The Garden Sleeps

Winter is here now, both meteorological (using the average temperature of the months) and astronomical (coinciding with the winter solstice), and so the garden sleeps. Bare branches reach toward the winter sky Buds hibernate as the cold hours fly Bulbs send out green shoots to test the air Biding time ’til spring is here While … Continue reading The Garden Sleeps

Winter is coming …

…the trees know this and now that autumn is in full-swing they are making ready. This year that preparation is almost mystical, as 2020 turns out to be a “mast year”, a year in which the woodland species somehow co-ordinate to produce a bumper crop of seeds, nuts and berries. Mast is the Old English … Continue reading Winter is coming …

Fall leaves fall

September is a month of beginnings and endings. The beginning of the academic year, of both meteorological and astrological autumn and the end of summer; the equinox on 22nd of the month marking the second date in the year when the day and night are of equal length. From now, our daylight hours get shorter … Continue reading Fall leaves fall

An English Summer

The lawn is peppered with tiny apples and Monty Don informs me that this is a natural phenomenon known as “apple drop”.  I’ve noticed this before, though never in such numbers and I didn’t know it had a name.  This year’s carpet of fallen fruit, a result of the prolific April blossom so well pollinated … Continue reading An English Summer

May Flowers

May flowers follow April showers, or so the saying goes…   As the driest April on record gave way to the sunniest May, I’ve had to start watering the garden a month earlier than usual.  So, I’m hoping that my ministrations will prove enough to sustain my plants and seedlings and that they reward my … Continue reading May Flowers

March 2020 – a return to the garden

By any measure you like to use Spring is here at last: Meteorological spring (using the average temperature of the months) starts on 1st MarchAstronomical spring (related to the vernal equinox) starts on 20th MarchDaylight-Saving Time (when we “Spring forwards” into BST) starts on 29th March. Of course, the first signs of Spring were around … Continue reading March 2020 – a return to the garden

Grapefruit and Orange Marmalade

Ingredients 1.7kg oranges (or any combination of citrus fruit – I like pink grapefruit and orange)1.2kg preserving sugar2.4 litres waterjuice of 2 lemons Method Wash the fruit to remove the wax, put in a large pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, partly cover and simmer for 2 ½ hours, until the fruit … Continue reading Grapefruit and Orange Marmalade

Spiced Carrot and Potato Soup

Ingredients: 2 Onions4 Medium potatoes2 Sweet potatoes3 Celery sticks2 tbsp oil1 tsp ground cumin1 tsp ground coriander1 tsp turmeric1 tsp mild chilli6 bay leaves1.5 litres vegetable stock Method: Sauté onion and celery in the oil and spices until soft. Add roughly chopped carrots & potatoes, bay leaves and veg stock.  Simmer for 20-25 mins until vegetables … Continue reading Spiced Carrot and Potato Soup

Chilli Sin Carne

Ingredients: 1 tbsp vegetable oil1 medium onion, chopped2 cloves of garlic1 medium courgette, chopped - optional1 tsp mild chilli powder½ tsp hot chilli powder½ tsp smoked paprika1 tin mixed beans1 tin red kidney beans400 ml passata (or 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes)2 tbsp tomato puree1 tsp sugarSalt and pepper to taste Method: Sauté the onion … Continue reading Chilli Sin Carne

Vegetable Ragu

Ingredients: 1 tbsp olive oil1 large onion, chopped2 cloves of garlic2 medium courgettes, chopped into small dice1 medium carrot, chopped into small dice1 stick of celery chopped1 tsp dried oregano2 tbsp tomato puree1 tsp sugar2 bay leaves1 tbsp balsamic vinegarSalt and pepper to taste Method: Sauté the onion, garlic, carrot and celery until beginning to … Continue reading Vegetable Ragu

Rhubarb and Custard Icecream

Ingredients: For Roasted Rhubarb 200g rhubarb (young pink stems are best)25g caster sugar For Vanilla Custard 375 ml milk1 vanilla bean – split in half lengthwise and seeds scraped (or ½ tsp of good quality vanilla essence)90g granulated sugar5 egg yolks (I use the whites for making a large Pavlova)185 ml whipping/double cream Method: Make … Continue reading Rhubarb and Custard Icecream