Sunday, 19 June 2016


We've had prolonged and torrential downpours this week.
Not quite what is hoped for in June, but it does mean there has been no need to do any watering!
As a result, the garden and lottie are looking lush.

Pink Marguerite Daisy ....

...and a beautiful rose, a little battered from the storms but still looking good.

On the allotment, we have self seeded Sweet Williams; they have sprung up mainly in the gravel paths between the raised beds. 
I love the pretty sugar candy colours and they make a great cut flower, lasting for ages in a little pot or vase on the table.

And it's that magical time when the first home-grown strawberries start to ripen.
Just a mere handful when I went down to the allotment yesterday, but hopefully a lot more to come.

There may not have been any need to do watering, but there are always plenty of other gardening tasks to be done.
I did not realise until I started growing raspberries a couple of years ago that they are very rampant. Despite being cut down to ground level earlier this year, the Autumn Bliss canes were fast turning into a thicket that even Sleeping Beauty's prince would have found daunting.
So armed with secateurs, I set to,cutting out the thinner, weaker canes.
Eventually, the thicket was tamed, but at the expense of my arms which are covered in scratches!
I'm hoping ,come the late summer, there will be a bumper crop.

The raspberries in the photo above are bought ones. I used them in a recipe from Jamie Oliver's book Everyday Super Food called Pretty Fruit Pots. The recipe uses highly fashionable, chia seeds which are purported to have many health benefits. The seeds absorb many times their own weight in liquid and mixed with coconut milk, banana and vanilla essence (as in this recipe), they thicken up and produce a spoonable mixture which can be topped with fruit of your choice.

I have also been experimenting with flavoured water in an attempt to drink more. Water is good for us and I have always been notoriously bad at drinking enough liquid.
I was attracted to this idea from the same book as it used grated fresh ginger and anything with ginger has to be good!
With lime and pomegranate seeds, it made a refreshing change, but I think next time I will up the quantity of ginger and omit the expensive pomegranate which didn't really add much to the overall flavour.

A jug of this would be nice to keep in the fridge though, for hot days, when we eventually get some better weather!
Wishing you a good week ahead, come rain or shine.

annjenny x

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Here, there .... and happy birthday Ma'am

The long, light evenings we have been enjoying afford the opportunity for some evening strolls and here in the watery fens, we are never far from a river or dyke.

The fens lack the grandeur of valleys and hills, but there is beauty to be found in wide open skies and peaceful waterways.

 There is also beauty aplenty in the profusion of flowers bursting forth at the moment. 
I spotted this dahlia at the local garden centre.
 For a while it seemed that dahlias were out of favour but they appear to be making a comeback
and though I usually prefer the single variety, this little lovely caught my eye and I just had to bring it home with me!

And at last, a first harvest from the lottie. 
Just a few Swiss chard leaves, but it's a start!

With some mint, they found a place in a simple salad.

Inspired by a recipe from House Beautiful magazine, this salad combined lightly cooked peas and mangetout in a dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar and lots of chopped mint, with salad leaves ( the aforementioned Swiss chard plus radicchio ) ...

...and topped with toasted pine nuts and dollops of creamy ricotta cheese.

Finally, this weekend marks the Queen's official birthday. Events and tributes will be taking place across the country.
Whatever your views on the British monarchy, I don't think anyone can deny the fact that The Queen has been tireless in her devotion to duty and at the age of 90 is a quite remarkable woman.
So here is my own little tribute!

That most British of cakes - a little Victoria sponge and some mini Union Jack bunting.

Happy 90th Birthday Ma'am.

Mr digandweed and I are off to visit some open gardens tomorrow and listen to a concert band on the market place of our little town.

Hoping you have good plans too.
Happy weekend everyone.

annjenny x

Saturday, 4 June 2016


'What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade' 
Gertrude Jekyll

It's been a cold and very wet start to June in this corner of the world, but despite everything the lottie is looking good. Fresh, green growth abounds but still not a lot to harvest. It may be my imagination but everything seems late this year.

But there is promise of things to come; I noticed an abundance of tiny fruit on the apple tree, plenty of gooseberries and blackcurrants forming on the bushes, strawberries too. And as I mentioned last time, beans, onions and squash growing well, but the beetroot sown what seems an age ago now are still just tiny seedlings.
I did, however, gather a posy of herbs to brighten up the kitchen windowsill.

 The non-stop rain meant I have been marooned indoors for a large part of the week so I decided to make cake!
Tea and cake can always cheer the spirits!
A few weeks ago, I made a very nice coconut, raspberry and yoghurt cake from a recipe I found on the Yeo Valley website.
But this time around I decided to ring the changes and swap blueberries for the raspberries.

Apart from the above mentioned substitute, all the other ingredients were the same.The only other tweak was that I baked it in a 2lb loaf tin instead of the round cake tin and finished it with icing flavoured with lime juice.

A rather alarming dip appeared in the middle of the cake after I had removed it from the oven ( though it was cooked all the way through) and the fruit had sunk to the bottom, but slight defects aside, it tasted good and was well received by mr digandweed!

The nice lady on the weather forecast says things are going to pick up this weekend, so hopefully we shall be venturing out down to the allotment.

Happy weekend everyone whatever your plans.

annjenny x