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So on the way home from work, N and I met up at our allotment to dig up what seems like ten tons of potatoes.  They are happily stored away in an assortment of saved paper bags.  I took a wander round the allotments and took some snaps of the lovely plots that other people have – none of mine this time, it’s looking more like I’m cultivated weeds…

The nice man who owns the plot next to us is growing these beauties…

yellow squash

And another plot that is stunning and designed like a garden complete with lawn and benches has a fence that is partly covered in a vine.  In amongst that vine are these dark, glossy green squash…

green squash

There are purple beans…

purple beans

Giant cabbages…

cabbages

Yellow courgettes and their delicate flowers…

yellow courgette

Greenhouses overflowing with ripening tomatoes…

greenhouse tomatoes

…fattening cucumbers…

cucumbers

…and onions drying…

drying onions

There is corn as tall as me…

sweetcorn

Blackberries are turning in the brambles surrounding the allotments…

blackberries

Apple trees are groaning beneath the weight of their laden bows…

apple tree

There are pears plumping up…

pear tree

pears

And fat marrows discarded by the path…

marrows

One lucky plot owner has in one small space two types of apple and a plum tree at the back, all of which are sagging, heavy with fruit…

fruit trees

The final burst of sweetpeas are overshadowed by their neighbours…

sweetpeas

Mallows, hollyhocks and scrambling nasturtiums are taking over where the poppies were…

cottage flowers

And jolly sunflowers bob in the breeze…

sunflowers

My allotment offers up one final surprise of early summer – another crop of ruby red strawberries, sweet and juicy…

late summer strawberries

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I am currently holed up in bed, for what looks like the week, with suspected swine flu – oh joy!  N is picking up my dose of Tamiflu on his way home from work, and hopefully I will be back to good health in no time.  So, after spending the night sleeping upright on the sofa and not getting to sleep until about 3.30am I am trying to cheer myself up by sharing the latest from the allotment.

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Last week N and I lifted all the onions and shallots growing on the allotment.  I have never grown onions or shallots, but grown from sets they are pretty hassle-free, apart from the odd weeding session.  I’d noticed the last time I’d been to the allotment that their green spiky tops had started to wither and fade, so pulled out my Grow Your Own Veg book by Carol Klein to find out how to harvest them.

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N used a fork to carefully lift the clusters of shallots and onions out of the soil, and I followed behind breaking up the shallots, rubbing off large clods of earth and popping them into my basket.  It was that simple.

Once we got home, we set about putting them out to dry.  Rather conveniently we were away over the weekend at a friend’s wedding, so we cleared the draining board and counter top next to the sink – the sink has a large window that lets in lots of light, which I thought would be the best place in our house for the onions to dry out.  We lay down a couple of tea towels and used the wire stand from inside the grill tray to allow air to circulate around the onions – which is what the book had recommended as ideal.

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They look really beautiful, these soil encrusted orbs which glow a brilliant amber where the papery outside layer has been removed.  Now we just need to store them properly in order to keep them as long as possible into the autumn – that’s if we can resist making a meal from them.

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One of my favourite onion recipes is Pasta with Lemon and Onion.  Simply saute an onion (any kind will do, ordinary, white or red) in some olive oil and a knob of butter until soft.  You can pop a couple of sprigs of thyme in to impart its flavour if you like.  Add in the zest of a lemon, season with salt and pepper.  Remove the thyme sprig before tipping into your drained pasta.  Loosen it up a little with some extra virgin olive oil, squeeze in lemon juice to taste, and add a good handful of finely chopped parsley.  Eat with a sprinkling of Parmesan.  We had this for tea last night and it is just so homely – like a big hug.  Perfect for people suffering from swine flu or other flu-like bugs!

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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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