Tuesday, 20 October 2009

New beds

Hard labour over several weeks has added 11 beds to the existing 4 - plus lots of space to play with insect attracting flowers, a wildlife wood pile, herb boxes and a "fruit slope" of raspberries. The bay leaf tree in the middle is growing and growing, as are the lemon balm bushes. The herbs are also all labelled up to help with identifying and picking. Good work all round!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Justin's lentil&chard stew

Our very first recipe! Courtesy of Justin. Enjoy!

5-6 large leaves Rainbow Chard (or other leafy green veg)
200g Green or Brown Lentils
50g Pot Barley
1/2 Red Onion
1-2 cloves Garlic
8-10 cupsWater
3 tbsp Sunflower Oil
15 Black Peppercorns
2-3 Bay Leaves
2 tbspMarjoram (dried)
1 tbspPaprika
3 tbspTomato Puree
1 Vegetable Stock Cube (optional)
Sea Salt to taste

Soak barley 6 hours, and lentils ½ hour prior to cooking. Dice onion, carrot and garlic. Chop chard leaves. Heat oil in pan and fry onion until lightly browned, then add garlic, paprika, marjoram, and bay leaves. Stir and fry 30 seconds. Add lentils and barley and water, and bring to boil. Crush peppercorns and add to pot. Add stock cube (optional) and tomato puree. Reduce heat and simmer 30-40 minutes or until lentils and barley become tender. Add more water as required. Add carrot and chard, return to boil and simmer 10 minutes.

Serve stew on its own, or over mashed potatoes or rice. Serves 3-4.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Marrow plots

Colours in the marrow plots: orange nasturtiums (leaves and flowers add peppery sharpness to salads) and marrow flowers, which are also edible in salads or stuffed and cooked. Recipes to follow!

Friday, 2 October 2009

Healthy herb oven chips

potatoes, as many as will fit the oven
olive oil

Wash (don't peel) the potatoes. Cut thin potatoes (like pink apple) lengthways in quarters, thicker ones into wedge shapes. Dry wedge surfaces very thoroughly on dry kitchen towels, rub with oil, salt and oregano and bake in a 200C oven until edges are deep brown and middles soft. No need to pre-heat - it's a waste of good energy.

Warm beetroot salad

3 shallots
2 cloves of garlic
4 small beetroots with leaves
4 rainbow chard leaves
olive oil
black pepper
balsamic vinegar

Slice shallots and garlic. Cut beetroot into thin chip shapes (2-3mm wide), and coarse chop beetroot leaves. Chop chard stems and leaves separately. Fry shallots and garlic in olive oil, add beetroot chips and chard stems, cover and fry until tender (but still cruncy), add a little water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in chard and beetroot leaves until just wilted, serve warm, drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Delicious with goat's cheese as a starter, or side dish.

October overview

Runner beans and sweetcorn companion planted. This was a permaculture idea by a Canadian student who came across runner beans running up sweetcorn stems, removing the need for bamboo poles. In Scotland our experiment includes poles - just in case - just as well, as the runner beans grew to 3 times the height of the sweetcorn and even bent the bamboo poles under the weight of ever replenishing lovely beans! The sweetcorn have produced very very tasty but rather petite cobs (amazing!), and are bending over in wind alone - maybe not a great support plant in this climate. Beans need a sturdier scaffold next year. Bean recipes to follow!

Parsnips are poking out among the weeds now! Our latest crop this year.

Pink apple potatoes, and mini beetroot finally dug up. Herb chips and warm beetroot salad ensue!