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So, my kefir making is going well – yey! I haven’t killed it off! I was worried that I wasn’t going to do well with it as it requires a little bit of love each day, but I actually enjoy taking care of it.
You might have seen my first post when I received my kefir grains in the post, well since then I’ve been nurturing each evening and this is what it looks like…
Each evening when I come to open my jar of grains and milk it looks something like the above. I think because the weather has been so warm it’s been splitting more than normal, but I just ignore its looks and get on with it.
You might imagine that raw milk that’s been sat in a jar on the counter top for 24 hours would smell pretty rank – but it doesn’t. I’ve even had some raw milk out on the side for a few days to make it sour (great for making soda bread I’ve read) and I was convinced there would be that terrible ‘gone-off’ milk smell I’m sure we’re all familiar with – but no, barely a smell at all, just a hint of sourness.
We have spent the last week away in the Perigord/Dordogne region of France and had a lovely time, eating lots of good food and visiting a market every day to buy ingredients – I’ll be sharing photos as soon as I can set aside some time to pull them together.
Last night we had soup for dinner, which I don’t often think is ‘enough’ to make an evening meal, which is silly really because we always enjoy it and never go hungry. I made up a soup, knowing that I wanted a big hit of green vegetables, so I gently fried a red onion, two small bulbs of fennel, a couple of garlic cloves and then added chopped courgette.
Once this had cooked a little I added 1 litre of vegetable stock and simmered before adding some peas. Finally I added shredded spring greens and mint from the garden, then blitzed the whole thing before it went from that vibrant green to sludgy green. We ate it sprinkled with a little finely sliced mint, a blob of herby garlic cheese and decorated with some edible flowers, and a sliced of toasted homemade bread drizzled with olive oil.
Yesterday I dug up my horseradish plant that’s been growing all year not having any idea on what to expect. It certainly put up a fight trying to dig it out, with at least two long roots that disappeared into the depths of my raised bed and beyond. In the end I had a good poke about, took a couple of long roots and put the main plant back in the soil – it’s got lots of new growth and hopefully it will continue to grow. Only time with tell.
Mr Rigg made us Jamie Oliver’s meal for baby Yorkshire puds with a creamy smoked trout and horseradish pate. The horseradish was for the smoke trout, and we just grated it in – the heat from the horseradish was incredible. Along with a pile of green leaves it made a light and delicious dinner. And very satisfying to use our own homegrown horseradish.
Following yesterday’s post on processing large amounts of pumpkin puree, we put the first lot to use in a Pumpkin Cinnamon Spice Bread. I followed a recipe from Sunny Side Up in San Diego for Pull-Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread.
Originally the recipe came from this Pumpkin Spice Pull-Apart Bread with Butter Rum Glaze created by Willow Bird Baking – a brilliant blog full of delicious sounding recipes.
It is such a delicious, soft bread that I will definitely be making it again – I would like to try it with less sugar and more pumpkin though. It involves making a bread dough that has the pumpkin puree in, then rolling this out, brushing it with butter and covering in a sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg mix.
You get to then press it in with your fingers…
I am very proud of my homegrown tomatoes, even if I did buy them as tiny plants rather than grow them from seed. I decided to pick quite a lot of the red ones before the slugs and rain did too much damage – I was holding out for a couple of green ones to ripen more, but decided this would likely leave me with half munched on tomatoes if I left it much longer.
I’m pretty impressed with this haul of tomatoes, and there are still plenty of greens ones on the plant, so we’ll see what happens with them.
Yesterday’s prize-winning potatoes became yesterday’s dinner. First we popped the first prize-winning, homegrown potatoes onto skewers, rubbed them in olive oil and salt and then baked them until they were beautiful and fluffy inside.
We slathered them with a mixture of cream cheese and spring onions (with a touch of sour cream to loosen it up), and piled sliced salami and grated Parmesan on top. It was all we had left in the fridge but tasted pretty good.
Of the four items we entered at the produce show (pumpkin, 3 potatoes, raspberry jam, and sloe gin) we won two first prizes! One for our jumbo pumpkin…
And the other for our 3 potatoes – which we were really surprised about and very pleased…
Sadly our sloe gin and raspberry jam didn’t get a prize, but I did make them pretty labels…
And the sloe gin was snaffled up by one of our local councillors…
So we’ve had two pumpkins in particular that have been steadily growing in size. I can’t quite believe I planted a variety that grows so big, but hey-ho, it’s all good fun.
Tomorrow we’ve got our local Produce Show so we’re going to enter one of them along with some potatoes, possibly some tomatoes, and a few other bits and pieces.
I’ve never had much luck with tomatoes, I don’t have a greenhouse and the English weather seems to be terrible to them. Sometimes I get tomatoes, but then the never ripen, maybe I’ve just had the wrong variety or not cared for them enough.
It must be said, I like my plants (ornamental or edible) to not need a lot of care, I like them to get on with growing without having to be fussed over and tended to too often. That being said, this year, one of my three tomatoes plants is doing really well.
I bought a set of three Jamie Oliver tomato plants, I really liked that they all came as different varieties – I chose a set that had a red variety called Tomatoberry (this is the one that’s doing well), a green and orange striped one called Green Zebra (a few tomatoes on that, none ripening yet), and a yellow variety that hasn’t done well at all.
Yesterday we spent a couple of hours at the allotment digging up our potatoes – I can’t believe the amount and size of some of the potatoes we dug up.
So just from one row…
We dug up this overloaded basketful of gorgeous red skinned potatoes…