Garlic Harvest 2015

Posted in Food and Drink, Plants and Gardens on December 31st, 2015 by Coffee

Just 2015 though. Yesterday seemed like a good day to fork up the garlic crop and get it under cover before the promised showers. Can’t recall any showers, but it was time to pull it up anyway.


Hopefully this year we’ve got enough to get us through both the planting season and the eating season. Think we were about 8 bulbs short this year and had to do a bit of a garlic splash and dash to get us through.

I suspect it’s going to be a bit interesting sitting on that outdoor furniture for a bit though!

It’s a start!

Posted in Food and Drink, Plants and Gardens on December 30th, 2015 by Coffee


They might not look like much, but what you see is a giant leap forward in orchard production. The first time we’ve managed to get a handful of anything much in all the time the trees have been in. It’s only taken four and a half years to get to this point!

I suspect it’s a combination of all that time, some extra watering this year, and so far at least a particularly light year for the dreaded grass grub beetle. Pity about a couple of hail showers, but we’ll take that.

There’s still peaches, pears, nectarines, a plum or two, and some apples to come this year. Assuming they make it! Here’s hoping.

Nice Melons!

Posted in Food and Drink, Plants and Gardens on March 25th, 2015 by Coffee

First time we’ve tried to grow melons in the tunnel house, and it seems they’ve managed to grow and ripen OK.


There were even are few sneaky extras that I hadn’t spotted hiding under the back leaves. Just have to make sure we eat them all before they go off. And to try and remember which was which to know what to plonk in again next year.

First chilli harvest of the year…

Posted in Food and Drink, Plants and Gardens on January 10th, 2015 by Coffee

And it was the pimento de padrons. Nine of them fried up in olive oil with salt. The saying goes that one in every ten is a hot one so I wondered if we’d get a goodie or not.


We started chewing through them from smallest to largest. By the time we’d got through the first seven with no surprises I was starting to doubt, but both the biggies were little bundles of hot goodness. Yum! Here’s to many more surprises.

Goodbye Supertom…

Posted in Food and Drink, Plants and Gardens on May 18th, 2014 by Coffee

Yesterday was a bit of a sad day. The frosts and shorter days finally started to take a toll on the last tomato plant remaining in the tunnel house, so it was time to say goodbye.

This plant has been an oddity from first I saw it growing up though the weed-mat and gravel in the tunnel house having (presumably) self seeded from another plant last year. But none of those plants have reached anything like the size or productivity levels that is one did!


At least six feet tall, and it’s provided a constant crop of eating and cooking toms, as well as batches of chilli jam and pasta sauces.

And as a last parting gift it assisted in the production of about 2 litres of green tomato chutney today.

Pulling it up from the gravel it appeared to have about 3 roots creeping though the weed-mat that have somehow sustained it though the season. If this is what you get from that sort of arrangement then I’m very tempted to just cut a few holes in the weed-mat and plant the toms in the soil rather than pots next season…

Bye bye, supertom! We’ll all miss you!

A new addition to the “orchard”…

Posted in Food and Drink, Plants and Gardens on May 15th, 2014 by Coffee

I hear that true orchardists are fairly dismissive of the toy plantations that us lifestyle blockers call orchards, but I’m going to keep using the term. And as always about this time of year we take stock a bit and try to work out what we’re missing. And this was it this season. (We actually planted them a while ago – Just clearing the camera of all the doings. Expect a few more catch up blogs to come!)


A trio of cider apples! All the better to make some cider with. But it’ll take a few more years before they’re producing enough to make a brew. And expect to be subjected to a glass if you visit after that!

Is that a red scone?

Posted in Food and Drink on January 30th, 2014 by Bec

On Monday we got a note to say that Wednesday was RED DAY at Adele’s preschool in support of the Heart Foundation. The suggested idea was to wear red clothes and have red food in her lunch box. Hmmmmmmmm. What red food did we have lying around that meant we didn’t have to go to the supermarket? It required a tiny bit of outside the box thinking and a bit of quick baking, but we came up with Red Scones.

I am not sure I have ever had a red scone before, so I wasn’t sure if they should be savoury or sweet. The choice initially seemed like it was between plain or cheese scones. For some reason a cheese red scone seemed a little odd to me. But then I went further out of the box and came up with the idea of red chocolate scones instead. (Mmmmm.. Chocolate!) After adding a bit of food colouring here they are.


And after a little baking they don’t look too bad.


Then added to her lunchbox along with a tomato and a red fruit squirt. I felt quite proud of myself that I’d managed to put together something on such short notice.


I was a little confused when I dropped her off and no other kid was dressed in red. And when the teacher was getting out her lunch said “Oh, what has mum been making today?” I said “red scones”… like, “What? Why? Doesn’t everyone bake red scones?!” About then I scratched my head and thought “maybe something is maybe not quite right here…”

When I got home I read the note more carefully and realised the real RED DAY is not until some week in Feb. Duh!

Now that I’ve already used up the red scone idea I have no idea what to make for the real red day. Do I just do the same red scones and call yesterday a trial run, or try to come up with something new?!

I’ll just hope that our lack of reading comprehension doesn’t rub off on the kiddies. And luckily she is still young enough not to be embarrassed by her silly mummy!

Last chance saloon

Posted in Food and Drink, Plants and Gardens on November 22nd, 2013 by Coffee

For the last two years I’ve been planting broad beans, trying them once and then giving away all the rest of them. This year I planted broad beans yet again. But I swore to myself that if I didn’t like them this year then that was it. All over. Never again.

So trying a different approach the very young pods were picked with some trepidation, cooked with some fried onion and bacon with even more, then eaten.


Let’s just say that between the 3 of us with teeth we managed to finish not just the plateful, but the whole pan of them. And would even make it again.

Maybe there will be some growing next year after all.

Though I’ve still got a lot of big pods that I’m not going to go near to give away this season yet!

Out of Onions

Posted in Food and Drink, Plants and Gardens on May 4th, 2013 by Coffee

the last onion

Yesterday was a sad day. It was the day we used the last of our home-grown onion supply. The last little tidler.

Given that the harvest was only on Christmas eve last year it would appear that if we’re serious about eating our own we better plant a few more this year!

But at least we’ve still got some garlic and shallots left. At least until the shortest day coming up when some will get planted out again for next year’s crop. And of course there’s still a few potatoes. Just a few…

Look familiar?

Posted in Food and Drink on March 23rd, 2013 by Coffee

chilli jam ingredients

That’s right, it’s the ingredients for another batch of chilli jam! Regular readers might be thinking I’ve used the same photo as last year, but there are some differences if you look closely enough!

The very last of last year’s batch is sitting in the fridge, so we’ve obviously both got the perfect amount for a year sorted. I think. I’m also only guessing that we’ve used the same recipe that we used last year, as we didn’t seem to note it down anywhere. Doh! Bookmarked this time though, on the assumption it is. We never learn.

What we have learnt is that a jam thermometer makes life a lot easier than trying to use cold saucers to estimate the setting point! Life would have been a lot simpler if we’d leant that before the apricot jam session!