Ok, so I have been busy cooking and baking as you can see. The beetroot cake, which I absolutely adore has chocolate in the darker cake and just beetroot in the lighter cake. My preference is for the cake with the chocolate, so much richer and tastier, I think. So difficult to resist!
I have been playing around with making tomato sauces again. In this instance, I used cherry tomatoes, very tasty indeed. It is great experimenting with tomatoes.
Glen mentioned a friend of his made courgette soup, initially I though no but then decided to try it. I must say it was delicious with crunchy bread.
Runner bean flowers Tomatoes Squash Cabbage
Vegetable rice Kuchela Chunky Beetroot and Potato salad
This time of year the garden patch is in full swing, it is a truly wonderful place to be. All the hard work, planning, sowing of seeds, transplanting and nurturing is finally paying off. We are truly reaping the benefits. I love mixed vegetables in rice, I eat this every week. I wanted to be able to grow these vegetables in the allotment this year. Guess what?!! We have been able to do this! Growing vegetables is so easy, one of the striking things I have noticed about planting.
By the way, the rice was delicious. I sauteed onions, carrots, courgettes, runner beans and tomatoes in oil. Boiled rice was then added with tomato ketchup and soy sauce. Dill and thyme was then added. Such a delicious rice. Mission accomplished for me this year.
As you can see, the squash and cabbages are growing well.
Glen and I have been so fortunate with the help, advice, guidance and of course fruits and vegetables we get from our allotment neighbours. Steve is one of them and these are his garlic. I have never seen garlic as large as these before. I of course asked to take a photo, he could not understand why. I think they look so beautiful, thanks Steve!
Then we have Glen's peppers. Glen of course plants almost everything there in the garden patch, however, he likes hot peppers. He planted these, and they are hot, hot, hot. Sorry Glen, too hot for me to enjoy.
I decided to try growing herbs and lettuce this year; here are my results. I shall definitely be trying this again next year. You can try it too, so easy to grow, so satisfying to know that you grew it all from seeds.
Glen has really experimented with a large variety of vegetables this year. While, I have tried with herbs - basil, thyme and dill. Next year I shall add to this variety, which I have not yet thought about. I have really enjoyed planting these, to an extent where I have overdone it sometimes, well most times. The challenge of restraint, is due to the ease at which it is to sow seeds. The vegetable display above, show some of the results we have achieved this year, well, except for the cauliflower and the tomatoes, they were given to us by one of our allotment neighbours. I must remember to show you in another post, what did well this year and what did not.
I suppose you are wondering why there is a display of egg and salmon in this section of this website. Well, the eggs were given to us by one of our allotment friends. One is allowed to rear chickens after a year on the site. I suppose to ensure that one is serious about their commitment. We are thinking about this as well, but it involves going to the allotment on a daily basis. We'll wait and see! Forgot to mention that the eggs with salmon, onion and pepper was truly delicious. The taste took me back to growing up on the farm in the Caribbean. I certainly took for granted those truly organic free range eggs. The only thing missing was a slice of homemade bread!
I made cabbage rice with the purple cabbage. As you can see, I cook rice all the time, most Caribbean homes do. I simply fried onions in vegetable oil, then added the cabbage. Once they became tender I added the cooked rice, then simply stirred in soy sauce. Do give it a go, you would enjoy it as well. My lovely beetroot are finally here. The seeds were sowed and then transplanted. I shall not be doing that next year. The seeds can be sowed straight into the ground at the allotment. I was very fearful when I transplanted them into the ground, I thought they were going to die as they flopped over for about a week. Roasting beetroot brings out the sweet taste in them. I simply peeled and poured a little olive oil and salt on them. They were then placed in the oven and left to roast for about 40 mins, so sweet.
Glen and I are really enjoying planting, we are encouraging you to come on this journey with us and plant as well. Feel free to start with something small, maybe a herb. Let me know how you are doing.
French beans- delicate, tasty and crunchy. These were given to us by one of our allotment friends. I fried it in a little olive oil with carrots, cabbage, onions, thyme and basil. Another bean to try planting next year. One of the benefits of having neighbours on the allotment is they advise us on what to plant when;we are so fortunate.
This huge, round and to me, unusual vegetable is a courgette. I had to ask what it was, so sad, but true. The education continues.
What impresses me about growing vegetables is the large variety of colours. Glen reaped these tomatoes and placed them on an old wheelbarrow. Such beautiful variations of greens into yellow and then red, simply stunning, not forgetting the different shapes as well. The fun and prettiness of it all.
