Sunday, 19 September 2010

Cup cakes

For Christmas last year, Simon, Vicky and Imogen got us a whole load of cup-cake goodies. I've had various atempts at icing, never to much success.
So when Amy Lane said that she was running cake decorating classes, I signed up.
After a few fun-filled hours of tuition, here is the result:I'm so pleased!!! Thanks Amy

Pickling beetroot

I like beetroot in my salad/ploughmans. And so, as I grow my own, each year I make a big jar of pickled beetroot. Until now, I've never blogged about it, which is daft as I then check about 3 other sites for recipes and do a mash-up of these and my own style.

So, I grab a big pan-full of smallish beetroot, and boil for 45 mins - 1 hr.

During this time, steralise the jars you're going to store the beetroot in, by washing and drying in the oven.
When the beetroot are cooked, peel (this should be fairly easy as the skin will just come away with your fingers).

Whilst doing this, heat up your vinegar - I use the Sarsons pickling vinegar so that I don't have to worry about spices or any thing.

Slice the beetroot adn add to the jar. Pour over the hot vinegar and put the top on the jar.
Be careful - you'll stain yourself!!!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Slow-cooked courgettes on toast

So today is a day for me to try cooking new things with the veg. We had excess courgette, as I forgot to give my mum any when she visited yesterday. So, on the recommendation, I tried the Slow-Cooked Courgette on Toast recipe by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, as per the Guardian website.

So this is very easy, and yes, it does get much sweeter as it cooks down, but probably won't be repeated, too sickly for us . Hey ho, at least we tried.

Beetroot Soup

I've been aware that we haven't posted much about what we do with the delicious produce that we produce. That's because we don't necessarily push our boundaries that often, so what we cook seems obvious to us.

This week, we had quite a lot of beetroot (I picked a load to take to the Alton Allotment Association Show). So decided to make something exciting with them.

I've got the Sarah Raven's Garden Kitchen book, and picked the Roast Beetroot Soup recipe, which I have then amended to fit my own preferences. You might find the book a good (and better) starting place.

So what I cooked is:
Makes about 6 portions

2 large beetroot, scrubbed and leaves off
A few Swiss chard and beetroot leaves, shredded
1.5 litres chicken stock
Dash of Olive Oil
4 shallots, finely chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 small pototoes, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
A small amount of plain yoghurt


  1. At 180 degrees C, roast the beetroot for 1 hour

  2. Take the shredded chard/beetroot leaves and boil in 500ml of the stock for 5 mins.

  3. In a frying pan, gently fry using the olive oil the shallots, chopped carrots, chopped potatoes and crushed garlic.

  4. Add these to the stock pot, and add the rest of the stock. Simmer for 8 minutes.

  5. Rub the skin off the beetroot and chop up.

  6. Put in a blender together with a small amount of the stock mixture. As you blend, gradually add the rest of the stock mixture. I did this in two batches.

  7. Run the soup through a sieve.

  8. Serve hot with a swirl of plain yoghurt.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010


Tuesday 31st August 2010 was the 2010 Alton Allotment Association annual show. You may remember last year, the first time I entered, my cabbage came 3rd :)

This year, thought I would try again, but not hopeful as I didn't even have a cabbage to enter! So over the couple of days before the show, I was to be seen picking, cleaning and leaving veg as appropriate, so that I could take it to enter. Here is the produce, ready to go to the show!
During the judging of the show by the Mayor of Alton, we had a quiz. My team 'Lost the Plot' came 2nd (31 1/2 ponts, the team that came first had 32). So I won a small prize for that :D

So after this, it was to go and see the results of the judging, would I have any placements? I already knew I wouldn't win the Longest Runner Bean or Biggest Potato categories, but perhaps something else might get place? Well it did, my courgettes are the 2nd best in Alton :D

Who knows what will happen next year?