Monday, 13 October 2008

Baking, Harvesting and Clearing - Busy Times

It seems to have been very busy recently but then i think a lot of that has been my choice to make it so busy. It's no secret to Mum and D that i've been struggling a lot recently and as a result i've thrown myself into what ever i can head first, whilst still managing to avoid seeing a lot of people! A month ago i started working at a farm 6 hours a week, just 2 hours on 3 days, well that was the plan but i have to adapt due to the weather at times as its all outdoor work. And the i've been doing little things for D to help him out, mainly so i'm not in the house alone, as i seem to have developed this major fear that i'm going to lose control, go on a major binge and eat every single item of food in the house, so there for if i'm not in the house i can't do it!

Anyway, i made a couple of batches of muffins for D's work collegues to keep the going during the Flu jab clinic on saturday. Seeing and jabbing about 1000 people in 3 hours can be exhausting not just phycially but mentally too, having to concentrate hard for so long without a break. I'm not sure the muffins were a success to be honest despite using the freshest produce possible - fresh sweetcorn and fresh raspberries picked with my own fair hands. Not in the same muffin i hasten to add!!
The original recipe for this one was Rasperry and cinnamon, however i decided that cinnamon may not be to everyone's taste so changed to to Raspberry and white chocolate, which is a combination i have seen elsewhere previously. As an after thought though i wondered whether i should have reduced the amount of sugar due to the fact that i had added more sweetness in the form of the white chocolate chips.

Plus then i decided to use the rest of the raspberries to make a puree and then mixed with icing sugar to make a very sticky icing. I know i made more of these than the savoury batch but there were more of these left at the end of the morning. Maybe it was just too early on a saturday morning for something sweet?

The second recipe was Cheesy Corn Muffalettas from BBC Good Food but Mum's reaction to these said it all. She sat eating it in a fit of giggles. I must admit the texture was a little strange, as the sponge was kind of chewy and rubbery from the cheddar but then there were hard little lumps in the form of corn kernels. D said it was strange finding hard bits as normally muffins contain things like raisins which are plump and soft after baking. The taste of the cheese wasn't strong either although it clearly wasn't a sweet muffin as there is no sugar in the recipe and that was clear to taste.

Having said all that all of these went, with the last 2 being taken home by one of the receptionists for her and her husband!

And so onto garden news....

More proud harvests in the form of....
Red Cabbage!!! They've finally hearted up and i'm so chuffed.

And even more chuffed when i cut it in half to find the tightly packed leaves and stunning colour. A quarter of it was used for coleslaw and i'm sure more of it will be too but i think its time to cook the warming winter dish of red cabbage almost sweet and sour style i guess, cooked in balsamic vinegar with a touch of something sweet at the end. Might even get a baby beetroot in from the garden and add that in.
With the red cabbage coleslaw again to get the colours different i used white onion rather than red to go with the yellow carrot.

Autumn is also the time to start getting the Squash in. This was the smaller butternut which i cut in half and stuffed with smoked tomatoes, olives, red onion and goats cheese then roasted in the oven.The slightly larger butternut is now stored in the cool and the dark of the garage along with.....

This stunning little thing. Who knows what variety it is, but then so long as it tastes good, who cares!!

Runner beans, carrots, beetroot, kale, chard, cabbages, onions and parsnips continue to be harvest as and when we want them. Although all the tomatoes are now inside, with the green ones on trays in the spare room, which are then transfered down stairs when the start to turn red! Stock rotation i call it.

I got some onions from work as well to string and last us over winter. The large ones make superb onion soup!

I have also been increasing the number of fruit bushes too.
Lidls had various fruit bushes at £1.30 each so i picked up 3 gooseberry bushes, which of course will need somewhere to be planted permanantly (i know thats spelt wrong but i'm running short of time!) So this weekend Mum suggested clearing the front garden to make room and turn in into a fruit patch as the raspberries and blueberries are already there. Remember how it looked before??

I can't find an old shot of the front which shows the whole patch but the photos above and below should give some idea.

And this is how it looks now:

It won't be usable for a bit as the are bush/shrub routes which now have RootOut on them, plus we are hoping to move the rose bushes from the right hand end down to where the chard is. But that where the holly and ornamental quince routes are. I just hope the don't mind the move and survive!

Anyway off to the farm whilst the sun is shining!

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