Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Apricots stewed in lemon verbena tea

We only managed to pick 800g of apricots this year - disappointing, particularly as we have 2 trees (one didn't fruit at all). So the ones we did pick deserved something special.

Out with Nigel Slater's Tender part 2 (fruit), and he didn't disappoint, with this gorgeous recipe:
  • Make a tea with a handful of lemon verbena leaves, 2-3 tablespoons of sugar and 750 ml of water. Let it steep for 3-5 mins then strain out the leaves
  • Halve apricots (recipe says 500g but I used 800 and it was fine) discard stones and put in an oven dish
  • Pour over tea, and add in the vanilla pod (the recipe also called for a star anise but I'm not keen on the flavour so left it out
  • Bake for about 40 mins at 180c
  • Cool (although I can't see any reason not to eat them warm with some custard and a drizzle of the verbena 'tea')

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Garden dinner

Tonight's dinner presented by beans and courgettes...and a few red spring onions (or shallots depending on your hemisphere!). Using another recipe from Hugh fw's Veg Everyday book for a bean and courgette salad with tahini dressing - but I'm making my own dressing. Adding some bacon for Jerry the carnivore!

Oh, and you can see our first tomatoes of the year as well :-)

Zoe's blanket

After 4 months I finally finished the blanket for a recent family addition (not ours!). I actually finished the main blanket part in good time, but then had to teach myself crochet to do some edging and decorative touches - where would we be without YouTube?! So thanks to the KnitWitch and Bobwilson123 for the handy hints!

So I'm proud to present Zoe's pram blanket - made from 100% bamboo using chinese wave stitch for the body, and double, treble and scallop edge crochet.

For my next project I think I'll try a simple dress/jumper as it's called in the US. It will be my first attempt at knitting in the round - could get interesting!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Christine's comfrey ointment

Comfrey. Why oh why didn't anyone tell me NOT to plant it anywhere in the garden where you may ever want to grow anything. The stuff is unkillable and I seem to have patches of it everywhere.

So apart from using it as a chook green, and a compost activator, I thought I'd try out an ointment that I saw on Christine's blog. I won't repeat her excellent instructions here - suffice to say it all went according to plan. I've used it a few times on aches and pains (self inflicted at the gym) and it really does seem to work.

Mum is trialling it on her arthritis and aching joints so we'll see how that goes. If you have spare comfrey I highly recommend giving this a go. It doesn't smell brilliant, but it's easy and seems to be effective.

Next time I might put in some lavender for a more pleasant aroma :-)

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Happy Australia Day...and Happy New Year

As January is nearly over I thought it was time to end my "blogiday" and get back to posting :-)

I hope you all had an enjoyable festive season with friends and family, and that my northern hemisphere friends aren't freezing their !! off.

As usual we had an excellent day at the community Christmas lunch - this year there were over 100 people. Great food, good company, and bit of fun and games. Jerry enjoyed 10 days off work - much of it spent playing his new Wii game. I had a couple of last minute work projects so apart from Xmas day, new years day and my birthday it's been work as usual for me.

In between the work, I did manage to cook a few new things from my new cookbooks (Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Companion, Hugh's Veg every day book (LOVE IT), and The Real Food Companion. ) and made a few bits and pieces - updates coming over the next few weeks.

All the best for 2012 - looking forward to catching up with you all in the blogisphere!
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