Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Runner bean soup and Dog Blog

Our runner beans are coming to the end and as there are 16 bags of frozen runner beans in the freezer the ones I picked yesterday were turned into soup.I found this site on my site surfing everything-runnerbeanwith all sorts of interesting recipes for the runner bean.I used the ingredients stated and also added potatoes and some leek, all from the plot.I made a big pot of it last night and reheated it today just adding some milk and freshly cut parsley.

Runner Bean Soup

500grms runner beans
1 large onion
1 large carrot
700mls vegetable stock
2tbsp Butter
salt & pepper to taste.
Top & tail the runner beans,removing stringy sides
Chop into slices with the onion and carrot
Heat butter in pan and add vegetables.Cook until soft and the carrot is translucent not browned
Add stock,cover and simmer for about 30 minutes
I used a hand blender to puree but left it quite chunky with bits of veg.

Matron over on down at the allotment blog has posted her Dog Blog featuring some of our four legged friends and my own dog HRH Cavalier King Charles Sam got a spot in it.Do pay a visit and meet some quirky and clever canines. It is a terrific idea and Thank you Matron for taking the time to put it together.
This is Sam investigating the bag of veg which came in from the allotment yesterday, hoping something might smell good enough to eat.Sam will soon be 13 years old and is deaf and slowing down a little.Read how Sam came to live with me here

Disappointed with the contents of the bag I am sure he is wondering why I never bring home one of these rabbits I am always complaining about! Sam is camera shy and usually just as I press the camera shutter he turns his head.I thought it was just Sam but on reading Matron's blog a lot of the dogs seem to be camera shy!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Carrot Fly

This afternoon brightened with lovely sunshine.We paid a quick visit to the plot between school and music lesson.The harvest is tapering off we got some some small courgettes, a few of the others had developed soft tips so were unusable maybe the cold at night is getting to them.Some more white turnips which are also coming to an end there are only a few left but we cannot complain as they have produced for weeks regulating themselves to a few every week.Sinead wanted to cut some Swiss card but I think she went for tough leaves!A handfull of runner beans which I think are ready to dig in soon as some of the smaller pods had quite big beans in them, some British Queens and carrots.
The tops of some of the carrots had a bronze shade to the foliage which is supposed to indicate carrot fly has got to them. We had carrots on 3 different beds this year,we had already pulled the first lot which were not up to much size wise ,Today I pulled all of the remaining ones from the other 2 beds and the majority of them are tiny!How can seed grown from the same packet in the same bed turn out such different sizes?I was speaking to Christy who is one of our gardening gurus on the plot and he said he has never been able to grow carrots and he has tried different ones over the years and tried everything with them to no avail. Next year it is back to the barrels for us!
The diggings of two tubers of British Queens, I took out about 5 marble sized ones, they are nice and clean apart from me putting the fork through one of them they are unblemished by blight
The seeds on the coriander, the few days of warm sunshine will dry them enough to pick before the weather breaks, fingers crossed!
Some late sweet pea on one of the plots, the bees were loving them.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Preserving Pears.

Just the one photo today as I have been out for most of the day.Rhoda, one of the ladies on the allotment gave me a big bag of pears from her trees at home.Apart from eating bought pears which are usually imported or tins of pears I have never been faced with a bag full to do something with.I have certainly never cooked one.
As luck would have it while reading blogs last week, Mangocheeks of Allotment2kitchen blog had a recipe for...A French Pear tart!
It is quick and simple to make as it is actually a batter mixture and the pears are arranged on top for cooking.You will have to visit the above link to the blog to see the photo and recipe as I made it while I was offline and did not take a photo!It is delicious and did not hang around too long.
That left me with the prospect of 'doing' something with the rest of the pears,Rhoda had taken the trouble to print off some recipes for me but I poached them and the pic above is of the pears in syrup cooling in containers for freezing.Each container has just enough to make another french tart when defrosted..mm.m.m.m

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Back online Bug free!

