Courgette / Marrow Loaf

Courgette / Marrow Loaf

This goes well with homemade rhubarb jam.

Ingredients
2 large egg
115ml vegetable oil
80g soft brown sugar
400g courgette grated
1 tsp vanilla extract
300g plain flour
2 tea spoon cinnamon
¼ tea spoon nutmeg
½ tea spoon bicarbonate of soda
½ tea spoon baking powder
140g sultanas

Method

1. Firstly, pre-heat your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease or line a standard 2lb loaf tin with baking paper.

2. Whisk together the eggs, oil, vanilla, brown sugar and then add the grated courgette to the mix.

3. In a separate bowl, mix together the plain flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, sultanas and nutmeg.

4. Gradually combine the two mixtures in one bowl and place into the baking tin.

5. Bake for one hour, a good way to test that this is done is by inserting a skewer and seeing if it’s clean when you pull it out.

Planting winter onions

I have to say, I was a little bit annoyed at the onions I tried to grow during the summer. They ended up too small and I was left feeling like I needn’t had bothered. I suspect that the soil I grew my onions in was a little bit on the heavy side and probably a little too rich with clay. I’ve never grown winter onions before, but I hope my autumnal onion efforts will this time pay off.

Trying to find winter onions in my local garden center was a mission in itself – thankfully Court Farm in Tolworth/Worcester Park came up trumps.

I’ve decided to grow two types of winter onions, Troy which is a white onion and Red Winter, which as the name suggests is a red winter onion. This time I’m growing them in a completely different spot than before, in two areas that have been nourished with material from the compost heap and gets good amounts of sunlight.

I dug over the two beds and removed the weeds as best I could – raking out any impurities from the ground. I had around 50 sets of each, so I could afford to have around seven bulbs to a row.

I planted the bulbs about an inch into the ground and covered the tops so to try and deter birds and foxes from disturbing the bulbs – however, I visited the plot and noticed that a couple of the birds had picked out a couple of bulbs and dropped them (they must think they’re worms or good nest material). This autumn has been a fairly dry one, so I’ve been sure to water these bulbs at least once a week to assist germination.

In the middle of the summer the leaves will start to die down – which means they’ll be ready for harvesting. Onions are a great staple to grow at the allotment – if stored properly they’ll last for days and even weeks.

Autumn 2016 – A welcome sight…

So we’re well into Autumn and I have to say that this is a time of year that’s always welcome. After constantly battling the weeds that seemed to poke through over night throughout the summer, it’s nice to weed a patch that will stay clear until for at least a few weeks before you have to turn the ground over again.

Autumn at the allotment is a relatively stress free time because for the most part I’m clearing dead plants and injecting the ground with air by digging everything over. It’s not all dying off as I’m happy to report that the Elsanta strawberries that I have cultivated have established themselves into fine looking plants.

The purple sprouting broccoli I’ve had in the ground for most of the year, has been a massive disappointment – not one sprig, although the plants themselves are in quite good condition so I’m reluctant to dig them up and get rid of them. The Brussels sprouts however, look like their starting to produce a fine crop, so that’s a bonus – here’s to hoping they’re ready for Christmas.

The Rhubarb is dying off for the season and no doubt these are the few plants on the plot that will welcome the frost and snow that winter brings.

Shortly before I went on holiday to Barbados, I managed to plant my leeks outside into the ground – It feels like it’s taken them all year to grow to size of a pencil. I don’t think they’ll be ready for the kitchen until early next year, but that’s OK, it’s good to see something green on a plot that’s slowly winding down for the season. I’ve still got Maris Piper potatoes to dig up, which I’m hoping to do over the next couple of weeks before the weather really starts to turn.

The blackberry plants have also started to stop growing too – at one point it’s as if they were growing out of spite and taking over as much space as they can grab. I’m digging up some white gem parsnips as and when I need them and I have to say, not having grown parsnips before I’m really impressed with my efforts – the only thing that I regret is that I didn’t grow more.

That’s all to report for now – they predict a harsh winter so I’ll let you know how I get on with dealing with that.

Allotment-Autumn-2016

Sweet Courgette, Carrot and Tomato Soup

Sweet Courgette, Carrot and Tomato Soup

This is a lovely, sweet recipe and it tastes better than it looks.

Ingredients

40g butter for frying
200g carrots, peeled and cut into coins
200g diced courgettes
1 pint of vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 tablespoons sugar
salt and pepper for seasoning

Method

1. In a saucepan, melt the butter on a low heat and fry off the carrots, courgettes until they’re soften.

2. Stir off the tomato puree, bay leaf and add the vegetable stock. Increase to a medium heat and simmer for around half an hour until the vegetables are softer.

3. Remove the bay leaf and blend the mixture. Easy-peasy.

How to make zucchini / courgette spaghetti

How to make zucchini / courgette spaghetti

This is such a cool recipe and it makes a pleasant change from pasta during the summer months.  You don’t need a spiralizer for this, but instead a speedy peeler. (Although if I had the luxury of a spiralizer I would definitely use it.)

Ingredients

Courgettes/Zucchinis average on two per person
Oliver oil 
Dried Basil
Bacon, diced (optional)
Sun dried tomatoes diced

Method

1. Peel the Courgettes/Zucchinis with a speedy peeler until you reach the core and if the strips are too wide, slice them down the middle.
2. Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry off the bacon until golden brown
3. Fill a small ramekin about two thirds and mix in some generous spoonfuls of dried basil.
4. Add the Courgettes/Zucchinis strips, along with the sun dried tomatoes to the frying pan and add the olive oil/basil mixture, keep on a medium to high heat and make sure everything fries evenly until the Courgettes/Zucchinis are soft.

This is a very basic recipe but you can do just about anything with the Courgettes/Zucchinis strips, just as you would with real pasta.