Monthly Archives: September 2012

Green Tomato and Orange Jam

Having been on holiday, we returned to find our outdoor tomatoes catching a bit of blight. So, quick as a flash we harvested all of the survivors, and made about 6 jars of green tomato chutney. We still had a few left over, so today becs made Green Tomato and Orange jam. This is a favorite of ours..a great breakfast jam with a lovely earthy flavor.

4 large oranges

2 lemons

1kg of green tomatoes

750ml of water

1kg of sugar

11/2 tbsp of coriander seeds roughly crushed.

Chop oranges into small pieces with the skin on

Squeeze the juice from the lemons and put the pips into a muslin bag

chop tomatoes into tiny pieces

place toms, and orange and bag into the water and boil.

Simmer for 45 mins

Add sugar and lemon juice, stir until sugar is dissolved

Bring to boil, simmer for 35 mins

Jar.

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Fresh air and olive oil

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We’ve just got back from 10 days on Crete, exploring Hania and the south coast, walking gorges and eating wonderful fresh local food. The ‘organic’ revolution hasn’t really clicked in Crete because that’s just the normal way they live, especially in the more rural western parts of the Island.

The food in Crete is amazing. They grow loads of semi tropical things like huge tomatoes and aubergines. The butternut squashes that we saw when we walked through the mountain villages were as big as water melons. Every taverna serves amazing salads as well as stews made from local meat.

The livestock is mainly goats and sheep, but again, most people keep a few chickens in their back yards and judging by the breed (naked necks), they were for the pot. The landscape is so suitable for goats and sheep that it’s easy to see why they produce so much amazing yogurt and cheese.

The trip reminded me of a conversation that I was having with a friend just before we came away. She was remarking that less than 100 years ago the way that we live (smallholding), would have been the norm. I replied that it was more like 50 years ago but I appreciated the point. However, wherever we go in the world, when we take the time to step outside of our own backyard, we find that other cultures still hold this connection to food and nature as something to be cherished. A way of life that they wouldn’t dream of changing.

We took a Cretan cookery course in Vamos. We learnt how to make cheese pies with an olive oil pastry, stuffed vine leaves, courgette fritters and a tomato based lamb stew. I have bought 2 litres of amazing local olive back home and can’t wait to try these recipes on our next dinner guest.

Oh and the honey Raki is not bad either, although it is possible to get carried away with the Cretan hospitality and drink too much of it….or so I’m told.


Seasons for a reason: Veg harvest 2012

It’s been a very poor year for veg this year. A gulf stream got stuck on the wrong side of GB and caused us to have a cold, wet May – July. We all drooped at the lack of sunlight, and the veg were no different. Nothing grew. Vegetables in this country have seasons for a reason. Seeds need warm soil to germinate (spring), and seedlings need sunlight to photosynthesise. Plants need nitrogen to produce leaves and potassium to produce fruit. Without sunlight the whole thing become like an opera without music.

So we have been more or less veg-less.

The onions have been the stonking exception and chard always grows like a weed. The poly tunnel has been a god-send, we had a good early crop of salad and a reasonable sugar snap harvest. The tomatoes are just coming on now but don’t look that promising. The beans refused to grow entirely and the strawberries, rhubarb and asparagus all put in a very poor show.

The biggest disapointment is the courgettes, a few coming through… Better late than never, but no where near the normal abundance. No squash as yet.

So if this is your first year as a veg gardener, don’t disappear. This is unusually bad. Try again next spring 😉


Baby bunnies

8 babies for Flo on Thursday morning, all look fine, couple of little ones but they’ll probably catch up. She seems good, no problems, she’s an old hand now!