Allotment Life {July}

It is now July and the plot should be more developed by now.

A late start this year with decorating put me back about 1 month, and then the girl breaking her leg quite badly just hasn't given me the time I need at the plot.

Lessons learned for next year. Enough brooding let me show you what is happening.  

Poppies have self seeded in quite a long t of places, I have left quite a lot of them. One (below) the petals are all crumpled, it is really beautiful. 

Hollyhocks in flower

The fruit is doing very well (apart from our plum tree which seems to have a disease and is dying..) and the apples are starting to swell.

Blueberries forming.

The raspberries and strawberries are doing incredibly well.  There are so many and so many more to ripen.  We picked 4.5 kg of strawberries and raspberries yesterday, and 2kg last week. We have about the same again to pick in the next few weeks! 

I was send some lovely zinc planters from The Orchard Home and Gifts. They sit on the shed, one with tomatoes in and the other with succulent, they look fantastic.  When the tomatoes have finished I think I will add more succulents into the other as well, as it looks so pretty.

I just keep forgetting the roof overhangs and I need to water them....

Sweetcorn planted very late and now ready to be planted out, I don't think we will get any corn on them this year as it is too late, but lets see...

After a cold start and a lot been eaten by mice, the beans are finally taking off.

My great helper on the plot, even with a broken leg she is still coming and picking fruit, what a star!

In the greenhouse, things are growing well. Tomatoes, cucumber, gherkins, sweet potatoes and chillis.  Hoping for a good crop from the greenhouse.

And that is how the plot is early July. 

Not too bad, but next year I really need to start earlier!

 

Note: The Orchard Home and Gifts sent the two zinc planters to me for free, all thoughts on them are my own.

Peony

I recently received a beautiful bunch of flowers, in the flowers were two peonies.

What a pretty flower, I love them so. Beautiful delicate flowers. 

I would love to grow them in the garden but think I would be heartbroken when they flower and then it rains and the petals all fall off, such a shame they are so delicate.

I was amazed at the fragile nature, they started pink and within a few days had lost their colour, a few more days and the petals all fell off.   

no point to this post except I thought they were incredible pretty!  

Peony

Peony

Peony fading

Peony fading

image.jpg
image.jpg

Mantle Love

Now the lounge is complete, the mantle piece is new. A large chunky piece of wood, I really like it. It is also clear of clutter and we can change and add things to it easily. 

Here are some things from our mantle of the last few weeks.  

 

Instead of a #shelfie this is #mantlelove

 

The items that are constant on the mantle are 3 plants in glasses that I bought in Copenhagen. 

The three amigos  

The three amigos  

Other things on the mantle come and go... 

Conker turning into a tree

Conker turning into a tree

I love this sprouted conker, when it gets a bit larger we will take it somewhere and plant it.

Vintage glass bottles

Vintage glass bottles

The large vintage glass bottles are a new item in the house, we found them at a local market. 

Frames with pressed flowers waiting to be hung. 

Frames with pressed flowers waiting to be hung. 

Vintage ink bottles and white Spanish bluebells.

Vintage ink bottles and white Spanish bluebells.

The Spanish bluebells are in our garden, I keep pulling them out as I prefer the English bluebells, but a few in the house did look pretty.  

Hedgerow posy made by made by my husband

Hedgerow posy made by made by my husband

Since the girl had broken her leg, walks and trips out are down to a minimum. My husband took the boy out for a walk and came back with this posy for me that he made, how lovely! 

 

And they are my #mantlelove pieces.  

 

Lounge Renovation {pt 2}

Finally the lounge is complete, and we have really being enjoying the space. 

You can read about the renovation here if you would like

The walls are a blue, green, grey colour and really change depending on the light, it has been hard to get a consistent colour in the pictures below for that reason.

Inside the fire is a dark blue and I really love that colour.

The floor we stripped and stained has come up very well, and it now matches the skirting and architrave very well. We are very pleased with it. The time and energy it took really was worth it.

The lights I love. We got them from Olive and the Fox
We really struggled to pick lights, I wanted something that was really minimal and not fussy at all, these I thought were just perfect. And, we picked the LED edison bulbs so they are energy saving.

