Friday, 16 September 2011

For all those who miss the blog...

Sorry I've not posted this season, but then I've not been to the allotment! A rollercoaster year for me so far. Currently buying a house - with a garden! - so hoping to blog about that when I get round to growing. Be a nice change to a rented flat with a balcony! This is the garden at the new house - keep everything crossed the sale goes through without a hitch... :) Hope you've all had a great gardening year! S.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Allotment blog love :)

hehe, I like this write up of The Green Grower blog over at Dobbies Gardening Blog:

"The Green Grower
In a bid to break free from the 9 to 5 world of work and a flat without a garden, Steph Jones embraced the beauty and enjoyment of an allotment. The Green Grower documents her journey from her very first day on the allotment. Since then Steph has shared her developments and offers good advice on growing all manner of things. Best of all there are plenty of tasty allotment recipes, including chocolate courgette cake, vegetable spaghetti and plenty of fruity booze."

PS: I am hoping to be back up the allotment sometime this week so hopefully blog posts to follow...
PPS: "Hello!" to anyone still reading :)

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Fame at last!

Woohoo! FAME!

Following on from the last post re the Knobbly Veg campaign, I sent off a photo from lottie of the loveheart spud, dug up and photographed by Nick earlier in the year. It is only now on the delicious Knobbly Veg Gallery :D

Meet 'Knobbly Veg 14'...

A proud moment indeed!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

We love knobbly veg!

Just read an article in the latest copy of delicious magazine. "We all love a comedy vegetable..." - yes, yes, we do! And it is true, the freakily-shaped veg tastes as good, if not better than their more beautiful relations. Take a look at the article & support the campaign here.

This image is fab!

Saturday, 25 September 2010


I should be at the allotment today but I'm not!

I've booked next week off work so I am taking some time to chill. It has been insanely busy at the day job. Designing books for kids takes a lot of hard work you know! We've been prepping for the annual book fair where all our new ideas get showcased to buyers. We spend a good couple of months intensely working on covers to sell these new ideas. Our office is one of 3 - the smallest of the bunch with just a handful of designers, me included - 7 of us. We did about a third of all covers produced (just under 400 this year, I think) which is a big achievement as there are around 20 designers in the medium-sized office, and around 2 or 3 times as many as that in the 'big' office! I've also been in charge of orchestrating the whole thing - keeping tabs on illustrators, commissioning, fees, invoices, designs, feedback from our bosses... all the while getting not one, but TWO books off to print at the same time! No wonder I am pooped. I just couldn't face next week at work and Friday just gone was our official book fair deadline, so I made a break for it!

I am off to see my folks in Lancaster later on today for a while. It is my dad's birthday Monday so we're looking forward to a zoo trip (family tradition!). Maybe I'll make him a courgette cake?! I'm hoping the weather is alright as I've heard whilst we've had a reasonably nice spate of sunshine, they've had rain and gale force winds. Think I'll pack some warm gear and my waterproof! I'll be back later in the week to tend to the allotment - see if the butternut squash have grown much since I last saw them budding up, and dig up my 'rooster' spuds, along with other jobs. I also want to make some glassy goodies too. 'Back to the Future' is being shown at the cinema (HUZZAH!) so I'll be seeing that and out for a friend's birthday meal.

In between all those things, I plan on chilling. I find this very hard to do, getting 'lazy guilt', but I'll give it a good go!

Hope you're well doing whatever you are :) I am now off to make a batch of veg curry with squash, spring onions, green tomatoes, runner beans and a pepper. It will be based on the veg spaghetti curry. Something for the freezer.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Ohhhhhhhhh, now I get it!

After all my pontificating about what a let-down 'Vegetable Spaghetti' was I simply had to cook it! Now it all makes sense. The chunks I'd cut the flesh into got made into a curry and, low and behold, look what happens...

It breaks down into strands that look like - that's right kids - SPAGHETTI! ha! That'll teach me to waffle on :P

The curry I made was this recipe:

I used home-grown tomatoes too - windowsill-ripened, of course! :) It is mighty delish! Something that could almost be made totally from lottie veg. I added some natural yoghurt this time but creme fraiche works well too. Do give this recipe a go. I've already made it with patty pans, but courgettes, pumpkins, sweet pots, marrow, any squash or even spuds would work.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Green Tomato Soup

(serves 6)
  • 1 oz butter
  • 1 lb green tomatoes, sliced
  • 8 oz potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 pints stock
  • 1 tin beans like barlotti/pinto/cannellini (I used the equivalent in dry lentils - around 1/2 mugful)
  • 1/4 tsp dried sage/thyme/mixed herbs/whatever (I used 1/4 tsp sage & 1/4 tsp mixed herbs, 1 bay leaf)
  • salt and pepper (JUST ADD PEPPER! My soup was too salty - forgot the stock has salt in it)
  • a handful of rice (I used easy-cook brown - 1/2 a mugful)
  • 125 ml single cream or a splash of chilli sauce (optional) (I used around 250 g natural yoghurt)

1. Fry the tomatoes, potatoes and onion in butter until softened.
2. Add the beans, stock, herbs, rice, salt and pepper and bring to the boil.
3. Simmer for 30 mins or until the veg is tender.

