You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘squash’ tag.

This afternoon we went to the allotment to finish digging over a bed, plant a couple of fruit bushes and water.  We enjoyed a nice cup of tea, made in our Kelly Kettle, and ate brownies.  It is so peaceful at the allotment, yet still a nice buzz with people tending their plants and harvesting their crops.

We don’t have much to harvest on ours, just a few months ago it was an overgrown wilderness of weeds, the result of neglect due to us planning our wedding.  Thankfully, we have started to get back on top of it.

The photo on the left was taken on 10th June, the photo on the right today, 31st July…

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

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…

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!

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

p1120068

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):

p1120058

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

p1120055

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

p1120066

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

p1120081

And beautiful burgundy coloured red oakleaf lettuce:

p1120083

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. 

p1120054

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

p1120053

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.

p1120084

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

p1120060

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

p1120064

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:

p1120080

p1120072

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:  

p1120093

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

p1120097

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

p1120116

Uchi Kuri squash:

 p1120118

Jack-Be-Little pumpkins:

p1120120

And my first cucmber seedling has sprouted:

p1120122

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.

p1120103

blue squash :: at home ::

Following on from my last post, I have decided to dedicate this post to pumkins and squashes.  I have a strange love affair with pumpkins and squashes – I am drawn to them with their beautiful curves and gorgeous colours, but I almost prefer them as a work of art, rather than food to be eaten.

Part of the problem is that I don’t really know how to cook them in a way that I enjoy, and my partner N particularly dislikes their flavour, which means that I am even more unlikely to cook them.  I am seduced by them at the grocers, and then they end up as ornaments in our kitchen.  I was really quite upset when I hacked apart my pale slate blue “Blue Squash” and transformed it into a risotto.  I really enjoyed it but N ate it grudgingly, slightly happier with crispy pancetta disguising the flavour.  I think I truly preferred it as a ornament, an object of beauty to admire in my kitchen.

A few model shots of the squash that was (how I miss it!) and below is my squash risotto recipe – in my bid to make a squash risotto I liked (I am generally put off by the recipes that have large chunks of squash in them) I blended up my squash before adding it to the rice.  It made the most fantastic, golden orange risotto.

my curvy blue squash

my curvy blue squash

 

ornamental squash

ornamental squash

Squash Risotto

Serves 2

1/2 autumn squash or pumpkin
6oz risotto rice
1 small onion
500ml vegetable stock
Glug of dry white wine
Generous knob of butter
Olive oil
Dollop of creme fraiche
Pancetta (optional)

 

Heat your oven to around 200°C.  Cut up the sqaush into chunks, put into a roasting tin, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for about 30-40 minutes or until the squash is soft.  Remove and cool.

In a large saucepan or deep frying pan heat the knob of butter and a drop of olive oil.  While the oil is heating, finely chop your onion.  When the butter starts to gently bubble, add the onion and a generous grinding of black pepper, and cook until soft.

Make sure your stock is warm.  Add the glug of white wine and a ladleful of stock – it should boil furiously for a couple of minutes until the liquid has reduced by half.  Now pour in the rice and stir continuously for a couple more minutes.

You want to make sure it’s a gentle heat and then simply start adding in a ladleful of stock at a time, stirring the risotto until the liquid is absorbed, then adding another ladleful and so on until all the stock in used up.  This usually takes around 20 minutes.  If the heat is too high the liquid disappears too quickly and you’ll find you have to use more stock. 

Meanwhile, peel any skin from the roasted squash and blend to a puree.  When the risotto is nearly done, add the puree and stir well – it goes quite sticky.  If you want to fry off some pancetta until crispy, now is the time to do so, you could also drop in a couple of sage leaves as well.

Stir in a dollop of creme fraiche and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil – and crispy pancetta and sage if you wish.

Eat.

*Note: This froze well and was quickly reheated in a pan.*

On this rainy, bitterly cold day I thought I would like to write about some of the vegetable gardens that I have seen on my travels.  I have decided to start in France, more specifically in the Loire Valley region, which is where I have stayed on my last two visits.  We camp at a delightful, intimate campsite run by an expat-English family – we can highly recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a rustic, relaxing break.  The campsite is called Le Chant D’Oiseau and more info can be found at http://www.loire-gites.com/.

Anyways, back to vegetable gardens.  Our visit at the end of the summer was full of diverting down side streets and peering over walls to see what other people were growing in their gardens.  The hot summer weather in the Loire allows for tomatoes such as these to thrive, which makes me incredibly jealous as I think back to my poor attempts.

big round juicy tomatoes :: Loire Valley, France ::

This small vegetable garden in a small hillside town on the banks of Loire river shows that the smallest of spaces can be productive – look at those squash plants!  I was very curious about the number of plants and herbs that were dug into the ground in pots…any suggestions as to why?

small town garden :: Loire Valley, France ::

We passed the pumpkin below on a scenic (or perhaps slightly lost) route we took through some vineyards, and N was instructed to pull over while I ran back to get a photo.  Consequently, we discovered a beautiful old property opposite the pumpkin patch that we fell in love with and momentarily lost our heads in gidding thoughts of selling up and moving to rural France.  I shall never forget that house with its warm sunbathed courtyard. 

orange pumpkin :: lost in the Loire Valley, France ::

Bookmark and Share

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.

My Pictures

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

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Recent recipes

Food memories: Greece

Food Memories: Dordogne

Food Memories: Amalfi Coast

Food Memories: Naples

Food Memories: Loire Valley

Food Memories: Sweden

Food Memories: Barcelona

Advertisements