Happy New Year! It is the beginning of January and the fruits and vegetables magazines are already being sent to us through the post. Glen and I are excitedly looking forward to spring and of course planting.
I must admit I have not been to the allotment in a long time, so I decided to go today. It was raining and cold of course, but nothing could have stopped me from going there today. The images above are what the allotment space looks like at present. Ok, I would say it is not brimming with colour, but I was able to reap kale, brussel sprouts and what I am most proud about, carrots. I must admit that I have neglected the carrots, but as you can see I was still able to reap some. These were planted in September; a beautiful surprise today.
The winter cabbages are doing well, apparently they would be fully grown in February, not convinced about that, but will wait and see.
It is truly amazing how hardy and sturdy kale is, maybe this is due to the rough texture of the leaves. They are as pretty now as in the summer.
The brussel sprouts are still there, hanging in there. It would be interesting to see how they survive winter.
All in all, 2017 has been a good year on the allotment. We had some successes- kale, my ever reliable beetroot, carrot, cabbage, courgettes and onions. I cannot forget basil, lettuce, dill and thyme. I am definitely planning to expand on the herb varieties this year.
The not so great- tomatoes, parsnips, butternut squash and chili peppers.
Absolute disasters, ochroes, aubergine, celery, bodi and sweet corn from Trinidad.
I absolutely cannot blame nature in any respect for our disasters, all solely down to us.
Let us see what this year brings!
I know that I have been away for a long time, but I am now back. We have been going to the allotment at times; one cannot keep away. As you can see, I am introducing you to two little puppy friends which I bought. I am not exactly sure where to put them as yet, but they are so cute. They were made by someone from the allotment. I just could not leave them on the shelf.
Glen has been digging away, turning up the soil and preparing for this year's crop. Here he is using a kicker digger, it is somewhat heavy to lift, but quite effective in turning the soil over.
I wanted to show you this huge corn root, left over from the corn that we planted last year. This was from the corn seeds we got last year from Trinidad. We did not reap one corn from this, so of course would not be planting this again.
Of course, subtle signs of spring, as in this yellow flower that was on the edge of our plot; truly beautiful.
The process of potato planting, starts with the chitting process. This basically means that the potatoes are left in a cool place, with light so buds start to grow. The strongest growth is kept, then the potato is put in the ground with the growth turned upwards.
I have been in the mood to experiment with making different types of bread lately, using food from the allotment of course. This time I have used butternut squash and kale. Kale is an earthy tasting green leafy plant that simply gives me energy. I tried making kale bread on its own, as below, but the family was not too keen, but I enjoyed it. This time, I am teaming it up with butternut squash, absolutely delicious.
I then went on to try butternut squash seeded bread, certainly another great tasting bread. I am really not sure what I shall try again, but I will let you know. And of course, butternut squash on its own, It certainly gives the bread a slight sweet taste that keeps you hungering for more.
The best way to enjoy any of these homemade bread is with a cup of hot Trinidad and Tobago, home grown and made chocolate tea as Tobagonians say or cocoa tea as Trinidadians would say. Either way, it takes you back to a good place in your childhood.
I know what you are thinking! What on earth is this? Is this edible? Yes, it is edible. It is kale bread, which I have never tried before. My niece told me she bought this bread in Trinidad, so I decided to try making it myself. All I did was blend the kale with water and add it to the bread as if I were making butternut squash bread. I must say though, the colour of the dough was indeed beautiful.
The taste, well, earthy is how I would describe it. Glen said it tasted like grass. I will definitely try it again but maybe this time with another addition of another vegetable, not sure which as yet.
This year I shall definitely be experimenting more with the produce from the allotment, I am really excited about that.
Although spring is not totally here yet, we decided to put these peas in the ground. So very excited! I thought I would tell you how we did it. Glen dug up the soil and took up any weeds and stones he saw. He then added general compost. Then out came the string, as in the first image, to ensure a straight line is achieved. Glen is obsessed with straight lines!
A hole of 5cms deep x 15cms wide is dug, then the peas are placed in a zig zag fashion. I suppose the growth would be more dense; this means more peas! The peas are then covered with dirt. It should take about 2 weeks for us to see growth.
Sometimes I do laugh, we received the keys to the allotment not yet two years, but our journey of learning, discovery, enjoyment seem never ending. The reason I am reflecting here is due to the new skills I am learning. I have never pickled anything before, but as usual, we were encouraged to try this by our allotment friends. Here I am trying the pickling of onions, cucumber and red cabbage. Well, Glen pickled the onions and I did the other two. My favourite is cucumber, surprisingly, it has remained very crunchy. I have added to the vinegar, dill and sugar. I will definitely be trying this again, but would experiment some more with adding different herbs and spices.
There are times when I could substitute rice for something else, that something else is often couscous. So easy to make, all is required of me is to add boiling water. I have experimented with the amount of water needed to make it to the consistency I like, this is, one cup of couscous to three quarter cup of water. This ratio leaves a crunch that I enjoy.
In this recipe above I softened garden peas and carrots in oil then added herbs and tomato ketchup. To be honest, I was not sure whether the family would like it, but they did. I am really on a quest this year to grow more herbs and of course experiment with them in various dishes.