The ceiling lights came and we wanted them to be a little further apart for the husband made a triangle out of an old wire coat hanger to hold them apart, I think it works well.

The fire.

Oh I love the fire. Although we still need to get a flue liner to be able to use it (the budget disappeared quickly..) hopefully we will do this before Winter.

The boy loved it so much he made a lego sculpture to go on top of it... bless him.

We had lots of plants in the lounge already, but I have bought a few more.

This plant string of beads (Senecio Rowleyanus) I bought from eBay. The plant pot I found at the allotment and then made a not very good macrame hanger. Think I need to watch a few more youtube videos and do another one later. I quite fancy making one out of leather cord.

We went to the Festival of Vintage in York, Jen from Little Birdie was running a competition and we won entrance tickets. It was a good day, and we managed to buy this beautiful footstool, it co-ordinates with the lounge perfectly, and we use it all of the time.

We have 1 large wall still bare and I need to add pictures.

The wall we have the TV on has these three lovely frames from The Orchard Home and Gifts, We added pressed flowers in. Two of them have bluebells in and one flowers from the garden. We have more flowers pressing at the moment and I can't wait to have lots of flowers to choose to fill the frames. 

And, that is the lounge renovation complete. I am so pleased with the space.

It feels lighter and brighter than it did, and I love how the wooden floor has come up.

 

Note: The Orchard Home and gifts sent me the frames for free for the lounge renovation, the thoughts and opinions about the frames are my own.

Allotment {May}

I realised I had not taken my camera to the allotment for such a long time, so I thought I would share what is happening on the plot at the moment.  

We had a slow start, it was very cold and wet so I didn't start anything too early. Then we started the lounge renovation and it I just had no time to go to the plot, it put me back a few weeks. Things seem to be catching up now. 

Some things are still around from last year, the swiss chard is still going, some of it is now going to see but other bits are OK. A fresh sowing of chard is in the greenhouse. The kale finally went to seed, which was a shame as we ate from that for months on end over Winter, what a great vegetable!

The last few weeks it has warmed up a little, and finally things are starting to grow. Along with seeds I have sown are starting to sprout, so are the weeds. 

In the strong winds over winter, the cover of the polytunnel blew away, it is a job for the next few weeks to replace it with something a little more robust. There is a self seeded aquilegia that has popped up in the bed of the polytunnel, very pretty.but it will have to move soon. 

The herb bed has survived over winter, and is starting to look pretty good, I seem to have lots of fennel this year, I need to find some good recipes to use it.

The strawberry bed I thought would not do very well this year, looks to be doing amazingly. The raspberries have come back as well, with flowers stating on both of them.

Comfry has also woken from the Winter sleep and is putting on a lot of growth, a plant great for the bees and also making a great (but smelly) fertiliser. 

The paths on the new section of plot are taking shape, I just need some more bark to finish them off completly, but the membrane is down and it looks a lot more uniform overall.

On the new side of the plot, I have turned an old sandpit into a raised bed, it has strawberries in it, I have sown perpetual spinach and also some radishes in there. They are all doing pretty well.

And old bathtub has 4 types of carrots growing in it, they have just started sprouting. I am quite excited about these, not sure if the bathtub is tall enough to not be affected by carrot root fly, so lets see. They need thinning, but I havent grown carrots before so I think I will leave it until they are a little bigger before doing that.


I have another bath near to the raised beds, this week I will be sowing parsnips in (I think this is quite late so not sure if anything will happen, but lets see)

On the new side of the plot, there were a lot of fruit bushes and these are looking pretty good. Some are newly planted, others are older. I am looking forward to eating fruit from the plot this year (if the birds don't get to it first!)

The gooseberries and currants are starting to swell.

Beautiful blossom on the plum, cherry and apple trees.

apple blossom

The blueberries seem to have survived the moving position in winder, and are now full of bell-like flowers.

And, since the ploytunnel doesn't have a cover, I can't grow in it. As soon as it does I will plant the sweet potatoes I have grown slips from in it. 

I am lucky to have the new greenhouse when I extended the plot. This has been cleaned and weeded (although more need to be done) and the seedlings seem quite happy in it. 

