Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Allotment holiday

 Parents have a way of getting things right and being impressive - and when it comes to the size of their vegetables, mine have definitely got something right in Greece. I remember when they grew rocket from seeds I sent and complained it tasted "woody" - when I visited I was presented with a small christmas tree of a rocket plant with foot-long leaves. Mine had hardly grown two inches before bolting in Scotland...

Anyway, this time Carol showed off her beetroot, while Wolfgang was worried two leeks might not feed 4 people. Under normal circumstances I would agree, but with these two, not a problem.

So, here are two tried, tested and much praised recipes for what to do with leeks and beetroots. Don't worry - normal sized vegetables will work fine, just tripple the quantity!

Leeks a la Nenya

2 of Wolfgang's Leeks (or 6 from the shop)
4tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
300ml red wine (Shiraz will work well)

Cut Leeks into 3cm cylinders, fry upright in a non-stick pan with a little olive oil on a low heat, covered with a lid, until the bottom half is soft. Take care not to burn - switch pan off and rest if necessary. Turn individually to cook the other side by the same method. Season with salt. Now comes the trick: increase the heat and add red wine, half a glass at a time, to cool the pan and caramelise the leeks on both sides. Serve hot or cold. Surprisingly very very tasty.

Beetroot salad a la Carol

2 of Carol's Beetroots (or 6 from the shop)
olive oil
garlic powder
tsatsiki mix (alternatively salt and dill)

Boil the beetroots, drain, peel and slice 5mm thick. Sprinkle generously with garlic powder and tsatsiki mix. This salad keeps for a few days in the fridge, tastes better with time and keeps giving.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011


Woke up to a white icing sugar dusting over Edinburgh - some of which didn't clear until mid-day. The few days of warm sunshine were a wee taste of spring, not to be taken as the start of a bright and warm growing season. Fingers crossed the beetroot seeds will forgive me...

Monday, 7 March 2011

Roots all over again

I arrived at the farm today to find the patter of tiny feet all over our raked roots bed... pheasants after worms again. Sowed 1 row Early Nantes carrots, 1 row Jamie Oliver's special purple carrots (moment of weakness in Homebase the other day - they are purple!), 1 row spring onions, 1 row Detroit2 beetroots and stripy beetroots. Then I realised the last two shouldn't be sown until April - too late! We'll see what happens. I also extended the existing onion rows with calendula, which will be very pretty, very soon.
Covered the lot with chicken wire and netting - no more pattering birds dust bathing in this wee corner!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

March on Green

Spring is upon us, and everywhere around the farm little green parcels are unwrapping themselves, propped on grey wood or soil. I find it baffling that nature rolls out precicely one shade of translucent green on just about every plant!
The area still looks very bleak - we can see straight through the forest garden, and the only green touches are the conifer hedge and tufts the horses and sheep have left of the surrounding fields. The buds of pale green life are heralding the rapid changes in store for the next few months. Time to get some seeds in the ground and the mulch on the weedy bits.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

A new year a new look!

First day of the season on the farm, and a gazillion things to start with after the winter break.
Like a nice cup of tea and Nenya's brownies for happy farmers sporting wooly hats.

The rest of cold and sunny Saturday was taken up with maintenance. On the whole our patch is in great nick - but there's always room for improvement. Leeks, lambs lettuce and jerusalem artichokes are the only crops for harvest at the moment - with the odd feral potato thrown in! 
Malcolm moved (very heavy) slabs about and "fixed" the bench with lopped cherry suckers.
We dug up blackthorn, jerusalem artichokes and the turf on what's going to be the new tattie patch, and chopped and sawed off a whole lot of tree. Nenya also moved our victorian rubbish pile to the North side of the tree - a fraction of the antique landfill treasure we've dug up over the past year.We tried to light the pile of blackthorn branches in the middle, but that was optimistic - a couple of weeks of drying time should have us a nice bonfire though! 

Four seasons: before and after

We're coming up to our co-op anniversary.
Remember this? 

One year on, here we are, all dug over, planted, weeded, watered, harvested and eaten. So much easier starting this time round!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

New recipe: Eggs, beans and waffles*

Ingredients (for 1 person):
  • 2 potatoes waffles from Lidl
  • 2 eggs
  • Half a tin of baked beans from Lidl
  • Some olive oil (probably also from Lidl, maybe Sainsburys)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Tomato Ketchup (I think we got it from Sainsburys)
  1. Stick the waffles in the toaster on maximum setting
  2. Fry the eggs in olive oil
  3. Heat the beans in a pan
  4. Season with salt and pepper and serve the whole lot on a plate with a massive dollop of ketchup on the side

*Because sometimes I just can't be arsed with all this organic permaculture malarky.