Categories
Recipes

The ultimate hot toddy

The ultimate hot toddy

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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I swear by this hot toddy each winter

Feeling a bit cold? Runny nose? Get your schnauzer into this!

Ingredients

  • Juice of one orange
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 teaspoons of honey (add as much or as little to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons of either rum, whiskey or brandy (again as much or as little to taste)
  • Boiled hot water

Directions

  1. Boil a kettle and whilst that’s boiling, juice a lemon and an orange.
  2. Add the juices, whiskey and honey into a large mug that will hold at least a pint of liquid.
  3. Top up with boiling water and stir until the honey has melted and is dissolved.

Categories
Allotment Diary

New Allotment Project (Unknown)?

There’s a patch at the allotment that needs some overdue TLC and this is the year where I’m going to make a start with this particular patch.

The space is at the end of the plot and it resides underneath some very old oak trees, which means, that not much tends to grow there, because of the fallen acorns, leaves and the level of light in this space.

Mainly, this space has been used to house nailed together cold frame, which succumb to the elements not so long ago.

If I’m totally honest, I currently don’t know what to do with this space. All I know is that it needs to be easy to maintain and useful. If you have any ideas, please do let me know in the comments below.

The first job on the agenda is clearance, whilst figuring out what to keep and what not to keep.

Pruning Red Gooseberry bushes

At the front of the plot are two well established red gooseberry bushes, which I’m reluctant to remove or move, for fear of doing more harm than good to the plants themselves.

The plants haven’t seem much pruning in recent years, and so as a result have become quite leggy. I’ve left around of the third of the plant left, and I’ve made sure that I’ve made cuts where there’s buds and new growth ready to sprout.

Moving the wood store

Keeping the gooseberry bushes in tact were two wired up logs, which have been there for quite a while.

Removing these wasn’t too much of a struggle as they have rotted at the base and just needed a quick push over. I’ve moved all of the wood in this space to a new area on the plot, behind the shed.

The wood store consists mostly of these logs and off cuts of decking used to create the raised beds.

I’m thinking that these could be quite good for a bug hotel perhaps?

Pulling back membrane

Covering the ground is a plastic membrane which has done a good job of keeping weeds at bay, but over the years, weeds have come grown through the membrane and on top of it, making it unworkable.

I used to be able to pull up the weeds fairly quickly clearing it of weeds, but that’s no longer the case. Going forward, it would be easier to run a mower over the ground.

Pruning fir tree

The space is home to a very well established fir tree, which has grown leaps and bounds over the years, without much encouragement and I’ve kind of left it to it’s own thing.

Needless to say, it’s become a little bit leggy in places and some branches have grown in the way – so a trim was well overdue.

Amazingly, as I was pruning the tree, I was greeted with a strong, delightful lemon scent – something I’d not experienced before with a fir tree. A Google search has revealed this tree could be none other than the Monterey Cypress Goldcrest.

I will most likely keep this tree in place.

What to do next…

Clearance is still underway, and I’m sure inspiration will come to me as I go as to what to do with this space.

Maybe just focusing on clearing the space should be my goal over the next few weeks, rather than getting caught up in figuring out what to do with it… What do you think?

I’d love to know your thoughts, suggestions and ideas in the comments below πŸ™‚

Categories
Allotment Diary

Autumn Allotmenting

Everywhere you look, the temperature is falling, the leaves are changing colour and the allotment is no different.

Visits to and from allotment really do dwindle heading into the autumn and winter, so as the darker evenings move on in, the allotment really does offer a great place to walk to stretch legs and get a breath of fresh air.

Time there at the weekends is also more treasured, probably now this year than in the summer – mainly because we can’t do much else, for obvious reasons at the moment.

On first glance, a good majority of beds are covered and so it looks like not a lot is happening – however, if you look closely, it’s quite the contrary.

Strawberries

These strawberry plants were gifted to us by some very dear friends, and they have taken root superbly – and the fruits taste fantastic. These were planted into some raised beds which were made up of predominantly leaf mould. You can see how I made these raised beds here. I’ve managed to cultivate some more strawberry plants from these and I can’t wait to pick some more in the spring.

Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts often feel like they take such a long time to grow, baring in mind that I first sowed these seeds back in April – so you can imagine how satisfying it must be to see actual Brussels sprouts on the stem. They are being eaten by slugs and they’ve been congregating on the heads of the plant, so I really do need to address that. The sprouts reside in a brassica cage,

Last of the fruits

A good 50% of the plot is made up fruits and this is a great tactic with helping keeping on top things, mainly because the fruits look after themselves. The autumn raspberries have done really well and I’ve decided to not prune these like I did this time last year. Instead, I’ll be pruning these in the early spring. The Spring raspberries have not done that well – and I need to find out why. The rhubarb winding down now, and these generated a plentiful outcome. The blackberries… have served their time. They’re very lovely, but their pruning has become (and excuse the pun) a bind. New plans await for these – stay tuned!

This year I grew King Edward potatoes, which I’ve grown before once upon a time…

These were the only potatoes I grew this year. I usually do first early potatoes and mains, but this year I just grew mains.

I’ve been happy with the spud outcome this year, in the fact that I’ve ended up with more than I started with – but it’s worth noting that the jacket potato style spud has been far and few between, but I’ll be honest, I’m fine with that.

They’ve still been great for mashing and roasting πŸ™‚

I’ve still got some potatoes to dig up, but in the meantime I’m storing them in the ground for… even more rainy days.

How is your autumn going so far? I’d love to know in the comments below! (Also, I’ve given the blog a new look – I’d love to know your thoughts on that as well πŸ™‚ )

Categories
Recipes

The Autumn Soup

The Autumn Soup

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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A lovely use of the last of the summer produce

This soup is hearty, healthy and generally just very lovely.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium courgettes (or one large one)
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 medium sized carrots
  • 2 medium sized potatoes
  • 1.5 chicken or vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Top and tail, and deseed the courgettes and chop into thumb sized pieces.
  2. Dice the onion, top and tail the carrots and peel the potatoes.
  3. Chop the potatoes and carrots into thumb sized pieces, much like the courgettes.
  4. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan, and fry off the vegetables until they’re soft, add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add vegetable the stock and bring to the boil. Once boiled, reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes and carrot are soft.
  6. Use a hand blender or a masher to lightly chop and thicken the soup.

Categories
Ask Adam

Ask Adam #12: To sow or not to sow…

Rob has written in with this very autumnal query πŸ™‚

Can I sow Autumn king carrots as of now in pots in a poly greenhouse and if so how big do you need the plants to be before replanting in containers

Categories
Travels

Climbing Box Hill: The hilltop stroll

For ages, exploring Box Hill in Dorking in Surrey has been on the list to climb and explore – and we finally got around to giving it a climb.