Planting Up Day…

It’s a day I dread, mainly because I HATE lugging bags of soil around, but there was no way I could put off planting up the greenhouse into their (mostly) final pots.

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On the plus side, my lovely local gardening shop had some cucumber plants, £1.99 for a pot with two seedlings I couldn’t resist and due to my excessive juicing these days, I get through 2 cucumbers a day so it’ll be worth every penny.  I threw in some pretty pink English Daisies (Bellis Perennis Rose), they aren’t my normal thing but having seen some in a big pot outside my Aunt’s pub on a  recent trip to Yorkshire, I just fancied them.

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My main reason for going though, was to buy soil, bag after heavy bag, so I could get the tomatoes, aubergines, potatoes, peppers, chillies and melons planted up.  I grow all of these on containers as they do better in the greenhouse (expect the potatoes, they have been put into a massive 60 litre container outside), I’m undecided about what I might move outside at a later date, so for now the tomatoes are planted without supports.  After planting them deep, to compensate for the usual leggy stems when they went from jiffy pellets into small pots, they don’t need to planted deep again.  I did have to nip quite a lot of the side shoots off though, and some of the plants are about to flower, at which point I’ll start feeding them.  As always, the tomatoes are in the usual green buckets.  I’ve been recycling these for years now, they don’t look very attractive but they are sturdy and cheap,

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Excitingly my Tomtato has arrived!  It’s a tomato top grafted onto a potato bottom, more info here.  This is an expensive experiment so for now I’ve just re-potted it up in a slightly larger pot and we’ll see how it goes.

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After the recent rabbitgeddom, I have constructed some very temporally fencing along the line where our new decking area meets the veg patch.  I’m sad not to be able to wander between the two, as planned, but at least I know my seedlings are safe.  The main garden is getting a thorough munching though and I’m worried about many of my spring flowers returning next year after they have had their heads removed…I hope the few leaves left will allow them to keep going.

In the garden, I’ve planted out more peas and I’ve decided to throw all my remaining old flower seed into half a raised bed.  I don’t hold out much hope that they will germinate, but I may as well try.  From the ones planted in the greenhouse, only my zinnia sprite has taken, that might be more to do with intermittent watering whilst I’ve been away (I left the garden in the hands of my husband for the week).

It’s sounds like it’s going to be scorchio tomorrow, so perhaps we’ll be putting the BBQ into use!

Curly Whirly Cake…

Birthday Tea

For C’s B-Day my Sister was kind enough to lay on a lovely afternoon tea.  We were so spoilt.  Check out the comedy cheese and pineapple sticks…on BBQ skewers as she had no cocktail sticks.

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She also bought a Curly Whirly Cake from Konditor & Cook as she works right next to Borough Market.  It was DELICIOUS.  I’ve not heard of it before, but learnt it’s quite a famous cake and weirdly, when we were watching Eurovosion later (it’s a tradition and cannot be missed) the hosts gave the UK entry a Curly Whirly cake they’d had shipped over, knowing it was her favourite.  I googled it to find there is a recipe here, it doesn’t sound all that special, but I can recommend it highly, I’ll be having a go next time cake is needed in this house 🙂

Oh better still, if you live in the UK, you can order yourself one here!!

That’s all…just felt the need to share.

 

Black Cardamom Ice Cream…



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The garden is showing all my favourite colours at the moment, I do love a bit of pink, especially at this time of year when the greens are all so zingy.  I’m loving all the bruised colour tulips that were put in last year, I had plenty already but you can never have enough!

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The salsify that I planted for the flowers is also looking rather pretty, it’s in a giant pot at the moment and needs moving into the border at some point, as I am just growing it for the flower and not the root.  There are lilacs and aquilegias, the alliums are about to open and the iris are well on their way, so the pinks and purples will continue for a while yet.

Back the post title.  I made some cardamom ice cream a while ago and thought I’d record the recipe here or I’ll forget how I made it.  Incidentally, at the time of first tasting it I though it was too sweet, but I’ve changed my mind, oh and I think it could have a little more black cardamom in there as well, as I like the very smoky taste, but I’m not sure the boys would be so pleased if I had added more.

Black Cardamom Ice Cream

First I made the custard base:

250 ml double cream

250 ml whole milk

125 g caster sugar

4 egg yolks

5 black cardamom pods, left whole but squished a little

5 green cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed

1/2 vanilla pod (split with the seeds scraped out, both seeds and pod used)

Follow the instructions for your ice cream maker and make sure it’s been put in the freezer in advance, if needed.

Place the cream (you’ll need another 250ml later), milk, cardamom seeds and vanilla pod into a pan.  Warm until quit hot, but NOT boiling them remove and set aside for at least 30mins to infuse the flavours.  Sieve to remove the cardamon pods, vanilla bean and any larger seeds.

Put the infused cream and milk mixture back into a pan and scald, by heating until just below boiling point, then cool a little.  Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks with the sugar, then add the slightly cooled milk mixture, beating all the time.  Return to the hob and stir gently over a low heat until the custard has thickened and coats the back of a spoon.  Remove and keep stirring as it cools.  Once cold, put into the fridge overnight.

250ml double cream

Caramel (in my case a 380g jar of Bonne Maman Caramel that I got on offer with my shopping, hence the idea to make ice cream with it in the first place, I guess you could make your own) 

The next day, whip 250ml double cream until it forms soft peaks, then fold it into the cold custard mixture.  Pour into the ice cream machine and when nearly set, place into a large freezer container.  Pour over the caramel and lightly turn the mixture with a spoon, so the caramel is swirled into the ice cream (I messed this up a bit, my ice cream wasn’t thick enough so the caramel ended up mostly sunk to the bottom in a puddle).

Freeze.  Eat.

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It’s looking good in the garden.  I need to take photos but it’s too wet out there at the moment.  I’ve planted up one raised bed with a row of barlotti beans (started in the greenhouse, as above), a row of broad beans (too close together, but I’m interested to see if I can get away with it), sweetcorn (x10, all that germinated, and planted in two rows now I know from last year that I can pretend to be the wind and hand pollinate them so I’m less worried about the planting layout) and finally some squash.  No idea what variety, I forgot to label the plants – doh!

I have one bed going with salad crops, beetroot, carrots and alpine strawberries.  Sadly the evil little rabbits got in and ate the lot, but I’m hoping some will survive.  On which note, the postman just called and  his opening line was, “It’s like Watership Down out there!”  he has a point, I really need to put some time into replacing the areas of rabbit fencing that have been dug under.

I’m away most of next week, so will be leaving the watering in the hands of my husband……I am hoping something is still growing when I return 😉