Thursday, 23 July 2009

Monsters lurking on WTA!

Yeah, I know! I shouldn't have let these courgettes get so big, but hey, it happened...and these two monsters are being converted into four different varieties of courgette soup (see recipes I'm using in my links) as I write. Perhaps I should rename this bed the "Sigmund Freud Organic Bed" in honour of the incredibly phallic fruits that are abounding there! One of the 'mammoth courgettes picture has already made 5.5 litres of soup alone. In the past few days I felt like oneof the characters of the classic film 'Jaws' as I set out for WTA. I've known that lurking somewhere in that non dig bed is the mother of all over-sized courgettes that needs to be hunted down, harvested and then turned into some edible form!
The amount Courgette recipes on the net is astounding and exciting. Being a bit of a fan of Jamie Oliver I delved into his "Happy days" cook book and used his courgette salad recipe (See recipe links). The recipe is a corker and a great example of how British cooking has and is still being revolutionised by some creative thinking. My main challenge right now is to find and make a large variety of genuinely superlative courgette soup recipes...

Here's some courgette soup I made earlier!

The finished product...
with still more to make!

Faced with a further courgette surge The Hearing Scientist cleverly suggested we try char- grilling some of the smaller fruits emerging on the plants . A foray out onto WTA yesterday evening pr produced a a further three or four more kilos of courgettes. We then fired up the gas BBB in the back yard and formed a cutting and char-grill production line with the following results...

These Mediterranean -style delicacies are being frozen this morning and will be pulled out and eaten as and when needed in the autumn and winter.

Part of the onion crop (whites) Mariner Tim helped plant late last year were harvested this morning - a process that fed my increasing fascination with the onion as a plant and a desire to grow even more (I've already ordered some sets from Dobies and plan to grow more from seed rather than set in the coming year). Onions are a big part of my cooking and it's been brilliant to simply cross the road, dig some from the dark soil, take them back to the house and use them straight away. Mariner Tim is mucking about on boats with the glitterati somewhere off the coast of Monaco, but he might get to enjoy the fruits of his labours when he returns and the onions store well.

The 'Late' seed potatoes arrived this week so it won't belong before I have the little beauties in the ground in the next few days. A quick dig of some main crop spuds that are dying off was like uncovering a treasure trove of large, uncut white diamonds from the soil, cow manure and straw covering them.

Things are growing at a rate of knots with the warm weather we've been having and you can see from the pic below there's no shortage of great, fresh produce coming on. I'm just off to see what else is lurking out there...Grow well!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Parmex carrots and broad bean bruchetta

No, they're not radishes or golf balls with green stalks,! They're the Parmex carrots and courgettes now in season and being picked nearly every day of WTA...

The size and shape of Parmex carrots makes them extremely versatile. for cooking on the BBQ, being put raw in salads or being steamed. Planting two, four metre rows of 'parmex' seemed pretty ambitious but I'm really glad I gave them the space I did considering the taste how many that already eaten as part of lunches and dinners.

This year I've stuck with Thompson and Morgan seeds to grow my courgettes (Soliel & Defender) and it's turning out to be another amazing year for these under-rated vegetables.
Take a look at the new WTA 'good recipes' links section to see what's happening with some of the produced including courgettes being picked right now. Fresh courgettes have a real buttery taste to them. and like so many vege benefit from being cooked ASAP after being harvested.

WTA's BBQ Courgette recipe.
1. Heat BBQ grill for 15 minutes.
2. While the BBQ grill is warming pick your courgettes.
3. Cut the Courgette lengths ways into relatively thin strips (about 1cm max).
4. Place courgettes on the BBQ grill.
5. Cook for approximately 10 minutes until char grilled but not limp!
6.Serve and eat (drizzle with virgin olive oil or balsamic vinegar if desired)

Nige the psych swung through WTA this weekend. Nige is a "foodie" so it was great to be able to o offer him all that is coning off the plot right now. Last night I went out picked some broad beans (Long Pods) and then made a broad bean bruchetta (see WTA recipe links). The result was stunning if I do say myself! Like courgettes, broad beans are underrated or even hated by many! This is probably because people are used to eating them after the beans have been cooked within an inch of their lives and have a deathly grey appearance about them. Luckily there seems to have been an groundswell amongst chefs to end persecution of this delicious legume with the publication of numerous tremendous recipes for these beans. Going by the prices some supermarkets are charging for broad beans this year, there are plenty of financial benefits to raising these easy-to grow vege.Grow well...

Thursday, 9 July 2009 comes the weekend!

Thought I'd post a couple of pics taken a few weeks ago
on WTA. Some heavy rain this week has come as welcome
relief to the soil which dried out quickly during the hot spell.
Plans and jobs for the weekend include:
  • Planting out the last brassica seedlings (caulis and sprouts) I have.
  • Sowing autumn carrots.
  • Transplanting reamaining celeraic and sweet corn seedlings
  • A "cheeky sowing"of some more parsnips seeds.
  • Sowing some fennel seeds.
  • Transplanting a mass of golden beetroot seedlings left over from last week.
  • Transplanting 24 dwarf kale seedlings (I there's space!!).

The pics above are of some 'late' pumpkins I grew from seed being planted in a newly established bed. A large piece of carpet dumped in a nearby field by fly tippers last year was initially used to cover the new pumkin bed to kill off grass and weeds and clear the area. Ultimately a good result from a criminal act!

Leeks (grown from 'Wilkos' seed), climbing French beans (Cobra)
and some potatoes (White Wonder I think!) planted from 'left over' sprouting spuds a neighbour gave me in a bag and planted with the help of Johnny Bridgemiester in October last year! Grow well...