29 July 2013

Little Things

..borlotti beans (Firetongue)..

..butternut squashes...

..French climbing beans (Blauhilde & Fasold)..
Mrs V x

20 July 2013

Rhubarb Syrup

 This is one of my favourite summer drinks to cool down with. Fill your glass with ice, add a little bit of rhubarb syrup and top up with water. Why not try it with tonic water to make it fizz or lemonade for extra sweetness. If you're feeling festive, why not add some rhubarb syrup to your summer punch.

I found this recipe from the amazingly beautiful blog Suvi Sur Le Vif :
For the rhubarb syrup you will need

At least 500 g of rhubarb
100 ml of water
Juice of a lemon

Chop your rhubarb and add it to a saucepan. Add 100 ml of water  and the juice of a lemon. Slowly bring to boil and mix once in a while. Reduce the heat, pop a lid on and let it simmer for half an hour.

You only need enough water to start of the rhubarb syrup, but you could add more if you wanted to. However, remember, the more water you add the milder the taste of rhubab will be in your syrup.

Sieve the rhubarb mix to separate the liquid from the rhubarb through a a fine sieve. If you want the syrup to be bright in colour, use a muslin cloth at this stage. Be sure to extract all the liquid from that rhubarb.

And then it's time to get technical. Measure the liquid. You will need 40 grams of sugar for each 100 ml of liquid.

Add the liquid and sugar to a sauce pan, bring to boil while mixing it and let it simmer for about 5 minutes until all the sugar has dissolved and the liquid gets a syrupy consistency.

Let the syrup to cool down and bottle it to a clean glass bottle or glass jar.

If you have loads of rhubarb, I would suggest making double as this will last couple of months in the fridge. I made some of this syrup at the start of the summer and our supply of it has disappeared rather quickly. In addition to the rhubarb drink,  some of my favourite combos to to enjoy it with have included...

... strawberries, mint and natural yoghurt for breakfast...

...and meringues, whipped cream, strawberries and mint for dessert. 

Luckily the rhubarb is still going really strong at the allotment with new shoots coming out all the time, so there is still time to do more syrup. Off to the allotment to pick up some rhubarb it is then!

Mrs V x

18 July 2013

Corn on the Cob

The corn has definitely been enjoying this hot weather. 

I can't wait for the cobs to be ready and this is what I will be doing with them on the barbecue:

For the spicy butter you will need:

handful of coriander
generous amount of paprika
sprinkle of salt
lime juice 

Put everything into a food processor and blend until smooth. Wrap 2 corns at a time into a foil package and pop some butter in. And the corn is ready for the barbecue. Simples. 

Wrap any left over butter in baking paper. Keep it in the fridge for a week or so or freeze and use when needed. 

Mrs V x

16 July 2013

The Beauty of Blauhilde

Picked and cooked (and eaten) -all within 30 minutes. It doesn't get fresher than that. 
It feels like the bean picking season has truly started again as every time we come away from the allotment our pockets are filled with some beans- mainly green and purple French beans, but we did get a few runner beans the other day too and the borlotti beans are coming along too. 

This year I have been utterly charmed by the beauty of the Climbing French Bean Blauhilde's flowers. They bring such a gorgeous colour to the allotment, don't you think? 

Mrs V x

12 July 2013

Pumpkin Lady's Little Darlings

..in other words Pumkin Watch Vol 2

Sometimes you have to do what's best for your pumpkins, which means being cruel and snipping off a tiny start of a pumpkin that has no room to develop where it flowered. 

What I've found to be absolutely brilliant to observe, is how the different pumpkin varieties can be recognised from the smallest fruit as they seem to have their distinctive shapes and textures of the skin straight from the beginning. Now, I must admit, rather embarrassingly, that I may have already lost count on our pumpkins.. But that's only a good thing in my books!

Enjoy the hot weekend everyone!

Mrs V x  

5 July 2013

Tidy up

A day of strimming, weeding, cutting, pruning, picking, raking and hoeing equals to a pretty tidy allotment.

We are still amazed of all the developments that have taken place within a week. 
Have a look at these photos:

The coriander has shot up into great heights. 

The pumpkin plants have doubled in size. 

The onions are fattening up. 

Flowers have appeared on all of our bean plants.

The sun flowers are now massive and what do you think of our 'little' artichoke plant? 

What made yesterday's hard work even more rewarding was going home with these goodies:

Mr V's mother left with some potatoes and a courgette. We are still waiting to pick our first courgette and it won't be long now. 

And ladies and gentleman, I know you all have been waiting for this and therefore I'm pleased to announce: 
It's time for Pumpkin Watch!

Allotment over and out. 

Mr and Mrs V x

3 July 2013

Out of office

While we have been holidaying (photos above), things have gotten a bit out of hand at the allotment. The best word to described the current state of it, is jungle. One big jungle. Without all the animals, of course. I guess we better pack a flask of tea and some baguettes with us and go and spend a good day there.

We started sorting everything out by carrying out an important task- this hardcore, no nonsense, hard duty Fiskars fork finally arrived to its final destination. Thank you L&N&A. I'm sure we will become best of friends with the fork indeed.

More updates to follow- so many wonderful things have happened at the allotment while we were away. Like these beautiful purple french bean flowers had appeared. 

Mr and Mrs V x
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