Some have got quite big they are now in the cold frame hardening off to be put into the raised beds at the weekend. Lots of pumpkin varieties this year, I can't wait to see how they grow.

And, that is how everything is growing.  Finally things are putting on growth and taking off.

The growing season really has begun!

Weekend Wanderings

What a wonderful long bank holiday weekend. After a few stressful weeks at work, this was really needed.

It feels like such a long time we have been out and about, and this weekend we were not tied to the house decorating, we made the most of it.

Saturday to Tatton Park for my mums birthday and then out for a meal with family for her birthday, a thoroughly enjoyable day.

Sunday was May Day. A few hours at the allotment, May day posy making at home

And Monday a local woodland wander. 

Here is what we saw.

Tatton Park gardens, beautiful.

A May Day posy. Pickings from the garden on the 1st May.

May Day posy

A woodland walk to see the bluebells. A tree swing was found, sod the bluebells, lets play!

A white bluebell in a patch of English bluebells... 

Tree swings

I hope you all had a great weekend!

Lounge renovation {pt 1}

About 14 years ago, we completed the last lounge renovation. 

We did a lot of work. Knocked out a 1970s fireplace (a mock stone thing that spanned the whole living room, with plinths and nooks in it) we added a wall to make a lounge and a separate hallway, and stripped all of the skirting boards back to the wood (nightmare job with eh Victorian black laquer) 

At the end, we were so exhausted, the OH made all the decorating decisions. 

We had some free carpet and he took the colour scheme from that. The carpet was ginger... 

Fast forward 14 years and for the last 14 years I have hated the colour of the lounge. 

It is a dark space most of the time, it is north east facing, and the walls and decor was pretty dark. 

I cant actually find any pictures of the lounge to show the colour, but here is one and you get an idea of the vibrant orange walls. He loved it. I hated it.

IMG_1370.jpg

A lot of looking on Pinterest and figuring out what we wanted, I wanted something that was lighter and brighter. And the carpet had to go. A new fireplace would be added and the lounge knocked about to fit in an inglenook.

The old cast iron fireplace was sold on eBay and the buyer got a bargain (much to the husbands dismay)

And we started work. Clearing the room and stripping wallpaper

Then we started to remove the chimney.

Nothing prepared me for the amount of mess, dirt, dust that would be with us in daily life for the next few weeks.

For weeks, we had endless tasks every day to complete so we could get back into the lounge quickly. 

I can't say that this level of renovation, mid way is not my favourite point.

Then we started sanding the floor...

I thought we were getting on top of the black dust from the chimney. I didn't realise the floor would create more dust, just in a different colour.

About 50 hours of sanding later (again more Victorian black laquer all over the floor slowing us down) and the floor was sanded, and started to look pretty good!.

But the house was filthy, we were getting tired.

One bright point was that we did the cellar renovation a few years ago so we at least had another lounge to sit in and the kids could go to.

The end started to be in sight.

Tiling of the hearth (this was on frustrating job, and I can cheerfully say I will never tile anything again) 

And then wallpapering, really we needed to re skim the walls, but we put up lining paper and then painted.

And we were nearly finished..

I had too many pictures to put into one post and wanted to make sure I captured everything from the renovation, so here is part one. Part 2 soon. 

 

 

Sugar Free - 4 months

In December 2015 I decided to try and quit eating sugar. This was for various reasons, I was feeling sluggish and wanted a change.

The first week, was pretty hellish. I kept a list for how I felt. For me, the adverse symptoms only lasted just over 1 week, for some people it lasts longer, but it does go away!

Day 1 - feeling fine

Day 2 and 3 - a dull headache all day

Day 4 - a dull headache all day, I went to the gym and really found it hard to concentrate.

Day 5 and 6 - headache disappeared, but the foggy head stayed, concentration on anything was quite hard.

Day 7 - Starting to feel normal again.

Day 8 and 9 - I was away with work, I had a 4am start. Usually I have sugary drinks to keep me going from an early morning, I refused all of these and stayed strong. Lots of water and herbal teas saw me through. 

Day 10 - Starting to feel really good, a little tired from the previous 2 days. The worst was over

Day 11 - Felt normal, but I had more energy and food craving subsided. 

