Saturday, 25 September 2021

Six on Saturday - 25 September 2021

 Over stuffed, that is what comes from being away for nearly a fortnight.  You might think that is what I am feeling, but although we had some fab meals out, I weigh the same as I did when I left.  Overstuffed is what I think my garden is.  I just can't seem to come away from places with new plants.  I must be delusional thinking that they will find a home.

1. Mr S drove me for over a hour to visit Beth Chatto's garden and it was definetly worth it.  Thisis a glimpse of some of my holiday sourvenirs. Crocosmia Emily McKenzie came from the another supplier, but I came home with Verbena bonariensis 'Little One', Phyla nodiflora, and Limonium bellidifolium all of then I saw growing in the gravel garden.

I was impressed by the gardens and also the nursery and the quality of the plants.  One plant I had seen coming into flower was the yellow crocus looking Sternbegia.  Someone on the yard found me a pot from the polytunnel, I went through the checkout, and as I usually do I check that everything went through.  I felt the price was a little low, and double checking it went through as £0. Of course I querried this, but as the plant was not on the system, I was unable to pay seperately.  Of course they were pleased that I had pointed it out.  I am pleased that I noticed it, but sad that I was unable to find a way for paying for it.  They are now on the site for puchasing, but maybe the garden is too stuffed!

2. It only takes a damp day to bring out the snails, and this little one managed to slither its way up onto Dahlia David Howard. Good job I went out just now to take some pictures for this SOS.

3.  And away they grow.  I picked some lettuce yesterday after having been 'starved' of my usual salads. That explains the few missing leaves in this picture.

4. I'm very impressed with Salvia Leucantha and will take cuttings shortly as I am happy with the rate of growth in one season, and would like the space to grow things in earlier on it in the season.

5. One of the plants I saw growing in the Chatto Gardens was a ground hugging plant called Phyla nodiflora. It is a creeping vervain know as Turkey tangle frogfruit, worth it for the name! I'll give it a try around the stepping stones.

6. A warm sunny September is definetly the right weather for ripening chillis.

Thats my Six.  This weekend will find me chopping back things, taking cuttings, and planting out new acquisitions. I'm going over to join in with The Prop and others. 

Saturday, 11 September 2021

Mauritian Rougaille

 Both the smell of rougaille cooking and the taste of this deeply flavoured creole tomota sauce is enough to transport me back to my youth in Mauritius.  Every home had their own version and no one variation can be said to be the best one.  Afterall there are just so many homes, and I had eaten that dish only at nearly of my friends and relatives homes, and in Mauritius nearly eveyone falls into that category!  But of course not those on the other side of the tall mountains....a bit of a tall story there.

Last Christmas our plea of no Christmas presents fell on deaf ears fertile ground, well at least the little tomato and basil seeds did fall on soil, and two tomato plants were grown together in a large planter in the garden.

The tomatoes started to ripen at the start of August, and a few were enjoyed in small helpings of rougaille.  Mr S finds raw tomatoes agravates his selection of aches and pains, but cooked tomatoes for now don't.  I had left offf tomatoes myself for a few years, but am enjoying them in moderation again.

Both plants had the majority fruit ripe yesterday, so I decided to cut the plants right back, and with the ripe tomatoes make a batch of rougaille to freeze and enjoy in future months.

Onions, garlic, ginger which I forgot to add, fresh green coriander seeds, tomatoes, parsley and thyme, sea salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.  It is all in the technique...ready to sieve and use in a sophisticated Sauce Rouge, or use with grilled meats or fish, maybe as a topping for pulses....Unless as a sophistaced dish, I like it just like this.  Not quite Rougaille Saucis as the Mauritian sausages are quite something: for lunch a week back we had duck sausages from Wells market, grilled then gently tossed in this hot red sauce, with runner beans from the garden.

Six on Saturday - 11 September 2021

The coutyard or gravel area is now as tidy as it is going to get.  All those plants that I had promised people and which had been settling into their pots havea all been distributed. 

1.The large multistemmed Aeonium Velour, has now been broken up with many friends and other fund raisers the beneficiaties of its largess, Only five rossettes have been kept and are settling in niceley.  Next spring the best will be selected to grow on in a special pot and the rest distributed again.