A bouquet for my son in law Rob who spent this afternoon cleaning viruses from my computer.These viruses usually come in on music and game sites which are used by younger people. A box pops up on the site and if they click the box out they are inadvertently opening it!If one of these pops up on any site you are on DO NOT click anywhere in the box just close the site you are on.I have Norton anti virus on this computer since I got it 2 years ago and even though it is set to run a weekly scan it did not pick it up?!Rob downloaded an anti malware thingy for me so hopefully I am clear.Thanks Rob.
The flowers are calendula which are blooming around the plot thanks to the spell of sunshine we have had lately.These were on the pea bed which I cleared. I have been out to the plot nearly every day I did not have the heart to take many photos because I did not know how long I would be off the blog.
Aoife's pumpkin broke from its stem so we have now put it into the tearoom to ripen. It is heavy but we have not weighed it yet.
Kevin wanted a 'go' at lifting it but Sinead had to help
Kevin finally has a pumpkin on his vine...the proud father!
Our harvest today. My curiosity got the better of me and I pulled the biggest of our leeks to see what was under the canopy of leaves. I was not disappointed it weighs in at 400 grms, not bad considering I was charged 4.60e a kilo for one last week.The sugar snap peas were from Micheal and the courgettes are from one plant which has started reproducing in the recent spell of warm weather.The older leaves were mildewed so I have cut them back.2 more plants have courgettes coming on as well.
One of the courgette plants which have gone into overdrive.
Some of the work done over the last few days, getting ready for next year.The bed at the back is the early potato bed, covered with barrowloads of well rotted horse manure, cardboard and weed fabric. The pots on it are our strawberry runners.The bed to the front right is the peas bed,again covered with manure and plastic.
The new raised bed in the centre has garlic in it since today.This had red cabbage in it this year. I put on bags of organic compost from our municipal composter and dug it in.
I have been reading Victor Osborne's book Diggers Diary and he says garlic does not like getting its feet wet, likes firm soil ( I tramped over the bed banging down my full 9 stone weight on it)and do not water after May when the bulbs begin to bulk up.This is our third year trying to grow garlic.The first year we put it in too late so it never developed and this year it got rust.We have had one of the wettest years on record so rust was probably unavoidable.
I bought the bulbs in the market this morning so they are organic from West Cork and I bought some french garlic in the English Market from the Olive stall. While I was in the Market I thought I should do a post about this great Cork institution soon as it was full of people buying all sorts of food and veg.The idea of manuring and covering the beds is to have them ready for Spring planting and more importantly to give these beds some feeding and rest them up for a few months as these are on our first plot and have been producing without much of a break for 3 years so I think they need some R&R.
Now for something completely different and exciting if you live in the South of Ireland.I had a Bring Back our Ferry Button on the blog for months for an online petition to restore our ferry link to the UK. This ship the Julia was bought early this year in Finland but it was too late to get it into service. Today it sailed into the harbour amid lots of fanfare and is berthed at the city docks. It will be refitted and ready to sail on the Cork to Swansea route next March.I did not take these pics, they came in an email to me, they are the work of Tony Hartigan.
I am way behind in reading your blogs but will catch up over the next few days, thanks to all of you who visited while I was incommunicado!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Trojan Virus!!

I am writing this post from my daughter's computer as I cannot get into mine for the moment thanks to a trojan virus! How it got there or how to get rid of it is the problem taking up time so I may be incomunicado for the forseeable future! Help....

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunny Sunday Morning on the Plot

The morning dawned bright and sunny so Kevin and myself paid a quick (2 hour) visit to the plot.The All Ireland Football Final between Cork and Kerry is this afternoon so I had to be near the TV, tickets to the match in Dublin were like gold so only the lucky ones got that far.Kevin was delighted by the size of his Sunflowers!
Our harvest continues..Spuds which still look OK even though on cutting through them some are damaged by slugs and blight is visible.A big bag of pears left for me by Rhoda who even went to the trouble of printing off recipes for me, a post later about these.White turnips and more runner beans!The beans are star performers for us this year. This is the bed where i put in the trench composting all last winter so it seems to be paying dividends and the last red cabbage which is huge even after taking off all of the outer leaves.I pulled some carrots which are more embryo than even baby!This particular bed has not produced very well this year and is one earmarked for composting and resting over the winter.
The sprouts
A big bee on one of the lupins, there are still lots of them around enjoying the late summer
One of our two remaining heads of celery. All the other plants went to seed.These are covered with a dressing of hay to blanch the stalks so far they are small but perfectly formed!
We have a few plants of Swiss Chard and we were getting a bit fed up of just steaming them as veg so I was delighted to see a unusual pie recipe on Linda's blog which looks delicious.
The runner beans ,still more to come,I gave the bed a good soaking while we were there.
Autumn colour on one of our Blueberry bushes
We paid a quick visit to see the hens who clustered around as soon as we appeared.
Some of the flowers still blooming around some of the plots today.A beautiful purple pansy
Blue pansy...
Nasturtiums with salad leaves and coriander flowers in the background
One of the tyres in the BBQ area , both big tractor tyres are in full bloom
A close up of one of them with deep purple cape daisy.
We were the only two out there this morning so it was lovely and peaceful, there will probably be quite a few plotters out after the match.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Grandson's Graduation Ball