And since then, I have kept up the sugar free ever since. I still eat fruit and other natural sugars, but nothing processed.

Sugar seems to sneek into a lot of food, and some are very surprising. Over the last 4 months I have managed to find the brands that don't have added sugar into store cupboard foods.

Some of my favourites have been: 

Stock

Sorry, I am not the kind of person who makes my own stock. I did try for a while, but the laziness in me won over and I need to be able to buy something. Stock cubes and gravy granuels a lot of brand have sugar in. This is something I struggled to find for a while, but these two are sugar free and taste the same as the previous brands I was buying.

Jam

Occasionally, a piece of jam and soda bread would be just lovely. But obviously jam is made with sugar, so I managed to find this really nice jam made by Meridian. They use apple juice instead of sugar. It isn't a thick jam, quite runny, but lovely all the same.

Meridian strawberry jam

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce, I mean who would have thought that some regular versions contain sugar?! This one doesn't and it tastes the same. 

Yutaka Soy Sauce

Mayonnaise

Mayo, I love mayo. Tomato ketchup doesn't interest me, but a good dollop of mayo is welcome to most meals. All the main steam brands have sugar in them, so they no longer could be consumed. It has taken me a while to find this one, but it doesn't contain sugar. It doesn't taste just like mayo, more of a mayonnaise / salad cream hybrid but it is good.

Chippa May-o

Coconut Oil

OK this one isn't something I needed to substitute. But it is really good as an additional part of my diet. 

I cook with it.

Once a week I try and oil pull with it (look it up..., pretty gross but works well)

and, I use it to make different energy bites and snacks with it, which is a great substitute for chocolate and other snacks.

coconut oil

So, what have I learnt after 4 months sugar free? 

Sugar is in a lot of food and store cupboard basics, things you would never think that contains sugar sometimes does. Read the labels! 

Water and sparking water are great. I used to drink quite a lot of 'sugar free' cordial. That has long gone and I drink a lot of water. If I fancy having something different then sparking water it is, maybe with a slice of lemon. (god I realise that sounds boring..)

You can still drink alcohol, red wine is good. However my favourite gin and tonic is out of the window...

I have lost quite a lot of weight, and feel pretty good. more than pretty good, I feel fantastic! 

This is a journey I will continue, I can't wait to see where it will take me. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lisbon

Recently I had the pleasure to visit Lisbon for work. A few free hours got me out with my camera.

The food is amazing and not expensive. A good pair of walking shoes would be good, as the streets are paving with a beautiful cobblestones.

And, the weather was very nice as well, this time of year would be great as it wasn't very busy. I imagine the summer months would be very busy.

Here are a few things that I saw.

Igreja de São Domingos is a church with a huge history, after nearly being destroyed by two earthquakes, it also barely survived a fire, The church wasn't fully restored and you can still see signs of the fire.

The street lights were also beautiful, and I seemed to have taken quite a lot of pictures of them. The first picture is of the lantern going into the church.

And around the city, the beautiful walls of building covered with decorative tiles.

Then up to São Jorge Castle, for a look over the city and a glass of something cold.

If you ever get chance to visit Lisbon, please go, it is a truly beautiful city. 

Life Lately: January

After a lovely Christmas break I have decided to give myself a kick up the backside and actually spend a little time on this blog. So one thing I will do is a life lately post once a month (I know a unimaginative title, but I am sure you will forgive me)

Here we go, what has been happening for me in January?

Watching

The Bridge on Netflix, finally catching up with the Scandi crime drama and I have season I under my belt. I am going away for work at the end of this week and hope to be able to start watching Season 2.

Eating

8 weeks ago, I changed the way I was eating, and started to cut out processed sugars and refined carbohydrates from my diet. The first few weeks I felt pretty terrible, but now I feel quite good. Amazingly so. It has really made me change a lot of habits, and I have also dropped quite a lot of pounds on the scale which is a bonus.

Growing food at the plot has made me think more about food and I will be hopefully growing lots of lovely things this year to eat.

 

Reading

For Christmas I was given Eat, Nourish Glow by Amelia Freer, it is very good and have since bought her cook book as well Cook, Nourish Glow. Both are good and worth a read if you are interested in food and the affect it has on your body. 