4. Blend the soup and return to the pan (I like it a bit lumpy).
5. Stir in the cream/chilli sauce, etc and reheat. (I didn't reheat it - it was still piping hot!)

Vegetable Spaghetti

Well, I didn't really want to harvest this yet but some pesky woodlouse was doing a good (bad!) job burrowing through it. I couldn't very well leave it to be consumed by nature so I took my first veg spahetti home. Here it is. A decent size. I understand you are meant to harvest these when they are yellow/orange so a bit premature :( Ho hum.

It was relatively easy to cut into it as I guess it hadn't formed a very hard skin. I am not saying it was a piece of cake - I'd compare it to cutting into a butternut squash. The smell was lovely and sweet, along the lines of fresh sweetcorn.

I was expecting more 'spaghetti' but I am guessing you get more of that as it matures?? There were lots of seeds amongst the tendril bits which were a bit of a pain to get out.

Well, a bit disappointing on the 'spaghetti' front if I am honest but then I do think it has been picked far too early. Nice flesh though.

Alas, the 'spaghetti' did not appeal too much to me so I have to say it got chucked. It had already started to go brown by the time I was done prepping the rest of the squash.

I've saved the flesh for a curry. Will see how it fares in the taste test :)

There is one more vegetable spaghetti squash still growing so we'll see if that one, left on the vine longer to mature, will be any better...

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Um... what do I do with it all?!

It's been a busy w/e doing my glass work. Sorting out a brochure, sending a company images & info for their website, making new glass, taking & editing photos... So, not much lottie time for me.

I didn't get out 'til about 7pm Sunday and only had a little time to do some weeding before it went dark on me. There was lots to harvest. Look at the silly amount of tommies I have.

Only 2 plants as well, planted directly in the soil with no special treatment - they are 'moneymaker'. Most are still green so I will see if I can ripen in batches - not enough windowsill space to do them all at once! Some are like apples! I am very surprised at how well they did this year after the tommie failure of last year.

Just look at the stupid amount of veg in my car boot! Tomatoes, courgettes, marrow, hooligan pumpkins, patty pans and a bucket o' runner beans. Took me 3 trips up and down stairs to get it all into the flat :P

This pic shows it a bit more organised in the kitchen. Looks like I have a busy week ahead! The runners went into the fridge as they go off the quickest. Next to sort is the tommies I think.

What a lot o' veg :P

Friday, 10 September 2010

Nom nom :)

So, bad Steph (again!), not been down the allotment for a while. I am sure everything is still growing away but I expect it is looking a little jungle-esque! I am planning on a salvage mission this w/e to put things back to rights and harvest what's ready. As usual, I've been busy with other things. I'm currently putting together a catalogue of my glassy goodies & working on commissions.

Last night I cooked up some of the veggies hanging around my kitchen, as it looks like a harvest festival! The pic above shows some roasted 'Hooligan' pumpkin seeds. I didn't really know what I was doing but they turned out reet grand. I added a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted at Gas5 for about 10-15 mins. The ones I didn't munch last night will make a tasty snack at work today. Waste not, want not :)

With the fine-looking 'Hooligan' pumpkin itself, peeling was a no-go so I sliced the little devil into two, added a touch of olive oil and roasted it too. Looking forward to scooping out the innards for dinner tonight :) Muhahaha! Ahem.

Don't suppose you remember the 'bell boy' pepper I got from Sainsbury's a while ago? Well, this is he. Look, FINALLY, the little peppers turned red. In a way it will be a shame to eat them. The plant looks great in my lounge in this red pot.

Another 'FINALLY' - the tonnes of tomatoes I've got from the 2 plants at lottie are turning. These ones are ripening on the windowsill. I am probably going to harvest all the remainder at the weekend & windowsill-ripen them too. Batches of tommie sauce ahoy methinks. The green ones I picked a while back are still lanquishing in the fridge. Also on my to-do list but they seem ok.

Hopefully next post will be photo-filled & actually down the allotment! I am also hoping to pick some blackberries this weekend. All this is weather-dependant of course. Fingers crossed for at least no rain!