This is something I have been meaning to do since the start of the year, a monthly allotment update. So here I am starting bang smack in the middle of summer instead with my July update.
I think July is a much nicer time of year to start documenting my efforts actually. As everything is growing mega fast with all this balmy hot weather we’ve been having. Each time I go out to the plot I have a little fist-punch moment when I see something growing. Here’s the good, the bad & the ugly:
Allotment Update July 2018 – The Successes:
Spuds. The potatoes this year are looking awesome. I’m growing two varieties, the salad potatoes are pretty much ready to be dug out, and some larger ones that I’ll use for roasting. As I’ve planted two varieties next to each other they have cross pollinated and I’ve got potato berries! Which can be used to grow a potato crop from seed. Also worth mentioning, I bought all my seed potatoes from Aldi for £1.50 a bag and they have grown so well! Definitely going to be back for more.
As you can probably tell from my strawberry recipes, the patch provided me many goodies this year too. I’ve also got an abundance of gooseberries that are ripe at the moment (queue some jam making!).
Allotment Update July 2018 – The Almost Ready:
Sometimes you have to just be patient with your crops. There are my raspberry canes that I transplanted from their old home (when I was a newbie I didn’t know you’re supposed to separate them so planted them all in one blob, oops). I’m not expecting much produce this year, but at least they have a permanent home now.
Let’s not forget the tomatoes. They are going wild with the hot weather so I absolutely can’t wait to tuck into these bad boys. Credit goes to the other half for looking after these crops!
Allotment Update July 2018 – The Failures:
Brocolli. I’ve really tried with brassicas but I haven’t had any luck. I tried to grow these lil fella’s from seed and they got totally munched on before they even had a chance to grow much. Fail. Will have to try to cover them next time around. I’m not too put off about this, as it’s the only crop that’s gone wrong this year. Four years at the game and I’m finally getting the hang of this. I haven’t even bothered with a picture because there’s absolutely nothing to show! So here’s me with some radishes instead..
Allotment Update July 2018 – The Total Disaster:
This. Just look at this. This little patch used to be home to our rhubarb, but it’s been neglected and now mother nature is claiming it back. It’s a bit of a nightmare really as it’s a bindweed hot bed. I did try to tackle it last weekend but it’s just too thick, theres too many nettles and I just don’t have it in me. Next best thing is to leave it to die back naturally and cover it over for next year. I don’t even get that much rhubarb out of it because it is competing with the grass, so I think it could do with a rest.
I could ramble on enlessly, but let’s leave it here for the July update. I’ve got some adventurous plants on the go too, which I’ll enlighten you about in my next post 🙂
My allotment is really coming alive lately, so to use up my glut of berries here is my tried & tested strawberry & peanut butter flapjack recipe. A match made in heaven.
Seasonal Eating – Strawberries
Seasonal eating is something that I am passionate about. It is one of the best things I have learnt from growing my own produce. Over the years I have become familiar with what crops will ripen and when. So now that the sun has started warming our bones the strawberries are out. It’s a no brainer that this is the best time of year to eat them. You just try to find strawberries in the winter, they’re practically anaemic. For top flavour it pays off to follow the seasons.
Strawberry & Peanut Butter Flapjacks
I only ever make these flapjacks when my strawberry patch is producing more than I can manage (which is like, every year). I have so many to use up that I simply can’t get through them all otherwise! There is something about a homegrown strawberry that is just that little bit nicer than shop bought. For one the taste is far more intense. What’s more is that they pair perfectly with a big dollop of peanut butter in this recipe.
These flapjacks are rustic, to say the least. They taste divine when warm & fresh out of the oven. Beware, though, they are mega crumbly, so with this in mind you might want to put them in the fridge before you slice them up as it helps keep them from turning into granola!
Make sure you fold in the strawberries gently to stop them breaking up. Also, to add that extra bit of texture and sweetness I cut up medjool dates and add them to the mix. However, you can jazz this up with other additions if you prefer. Raisins or chocolate chips would work really well too.
Want to Vegan-ize?
This recipe can easily be made vegan friendly:
- Sub the butter for coconut oil
- Sub the honey for maple syrup
As I write this post up I am finishing one of these bad boys off with a cup of coffee, perfect.
