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Sunny meals in the garden

We British are always talking about the weather, it seems we are unable to have a conversation with anyone without mentioning it.  So here I am, talking about the weather – but what incredible weather it has been this past week!

Mr Rigg is convinced this is our summer, last year March was stonking hot, this year maybe it’s May.  I do hope this isn’t the end of hot, sunny weather for the rest of the year, just a few more occasional weeks like this would satisfy me.

Mr Rigg and Buddy

Like everyone I’m sure, we’ve been out in the garden, down on the allotment, cooking and eating outside, and quickly getting in a tan in case this really is our one and only week of warm, cloudless skies.

Some of our many meals eaten outside (and some even cooked outside!) have included this new favourite pasta dish of prawns, rocket and sundried tomato paste…

Spaghetti with prawns and rocket

A rather scrummy and also new favourite omelette with colourful cherry tomatoes from our local farmer’s market, crispy Serrano ham, shavings of sheep’s cheese and snipped chives from the garden…

Cherry tomato and Serrano ham omelette

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I have had a lovely weekend.  After travelling back to Cheshire with the little sister, I have…

  • Played with the bunnies and taken lots of photos of them

  • Made a scrummy summery vegetable barley risotto – topped with crispy bacon bits for us and veggie sausage for the little sister

  • Gone to the carboot and come back with a new dress, some charming old books and a  glass jug

  • Been to see the new Twilight film Eclipse with the little sister and felt like I was 16 all over again (Taylor Lautner is SO yum)

  • Come back to reality (although Taylor Lautner is still SO yum) and washed the dog

  • And made my favourite tomato spaghetti

Hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend too!

It is snowing here!  How exciting – it never snows here, it only ever rains…and rains some more.  So we are very excited to see big white flakes tumbling from the sky.

The bunnies have been out having fun in the snow – our littlest bunny and newest addition to our family seems to be getting along well with Lovage and so fingers-crossed will be staying…

She has a name too – Daisy.

Here is Lovage and Daisy having fun in the snow…

Borage, Lovage and Daisy had their first Christmas present (I didn’t know bunnies got presents at Christmas!) delivered today from the lovely Carole and Geoff at Fed & Watered.  Carole and Geoff, along with a lady called Clare are our bunnies ‘furry godmothers’ – they come and look after the bunnies when we go away on holiday.  They come highly recommended!

We have a new arrival at our house – this sweet little bunny:

She has no name as of yet, and will hopefully Lovage’s friend for life.  However, we are still trying to bond them, and she will only be able to stay if they get along together.  So fingers-crossed as she’s such a sweetie and very friendly – I’ll keep you posted.

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…

carrots

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…

springonions

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!

naughtylovage

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

flyingbunny

This is Lovage’s new den…

lovagesden

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

Very excitingly I have been nominated for a Dorset Cereal ‘Little Blog Award’.  I know I’ve been pretty lax on posting over the past week, but I promise I’ll get back into the swing – a busy return to work after being off ill has left me rather stressed and consequently eating a lot of bad things that are not worth sharing. 

If you’ve got a moment to pop over to the Dorset Cereal’s website and vote for me I’d be so pleased.  You can also find lots of other lovely blogs listed there too.  Just click on the ‘vote for me’ image in the lefthand column of my blog.

Lovage says “please vote for us!”

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As I’ve been bed-ridden for the past four days I haven’t done a lot of cooking (N has stepped into that role) or a lot in the garden.  So I haven’t really got a lot to share, other than that I am bored of sitting in bed.

I decided it would be a good chance to share some recent photos of our lovely bunnies – Borage and Lovage – enjoying themselves come rain or shine…

Borage wondering why his food bowl is empty, and could he please just have a little bit more…

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Borage mowing our lawn (he’s very good at it – N is a bit gutted that the bunnies do such a good job)…

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This next series of photos are of Lovage, who whilst out in the run encountered a rather heavy rain shower (we’ve had lots in England recently). 

Rather than being a sensible bunny and seeking cover under the shelter we provided, he decided he was hard enough to stay out in it.  N brought in a rather soggy looking bunny who was treated to a good rub down with a tea towel.  Silly bunny…

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Lovage wanting to know what we’re looking at…yes…your silly hair-do…

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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:

strawberrybed

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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This weekend has been a scorcher.  It is wonderful to be able to tell you that I’m writing this post in my garden, with the blackbird at his post singing his evening song, the hoverflies buzzing around my head, the smell of barbecuing meat wafting over the neighbouring fences, and two lazy bunnies reclining in the sun.

After spending the morning with N digging over my soon-to-be herb bed and giving it a good feed of bunny poo, I have spent the afternoon gardening – both in my own garden and a brief stint down on the allotment.  N is off playing cricket.

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Having finished all the digging, hoeing, weeding, sowing, planting, and watering that I can muster for one day, I decided I would let the bunnies out for a run around the garden.  They seem to have had a blissful day: Borage lolling on his back in the sun, licking his paws and thoroughly checking his long loppy ears for any rumpled hair before smoothing it out; Lovage is not a sun worshipper, and has been lying in the shade and occasionally knawing madly at the bars in an attempt at freedom. 

They are a nightmare in the garden at the moment and cannot be left unattended – they eat or decimate everything, and everything happens to be new and tiny and trying hard to grow.  So the bunnies have to be followed round the garden, and shooed on whenever they eat the wrong thing or look like they are hatching evil plans (Lovage) to hack new paths through my lupins. 

We let them out, one at a time, and it is delightful to watch them and the silly antics they get up to.  Both bunnies are very different, which we already knew, but seeing them in a much larger space really brings out they funny quirks. 

Borage is just on one frantic search for the next mouthful of food.  He can bearly contain himself, all these delicious green things all around him – the grass quite literally always looks greener just over there. 

Borage eating his way through my garden...

Borage eating his way through my garden

He is particularly partial to purple geranium leaves (I’m sure someone will tell me that my bunnies really shouldn’t be eating these as they’re not good for them, but they only get brief nibbles in and have been perfectly fine so far) and ground elder (which I am happy for him to eat by the barrow load). 

butter wouldn't melt...

butter wouldn't melt...

Lovage on the other hand seems to be on some commando mission. 

Lovage tests his SAS skills

Lovage tests his SAS skills

He races around, ears alert, trying to get into small dark places. 

Lovage commandeers a mountain of rubble

Lovage commandeers a mountain of rubble

Always deep in concentration, he seems to planning his next move, whether he can create himself a hideout, or what plant has grown across a well loved secret passage.  Many a new shoot or branch has fallen victim to Lovage and his ruthless trimming.  Damn those irritating plants.

Lovage says "I'm cute really!"

Lovage says "I'm cute really!"

All photos by the little sister www.thegreenorchard.wordpress.com.

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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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All pictures are my own unless stated. I would kindly ask that you don't use them elsewhere unless you ask permission first. Many thanks x

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