I have never used dill before planting these. The strength of smell is certainly strong. Planting is such fun. Finally, brussel sprouts, Glen was given five plants by a veteran member of our allotment. I obviously have never seen the plants before. You can see in the image small growth of the brussel sprouts. This of course should be for the Christmas dinner table. We shall watch and wait.
French beans mixed vegetables Courgette
We reaped beetroot over the weekend. I absolutely adore the taste of this sweet vegetable. In both the rice and potato dishes here, Kuchela which is an Indian relish from Trinidad was used to intensify the taste with some spicy heat. Kuchela is made from green mango with added spices. This one is hot, hot, hot.
Tomato Corn Plants Corn Tassels
Butternut Squash Flower Watercress Chili Pepper
One of the benefits of being part of an allotment community, is the sharing of fruits and vegetables. We were given cauliflower plants and sadly they did not do too well. In all honesty, Glen and I were unaware of having to tie them up, when they grew to a certain stage; a lesson learnt for next year. This fluffy cauliflower was given to us, so pretty. It is not a vegetable I have cooked before, but what I have learnt growing vegetables, is they taste incredibly different from those bought from the supermarket, so I now keep an open mind. The tomatoes and grapes were also given to us. These tomatoes are so sweet, they have now become a pick and go snack.
Carrot/Tomatoes Runner beans Onions, Courgettes, Dill, Thyme Mixed Vegetable Rice
Click on images to expand
Here am I posting two days in a row. I wanted to show you this blue/purple tomato which I saw for the first time in my life last year on the allotment. I was given some seeds and kept them over the winter in a little bottle, then sowed them out over the spring and they have grown really well. Sadly though most of the tomatoes have been affect by blight this year. Thankfully, we were able to salvage some. I did not think they would have grown, but there you go, I shall save some seeds and re-plant next year.
There is an ongoing story with the corn that you see here. Glen obtained some seeds of Pioneer sweetcorn from the Caribbean. They usually take about three months to produce corn there. Well, the seeds were sowed about May, and here we are at the last day in August and we are still waiting. The plants are about eight feet tall, I must admit they do look pretty. Finally, after months of waiting, tassels appeared and we could also see signs of corn. Incidentally, we have reaped about three fully grown corn from the seeds bought here in England. The long and short of it is, I suppose the weather conditions here are not suitable for this corn. An experiment no doubt. Would we plant this again next year? The simple answer is no. Everyone around us is reaping corn, but it is what it is. Glen of course has been laughed at by our allotment neighbours. It is truly very funny, he was so confident for a fast growth. I shall certainly keep you informed as to what happens.
I have planted for the first time watercress. The problem is I have not eaten any of it yet, I have just been admiring it; too pretty to eat at present.
This yellow chili pepper was hiding until Glen moved some leaves and there it was. The only one so far that has turned yellow.
It is almost September and soon this season would be over and it would be time to prepare the land again for next year. I am excited to show you what is still there in the Garden Patch. The gently yellow of this tomato caught my eye, I simply had to put it on display, what do you think?
Tasty runner beans, why not show you what the beans inside look like inside the pods, such pretty variations.
I must say I have tried hard with carrots this year. These above are the first straight and straightish ones I have reaped. I have sowed some directly into the ground and transplanted some as well, as these above. The better result is sowing them straight into the ground. I have reaped some rather interesting shapes which I shall show you some other time. The taste of the carrots of course are different, they are incredible crunchy, fresh tasting and look more robust than carrots bought from the supermarket.
This purple cabbage is the result of a plant given to Glen by an allotment neighbour, this is the result.
Glen tried celery for the first time as well, so far they are growing well, cannot wait to taste them.
I do hope you enjoy seeing what we have been doing in the Garden Patch, well mostly Glen. It remains such a joy, I do hope we have inspired you to try planting for yourself.
Apple Crumble and Custard, one of my favourite desserts. Why is it in the Garden Patch? Well, one of our allotmenent neighbours has an apple tree and gave a few to us . This is easy to make and very tasty as well. It certainly warms the tummy.
Apple Cooked apple with spices of cinnamon, nutmeg/vanilla Finished crumble with custard
Last year I tried making tomato sauce for the first time. This year I decided to make it again. I blended the tomatoes in the blender then added dill, basil, thyme, sugar, lime juice and vinegar. Definitely worth the effort. What do you think about the coriander flowers? This is the first time seeing coriander flowers. To be honest the thought of coriander flowering never crossed my mind. What I do know is I like using the leaves. Glen and I saw this sea of white flowers with hundreds of bees buzzing around these delicate flowers. I asked ,of course, to take a photo and here it is. There was such a strong scent lifting from the flowers. Maybe next time I shall be able to take a closer photo, interesting. My special watercress plant.