Eldest Grandson Stephen finished Secondary School this year and is now starting Bio Medical Engineering in CIT.Their graduation ball is a big night for them as they meet up again and maybe for the last time with friends they have spent 6 years in daily contact with.Stephen's school is one of the few if not the only one in Cork where parents are invited to the meal and usually stay for some of the night if they wish.Stephen brought his mother Kathryn and myself.Stephen with long time girl friend, Deirdre who looked stunning was also celebrating her debs night as she has graduated from the same school and has also secured her college place.
The grad buys a corsage for the girl and these wrist worn ones have become very popular in the last few years.
Full length!
With Mom Kathryn
Money is spent on some frivolous accessories like stretch limos and even stretch Hummers....but who needs them when you could have a
Stretch Mini!!
Stephen has been learning how to jive with me since the wedding and here we are getting in some practice.
The two little sisters came for a few minutes after the meal to see the style.
This is one chapter closed in their lives and hopefully life will be good to them as they set out on their chosen paths

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Terrazo Table Makeover

This is a metal garden table which has been outdoors for the last 3 or 4 years. It survived the winters OK but I think it was the bad summers got it!Rust spots were showing through parts of it and in some areas the paint was peeling showing rust underneath. It did get a wire brushing and a quick coat of metal paint for the wedding but the paint had begun to peel again.
This is the before photo today and the after one is taken as the light is fading a little so the colours are not very bright.The few days of warm sunshine meant the shed got its annual clear out, things were pulled out and left out so the air could circulate around the inside of the shed.These sheets of mosaic tiles were left over from various jobs inside the house and were put into the shed in case they would come in 'handy'. They have been in and out of the shed for a number of years but this year is finally their 'handy' year!
Aldi were doing DIY specials this week and I got a big tub of tile cement and grout for 14.99e so lots of odd jobs lined up, this was one I was not too sure about starting but it was easier than I thought.The table was brushed down with a wire brush and given a coat of UPA glue and the tile pieces were laid starting from the centre out.I am very pleased with the finished effect, of course it will not be left out in the rain now!
I spent the weekend in Robert's Cove enjoying the sun and solitude.The beach was absolutely destroyed with the 'sea lettuce'. This is a vile green algae which comes in on the tide and covers the beach with a bright green slime which smells vile and is dangerous to animals.It breaks down eventually and releases a chemical reaction which turns the sand underneath black as in an oil spill.
It has been getting worse over the last few years but this year has finally prompted people to demand action be taken to clear it up .The County Council were cleaning the beach once a week over the summer and taking the sea lettuce back out to sea!
I did not have my camera with me to take photos of it, in some places it was drifted up to 18 ins high and was at least 15 ft out in the water!Lots of families came down on Sunday afternoon but the beach was inaccessible to them, Robert's Cove is a 30 minute drive from the city and so people head down if the weather is good.
It seems to be only affecting the beaches around the south coast and at last some investigations are ongoing into the cause and effects of it.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pleasantly Pottering

Bilbo has reached nipitinthebud in Gloucester ,if you are interested in seing what he got up to.
Continuing warmth and sunshine, its too hot to do too much strenuous gardening so I have been tidying around the plot.Christy was putting in some onions and garlic yesterday but still undecided if we will put them in over winter yet.
Harvest yesterday, more British Queens, (no Blight)!runner beans,white turnips and the side shoots from the broccoli plants.
Action Woman! Zwena catching up on the grass cutting as the ground has been so wet it has been impossible to get much of it done.
We have about 40 new strawberry plants from runners. Whether they will all survive to next year remains to be seen.I potted the remaining ones today.
The 4 Lavender plants have been tidied up for next year, I cut back all the flowering shoots and just clipped them into a neat shape. I just took the tips off of the shoots as to cut into the woody stems could impair growth for next year.
The first lot of Leeks are getting big I earthed them up slightly, I see matron had an ingenious method of slipping Kitchen roll holders over the leaves to get a nice length of white stem.
The Brussels Sprouts are doing OK in their high rise, some slug damage on the lower leaves.These seem to be at varying stages of growth so hopefully will keep us going through until Christmas.
Our sweetcorn was bad enough after a terrible start but now the rabbits have chewed on the few cobs that were there. Admittedly they had not grown too tall and the cobs were down lower than should be the case.
Some of Zwena's glut of tomatoes in the poly tunnel.There are quite a few varieties, tumbling,cherry,beefsteak and tigerrella.Zwena told us to help ourselves so I had a few to bring home with me.
So that was the afternoon, more 'pottering' than anything else but work was done!