Archive | March, 2013

Happy Easter!

31 Mar

DSCF0516

A very Happy Easter to everyone! Easter may be remembered best for the copious amounts of chocolate consumed but it is for me something more. As a child, living in rural England, Easter will always be most fondly remembered as the start of what was always a very exciting time filled with new beginnings. March was often the month when my vigil of the incubator commenced. The daily check for signs of life from the rows of chicken, duck and geese eggs; forcing myself not to interfere, when, eventually new life struggled into fruition. Growth was in the trees and plants too, the snow drops, crocuses, irises and daffodils all made their profusion known and heralded the start of crisp bright days. Now as I journey around London I long to see their bobbing heads in the profusion of green pockets amid the streets.

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If you pick a paw paw…

26 Mar

You say paw paw, I say papaya. Both refer to a particularly tasty fruit with succulent and sweet pinky orange flesh that tastes incredible with a squeeze of lime. It is the seeds though that I am concerned with; black and piquant with a taste not dissimilar from nasturtium. I enjoyed a papaya the other day and after devouring it piece by piece I thought i’d have a go at planting the seeds; not that I’m expecting any fruit but it will be interesting to see what the plant looks like. I posted some photo’s of seeds last week, and after drying out the perfectly round seeds from the papaya, I was so amazed at the transformation I had to post a photo. PS bonus points for those who get the ‘if you pick a paw paw’ reference…macro papaya seed.

Pie in the sky

24 Mar

I woke this morning to find not just a gentle flurry but a full on snow storm outside my window. Any ideas I may have had to get on with some plant based activities were thwarted, so instead of battling the elements, I dove into my local fruit and veg shop and bought a selection of edibles to inspire my growing. I’m a big fan of leafy greens; dark and mysterious curly kale, sweet spinach and beautiful chard in all the colours of the rainbow are a few of the faves. Here’s what I made… Iron rich and very comforting.

vegetarian greens pie

I found the pastry in one of my local Turkish supermarkets, I’m not sure this is a very traditional way to use it but hey, it worked a treat. Brushed with plenty of melted butter it came out crispy and pretty delicious.Green leaves pie

The chard, celery, spincach and dill were braised gently with onion, garlic, chilli, turmeric and a little lemon; layered up with the sheets of pastry and dots of sharp, tangy feta. What a treat.
vegetarian pie mix

Here they come…

23 Mar

As you may have realised I’m a big fan of the macro. There’s something magical about capturing the minutiae of life. Here’s a little one of the nasturtiums that, along with the other seedlings I planted, are emerging on my windowsill.

nasturtium seedling

I never realised that the leaves are also edible on a nasturtium plant. The flowers look gorgeous on salads in the summer but the leaves that stick around longer, I can imagine, would be delicious in salads too, peppery and sharp. Perhaps a nasturtium pesto….I think i’ll leave these to grow a little more before getting overexcited about crop.

nasturtium plants

Something for the fish

20 Mar

I’m a huge fan of bulbed fennel, it is so delicious, both cooked and raw. One of my favourite things is thick slices of fennel browned until the sugars in the fennel begins to caramalise, sublime either with fish or nibbled on whilst standing at the hob! Unfortunately I  won’t have space for the bulbed variety but I couldn’t resist a packet of fennel bronze that I spied in my local garden center. I’ve never seen this bronze variety, the picture looks like they’ll come up as a rusty dark mauve colour. More interesting then the standard variety and I’m looking forward to seeing them grow.
The seeds are sublime! Love the fact that they will grow into beautiful bronze fronds.

fennel seeds

Wowaweewah!

18 Mar

It’s not just digging in the garden that gets me excited, skip digging is equally as fruitful and thrilling. A miserable day outside but wasn’t I pleased I braved it when, about 25 paces from my front door, I found a huge Belfast sink poking out from an overflowing skip.  After some serious lifting, myself and P managed to negotiate it onto P’s inspired transportation device…a skateboard! Wheeling it home was fairly straightforward compared to the mission of lifting it up to the second floor. But doesn’t it look good…

Belfast stink

Sinks and baths make for excellent planters as they are so hard-wearing. This also means they can by pretty pricey. Keep your eyes peeled and you could come up trumps like me! I may turn this one into a nasturtium nursery, I’ve got a few seedlings beginning to nudge there way towards the sunlight. Or it may be the perfect home for some veggies.

Hello little one…

Nasturtium

Time to turn over a new leaf

16 Mar

macro saladSo I planted the gourmet salad mix that I bought off ebay and couldn’t believe it when after only a week they were already poking their heads through the soil, leaning desperately towards the nearby window.  Can’t wait to cut the first crop.

salad box DSCF0268