Wild Rocket Pesto

I have a substantial glut of ever so slightly over the hill rocket, last year I attempted to use it up by boiling the rocket but I won’t be making that mistake again. Yesterday I thought I’d risk a handful in a batch of home made pesto.

Eliane recommended The New Penguin Cookery book a while ago, and on the basis of her review I invested in it. It is indeed a damn fine book and has a recipe for assorted pestos including a rocket and walnut version. Having read and absorbed the details I then proceeded to ignore the instructions – a dodgy tendency of mine.

Wild Rocket Pesto

My version went something along the lines of a light grab of pine kernals pounded with 3 cloves of garlic, and an equal amount of basil and rocket, also bashed into submission. No walnuts because I don’t like them and no Parmesan because I forgot about it. I did add a couple of very stingy slithers of Manchego which were kicking around the back of the fridge and a small dollop of olive oil.

Very tasty – I served it with gnocchi.

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Cold Birthday Drinks

Shed Beer Fridge

I was intrigued yesterday to see a recipe for a shed beer fridge in Allotment Growing Diary Plus, and as it’s my birthday today I thought it was a fine excuse for enjoying cold beer on the plot.

The idea is that the terracotta pot cools following evaporation of the absorbed water.

It certainly seemed to work, within an hour the pot was very cool but I made the mistake of starting with warm beer. I was too impatient to wait for the full process had to make do with coolish, luke warm beer.

I’ve left a couple of beers in there and topped the tray up before I left so we’ll see how long it works for. Maybe there will be an icy beer waiting for me after work tomorrow.

And here’s a gratuitous flower picture. I’m so happy with these dahlias, I grew them from seed and never imagined they’d be so successful.


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Joint Awards

A long, long, time ago, easygardener gave me a very welcome award – the E for Excellent award and recently Rhiannon from GreenPatch spoiled me further with the Arte y Pico award.

Now it’s time to pass these treats on to some great bloggers who have entertained me over the last few months.

arte-y-pico.JPG excellent-90x138.jpg

Apparently I can choose 10 bloggers to recognise but that seems like an awful lot so we’ll see how the list pans out:

  • Soilman – for his down to earth style, who manages to educate and entertain in almost equal measures.
  • Nigey – who understands my bodging antics.
  • Faites-Simple – beautifully written, interesting posts. I love following this one for the rural escape plan.
  • Carrots and Kids – pick a post any post and you’ll love as I do.
  • The Big Sofa – another of my favourite blogs and we are practically neighbours!
  • Someone else’s Kitchen – Amanda has just moved over to Canada and now lives life on a mammoth scale, see the toilet rolls or greenhouse.
  • An Artists Garden – for the sheer beauty of it, but what do you expect with a title like that?

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Soggy July Evening

It’s been pouring with rain fairly solidly for last 3 days but perversely I had to go down to the plot this evening to do some watering. That’s the trouble of having some crops under cover.


The plot looked satisfyingly lush and the seed heads were majestic.

I left absolutely soaked but satisfied with my first picking of tomatoes and a healthy bag of runner beans.

Rainy July Evening

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Carrot – £1.20

Carrot - £1.20

I couldn’t wait any longer so pulled the anxiety causing carrot out of the ground this weekend. It was completely blemish free and was chomped almost immediately – delightful, although excessively expensive.

Out of the 3 packs of seeds I sowed in early spring, I managed to persuade 5 carrots to grow to maturity which can hardly be described as successful. Fortunately the June sown carrots appear to have germinated at a promising rate so I should be able to recoup some of my investment.

I checked out my household spending records yesterday and discovered that my grocery expenditure has dropped by £150 each quarter since I took on the plot. I barely buy any vegetables anymore and I should hope that for the next couple of months I ought to be able to go supermarket cold turkey. Good news in this time of spiraling food prices.

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Month in Pictures – June

So June has been and gone and I can’t believe I managed to miss the summer solstice. I was pleased to discover while putting together this months – Month in Pictures, that I was at least on the plot on the 21st – sowing more carrots. If the summer solstice is also known as midsummers day, that would also suggest that I missed the whole of the first half of summer, I’ve been assuming we were still in spring – when does summer actually start?

Month in Pictures - June 08

June was a good month on the food front, the broad beans were finished with but were replaced at the end of the month by runner and borlotta beans. Spuds were worth digging up from the 2nd week, although I’d probably have got some earlier if I’d taken some anti slug measures.

Seeds germinated at break neck speed this month, it’s worth remembering next year that I shouldn’t stress too much about getting all my plants in early – they soon catch up.

I’m already planning next years seed order, I suppose it’s a bit too early to send the order off but I’ve made my choices of squash, pea, bean and tomato seeds from the Real Seed company. I’m going more exotic next year and avoiding some of the poor choices from this year.

I’m not bothering with Feltham First next year, they may over winter well and crop early but they are gross. In fact I am wiping all smooth peas off the drawing board – only wrinklies will enter my seed box from now on. I think I could manage 3 rows of broad beans as well, I’ll stagger two sowings of Aquadulce and then try something different for a late spring sowing.

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Plain Shed, Colourful Bike

Thanks for all the graffiti advice in the comments to the last post.

I took the train to the plot at the weekend and discovered that every single flat surface (mostly sheds) facing the platform had been scrawled over with the silver spray paint. It looked a bit grim and so I decided that the shed should be re-painted. It will probably take a few coats as the spray paint is heavy duty stuff, but as I had to go out and buy a new tub of paint, I have plenty to go around.

They can come back as often as they like now, I’ll be ready for em.
Shed & Bike

They didn’t cause any more damage by the way – all my crops were left intact which is a blessing.

Borlotta and Runner Beans

I picked up my new Brompton from the fantastic Wizz Bike this evening and went straight to the plot to photograph the new machine in amongst the potatoes.
The foliage just sets the colours off!

I was surprised to find that the beans are ready to start cropping, I had a trangia full of Borlotta and runner beans for my tea, shamefully mixed with a packet of curry flavoured supernoodles.

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