Making

Making plans for the plot, I just cant wait for it to get warmer to start some of them! The ground is so saturated from all the rain this Winter and a lot of work I need to do is ground work, so it will need to wait, unfortunately. 

Feeling

Pretty good! At this time of year I usually feel a little like hibernating, not so much this year which is a great feeling. 

Enjoying

As I haven't been drinking juice, cordials and fizzy drinks I have been drinking a lot of water. I have also started to really enjoy herbal teas, which is a little strange for me as I don't like tea.

 

Dreaming

About our living room refurbishment. After many many years of having a living room I truly dislike the colour of we are finally giving it a facelift. A new fire (stove) new wallpaper and paint, new flooring, soft furnishings and lighting. Very exciting! 

 

What have you been getting up to this January? 

 

Time for expansion

times they are a changin
— Bob Dylan

At the plot, even though it is Winter a lot is happening.

We have expanded! Plot 7a has become plot 7 as we have taken on the half plot next to us. So we now have a full plot.

Let me show you around.

On the old plot, I only have kale, swiss chard and leeks in. Plus some herbs and fruit.

Manure has been added to the beds, and this will rot down over Winter, hopefully giving me some lovely soil in Spring.

 

Next to the plot I had already had, in the new area, I have got 8 more raised beds. I need to put membrane down and bark to make the paths at the moment they have a lot of weeds. The beds you can see in progress of adding manure and compost to these as well.

The bins, the last tenant of the plot liked to keep and grow in bins and they are everywhere (and baths)

I also have inherited a greenhouse, it needs a bit of work, quite a few panels of glass are broken and need replacing, and it needs a huge clean but it is actually in quite a good state. I am so happy to have a greenhouse! 

The greenhouse and a shed separate the other section of the plot. This section I will use for fruit. On the plot already is a plum tree, small apple tree, gooseberries, raspberries and blackcurrants. It also has globe artichoke and asparagus.

It has raised beds but they are rotten, so you can see here some new sleepers to make new beds.

And the shed!

Not just any shed, a HUGE shed. The shed links to the greenhouse (well it is supposed to, and it will again soon, but at the moment it is rotten.

OK, it is kind of falling down shed, but it is ace. Finally somewhere to sit and get out of the rain. A place to sit with a cuppa and ponder what to do next. I really do love this space.

Week by week, we are replacing broken things, my wonderful husband is doing a great job in doing this. He has started coming to the plot more now we have a larger space.

And also a small potting area attached to the shed. 

I cant wait to use this in Spring!

But the rest of the shed, oh the work that needs doing. 

Thankfully it is Winter and nothing else is growing so we can spend time on it. But there is a lot to do.

Sections of the shed has been covered with black plastic to stop the water getting in, it doesn't look very nice. In time I have plans to put slats from pallets on the wall and cover it with wood.

At least we will be kept busy.

Some other areas inside the shed are lovely, a kind of faded. One I cant wait to polish and inject some love into it.

And, something I can't wait to do again, make another woven fence to span the whole plot. This was so much fun, and it still looks great.

So that is where we are, a lot of work in the coming months, I will keep you updated of our progress.


The final pumpkin

I grew 4 large pumpkins at the allotment this year (Tom Fox variety) you can see me harvesting them here.

Some were carved for a halloween, I made a delicious spicy pumpkin soup with another, and we have had one final one left for a few weeks.

The one left, was the largest I grew. I haven't managed to sort out any cold storage this year (something I really need to do for next year) and it was being stored outside in a shelter. The air has been moist and I was worried it would start to rot.

So I want to preserve it. 

A while ago I bought a dehydrator. I bought this one from Amazon, (it was on offer). The more I looked into them I thought that it would be good for preserving food I had grown, food takes up very little space when dried. We have two freezers and they are both full of soup at the moment (I do love soup) so I couldn't freeze any more. When the food is rehydrated it nutritionally keeps a lot of the original nutrients, they are not lost, so it sounded perfect.

I have preserved a few things like courgette. Made some fruit leather (that was disgusting, I haven't found the right recipe yet) and some kale chips (I will do another blog post on that soon as they are amazing).

So the final pumpkin, I used half to make another huge batch of soup. and the other half to dehydrate.

