Making A Quick Potato Salad


Here’s a quick video for making potato salad. Details below.

Makes enough for four people.

You’ll Need:

  • 6 to 8 small / medium sized potatoes
  • Fresh Chives or mint
  • 2 small / medium red onions
  • Mayonnaise
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Lemon juice (2 to 3 tablespoons)

To Make:

  1. Prepare the potatoes, peel if needed (if you’re using young new potatoes, they’ll probably just need a scrub and the skins can stay on). Chop them into bite size pieces.
  2. Boil them until they are just soft, be careful not to over-boil, particularly if you are using a fluffy type potato.
  3. When they’re done, drain and put them back into cool water, and allow them to cool down, until they cold enough to handle comfortably with bare hands.
  4. Prepare the onions and chives by chopping into as finer pieces as you can manage, put these into a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add the potatoes into the mixing bowl, with the onions and chives.
  6. Add some mayonaisse (about 3 or 4 tablespoons), be careful not to add too much, you can always add a little more if needed.
  7. Add a good grind of pepper and salt and the lemon juice.
  8. Mix all together in the bowl, either with clean hands or a couple of large spoons, be careful not to mash the potatoes!
  9. This is ready to serve or can be refrigerated in a covered container for a couple of days.

Making Summer Vegetable Tart

This is an easy and quick way to use up gluts of some vegetables, and you can swap out ingredients for whatever you happen to have. For this version you’ll need:

Sheet of ready made puff-pastry (or hand make a sheet)
2 medium or 1 large courgettes (make sure that the skins aren’t too tough)
3 large tomatoes or a couple of handfuls of cherry tomatoes
2 medium red onions
100g Goats Cheese
Small bunch of basil (or dried flakes)
Small bunch or oregano (or dried flakes)
Regular olive oil & extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt & Pepper

1. Preheat you oven to 200°C or whatever temperature recommended on you pastry packet.

2. Take a baking tray that’s large enough for you to roll out your puff pastry sheet out onto. Pour a little regular oil on the sheet and grease the sheet thoroughly (use a pastry or oil brush if you need to).

3. Put the puff pastry sheet onto the baking tray, and with the tip of a sharp knife, score around the outside edge of the pastry about 1 to 2 cms from the outside edge – be careful not to cut all the way though the pastry, and don’t cut to the edges. (This allows for a crust to form around the outside of your tart when it cooks). Put the sheet to one side.

4. Now slice up all your vegetables. Slice onions to form rings, and thin to medium slices of courgettes and tomatoes (if you’re using cherry tomatoes, slice in half or if really small leave whole). Cut goats cheese into slices too.

5. Now layer the vegetables onto the pastry sheet starting with the onions, next the tomatoes and finally the courgettes. Sprinkle the herbs over the top of the courgettes and then add the goats cheese.

6. Drizzle lightly with extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and add a good sprinkle of salt and pepper.

7. Cook in the oven for about 20 mins. at 200°C or until the pastry is cooked. Be careful not to burn the edges of the pastry!

8. Serve with a light green salad.

Potting Shed Update (28th June 2016)


I shot this quick video yesterday in the potting shed. I’d been meaning to do an update on the tomatoes and peppers a while ago, when things were looking a little better than they do now. Things started off well, but the slugs have ravaged the peppers, completely destroying the Lipstick Peppers that were in the first trough, and I can see they’ve been nibbling else where too. So far there is very little in the way of peppers, and also the tomatoes, which also started off well, have stalled a bit. They’ve grown really well, but are either not putting out many flowering trusses or when they do they’re not getting pollinated (even though I’ve been trying to do it by hand) because the weather has been so poor, and there have been very few flying insects about to do it for me.

That’s gardening, and on the whole, the allotment is doing so well, that I’m not too worried that the tomatoes and peppers aren’t.

Allotment Update & Tour 11th June 2016

The allotment is looking good at the moment, there are a few things that aren’t, in particular the radish and turnip, but that’s gardening. I’m already thinking about what I’m going to do with the area that is currently occupied by the broad beans, I suspect some more salad crops will go in one, and the other might just get covered by the courgettes. According to my notes, the early potatoes should be ready around the 3rd July, but they might be ready sooner, as it’s looking like they are starting to die off. I might lift a few soon, just to see.

Planting and Harvesting on the Allotment

 

2016-05-28 08.55.40The allotment feels like it’s reached that point in the year where there is going to be a regular supply of veg coming from it. I walked around this morning, and was surprised to see just how much things have grown in just a couple of days. Leeks that were just looking like blades of grass a day or so ago are now looking more like stout reeds, and the runner beans have now all germinated (or at least there is one plant beneath each cane). I decided that I was going to plant out my pumpkins and the remaining cucumbers, as well as some courgettes. They need to go out, they’ve exhausted the compost that they were sown in, and are big plants, but the leaves are yellowing, so they need more nutrients. I gave them a liquid feed last night, but the weather forecast for the next week or so, is for double figure nighttime temperatures, so I’m going to risk it. I’ve kept some of the courgettes back just in case, and the pumpkins have gone in relatively sheltered spots, so I think they’ll be okay.

