Monday, 28 January 2013

windowsill allotment

Ok, so enough is enough - I'm ready to throw off  winter's woolly blanket now.
I have some daffodils on the dining room table and their sunshine colour is putting a skip in my step and making me restless.

I want to start growing things again!
But until I can get down to the real allotment, I thought I would make an allotment on my windowsill.
So, I've planted trays with broccoli and beetroot seeds and I'm going to grow some micro-veg.
I have a vision of harvesting tiny vibrant shoots in a few days time to sit atop a salad or sandwich.
We shall see - I will keep you posted!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

pawprints in the snow

Mr digandweed spotted these pawprints in our garden yesterday. We have seen them before and were intrigued as they seem to be almost single file.
What animal is responsible? Could it be a fox ......or maybe just an ordinary moggie?
 A search on google images proved inconclusive, but I am thinking that because there are no claw marks that maybe our mystery visitor is indeed a cat.

( There are not many cats in our neighbourhood, so we rarely see one in our garden)

Any ideas anyone? We would love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, 14 January 2013

and the snow came .....


Just as the floods recede and the wash road finally re-opens, so the snow comes! It is lovely though, how the shape of each branch and twig is defined by its wintery coat.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

bacon and celeriac soup : Nigel Slater

I was very happy to receive this book in my Christmas stocking - 

A beautifully written and photographed book.

The very first entry - January 1st- is for celeriac and bacon soup and
yearning for something more simple and warming for supper (with snow being forecast for the next few days) I armed myself with the knobbly root and set to work.

Celeriac, it seems, is often overlooked in this country in favour of more smooth skinned vegetables such as swede or turnip,  but this is a huge shame as it has a delicious flavour. All the savouriness of celery translated into a root.

I first encountered celeriac as a teenager on family holidays in France where neat little mounds of it mixed with mustard mayonnaise graced every local charcuterie.

During our first spring with the allotment, I bought a few celeriac plants. They were very slow to grow and I think suffered a bit from - wait for it, rather DRY conditions! This was 2011 not 2012! But nevertheless produced some flavourful, albeit small veg.

The recipe in Nigel's book also pairs celeriac with mustard and was creamy and full of flavour.

As warming and cosy as a pair of woolly socks on a winter's night!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

on a dull winter's afternoon

can there be anything more soothing and comforting to make than a loaf of bread? 
 It is easy to buy a good loaf or indeed make it in a bread machine, but nothing beats making it by hand. The wonderful alchemy that happens when flour and water are mixed with yeast always fascinates me. As you knead, a claggy mess turns into something alive and supple, soft and warm. When you hold it in your hands it is like holding a round, plump baby!
 The reward for a small amount of work is something delicious to eat and a house smelling of freshly baked bread.
 My favourite recipe for a basic loaf is one that I found on a Waitrose recipe card called rustic loaf.
I've also made the same recipe with half wholemeal and half white flour which also gave a good result.
 Delicious on its own with butter ....or jam...or cheese ...or pate ...or soup ....or anything really!!