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Sweetcorn fritters are part of my childhood memories.  When I was younger my neighbour’s house was always full of lots of kids and she would often feed us all – sweetcorn fritters, simply made and cooked quickly on her Aga were what I remember her making us.

The making and cooking of them is just one of those childhood memories that will always stick with me, all us kids crowded round a big wooden table digging in to the hot fritters as they came off the stove.  So with sweetcorn season upon us this is what we had for dinner.

With a new but delicious recipe from the Riverford Farm Cookbook we dug into a plateful of hot fritters with a green salad, hot radish sprouts and a simple tomato salsa.  The fritter batter contained polenta and flecks of fresh (and homegrown I might add!) red chilli and fresh herbs from the garden.

No Aga in sight, I used one of my favourite cast iron enamel frying pans and they crisped up to a gorgeous golden brown.

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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…

Mr Rigg and I have had a lovely weekend with my family.  Yesterday before we left my mom and I made a delicious pasta dinner using green spring inspired vegetables.  Simply dreamt up with the ingredients we had.  Here’s how we made it…

Spring vegetable pasta

Feeds 2

2 small to medium leeks
Half a bunch of asparagus
Small bowlful of frozen peas
2 handfuls of shelled broad beans
2 spring onions
Long thin pasta for two
2 rashers of bacon (optional)
Parmesan to serve
Butter, olive oil, salt and pepper

Melt a generous knob of butter in a saucepan.  Finely slice the leeks and saute in the butter until soft.  You can also add a couple of teaspoonfuls of the pasta cooking water.  Season with salt and pepper.

If you are having bacon, cut it into small pieces and fry until crispy.

Put on a pan of boiling salted water and cook the pasta accordingly.  About 3-5 minutes before the pasta is ready, add the broad beans and peas.  Slice the asparagus diagonally into small slithers and add them to the pasta, peas and beans to cook for a few minutes.

Slice up the spring onions and add to the leeks. 

When the pasta and vegetables are cooked, drain the water and tip the pasta into the pan with the leeks.  Stir well, add a little olive oil and season to taste if needed.  Add a little more butter if the pasta is a little dry.

Eat the pasta topped with crispy bacon and shards of Parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Better looking photos thanks to the little sister’s camera!

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Over the last 24 hours I have seen my energy levels slowly creeping back up.  I was so fed-up of being stuck in bed all week, and felt completely starved of fresh air, that I took advantage of a spell of sunny weather yesterday afternoon and headed to the bottom of the garden.

My goal: clear the pea bed.  I have been very pleased with my peas this year.  They are undoubtedly my favourite vegetable and I have enjoyed podding the sweet peas from their crisp pods for the last couple of months.  Finally, they have come to an end.  I have been holding off clearing the bed to allow the remaining peas who had started to wrinkle to dry out.  My intention: to save them for planting next year.

So yesterday I spent about half an hour pulling out all the old pea plants and saving any remaining pods that I popped in my basket. 

Below are four pictures taken at different stages of clearing the pea bed:

peabed
1. happy peas growing earlier in the summer
2. peas dying back and me starting to fill the wheelbarrow with the old plants
3. the bed emptied and almost a basket full of dried pods
4. newly prepared bed planted with some late summer crops

N finishes at lunchtime on a Friday, so we have spent some time this afternoon finishing off the pea bed.  We raked it over, added a couple of bags of donated soil that we had left over, dug it in (there were loads of big fat worms!), and raked it again. 

Once the bed was prepared, we planted seven rows of late summer crops – we shall see what grows and what doesn’t: rocket; wild rocket; oriental saladini; spring onion guardsman; lettuce marvel of four seasons; spinach matador; and lovage.

We have covered the whole bed with some pea netting in a bid to keep the nasty fat cats off it.  Last time I prepared a bed and carefully planted a neat row of carrot and basil fino seeds a fat cat used it as his toilet the following night.  I was not impressed!

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This past weekend has been largely spent outside in the garden.  The weather has gone unusually warm for this small wet island, not that I’m complaining, so I welcomed the opportunity to get outside and into my garden.

cherry blossom about to burst

cherry blossom about to burst

Last spring N built me four raised beds at the end of our garden for growing vegetables.  Because they were built so soon before the growing season, we literally built them and that was it.  All the grass between the beds got really long and difficult to cut during the summer and was a haven for slugs and snails!  Then over the winter it just got patchy and muddy from us walking on it.

before and after of raised beds - April 08

before and after of raised beds - April 08

So over the winter we decided that this year we would lay some anti-weed membrane and cover it with bark chippings to tidy it up a bit.  The weekend before last we managed to dig over all the grass around the raised beds, and this past weekend we successfully laid the membrane and covered it with bark chippings.  The layer of bark chippings is pretty thin due to our funds drying up, but soon we should be able to buy a couple more bags and finish the job off.  It looks so smart and completely changes the shape of how our garden feels – wider rather than long and narrow.

raised beds - March 09

raised beds - March 09

Just before Christmas I saw a beautiful picture in a book of a weathered picket fence covered in purple flowers and small orange pumpkins and knew that it would be a perfect way to keep my naughty bunnies out of the vegetable bed.  It was fine last summer once everything had got going and the plants were abundant because the bunnies could chomp their way through the parsley or hide in the pea plants and no one would notice a few bits missing here and there.

Borage eating veggies from the garden...

Borage eating veggies from the garden...

But at the moment when there are tiny seedlings and shoots are starting to emerge they are a nuisance!  They just decimate everything.  The poor chives – these vibrant green juicy blades that are poking out of the rich brown soil – they just get mown down leaving only an inch or so remaining.  I’m sure it’s very good for my bunnies digestion but not for my tiny plants.  So now I am saving for a picket fence, have saved in my Ebay list seeds for the Cup & Saucer plant which was the one in the picture with the large purple flowers and am armed with a packet of ‘Jack Be Little’ pumpkin seeds.

some of my indoor seedlings

some of my indoor seedlings

The other success from the weekend was sowing lots more seeds.  I feel so much happier now that I have planted another set of seeds, just knowing that with a little bit of water and tender loving care tiny shoots will soon appear.  In the garden I put straight into the ground a row of rainbow carrots (yellow it turns out are even sweeter than orange carrots), a row of ‘Guardsman’ spring onion, a row of ‘Paris Market Baron’ carrots (round and stumpy), and a row of ‘Paris Silverskin’ onions (perfect for pickling).

broad bean plants

broad bean plants

At the back of our house we have what can only be described as a sort of lean-to, badly constructed conservatory type boot room.  The previous owner had his washing machine plumbed in which took up most of the space, but we use it to store anything and everything, and during the spring and summer it becomes Seedling Central.  One-third is brick, and two-thirds is windows, a back door and a plastic roof.  It’s perfect for starting off seeds as it gets so warm, much like a greenhouse.

the beautiful plant after which naughty bunny 1 is named

the beautiful plant after which naughty bunny 1 is named

So in an assortment of trays and pots, I have planted from seed peas, broad beans, leeks, and a selection of lettuces.  I have also started off some dwarf sunflowers, borage, cosmos, and some special blue sweetpeas called ‘Charlie’s Angel’ from N’s mom.

newly planted dwarf sunflower seeds

newly planted dwarf sunflower seeds

I am so excited to see the tiny seedlings from my sowing session a couple of weeks ago springing up, and the broad bean plants are doing incredibly well – there is something so satisfying about their sturdy green leaves unfolding.  More updates to follow on how my seeds do.  Happy planting!

tiny lettuce seedlings

tiny lettuce seedlings

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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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