Monthly Archives: June 2013

Green fingers 2: Cruise Control

The tomato plants are sprouting up. The cat is obviously not a fan. No tomatoes yet though, although there are a lot of flowers. In all my years growing tomatoes (oh so many years) I have left them to do their own thing. However, I have recently learnt that tomato plants require a bit of help on the pollination front, they’re “perfect” flowers so have both stamen and stigma (male and female bits) and you need the pollen from one to fall on the other. Bees should do this for you but just in case you can give them a hand. The easiest way to do this is to shake the flowers (there are YouTube videos aplenty). So every night now I go out and give them a bit of a wiggle. I’m sure the upstairs neighbours think I’m mad, sitting in front of my plants, wobbling them and having a quiet word with any caterpillars who dare to come close but fingers crossed it’ll all be worth it.

Reinforced jelly

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So called because it’s full of stewed rhubarb, whose fibres act like the steel in reinforced concrete. It actually turns out slightly softer than normal but the mixture of sugary jelly and sour rhubarb is a delicious one. Rhubarb is very much in season at the moment (none of this forced, harvested by candlelight, stuff from earlier in the year, which costs a fortune) and this recipe is something different if you just have a few sticks. Continue reading

More cheese – watermelon and feta salad

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This combination of juicy watermelon and salty feta is a modern classic but one I’ve never got round to trying until now.  I know people doubt fruit with savoury things but don’t be scarred by memories of cheese and pineapple on a stick, this really is so refreshing and well worth a try.  The preparation is just a construction job and it made the perfect fresh Saturday lunch with some crusty bread. Continue reading

Parmesan and gruyere biscuits

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Instead of doing a full on starter for lunch on Sunday, I just lay out a few salty nibbly bits to go with drinks. A mix of ready to eat things, olives and Parma ham, with these cheesy biscuits were perfect to pick at with a cool glass of pink fizz. The recipe is from the Ottolenghi book, the first baking thing I’ve done from it, and worked brilliantly and simply. Continue reading