I enjoyed the luxury of plenty of free-time this summer after my exams, and spent a lot of it in two of my favourite places- the kitchen and the garden!
Of course it’s pretty clear that I love cooking. But I do love being outside too and getting my hands covered in soil rather than flour for a change. I get a real thrill out of seeing something grow from virtually nothing and get pretty excited about the appearance of a new courgette or a tomato turning red. The resulting meals consisting almost entirely of home-grown vegetables are a lovely bonus.
I promised I would share some pictures of my garden, but, with the whirlwind of Vegan MoFo, didn’t get to doing so before it all got started. I thought I’d take the opportunity to post them now it’s all over and while we’re still enjoying the novelty of autumn vegetables, not yet pining after the long-gone summer!
Sweet peas are the scent of summer! There was always a little vase of them on the kitchen table.
The flowers are my Mum’s domain. I try my best to learn all their names, but somehow always forget them… Our roses are especially beautiful.
The piles of green beans I was picking daily got bigger and bigger and admittedly we struggled to stay on top of them.
We actually grew these borlotti beans last year but they were too pretty not to share. We didn’t end up with a huge amount and I don’t really know how to use them fresh like this so we didn’t sow any more seeds this year. Tomatoes! What would summer be without them? We grew 3 varieties- my favourite were these little cherry tomatoes- sakura and orange paruche. They were like sweets, and, warm off the vine were heavenly. We had so many that I ended up making a few batches of slow-roasted tomatoes with them as well.I think every gardener experiences a case of courgette fatigue by the end of summer. They just don’t stop producing! I got a little cross that the muntjac deer kept sneaking up at night and chomping them, but after a while I was actually grateful for fewer courgettes to deal with!Plenty of salad leaves. I love these crunchy little gem lettuces which we grow every year.It was fantastic to have our own beetroot, even if we didn’t have an awful lot. I think I mostly roasted them in tin foil and then ate them in salads. Though I’m sure I made my favourite tahini beetroot recipe with them, and there was Gena’s delicious beetroot-hemp granola too.
We were given the seeds for these squash so never really knew what variety they were. They seemed to be a hybrid summer/winter squash though. They had thick skins but the flesh was softer than most winter squash. It was fun to see them changing colour- first the stripes appeared and then they went yellow!
We discovered these little critters up near the house, trapped under a grate. Mr Frog……
…and Mr Toad! We put them in a bucket and took them down to the water.
There were so many butterflies this summer! They fly too quickly to take photos of though but I thought this spiky caterpillar was rather fun. (Update: Apparently he would have grown into a “Tussock moth” )
We don’t grow fruit usually (although there are plans to try some soft fruit next year apparently) but did try out these this year.
Do you know what it is? It’s a physalis/cape gooseberry/Inca berry. There are various names for them and I’d only seen them before as a garnish on dessert plates. Sadly they never ripened, even in the greenhouse and with all the sunshine we had.
This little plum tree was a new addition this year. We did really well from it and got a lot of fruit, despite its size. Most of these were eaten fresh but, combined with a neighbour’s fruit they also got turned into my Maple-Oat Crumble.
We do have wild blackberries galore . I picked several batches of them to go in the freezer to be turned into apple and blackberry compote, crumbles and smoothies. There are still some in there from 2012 though!
Alfie likes them too! We both enjoyed them out on our walks.
A few teeny-tiny wild strawberries were discovered too. These were very sweet-tasting as well as cute.
If only! Perhaps I was making up for the fact that we can’t grow citrus or bananas here in crocheting my own!
Did you grow your own vegetables this year? What summer vegetable are you going to miss most in the autumn/winter? Hopefully you’re not missing it already!
I’ll be back with a foodie post tomorrow!