If you don't have a dehydrator, you can use your oven. But an oven will use more electricity than a dehydrator.

So, I have found the best way to dehydrate things is to cut them quite small, especially items that hold a lot of moisture (which a pumpkin does)

First cut the pumpkin, scoop the seeds out and peel the skin off.

Then chop the pumpkin into small pieces

Half of the pumpkin that I used to dehydrate it, I had 2 bowls like this, they were heaped. It is quite interesting to see how small the pieces go when dehydrated.

After all the pumpkin is cubed, spread into the dehydrator, leaving gaps for the air to circulate. I put the dehydrator on 70 degrees for about 12 hours.

When the pieces are dry and not at all squishy, they are ready to store (I am storing in an old Douwe Egberts coffee jar) 

They come out as dried golden nuggets.

Look how much space they save, and they are OK to use for the next 3-6 months.

I will use them in the slow cooker, and they will rehydrate over time. They will rehydrate to the original form and then cook.

A perfect way to store food and use over Winter.


Freetown Christania

Earlier this week I was in Copenhagen with work.  Copenhagen is a city I really like, and I am very lucky to get to visit for work (although I would also like to go for a city break sometime and take the family)  I have written about visiting before, you can read them here  and here

Copenhagen is split into districts, we had about 20 mins spare, and we were driving near an area called Christania, so we had a quick walk around. 

Christania is a freetown built in 1971. You can only live there if you inherit a house. Decisions about the running of Christania are made as a group in the townhall. When you enter Christania there is a sign saying 'you are now leaving the EU'

The objective of Christiania is to create a self-governing society whereby each and every individual holds themselves responsible over the wellbeing of the entire community. Our society is to be economically self-sustaining and, as such, our aspiration is to be steadfast in our conviction that psychological and physical destitution can be averted.
— Jacob Ludvigsen, mission statement for Christania in 1971

The area is well known because of a road called 'pusher street' where it is 'legal' to sell weed. No pictures could be taken of that area for obvious reasons.

I think in Summer to place would be lovely, the vibe was very relaxed.  Now we are in Autumn the flowers are long gone.

The whole town is built around a lake, this is only a tiny section of the freetown, but here is what I saw.

Christania
Town hall Christania
Christania House
Christania
No adults allowed
Christania School
Christania School
Christania
Christania
Christania
Christania
Christania House
Christania House

 

Also there was Nemoland that I didn't capture, an area with a stage where bands play in Summer.

I think the ethos of the area is great, but I do wonder if this has changed over time to a place where it is 'legal' to smoke weed, and the original ethos has long been forgotten.

 



Autumn Bounty

Last week, it was one year since I received a phone call to say we had an allotment plot if we wanted it.

One year since I almost made the lady deaf by screaming, 'YES!'

And what a year it has been, I have learnt a lot.

And, I still have a lot to learn!

Some things have worked very well, and we have been lucky to have been able to eat from the plot most nights since about June. I don't know how much we have saved by doing this, next year I think I need to write things down more.

Trugs full of vegetables have been coming home every week, some being dropped with neighbours as we just can't eat that much. And the freezer is full! 

Recently I haven't been to the plot for a few weeks, not to spend quality time anyway. 

On Friday, I went to spend a few hours.  Just me and the bees still buzzing.

The fascination with kale continues, and we have three varieties (cavolo nero, Red Russian and Curly green) that will take us through Winter.

The pumpkins have been ripening very well. I am really pleased with how they have progressed, as you can see from my cheesy grin.

The flowers have been delightful. We have started collecting the seeds from the flowers we really liked this year.  

I sowed some green manure on the beds that had potatoes in earlier in the year, and they have a really pretty flower.  I will leave the plant growing until Spring when I will cut it down and dig it in, hopefully it should enhance the soil for next year.

The sweetcorn is finally ripening, and we had the first 2 cobs on Friday, they were delicious!

Lettuce is still going strong

And, what is this, I spy?  The brussel sprouts are finally starting to form, hopefully they will be ready for Christmas. I love sprouts and my plants have been suffering terribly from club root (something I didnt know I had in the soil) so I only have 2 surviving plants.  Fingers crossed I can pick these on Christmas day.

