Wednesday, 17 July 2013

A kitchen back yard and some aliens

It's been a just over a year since I last wrote anything in this.

This year, I've made an effort at gardening. I've been given some plants by Jo, which have made my back yard a place I want to spend more time in.
  • 'Pineberries': actually strawberries that are supposed to taste like pineapple. I think the first one will be ready in a week or two, so watch this space for the verdict. The mother ship plant has sent out many alien runners in an attempt to procreate. I tried to accommodate for them all, but it would have taken up too much space and too many pots, so I cut a few runners back. The most fun I have had with these is pegging runner shoots down into soil using old hairgrips and tugging them to see if they have taken root. Some of them have.
  • Edible day lily. The flowers and buds can be eaten. the flowers bloom for just one day each. I told my mum about this and she said, "Don't you go eating those edible lilies."
  • Huauzontle / Aztec broccoli
  • Komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach)
  • Cavolo nero
I've also been growing fenugreek. This is incredibly easy to grow. It even grows in containers with no holes drilled into them for drainage. It doesn't take long and then suddenly you have leaves which will add good flavour to curries and pakora. I combined two recipes to make these:

I wanted to know what fenugreek and banana would be like in pakora. The result: good, but needs improvement. very ripe, brown banana flesh would be sweet enough to be a match for the salty, savoury pakora batter. I would consider mashing the banana straight into the batter next time.

Taking advantage of the hot weather, I bought some basil plants and have left them outside to soak up the sunshine. They are thriving. The nasturtium in my hanging basket did well until a plague of blackfly decimated several areas of the plant. I've removed it and isolated it, waiting for some nice insects to do their work and eat the damn things. It's true, I've been neglecting it somewhat and not watering it thoroughly. The golden thyme in the same basket thrives and has sprouted some small purple flowers.

I planted some black peas because I was fed up of the jar of dried peas sitting around doing nothing. They are also known as maple peas or Carlin peas. They are very hardy and used to the cool, wet Lancashire climate. The peas aren't really suitable for eating raw or lightly cooked; they are more suited to being boiled or made into pease pudding. However, the young pods can be used like mange tout.