Wednesday, 25 July 2007

From Plot to Plate

I've now picked our first two courgettes and made one of my favourite receipes with them. It's a very quick and easy receipe so I thought I'd share it. It only takes about 20 minutes to cook and it's delicious.

Cook tagliatelle in pan for approx 5 mins until 'al dente'

Peel thin strips of courgette with peeler and saute in pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Add 1 clove of crushed garlic, a handful of basil (fresh if available), 1 chopped chilli, juice and zest of 1 lemon, and a generous splash of white wine. Cook for a few minutes until courgettes and chillies are slightly softened. Add 5 tblsp of single cream and heat through.

Strain tagliatelle and place courgette mixture on top, served with parmesian cheese. Enjoy.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Guest Appearance

On Wednesday last week I took my first "guest" to the allotment and she absolutely loved it. She couldn't get over how much we had cultivated and planted. We spent a very happy two hours there talking (of course) while we were working. She kindly weeded amongst the onions (a big job I might add as there are quite a few rows). As "payment" for all her hard work she took home a bag of potatoes and some beans for her family. She loved it so much that she said she wanted to come back again because she wanted to finish off weeding in between the onions - I think it's because she has fallen in love with the place.

While she was weeding I continued shearing and raking the grass in preparation for laying some more of the paving slabs and last week I was almost halfway along the path. I think that there will just be enough to finish off the path which divides us from the plot above.

This week my "guest" did come back to the allotment (it was her last chance before going on holiday) and she finished off weeding in between the rows of onions while I carried on laying slabs on the path before the grass grows too long again (one or two more visits and the path should be completed).

Each time I visit the allotment now there is plenty of harvesting to be done (so exciting) - potatoes are in abundance and it's great fun to dig up a plant and then discover how many potatoes are there. To see the delight on the childrens faces was wonderful when we were digging up and counting how many potatoes were on each plant, and others around us were caught up in our enthusiasm. I have shown the children how to pick the French beans and they count how many they pick each time. Some of the courgettes are almost ready so I shall pick them next time I go as I don't want them to get too big.

Monday, 9 July 2007

First Fruits

Last Wednesday was a very exciting day at the allotment because it was the first time that anything was harvested. I dug up 2 potato plants "Charlotte" and was amazed to see how many potatoes were hanging off one plant. When I brought them home I weighed them and saw that I had harvested 5.5lbs. They smelt beautifully earthy and were a fair size too. That evening I made a potato salad and drizzled some butter over them. Perfect. They don't take as long to cook as shop bought ones, and there is no comparison for taste.

On Monday I picked some French beans and they tasted delicious raw straight from the plant. Lightly steamed for a few minutes is all they needed.

Although all the digging and watering was hard work, you seem to forget about it when you see your labours on a plate and there is a great sense of achivement when you realise "I grew this from seed".

On a more serious note - there is potato blight at the allotment site so we have had to spray the potatoes and tomatoes. Some of our potatoes have been affected, but hopefully we have caught most of them in time.

I now need to look at my cookery books and check out some new receipes.