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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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Washing line at sunset

Whilst this blog was mainly started to share my love of food, I did enjoy it more when I shared snippets of our life as well as just what we’re eating.  In a brief return to that, here’s what we’ve been up to recently (it makes me realise perhaps I haven’t shared general life happenings as much because they’re a bit unglamorous)…

Messy garden

We don’t look at the bottom of the garden and what is supposed to be my vegetable beds – it is a jungle and a mess.  Misery making.  It never used to be like this, when did life get so complicated and busy that I couldn’t grow tasty things to eat?

Overgrown vegetable beds

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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.

We are busy picking platefuls of raspberries, loganberries and strawberries from our garden.  The first of the raspberries appeared at the end of June, which seemed really early to me – anyone else finding that their raspberries are out earlier this year?

For all the cursing I do during the year about the raspberry canes that pop up in all the wrong places (like the middle of my raised veg beds!), and all the promises I make to pull out all of them over the winter, I can’t help but leave them when we get such a bounty during the summer.

The strawberries have all but disappeared from their original location (overtaken by the raspberries) but have sprung up in unlikely places.  If you pull back their parasol shaped leaves you discover lots of very sweet fruits – a wonderful surprise.

The loganberries are prolific growing over an archway, but I find if I don’t pick them in time many of them that still look ok have yucky little white maggot/caterpillas inside them – those ones go on the bird table.

We have too many raspberries and loganberries at the moment to eat, so I bung them in the freezer until a time when we have enough to maybe make some jam.  The strawberries are fewer so those we are eating.

I am so happy to be back in my little blog home – it has been far too long and I have missed sharing my food adventures.

Since getting engaged back in September 2009, we have been steadily planning and preparing for our wedding.  As the date drew nearer – 21st May 2011 – I have just had little time to do much else (whilst juggling it along with my job and my website).

Here’s a picture of some of the cakes our family and friends made for our wedding – the big white one in the middle so beautiful decorated was made by my Granny!

To save me rambling on for too long, I’m going to do some bullets of what’s been going on in our lives for the past few months I’ve been missing from here, and then aim to follow with a nice post and recipe for a fab barbecue we had over the weekend:

  • Most importantly – we got married!  On 21st May 2011, I married Mr Rigg in my home village in Gloucestershire – we had a beautiful, rustic country wedding, with a party in my parent’s garden, lots of local cider and perry, AMAZING food (lots of it local) and just an all round fab day.  If you’re at all interested, photos and details will follow on my website.
  • We honeymooned in an incredible Canopy & Star’s hideaway for a week and took Buddy with us (more details and hopefully a couple of foodie posts on this to follow).
  • Sadly, Mr Rigg’s lovely Granny who was always so interested in what we were doing passed away.
  • After spending an exorbitant amount of time and effort getting our allotment covered in manure and getting rid of all the weeds over the winter…we have neglected it and it is now overrun with weeds – we are totally and utterly the worst looking allotment – gutted.
  • Although we haven’t got a lot growing (and the radishes all matured as we headed south for our wedding), we have got a couple of healthy pea plants, some small beetroot seedlings, potatoes growing (only just!) and quite a few courgette, squash and pumpkin plants.

I am just so happy to ‘be back’ and can’t wait to get growing and cooking some decent food – and to share it all!  I’ll leave you with a picture of my overgrown garden…

Spend two and a half minutes watching this short film about how community vegetable gardening is helping those caught up in the Balkan wars.  Read about it here on the Ecologist website.

What do you think of Buddy’s new snow beard?  Perhaps more a goatee.  As you can see he is having great fun in the snow – he races around the garden, growling, trying to eat mouthfuls of it, and get you to play with him.

The downside is he comes back in sporting a snow beard.  And then he’s made to sit still while I snap silly pictures of him – he doesn’t seem to be a dog who likes his photo taken.

But the upside of frosty beards and chilly paws…snuggling in towels in the warmth of the kitchen…all say awww…

Mr Rigg is nurturing a monster in our garden…

Mr Rigg is away in Edinburgh this weekend on a stag do…last I heard was “still up” via text sent at 3am this morning…

Buddy and I are having a much quieter weekend at home.  So far we have trimmed bushes in our tiny front garden, massacred the raspberry canes at the end of the garden, picked a small bowl of loganberries, followed a rumour that a farm nearby sells homegrown flowers at the gate (they do, just none today), and planted winter hardy leeks at the allotment.

Sadly I forgot my camera today when we went to the allotment, but thankfully I have some photos from my last visit looking very much the same.

Everything growing on the allotment seems to have doubled in size since I was last there.  The courgette and squash plants are trailing and spreading everywhere…

The sunflowers are starting to flower and have lots more buds just waiting to pop open…

There is masses of camomile and my pink Cosmos are thick with flowers…

The onions have been dug up and left out to dry – which has been difficult considering the rain we’ve had…

Lots of ladybirds everywhere – I love them so much…

And this cheeky rabbit who clearly thought he hadn’t been spotted…

I came home with a basket laden with onions, one giant green courgette, a single burnt orange sunflower, and handfuls of Cosmos and camomile to brighten up the living room…

There is something so lovely and comforting about being able to wander to the bottom of your own garden and pick something for dinner.  Last night I decided to pick some of the yellow sunburst squash that I have growing in my vegetable patch. 

These UFO shaped squash are so pretty – although mine are looking a bit sorry for themselves.  They’ve started to rot a bit where the flower blossomed with all this rain we’ve had recently.  Also, the ones I usually see in my local grocery are much more yellow – mine are a bit pallid!

None-the-less they taste lovely.  So I picked a few and brought them inside to be eaten within half an hour of picking – now that’s pretty special.  Beat that supermarket giants!

For tea we had scrambled eggs on toasted bagel with garlic fried squash, oregano flowers and Gruyère.  Fresh flavours and very tasty – and I love the yellow from the eggs and squash flecked with the purple from the oregano flowers.

Scrambled eggs on toasted bagel with garlic fried squash, oregano flowers and Gruyère

Feeds 2

A couple of small yellow sunburst squash
2-3 cloves of garlic
Olive oil
5 medium eggs
Handful of oregano flowers and leaves
Gruyère cheese
2 bagels
Butter

Heat a frying pan with some olive oil.  Finely chop the garlic and add to the pan – softening it gently.

Thinly slice the squash and add to the garlic.  Fry until soft and starting to turn a little golden and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, make your scrambled eggs – here’s how I make mine.

Put your bagels on to toast and butter them once they’re ready.

Add the oregano leaves to the scrambled eggs, mix together, then spoon over the bagels.

Take your fried squash and place on top of the eggs and grate over some Gruyère cheese.

Finally, sprinkle over some oregano flowers and eat!

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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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