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I was inspired this morning by one of my favourite food blogs Country Woodsmoke to share a snippet of our Christmas feasting – this was our Christmas meal yesterday snapped briefly before it all disappeared.

We had a roasted turkey thigh (perfect for two, and all delicious dark juicy meat), roasted carrots, parsnips and shallots, goose fat potatoes, and finely sliced sprouts tossed with crispy bacon.  I also had a good dollop of homemade bread sauce.

This was by far the tastiest and most enjoyable Christmas dinner we’ve ever made.  Happy Christmas everyone!

Just made tonight – not yet eaten – a winter root coleslaw with a mustardy dressing.  I used a green kohlrabi, carrots, white cabbage, golden beetroot and Chioggia (pink and white stripe) beetroot.  All raw, just sliced thinly by hand and then cut into strips.

For the dressing I used up some creme fraiche and mixed it up with mayonnaise.  Then I added wholegrain mustard to taste – I wanted it quite tangy as it gets diluted the moment you mix it with the vegetables.  We’re having this for tea with a homemade lasagne – it smells delicious and I can barely wait!

Last week we had incredible fish and chips from a place in Didsbury called Frankie’s Fish Bar, but it left me feeling guilty that all I’d eaten for dinner was deep-fried fish and potatoes. 

So I was determined the following night to fill us full of vegetables, and this is what I came up with…

All the vegetables were English, although not grown by me.  There were new potatoes, boiled and tossed in lots of salty butter and black better.  Pink and white radishes sliced in half, asparagus spears and baby carrots blanched and sliced.

Broad beans and fresh peas shelled and briefly cooked in simmering water.  Lots of seasonal salad leaves, crispy bacon shards, and those gorgeous nasturtium flowers (bought from Waitrose, so delighted they’re selling edible flowers).

Not a lot of complicated stuff, just a lot of shelling broad beans and slicing.  But really delicious – I want to eat more of this sort of food over the summer.

I so desperately want to have the time to write here again – I have a camera full of photos and lots I would love to share, I just don’t have the time.  I think I might pop!

We have, however, managed to plant some seeds last weekend – carrots, salad leaves, beetroot, radish, parsley, and peas…and today we spotted the first green pea shoots poking through!  So exciting!

This past weekend we went to Bath for a weekend away with friends.  On Saturday morning whilst I was waiting for Mr Rigg to arrive by train, I ventured in to the Bath Farmer’s Market – and what treats awaited me!

Incredible veggies – like these pink stripey beetroot and mixed carrots.  I bought a bunch of each.

Wonderful cured meats and sausages – bottom right is pancetta and Coppa, both of which found their way into my shopping bag, along with some Italian pinwheel sausages (back top left). 

Mushrooms of all kinds – I bought a box of those teeny tiny ‘Paris Browns’.

Cheeses of all kinds, including the award winning Bath Soft Cheese – somewhere between a Brie and a Camembert.

This is the lovely oil man, selling rapeseed oil made from his farm’s crops, and also making a selection of delicious dressings.  I usually make all my own salad dressings, but I couldn’t resist a bottle of his creamy Quince and Cider dressing.

The quince lady…well that’s not her real name (a bit more on her soon) selling a selection of beautiful homemade quince products.  Syrups, jellies, sweets and quince paste.

The choice of vegetables available at the farmer’s markets is outstanding.  All farmers markets around the country should have this kind of choice.  Everyone around the country should have access to vegetables like these.  Dark bunches of cavolo nero and pumpkins of all sizes and colours.

The aforementioned flowerpot bread – cheese and herb I think, baked in a terracotta flowerpot to give it that unusual shape.  Also deliciously tasty!

If you ever thought winter vegetables could be boring, here’s a picture to change your mind – amber pumpkins, pinky-purple onions, muddy carrots, fat beetroot, stalks of sprouts, bundles of spinach, dark curly kale, crisp stalks of celery, fresh broccoli, and the wrinkly savoy cabbage or those tinged violet.

And this stall selling their own cheeses, and various cheese products and accompaniments – chutney, cheesecake, soft cheese, and curd tarts.  I bought some of their ewes cheese which was incredibly delicious.

This was one of those cheats lunch that feels incredibly satisfying.  We went to the farmer’s market this morning and picked up a bag of onion and potato bhajis from one of the stalls, and from these our lunch was inspired using up some bits and pieces.

The other week we pulled up the last of the carrots from the garden – these were scrubbed, sliced into lengths and roasted in the oven tossed in a little olive oil. 

Once soft and starting to crisp at the edges, you take them out and mash them roughly with some ground cumin and dried oregano.  A final touch of crumbled feta cheese and fresh mint.

We warmed the onion bhajis up in the oven along with a couple of naans from the freezer - I used a new technique learnt from Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals of scrunching up a piece of baking paper, wetting it then wrapping up your naans or tortilla wraps before putting them in the oven.  They come out beautifully soft.

In true Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals style we served everything on a wooden board, with a small bowl of Greek yoghurt and ate the lot with salad and much finger licking!

Still on the phone camera – new camera to come soon I hope!

I am getting a backlog of lovely posts that I want to share – overdue recipes for cooking with a glut of lettuce, two homemade summer drinks, and the last of what I got up to with the little sister (and more importantly what we were eating!).

However, for now I wanted to share this delicious garden salad we had tonight.  I’m very proud of the fact that everything was grown by me from seed.  This was a salad that I truly nurtured.

Here’s everything seconds after being pulled from the earth or cut…

Baby carrots – a type called Paris Market Baron that produces carrots that are fat and round.  Perfect for anyone growing in rocky soil!  And radishes – my favourite kind, French Breakfast, with their elegant long body and crisp white tips that gently blush to a deep pink…

Pretty spring onions – sorry I can’t remember what type they are!

