17 Sep 2018

Garden gathered soup: Raymond Blanc recipe

Bowl of chunky vegetable soup


My son was feeling a bit peaky at the weekend so I made soup.  Not that I don't make soup at other times, it's just that soup with nutritious ingredients freshly gathered from the veg patch seems to be the perfect cure for autumn chills. (Of course the minute I typed those two words, the sun came out and it was really hot outdoors!)  I'm a big believer in the preventative power of good fresh food. (Beetroot seems to knock back the first signs of a cold for me. Works every time.)

It's a nurturing instinct isn't it, to provide good food to boost the immune system against seasonal change. My mum thought so, as did the mother of chef Raymond Blanc.  The influence of his mother's cooking, based on ingredients grown in the family garden, is well documented.  I was lucky enough to sample the soup inspired by 'Maman Blanc' when I attended a workshop at the RB Gardening School a few weeks ago. Admittedly, on that occasion it was made in a two Michelin star kitchen but it was so delicious that to say it was clean and fresh yet with complex flavours doesn't do it justice. For me, it captures the connection between the garden and kitchen and proves the reason I grow fruit, veg and herbs.

6 Sep 2018

In September's sweet spot (End of month view)

apple tree with fruit


If there's a month of the year that food growers need to be ready for, it's September. (Or August if you grow courgettes!) It's a month of plenty so hopefully we're all enjoying eating some of what we've grown and working out how to make the most of the rest. It's a busy time in the kitchen so, over the next few weeks, I'll be writing a few posts on how I'm using and storing what's ripe in my veg patch.

3 Sep 2018

In among the asparagus ferns (square foot gardening)



I've had a bit of a square foot garden experiment going on in the asparagus bed this year.  Five years ago, when I decided I wanted to try growing fresh asparagus spears, I ordered just five little plug plants - it's all about tiny tastes here - and set them out in a five dice shape in a one metre square raised bed.  Two of my five crowns have died off in the years since(1) so allocating a whole bed to one small perennial crop has made me think a lot about the waste of good growing space.

14 Aug 2018

Autumn sowing for winter leaves and spring flowers

Sowing seeds; autumn winter salad leaves
Time to get organised with some lists!

Sow, Grow, Eat, Repeat is one of my favourite hashtags as it's a reminder that despite the changing seasons, it's possible to carry on growing food throughout the year.  Yes, really. (What? You thought it was all over as the weather turns autumnal?) There are plenty of hardy vegetables that provide me with a good excuse to get outside in the garden, even in the middle of winter.  And what could be better than freshly picked produce brought back into the kitchen with a clear head and rosy cheeks?


8 Aug 2018

Timely tips for a heatwave garden



This summer has not been without its challenges for gardeners but I confess I'm enjoying the novelty of having a proper English summer, it's so nice to sit outdoors in the shade.  Daily watering of balcony plants in pots (tomatoes, chillies, salad leaves) has become a nightly ritual but I have to admit that watering pots downstairs in the garden is a hit and miss affair depending on the time available. But I have a few tricks up my sleeve for holding moisture in the garden for longer.

2 Aug 2018

30 degrees in the shade (July in the garden)

So... July; how was it for you?  Here, like most of the UK, it was hot and dry. For most of the month I despaired as seeds failed to germinate, pea and bean crops failed, and garden pests abounded.  I considered the very real possibility of making the veg patch into a perennial drought garden next year. It would be pretty and not much work. I still haven't booted that thought out but the month ended on a happier note.  I now have a garden tap. Not exactly nearby but only two hosepipes away round the back of the flats that overlook the garden. After a heatwave summer, it was an exhilarating moment to turn that tap on and soak the garden.





25 Jul 2018

Dahlias - Café au Lait and a book review

For the first time, this year I've introduced dahlias to the garden. I've always liked the look of them but a childhood dread has deterred me before now.

In the past I've resisted growing dahlias as I thought they attracted earwigs.  As a teenager living in the Yorkshire countryside, I regularly found earwigs in my bed in the summer. (All part of life's rich tapestry at the time.) I've no idea how they got there but my bed was by the open window in our large old house so perhaps that was it. (An alternative option involving my siblings has not been ruled out.) The upshot was that I developed a lifelong aversion to the fleet footed, pincer tailed beasties.

Dahlias and upturned flowerpot
Upturned flowerpots are a ploy to keep the dahlias in top condition - stuff them with straw and the story goes that earwigs will nest in there during the day and are thus easily despatched moved away from your prize blooms.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...