2. Last year, in the autumn I split up the two Asters: Monch and King George. The warning is usually to split in the Spring, but I thought I could get away with it. I lost Monch: both the divisions that I planted straight away and the ones in pots.  King George though has done well, and three sections are doing nicely.  It was the same with the pieces I passed onto my friend Alison.

3. Is it normal forViola Pedata to flower in the autumn?  Oh, it is in its home land in and around the Mississipi it is, so why not here too!

4. This week's bee magnet is Allium senescens montana glaucum.  It is making quite a good sized cushion of leaves and flowers this year.  I saw a very large clump when visiting Derry Watkins's garden during the week.  I wouldn't want this twirly leaved allium clump to get much bigger, so once flowering is over, I shall be dividing this one.

5. I acquired Salvia syanescens earlier this year from Pottertons and that plant which you can just see behind the allium in the picture is going well.  I am even happier that a cutting I took earlier this year has taken well.  This one I shall grown on and have it in an 'Alpine pan' to go on the display shelf. I have taken it partly as an insurance, as the one in the gravel garden needs to be moved.  A few plants in there require a shuffle around now that I understand exactly when they are likely to flower, and which plant is hidden at that time by others.

Another kilo of beans awaits me, as soon as I've posted this! Pleased to say the weather is lovely today, and I shall be able to sit out in the garden to slice the beans. It is a piccallili type of preserve, which we enjoy very much during the winter. 

Monday, 6 September 2021

In a Vase on Monday - Follow my leader

 I wasn't going to post today.  After baking buns this morning and a few other tasks, I felt tired out.  Today it is hot,probably as not as it has been all summer this year.  I was just going to view Cathy, the Queem Bee's Post and suddenly I became motivated. She has inspired me to put some bee things together. 

Just before I opened up the computer, I was sewing up a button and noticed the motif that I had embroidered on my scissor keep.  We made scissor keeps under Kay's tutelage, and it is a lovely reminder of that sewing group in Kenilworth.

I started with Pelargonium Capricorn with its bee guide lines clearly marked for us as well as the bees.  Probably bees can see far more different colours etc than we can.

Next door to Capricorn is Pelargonium hybrid sidoides x reniforme “Burgundy” which is just the colour of the lines on Capricorn.

Other bee magnets are the
Allium senescens montana glaucum which is just coming into flower. This clump forming allium with its flattened swirling leaves is the bright spot in the gravel garden at the moment. In there as well is Origanum Bristol Cross, Sedum erythrostictum 'Frosty Morn' and the heads of the white Scabiosa caucasica 'Perfecta Alba', which have been pollinated by the bees, and hopefully now contain some seeds.

This bit on the scissor keep has been added with a link to the original project back in 2011.
Here is another scissor keep and a little reinforced holder which slips into the sewing thing holder which is called a housewife the first mention of that being in 1749. In effect it is a portable sewing kit.

Something has happened to my camera, but I am too tired to sort it out at present, and I think I would rather join in than not.

Top tea cakes by Dan Lepard

 This morning I would have had a 'breakfast bun' but there were none left, so it was time to bake some.  Not having tried Top tea cakes from Dan Lepard's Short and Sweet, I thought I would give it a try.  

The recipe in the Guardian is more or less the same as in the book, so go there for details. Beter still get yourself the book whether brand new or second hand, there will be lots you want to bake from there.

I used the last wedge of crystalised lemon, cut up finely.  Its time I checked again to see if my favourite local wholefood shop has received in their annual consignment of orange and lemond peels, which they get in ready for the big Christmas Cake baking sessions.

As I did not have enough, I added chopped crystalized ginger before even realising that there was a section called 'Tweaking those Tea Cakes'.  The currants swelled up beautifully in the warmed milk, syrup and sugar mixture and I had forgotten just how good they area, afterall in their fully dried state they look far less enticing compored to raisins or sultanas, but plummed up they have just the right scale for a small bun.

A little of the beaten egg was held back, and with a little milk, made for the glaze just before going into the oven.  I followed the technique of cooling them on a wire rack with a tea towel and that has left me with lovely soft plump buns.  Here they are wrapped in these lovely old linen  'hukaback' towels.


Dan must be a chap that likes very big buns, or else he slices them and only has half.  Instead of his 9, I made 13 large ones, and four smaller ones to take over for Sarah's boys later on.