Monthly Archives: August 2013

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I have guests for dinner, quick do a salad

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I rushed out to the allotment grabbed a few leaves, tomatoes, nasturtium flowers and a cucumber…

Then got carried away making a pattern, what’s that about? I almost don’t want to serve it now!

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Home made pasta sauce

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I had a bowl of tomatoes from the allotment so I thought I would whip up a pasta sauce for a quick and easy dinner next week. Plus I have a few onions which had lost their long leaves so would be hard to plait together, so time to get busy.

What a joy, I love making my own tomato sauce, it tastes so fresh and smells like Italy in a jar. Sweet over ripe tomatoes and home grown basil, bay leaves and wonderful onions and garlic… Bliss! and apart from some salt and pepper thats all thats in it.

The crazy thing is the jar is from a shop bought tomato sauce, I think cost me £2. Which was ok I suppose, I cannot help but think you only really pay for the jar and the food miles on it. In my sauce there are no colours or preservatives, no added sugar, no chemicals you cannot pronounce and probably quadruple the amount of actual tomatoes and it has only travelled 10 meters from where it was organically grown.

Nothing more comforting than a bowl of pasta with an actual real honest tomato sauce.

Recipe

A big bowl of tomatoes
A hand full of fresh basil
4 small to medium onions chopped roughly
2 cloves of garlic chopped
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to your taste

Blanch tomatoes in boiling water for 1 minute to help remove skins. Throw the skinless tomatoes in a pan to reduce down, gently fry onions until they are golden and see through. Add garlic towards the end so it doesn’t go bitter.

Add onions to tomato pan with two bay leaves and gently simmer for 20 minutes add basil and either serve or fill a jar and when cooled put into the fridge. I find it will last for a week, mainly because I want to eat it, or when it’s completely cool you could pour into a freezer bag for freezing.

I don’t go in for complicated cooking keep it easy that’s what I say!

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Deep sleep

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So last weekend I made some different things with herbs that I had grown, including a lavender wand and some lavender sachets.

Well I am reporting back. I over slept one morning this week such was my deep sleep (I slept through 3 alarms) I am putting it down to the lavender sachet under my pillow! I usually wake up if I hear a phone vibrate down stairs, I am a very light sleeper.

And so far no pesky moths or naughty spiders in my down stairs loo thanks the the insect repellant sachets which are hanging next the to window.

So an overall success I’d say, well apart from being a tiny little bit late for work one morning!

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Echeveria houseplant

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Some thing quite fascinating about succulents. I bought an Echeveria last year mainly because it was the last one in the shop and was looking lonely. This happens to me a lot!

It was getting pretty leggy as I don’t think he was happy on that particular window ledge. I decided to take a few leaves to get some new plants.

They say to lie them flat across some soil and they will take root easily. I wasn’t too sure about that and did 50% flat the other half stuck into the soil.

Not one of those lying flat rooted, however, the ones that I put into the soil all took!

The reason for this post is, sometimes when your gardening it’s good to find another way of doing things. Can you imagine if this was your first time trying to propagate these plants? You would of been all disheartened and maybe of given up, thinking to yourself you don’t have green fingers.

Yes read books, listen to advice but free style a bit too, experiment! It’s all a bit of fun and you can maybe do something your way too of discover a whole new approach.

Another reason for this post was the picture, I love how the water has collected amongst the leaves. It looks like quick silver!

Happy gardening x

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Quick tomato dressing

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Back to work today, it’s not too bad as I do love my job. I’m blessed to work with the best people in the world and have a fun time. However, I forgot just how hard the 4am alarm call is.

So I was shattered this afternoon, quick easy dinner tonight I thought.

So Sirloin steak with steamed new potatoes and French and Runner beans in a tomato dressing.

6 large tomatoes cut up in a pan
Salt and pepper
Italian herbs
Teaspoon of sugar
One clove of garlic

Boil it up let it reduce a bit, then add your beans which have been lightly boiled. Ta dar! I would of fried some little onions and added those too, but like I said easy dinner tonight!

It’s so handy having all this on hand to eat! Got to love having an allotment!

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Herb sachets, wands and other things

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Ooh the smell in my house right now is heavenly. Lavender and chocolate mint fills the air, like when you go into one of those lovely perfume shops except this has that beautiful natural gentleness about it.

So the aim was to make a couple of different herb sachets for different purposes.

I love sewing its a great way to relax, I do have a sewing machine but I only tend to use it when making clothes. But pouches and small things are more fun by hand.

Lavender wand
The Victorians made these to hang in their wardrobes basically you use long lavender stalks tied and folded into its self so the tiny pieces of lavender as it dries doesn’t fall out.

Herb pot
I decided to use some insect repellent herbs to keep the moths and spiders away. So it has Lavender, Tansy, Mugwort, Cotton Lavender and Peppermint.

Lavender Sugar
Layers of sugar and fresh lavender piled on top of each other, should be ready in a couple of weeks. Just perfect for cooking and afternoon tea.

The Herb Sachets – I did two of each one.
So there’s a sleepy relaxing one filled with loads of Lavender.
A stimulating one, to wake you up perfect for hanging in the car filed with Lemon Balm, Mint and Dill.
Insect repellent one, with Tansy, Mugwort, Peppermint, Hyssop and Cotton Lavender.
Relaxation bag with Lavender and Rosemary
And one that just smells great with sacks of Lavender, Lemon Balm, Chocolate Mint, Rosemary and Dill.

It was loads of fun, drying them slowly in the oven, bashing them in a pestle and mortar and bagging them up. All organically grown, freshly harvested and brimming with aromatic scents, just lovely!

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Quick herb harvest

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It’s all go in allotments and gardens around the world as we start to harvest our goodies for the winter.

Today I’m bringing in some already dried herbs from my potting shed along with some Tansy, Lavender, Mugwort and various other wonderful smelling herbs.

The plan is to make some herb bags and things to sniff through the dark gloomy winter.