Vibrant green Little Gem lettuces…

And my edible discovery of 2010 – that you can eat radish seed pods!  A big thanks to Alys Fowler and her series The Edible Garden for opening my tastebuds to the joy that is radish pods.  Simply leave some of your radishes to flower (or if you’re like me they do this out of neglect…), then the flowers turn into these elfin shaped pods and eventually fatten up.  Eaten they – unsurprisingly – have a radishy taste…

After trimming the hairy roots from the spring onions, washing the dirt from the carrots, slicing the radishes into discs and arranging them all in a pretty dish this is what it looked like…

lovage

After a long week with the little sister (who’s been staying with us while on work experience) things are finally getting back to normal in our house.  The weather is surprisingly mild and you might even describe it as sunny! 

N and I spent the day in the garden doing a number of jobs.  N has been re-filling, re-sanding and re-painting our ‘new’ old front door which has been a nightmare (it’s a long story…) – this is what it will look like one day (but not left white – we’re going to paint it a lovely dark sea blue)…

frontdoor

I tidied my vegetable beds a bit and started to sand my new desk top which has been fashioned out of an old ledge-and-brace door. 

I have been trimming the raspberry canes, cutting down sprawling mint (which is all over my garden), and digging up the remaining carrots and spring onions.  Just look at those carrots – slightly overgrown and unloved…

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And these are the Paris Silverskin onions I planted back in the spring, that have been utterly neglected with our manic summer – I’m going to try using them as normal onions, or perhaps in a salad, we’ll just have to see if they taste of anything…

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The bunnies were both out and about today.  Borage was in the run and Lovage had free reign of the garden…he was discovered in one of the raised beds amongst the carrots.  Rather than munching on the carrot tops from those that I had dug up, he was sampling those on the small carrots that are still growing – grr!

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And here is Lovage flying through the air as he leaps across a hedge of garden cuttings and a tangle of nasturiums!

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This is Lovage’s new den…

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Back tomorrow with a recipe – not sure which one yet!

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You know it’s a good start to the day, when wondering to the bottom of the garden to harvest a lettuce for lunch you can stop to snack on freshly podded peas and the odd alpine strawberry.

My vegetable garden is really starting to produce now.  This week I have pulled the first spring onions and the first proper harvest of carrots. 

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The spring onions are Paris Silverskin onions, which bulb up for pickling, and are I have discovered quite mild in taste.  They are so beautiful and perfectly formed.

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The carrots are Paris Market Baron’s which are (like the spring onions) bulbous.  Rather than growing downwards they plump up into tubby round orange roots.  They are beautifully sweet and have matured much quicker than my Rainbow carrots which are still developing.

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Here are the first thinnings of the Rainbow carrots.  I was them under the outside tap and munch on the tiny sweet roots.  The carrot tops and any carrots too tiny for me are given to the lucky bunnies.

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And here is Lovage wondering why I keep trying to take his picture…

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I must admit that although I did have time to post last night after the stinky boyfriend went to bed, I instead curled up on the sofa with a very cuddly bunny to watch recorded episodes of the Great British Menu.  Borage was unusually friendly last night, and even relaxed enough to rest his chin on my arm – he even had a little snooze and did lot of eye fluttering and paw twitching…I can only guess he was running through lush green meadows in his dreams.  Funny bunny.

Borage watching tv

Borage watching tv

It was only two weeks ago when I posted my April garden update and yet the garden has changed so much since then – the photos were in fact taken at the beginning of the month, but still the changes are notable.  The incredibly warm sunny weather we have experienced recently has probably has something to do with the growth spurt.  I realise my last garden update was pretty dull, so I have taken lots of photos this time – I do enjoy documenting the changes that the garden goes through as things sprout, grow, fruit and eventually die back.

Those delicate little lettuce seedlings that I bought and carefully protected under improvised cloches are doing really well, with gorgeous glossy leaves.  You might notice I’ve suffered two losses of the green batavia (one rotted early on, and the other snapped off, but left a couple of tiny leaves which seems to be recovering well if a little behind the others):

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It is becoming very difficult to resist picking these luscious frilly leaves:

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The first set of radishes are starting to plump up nicely into small rubies:

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These are small cos lettuces that I have sown from seed:

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And beautiful burgundy coloured red oakleaf lettuce:

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This is one of my raised beds.  I have planted to rows of peas, and in between them rows of different salads – some baby leaf, some whole lettuces. 

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The peas are doing so well and I can’t wait to shell my first pod and pop the first pea into my mouth:

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I adore the way they curl their tendrils around the pea sticks and twine.  You can almost watch them stretching out their delicate tendrils, and wrapping their fingers around whatever they can find.

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I have sown two types of spring onion – ‘Guardsman’ for salads and ‘Paris Silverskin’ for pickling.  Both rows are looking healthy:

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The tiny carrot’s have unfurled their frothy green foliage :

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The rows of oriental saladini and baby leaf salad are starting to form their individual leaves – some round, some spiky, some lush green, others deep purple:

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Enough of salads and onto fruit.  My strawberry and raspberry ‘jungle’ has transformed from just a month ago:

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The wild strawberries are flowering and the raspberry’s have sent up lots of new suckers:  

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I will certainly be netting my blackcurrant bush this summer – last year the birds got most of the fruits:

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In the ‘greenhouse’ the seeds that I have sown are coming along.  There are sweetcorn seedlings:

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Uchi Kuri squash:

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Jack-Be-Little pumpkins:

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And my first cucmber seedling has sprouted:

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I will leave you with this lovely shot of Mr Blackbird sitting on ‘his’ spot as he does every evening as the sun sinks, singing his beautiful tune to us.

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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