadcast. I seem to be getting more and more tied up with other chores.

However here we are and another few beautiful days and the produce is fantastic. Over the weekend I picked a large bag of French Beans, the last of the Broad Beans, a massive head of cabbage, Brocolli, and a bucket full of Arran Pilot spuds.

I've got sprouts forming on the stems in the Brassica cage. and the Red Cabbage is almost ready.

It's been a great year for Beans. Can't think I did anything different from last year, although the weather has to have played a major part. I think I'll have a go at Runner Beans next year.
My neighbours Ethel & Cecil gave me a bag of theirs and the taste brought back memories.

My mate "Choff's" folding frame has worked wonders protecting the Sweet Corn. There's quite a few with brown tassles getting bigger every day.

Has anyone else seen the ad on TV for Low-Calorie Water!!!!

Gordon & Sarah Brown have got a couple of raised beds in the garden of No10! Bless!!! Looked after by the Royal Parks Agency! Cos Lettuce for the cafe.

The Obama's have got local school kids to help look after 1,100 sq ft of vegetables in the White House lawn! Only In America!

This weeks recipe is very tasty, I tried it last week. It's good if you've got a few lettuce starting to bolt.


The Captain.

Lettuce Soup

Serves 4-6

8oz Lettuce Leaves
1 Small Onion finely chopped
1 Garlic Clove finely chopped
1oz Butter
3/4pint Chicken Stock
3/4pint Milk
2 Egg Yolks
Salt, Black Pepper
Grated Nutmeg
Creme Fraiche

Wash & blanch lettuce leaves 5 mins in boling water.
Drain & rinse under cold water and roughly chop.
Fry Onion in butter for 5 mins until soft
Add Lettuce saving a few shreds for garnishing.
Add stock and bring to boil.
Season with Salt, Black Pepper and freshly grated Nutmeg.
Allow to cool then liquidize.
Add Milk and reheat gently, simmer for 5 mins.
Beat together egg yolks and creme fraiche.
Spoon a little of the hot but NOT boiling liquid into mixture and blend well
Pour back into soup and simmer gently until soup thickens.
Just before serving add reserved lettuce shreds.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Allotmenticity - 03-08-09 Aston FM Sod It Grow Your Own

Gary forgot to press record this morning!!!

"The answer lies in the soil!"

It's annoying that these guys can be so destructive! What an amazing design.

Not a lot to report on this week as I've been suffering from the various symptoms of the dreaded S word!

I did manage to get down over the weekend though and harvest a wonderful selection of fresh goodies.

I used them with this weeks recipe. The Broad Beans are plentiful and were great with the Beef. I didn't have any Chard so substituted Spinach, but I'm going out today to buy some Swiss Chard seed.

Made a Cauliflower Cheese and steamed Brocolli, French Beans, baby Carrots and the Kestrel Potatoes which are new to me this year but very tasty.

Well worth a try, it's from an Egyptian recipe I saw recently on TV.


The Captain

Broad Beans with Beef & Chard

For 4.

2 Beef steaks (Sirloin for preference)
2 good cups of shelled Broad Beans,
Bunch each of fresh Coriander & Dill
Heaped teaspoon of Ground Coriander
Large bunch of Chard or Spinach.
1 medium Onion
6 cloves of Garlic.
Olive Oil.
Salt & Pepper


Cut the Beef into 1" cubes, rub with Ground Coriander salt & pepper and brown in the Olive Oil.
Add the chopped fresh herbs and fry for 5 mins
Add the Broad Beans and cover with water.
Bring to the boil and then reduce heat to simmer and cook until Beef is very tender. 30 mins at least.
Crush Garlic Cloves and add to chopped Chard/Spinach.
Mash together in a Pestle & Mortar and add to the Beef mixture.
Add more liquid if necessary.
Cook for further 10 mins.

The original recipe added rice to the mixture, but I served the stew with a mix of fresh seasonal veg; Potatoes, Brocolli, Carrots, Courgette.