Friday, 31 August 2012

Good news and bad

First the bad news. Thieves targeted our allotment site last weekend and our shed was one of the ones broken into. It seems the thieves were armed with metal cutters and sliced straight through the padlock on the door. Fortunately, no damage was done to the shed and nothing was taken, mainly because there was nothing of any value in it. Others were not so lucky and had valuable tools such as rotavators stolen. Sadly, there is always someone who will spoil the fun.


The second bit of bad news is that the bean covered archway collapsed under the weight of its bounty! Mr digandweed did point out back in May, as I optimistically planted seedlings at the base of the archway, that he thought it would not be strong enough and he was proved right! However, I was able to gather most of the beans before consigning it to the scrapheap and compost bin.



Mr digandweed doing what he does best!!

But the GOOD news is that we have a lot of different veg to harvest; sunny yellow courgettes, french beans growing strong up their wigwam, onions, garlic, potatoes and on the squash plants, the baby butternuts continue to swell.


Last night I made frittata for supper using potato, onion courgettes, beans and red pepper. Six eggs made enough for two generous portions. All the vegetables (with the exception of the beans which I cooked until tender and then plunged into cold water) were roasted in the oven  before cooking with the eggs.  






Saturday, 25 August 2012

The Fens

Mr digandweed is native to these parts, but I am a girl from the west country. I was born not far from the Welsh border and grew up in Bristol. I took hills and mountains for granted until I moved to the fens over thirty years ago and found that someone had bulldozed all the lumps and bumps flat.

To some people the fens are flat and dreary, but all places have their own beauty and there is a unique charm to this watery and peaceful area, criss-crossed as it is by rivers, lakes and dykes. A landscape moulded as much by man's hand, as a result of the drainage in the 17th century, as it is by nature.


Fenland's beauty is all to do with vast openness. In places you can literally see for miles - views uncluttered by hill or tree or hedge.


Hear the call of the curlew or listen to the drumming of a snipe on a summer's evening or see a ghost-like barn owl as it glides silently by at dusk.


But it is in its skyscapes that the Fen's real beauty is exhibited. A vast and ever changing canopy stretches above and to the distance which at times can be stunningly beautiful.


 
 






These photos were all taken by mr digandweed on his iphone within a few miles from here.

Friday, 17 August 2012

One of my most favourite things to do .....

is make jam . It always amazes me that you can take simple ingredients such as sugar and fruit  and boil together to make a fragrant, glossy, delicious preserve. It's all to do with chemistry, which at school was never that interesting. All I can remember from my classroom lessons are a few useless facts learnt by rote, but the chemistry invoved in jam making is a different matter! The naturally occuring acid in the fruit draws out the pectin, which is mostly found in the pith, pips and skin and when combined with sugar produces a gum like substance which causes the jam to set. Mysterious and wonderful!!

With our rhubarb plant, only in its second year, producing copious amounts of fruit I thought it was a good time to make some rhubarb and ginger jam.

The recipe came from this book, a Christmas present from my sister last year.




The rhubarb was layered with sugar and left overnight.



In the morning the sugar had more or less dissolved.

I added the ginger .... and boiled for the required time.





Hey presto!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Beans

The beans, and in particular the runner beans, are growing thick and fast at the moment, hanging like green tassles from their archway. After several meals incorporating lightly steamed beans and some more tucked away in the freezer, I decided to do this with them.




Not sure what to call it. Bean stew sounds a bit mundane, so how about tomato and bean ragu?! This is what I did:


The beans were washed and sliced thinly. Then I sauted 1 onion and some garlic in olive oil until golden and added 1 heaped tsp coriander seeds, which I ground


followed by 1 tin of tomatoes, a glug of apple balsamic vinegar, a small amount of water and 1 heaped tblsp of tomato puree and salt and pepper.
After simmering for 5-10 mins, I added the beans and cooked til tender. Then checked the seasoning adding a little more oil and vinegar and sprinkling with chopped herbs.
It was good with some chargrilled courgettes and a hunk of bread.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The LimPicks....

We have bunting to celebrate.



I am not usually that interested in sport but over the last 12 days, I have become enthralled with all the effort and endeavour. The enthusiasm of the sportspeople is infectious and it also helps that mr digandweed is himself keen on running and has been limbering up in case a last minute replacement is needed for Mo Farrow.

What is so refreshing is that the medal winners seem such 'normal' people, despite their superhuman achievements.
London looks wonderful too as we see cyclists and runners whizzing past on the television and even the weather is behaving itself. For a few days, bad news has been suspended and the best side of human nature celebrated.

We screamed together as a family on Super Saturday as we watched Jessica EnnisGreg Rutherford and Mo Farrow win their gold medals ......

and today dancing-girl and mr lovesclassiccars are off to London to see the athletics tonight. I reminded them to wave so we can see them in the crowd on the telly!!






Postcript


 Photograph: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

 

Can you see them ?

           - dancing-girl and mr lovesclassiccars

                   - back row, far right ??


Monday, 6 August 2012

August update

After the disaster that was the accidental melon, the butternut squash seems to be doing well.

This one is growing in a raised bed.



Baby butternuts! A long way to go, but looking good.



I lifted the onions. I read somewhere that they should dry and bake in the sun before storing, but think the chances of that are remote!


An archway ( a reject from dancing-girl and mr classiccars) looking pretty covered with runner beans.