2016-05-28 10.21.20

I’ve also harvested the first broad beans of this year. There were absolutely loads of pods, and I’ve picked enough for a meal tonight, and I’ll get some more later in the week. These are the ones that were sown last autumn, and I didn’t think were going to amount to much, but oh how they’ve proved me wrong! There are lots of pods, and the ones sown a few weeks ago to fill some of the gaps are coming along too. Hopefully they’ll be well spread out, but if I get a glut, then I’ll freeze as many as I can.

As I’d planted so many plants I also got the hose out of storage and laid it out. I used it to water the plants that I’d put in, and gave the rest of the plot a good watering. It will stay out now until the winter. I’m always a little worried that it is something that could easily be stolen, but in the eight years that I’ve had the plot it’s been left alone, and hopefully will be again this year.

With everything looking so good at the moment, I’m really enjoying my growing year again this year. Sure it’s hard work, but I love being able to feed myself and my family.

If you’re in the UK and have a long weekend this weekend or are off for the half-term school holiday next week, why not get out in your own garden and sow some seeds?

 

Ready, Steady, Not Quite Go! & A Rhubarb Recipe

Water Leak - A Work in Progress
Water Leak – A Work in Progress

Well, it’s been a very busy week, and a little unexpectedly so. It was good to get to the weekend though, and to get down to the allotment. If you read my post about the water problems at the site, I’m pleased to report that they have been resolved it seems. The leak has been fixed, and my prayers for rain have been answered, it even managed to rain on the workman when they were trying to sort the problem out.

We’ve had a week of rain at night, and into the morning and then from about mid-morning onwards it’s been bright and sunny, and that pretty much sums up every day this week, until the weekend arrived at it was sunny from the get go!

Plan B for Water
Plan B for Water

My alternative plan for getting water to the allotment arrived in the post during the week, and although it wasn’t technically needed, I still wanted to try it out this morning. It’s an H2GO bag, [Amazon Link – other suppliers do exist] that sits in a wheelbarrow and holds about 50 litres of water. I was a bit skeptical about whether it would actually work, but it does, and I’m really impressed. You need something large like a big bucket to tip the water into, so that you can then scoop it up into a watering can and 50 litres weighs quite a bit so if you’re a long way from where you want to get the water too, you might want to think about not filling it completely full. If I get a chance I’ll try and do a quick video, so you can see it in action.

Off To The Plot
Off To The Plot

When I went down to the plot this morning it was with the main intention of getting some more plants into the ground. Things have been getting a little tight for space in the potting shed, and it was time for some to move out onto the allotment. I had Cavalo Nero, Sweetcorn and some Cucumbers to go down, and although it’s potentially too early for the latter two I had a cunning plan to protect them from the nighttime temperatures which are still dropping down into the mid single figures.

Cavalo Nero In. Brassica Cage Full!
Cavalo Nero In. Brassica Cage Full!

The Cavalo Nero plants went into the brassica cage alongside the cabbages, cauliflowers and broccoli. It’s now as full as it’s going to be this year. There are some more brassicas to go, but there’ll have to go into another part of the plot

Sweetcorn In Their New Home (With Net Curtains!)
Sweetcorn In Their New Home (With Net Curtains!)

The sweetcorn have gone in as well, and I’ve built a little windbreak / cage for them too. This one made from enviromesh and some old net curtains (because I didn’t have a big enough piece of enviromesh). The cucumbers are just alongside, and have a fleece “dome” over the top of them. I hope both of these slightly Heath Robinson constructions will help the plants establish. The forecast for the week ahead looks good, and nighttime temperatures aren’t too low, so they may be okay. I’ll keep an eye on them anyway, because they’ll need watering in.

And finally I had a great crop of rhubarb to harvest. I love rhubarb and there are many things that you can do with it, including jams, wine and other nice things. However I think that you can’t beat some nice stewed rhubarb. Now I know that sounds a bit like school dinners, but take my word for it and give it a try. Here’s how I go about preparing it:

  1. Take your rhubarb stalks and remove the leaves (you can’t eat the leaves, as they’re toxic, so throw them on the compost heap or in the bin). Clean the stalks and chop into pieces about 2.5cm long.
  2. Place these in an oven proof glass dish, add a small amount of water (you don’t want to cover them, so just about halfway to the top of the rhubarb).
  3. Add ground cinnamon and brown sugar to taste (about a level teaspoon of cinnamon and a level tablespoon of brown sugar to six stalks of rhubarb, add more sugar if you have a sweet tooth).
  4. Add a generous handful of sultanas.
  5. 2016-05-14 15.43.58

      The Rhubarb Mix – Ready To Go Into The Oven
  6. Cover & put in the oven at a 140ºC / Gas Mark 3, for about 20 minutes. At this point, remove and stir with a fork to break-up (shred) the rhubarb.
  7. Return to the oven for about another 10 minutes, and then repeat the shredding process until the rhubarb is soft and stringy.
  8. Serve straight from the oven (it will be very hot!) with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream or allow to cool and serve. Works great on porridge or muesli for breakfast!
The End Result - Great With Vanilla Ice Cream
The End Result –
Great With Vanilla Ice Cream