Monthly Archives: September 2013

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Cucamelon pickling

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I picked a tub of my cucamelon’s and pickled them today. After soaking them for 24 hrs in salt water. I threw them into a jar with pickling vinegar, garlic, dill seeds and a few bay leaves for extra flavour.

I’m going to leave them in the fridge, that’s why the jar looks cloudy, I keep a cold fridge! Cannot wait to try them. Should be ready in a couple of weeks, I’m just letting the flavours infuse..

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What a treat from my Mum

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My Mum came over on Sunday afternoon, she’s a proper Mum, she bakes and knits and is just a wonderful person. And along with a huge lemon cream cake, she gave me 3 little pots of Cyclamen.

What enchanting little plants they are! A far cry from their common name of ‘sow bread’, because they are said to be eaten by pigs. I think they are far to pretty to be scoffed up by snuffly pigs!

Now is the time of year they are flowering and no doubt you will be seduced into buying a few, which I don’t blame you for. They keep flowering for ages, which will be a welcome break since many of our garden flowers are beginning to go over and fade.

Don’t forget Cyclamen prefer a cool spot out of direct sunlight and another little tip, if you buy a Florist Cyclamen you should plant in Autumn, not midwinter. Reduce watering as the flowers fade then place the pot on its side and keep dry until midsummer them repot using fresh compost burying the Tuber so the top is just visible above the surface of the soil- don’t over water, keep it just moist until the shoots appear again.

I’m sure you knew that, but it’s good to get a little reminder isn’t it?

Happy gardening x

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Rambling English Rose

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Being the typical British gardener, we love to have some roses dotted about. In my back garden I have rambling roses all down the side of my fence. White ones and red ones. Don’t ask me what they are as unfortunately I do not have a clue. They also clamber up into the nearby willow tree and effect looks beautiful.

The white ones smell amazing in summer and fills the air with a scent which comes straight from heaven. The red one blooms quite late in the year and even though doesn’t smell, is terribly pretty. The colour is the only reason I keep it. Roses with no smell really disappoint me. It like opening your present on Christmas Day to find the fabulously wrapped gift was in fact an empty box. (If that makes sense.) but hey, I like the colour of the box!

I love bringing my flowers into the house, and fill as many vases, pint pots and jars as I can! But getting a rambling rose to do anything useful in a vase seems to be almost impossible.

Then an idea… A small ball of Florists Oasis, a stick, one small pot and modelling clay and a small collection of rambling rose buds and some leaves. I think you can guess how it’s all put together, don’t forget to soak the Oasis so it’s wet!

And there you have it, only took me 10 minutes and now I can enjoy my rambling roses in my house!

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A curious little plant – Electric Daisy

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Acmella oleracea is part of the daisy family, normally daisies are cute little flowers, innocent souls, but this plant is quite quite different.

Another name for it is the ‘The toothache plant’, it comes from Brazil and has brought me so much fun. Basically nip the large buds off and chew it. First of all it’s very sweet like sucking a lemon, then next minute your whole mouth goes numb and tingles it’s amazing!

I’d say it’s like eating a chilli, but it’s completely different, like nothing you will of felt before. This naturally has caused me to become something of a trickster. Peoples reactions to it have been astoundingly funny. My 6 year old daughter ran around the allotment saying her mouth was on fire, my Dad said his mouth was a slobbering mess and my friends in work were screaming in terror and thinking they were about to die! Then after 15 mins of a numb tingling mouth it disappears…

The only draw back to these amazing tricky little plants is the slugs love eating their leaves and if left unguarded they will strip them in a night. But if you can keep them in a warm little spot protected from evil slugs you will have such a laugh at your next BBQ.

Get some next season for high jinx and if your sensible for tooth ache and sore gums.

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The big crop of Runner Beans.

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The wind is extremely strong here in the North West of England, so inbetween the heavy rainfalls I dashed out to grab a basket of Runner Beans to freeze for the winter and of course – Christmas dinner!

I hate the strong winds we get towards Autumn and winter, it makes me panic. There is nothing worse than when your bean poles get uprooted and blown over. It’s heart breaking as harvesting them becomes a total nightmare.

So I picked as many as I could and just made it home in time before the rain started again.

I highly recommend St George Runner Beans, they have been the most tasty I have ever grown. My daughter even asks for them for dinner! Maybe the fact that I give my daughter the basket and tell her to pick her own adds to the appeal too.

They have been completely trouble free, have pretty red flowers and clamber as high as they can. Plus unlike Runners I have grown in the past, they don’t seem to be as stringy. I give them 10/10. Get some next season!

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Sweet & Spicy Tomato Chutney

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The tomato jungle is beginning to take over the Poly tunnel. So it’s time to take action and get making chutney.

I’m not an expert at cooking but I will have a go and wow it’s good! It’s not as spicy hot as I wanted but at least my 6 year old daughter will eat it. To be honest she will eat spicy food but I didn’t want to go crazy. You may want to add extra chilli sauce to give it an extra kick, or even better actual chilli’s.

What I used

A collider of Tomatoes halved or quartered depending on size
2 large onions roughly chopped
1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 teaspoons of whole grain mustard
2 table spoons of smoky Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons of hot chilli sauce.
200ml of white balsamic vinegar

And you lob it all in a big pan, bring to the boil while the sugar dissolves then put it onto a gentle rolling boil to reduce, about 45 minutes.

Then put it onto clean jars, and store in a cool cupboard or the fridge.

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This needs to happen more!

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I spotted this while I was away on my holidays in the Lake District. How wonderful!

Shame more places don’t do this. Get super fresh veg and flowers and custom too.

I loved it so much I just wanted to share with you. What a great idea, thumbs up!