Monday, 14 August 2006

well I finally lifted my Pentland Javelin potatoes on Saturday. The foliage has been dying back for around 3 weeks and the slugs had already nibbled a couple, so I didn't want to leave them in too long. Am now the proud owner of 4 blue trays worth of different sized potatoes.

Lifted the remaining shallots and garlic, the additional growing time they've had has made quite a difference and they are definitely my biggest - intend planting next years as soon as I've found some 'sets'.

Counted my courgettes at the weekend (why not), after giving 4 to the next door neighbours ("no, really, do take them, yes - all of them") had 34 left - sigh. Made Tim's courgette bread - that got rid of 5, OH used another 2 for tea, so only 27 more to go !!! Noticed another 6 ready to pick - ignored them, its going to my new tactic - shall just walk straight past them.

OH filled all the water butts up, which were absolutely empty. We only water the plants in the potting shed (tomatoes, peppers, cucumber and aubergines) every 2-3 days, so this is only the third time we've had to fill the butts. The rest of the plants are having to endure Sahara conditions, but they seem to be doing quite well all in all, although we finally seem to be getting some rain.

Currently have 7 pumpkins, none of them are huge, but OH is suitably impressed. Had our first roasted Turks Turbin on Friday - very yummy. The butternuts are looking h-u-g-e, by the time they've ripened I think I'll need help carrying them home.

Had our first roasted tomato sauce on Saturday - with allotment shallots, garlic and basil, accompanied by panfried potatoes with garlic and sage. Gorgeous.

Picked about 10lb of blackberries last week and having spent hours looking at recipes, settled on blackberry and apple jam. The house was filled with the most delicious smell and now have two medium kilner jars and 2 jam jars of lovely jam. Wanted to make some blackberry jam too, but OH insists I've already made more than we'll eat in a year, so settled for some blackberry cordial. It was very easy to make, but I haven't got a thermometer yet (mum, OH - take note, here is a Christmas hint) so it was difficult to judge whether it was boiling at 100◦C or higher. After 5 mins of boiling, cooled it slightly and then bottled. There was a tiny bit left, so I sampled it, in the spirit of quality control of course. Tastes just like Ribena, wow, its so nice. Later, when it had cooled, OH started to hover around - decided to pour himself a glass, unscrewed the top, tipped bottle up ... and found cordial had set into jelly !!!!! After a bit of shaking and muttering, he was able to get some liquid (although very gloopy) cordial into a glass. Sigh, will try again - it still looks / tastes fab, just difficult to get it out of the beautiful, but VERY narrow necked bottle its in.

Have another 2lb in the fridge waiting for a decision ... wonder if you can combine them with courgettes ...