Strawberry & Peanut Butter Flapjacks
Delicious rustic flapjacks, dotted with fresh strawberries and medjool dates.
- 3 Tbsp Butter
- 2 Tbsp Peanut butter
- 1 Tsbp Honey
- 1 Tsbp Maple syrup
- 3 Medjool dates, chopped
- 2 Cups Oats
- 1 Cup Chopped strawberries
Set you oven to 180 degrees.
Line a baking tray with non stick parchment paper.
In a pan, add the butter, peanut butter, honey & maple syrup. Heat on medium-low for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted and the mixture is combined.
In a bowl, combine the oats together with the dates and butter mixture. Once combined, stir in the strawberry chunks gently.
Tip the mixture into the baking tray, smoothing out into the edges.
Cook on the middle shelf of the oven for 20-25 minutes. They are ready once the top begins to turn a golden brown.
Leave to cool in the tray. These flapjacks are crumbly, so would benefit from being cooled in a fridge before slicing. Also great warm if you don't mind the mess!
The best thing about having an allotment is that you can really begin seasonal eating. The rhubarb is in full swing at the moment, which is as good a reason as any to make a pie.
Rhubarb Pie – A British Classic
Rhubarb is actually one of my least favourite fruits. I like fruit that you can pick and eat. Whereas with rhubarb you have all the inconvenience of preparing it and cooking it. However, when I started my allotment there was already some growing (and growing in abundance). Each year that goes by, despite my lack of care to the patch where it grows, the rhubarb comes up as if out of nowhere. Each year I look at it and think how I can’t possibly let it go to waste..
First Pick at the Allotment – Hello Seasonal Eating
Whilst I was whittling away time at the plot over the weekend I waded through the grass to pull up some of the biggest stalks of rhubarb. Oh, and yes that is me in my full ski jacket despite the fact it is the end of April. It’s still freezing!
Despite my advice to fellow allotmenteers to cover over all unused beds (it saves masses of weeding) I’m pretty glad I didn’t cover over the area where these bad boys grow. It’s unkempt and full of nettles but would have been a shame to miss out on the glorious rhubarby goodness.
I’ve finally gotten around to turning them into something delicious today. First thing in the morning I was in the kitchen making pastry and by noon had two golden brown lattice pies staring back at me. Who doesn’t love a good mid-week bake up?
Rhubarb Pie Recipe – Thanks to That Skinny Chick Can Bake
This recipe did kill my plan of eating healthy during the week as I couldn’t help but get stuck into a little slice. Rhubarb is best when it’s caked in sugar and cinnamon and hugged by some nice buttery pastry. I got the recipe from Pinterest from a great food blogger called Liz. This rhubarb pie is home baking at it’s best. The filling bakes to perfection to make a sticky, sweet and enticing centre. Definitely getting saved into my recipe box. Mine looks a little more rustic than the one advertised, but hey, as long as the flavour is there it’s no big deal right?
Easy as Pie
Honestly, pie is such a simple thing to make. If you are thinking of doing some baking then definitely add this to your list. The pastry is just two ingredients and a bit of water. Roll it out, line your tin and then all that’s left to do is add your fruit straight in. I know some people swear by blind baking the pie first but it isn’t always necessary. The top is your choice, so if you don’t fancy making a lattice you can always do a crumble topping for minimal fuss. There are hundreds of great pie recipes out there, I must make my own sometime soon!
This was actually my first attempt at a lattice pie and must say I quite enjoyed the process, it makes baking feel artistic. One rhubarb pie is going into the office with me tomorrow (I am seriously going to be in the good books with my colleagues). The other will be divided between myself, my beau and our parents. It always feels nicer when you can share these delights with those around you.
Eco Friendly Seasonal Eating
On another note, how exciting to be using home grown fruit! This is just the first of so many seasonal eating recipes I am going to make with my own allotment produce. Seaonsal eating is a great way to help the planet. There are no air miles on my pie, as I walked the 30 seconds from my allotment back to my house there are actually no miles at all. I just hate picking up fresh fruit at the supermarket and seeing the origin is Spain when it grows perfectly well over here. See, we can all do our little bit for the world.
I’m off for a run in the rain now, that way I won’t feel too guilty about heating up another slice for pudding later and that extra addition of hot creamy custard. I’m drooling at the thought..