Lately

Such a terrible title I know. But, it kind of sums everything up.

Summer is just about over.  It seemed to go far too quickly.

And, I really didn't make the most of my favourite season.

When I had time away from work the weather wasn't great, or the kids were playing with their friends, making me kind of redundant.

A feeling I haven't had before, but a realisation that the kids are getting older and need their own space and time.

But also, I realised we really need to make 'family time' (such a sickening term), but I do miss spending quality time with the family.

Everyone rushing around.

I haven't really been taking time to sit back and remember the things that are actually important.  Things that make me feel whole.

So, this weekend. Everyones individual plans were put on hold and we went for a walk.

Together, as a family.

We haven't done it for such a long time. 

It was up lifting.

The Autumn signs were around.

And with a change in weather, a melancholy mood always starts in me, for a few weeks until I can adjust to the new season and see it for what it is.  

Just a movement in time.

One to be enjoyed and savoured. (Although I may need to wear an extra layer, or pull my boots out of the cupboard.)

When autumn darkness falls, what we will remember are the small acts of kindness: a cake, a hug, an invitation to talk, and every single rose. These are all expressions of a nation coming together and caring about its people.
— Jens Stoltenberg

 

 

Sweet and sour pickle

With the mountains of courgettes (or zucchini for my no UK friends) I am growing at the allotment, I need to make something with them to use them up.

Here is a sweet and sour pickle I made, great on burgers or hot dogs, or just on anything you fancy. I have to say this isn't my original recipe I found it on the internet, took a screen shot and couldn't find where I got it from, when if find the source I will link back to it.

For those who don't like courgettes (or zucchini) it doesn't taste at all of them, in fact you really cant tell it is made with them.

Here is what you need

INGREDIENTS

12 courgettes / zucchinis

3 large onions

2 red bell peppers

1 green bell pepper

100 grams of salt (without anti caking agent in the ingredients, known as canning salt or pickling salt in the US)

400 grams sugar

595 ml white vinegar

1 tablespoon of nutmeg

1 tablespoon of ground turmeric

1 tablespoon of mustard powder

4 tablespoons horseradish 

1 chopped chilli

HOW TO MAKE

 

If you have a food processor, now would be a great time to use it, with the grater attachment.

If not, grate or finely chop the following ingredients - courgettes, onions, green bell peppers, red bell peppers.

Put the chopped / grated ingredients into a bowl and add the salt, stirring very well.

Cover the bowl with cling film and leave overnight for some of the liquid to come out of the vegetables.

The next morning, strain the liquid from the bowl and keep the grated vegetables, when the excess liquid has gone, add the grated vegetables into a large pan.

Into the pan, add the sugar, white vinegar, nutmeg, ground turmeric, mustard powder, horseradish and the chopped chilli (leaving in the seeds).

Stir well, and put the pan onto the hob.

Bring everything to the boil and then turn it down to a simmer for abut 45 minutes (you will probably need to open your kitchen window at this point as the vinegar starts to smell as it evaporates). Stir occasionally.

Whilst it is simmering, start to prepare the jars you will keep the pickle in. Sterilise the jars and have them ready.

After 45 or so minutes you can put the pickle into your jars.

This will make about  1 1/2 litres of pickle.

After you have made it leave to cool and you can start to eat, it doesn't need to be left to mature.

 

THE RESULT?

 

It seems like a lot of steps are needed to make the pickle, but it is really quite easy if you have the time to leave the vegetables overnight in the salt.  It is REALLY worth it.  

I thought I would have too much, but I am already planning making another batch but making more as it has nearly gone.

The pickle has a lovely sweet and sour quality.

Enjoy!

Photocise

It has been a while since we went for a walk and I took the camera.  Not sure why, I just haven't really felt in the mood for the last few months, but the mood is taking me again, so we went for a walk locally in Yorkshire.

A path I have seen many times but we didn't know where it went to.

So we went to find out, this is what we saw.

hole in tree
blackberry starting to ripen

And where did the path lead? 

To McDonalds.... really it did.

So the kids were treated to a ice cream and we walked back home.

Photocise - walking, mild exercise and taking photos as you go along, you can see more about it from Annies at Manmmasaurus  here