Saturday, 30 May 2015

Another simple supper and more fritters

Fritters are fast becoming my new best thing!
A few weeks ago it was sweet potato and feta fritters; then this week I made carrot and coriander fritters from the  Yeo valley cookbook.

Carrot and coriander are always a good match and these were delicious served with yoghurt dip.
I also teamed them with couscous and a green salad but this didn't complement them quite as well as I had hoped, masking rather than enhancing their delicate, spicy flavour.
I love vegetarian food but sometimes struggle to put items together to make a complete meal. Maybe this accounts for the popularity of vegetarian versions of familiar dishes such as lasagne or shepherd's pie as we know what to expect from them.

I'm still in 'meat and 2 veg' mode but am trying to adopt a more tapas style approach with different dishes as stand-alone items.

Anyway if you would like to try them the recipe is as follows:

25g butter
1 bunch spring onions, thinly sliced
2 large eggs
80 ml milk
90g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp cayenne
350 g coarsely grated carrots
25g parmesan finely grated
15 g chopped coriander leaves
salt and pepper
 small amount oil for frying.

Lightly fry the spring onions.
Beat the eggs and milk together, then sift over the flour, baking powder, spices and 3/4 tsp salt. Whisk together.
Put the grated carrot into a clean tea towel and squeeze out the excess liquid, add to the batter with the spring onions, parmesan and coriander.
Heat a small amount of oil in a pan and drop in spoonfuls of the mixture. ( big or small, as you wish)
Fry until crisp and golden, about 1-11/2 minutes each side.

They were delicious and well worth making again.

Happy weekend!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

chelsea flower show 2015

The Healthy cities garden by Chris Beardshaw -Gold

Visiting the Chelsea flower show has been on my wish list for ages and on Friday my wish came true!
Leaving at the crack of dawn Mr D and I arrived down at SW3 not long after the show had opened.
I was bubbling with excitement as we walked through the gates and we were not disappointed!

Although the BBC coverage is excellent, actually seeing the gardens up close puts a whole new perspective on them. It is much easier, when actually there, to get an overall impression of each garden and some which I had not particularly liked earlier in the week when viewed on tv, such as The world vision garden, suddenly made more sense when seen for real.

We loved practically all of the gardens, but some of our favourites were those by Adam Frost and Chris Beardshaw.

The urban retreat garden by Adam Frost

There was a wonderful, warm and friendly atmosphere at the show which just goes to prove that gardeners are generally a very happy bunch!
As gardeners, we already know that gardening is good for our physical bodies but increasingly it is being shown to be of great benefit to our mental well-being.
There is something intrinsically fulfilling about being involved in the process of planting, cultivating and harvesting.

The world vision garden by John Warland -silver gilt

The old Forge by Jodie Fedorka and Martin Anderson - silver

There was so much inspiration to be drawn from the beautiful gardens and even many of the trade stands were works of art. 
Foxgloves were everywhere, along with billowing clouds of a cultivated cowparsley


My wish list of plants grows ever longer, but I came away with a little bag of red ranunculus bulbs.
This weekend, I will be planting them in the sunniest flower bed in the garden and in due course will have a lovely reminder of our fab day out.

Saturday, 16 May 2015


Mr digandweed and I have just returned from a few days in Dorset, enjoying the beautiful countryside around Poole harbour.
We had fabulous ice-cream-on-the-beach - sun-cream-on-your-legs type weather.

There were visits to picturesque little villages and ancient ruins,

woodland walks

besides clear streams

and a visit to the lovely Brownsea island in Poole harbour.

Brownsea Island is nowadays managed by the National trust. With heathland, woods, lagoons and glimpses of the sea and shoreline at every step, I found it a truly magical place.
 Lord Baden-Powell started the Scout movement with the first camp on the island in 1907 .
And it is now one of the few places where red squirrels can be seen in southern England.

Usually very shy, this little squirrel was enticed by a ready supply of food outside the visitor centre.
Isn't he lovely!

Saturday, 9 May 2015

It's not just flowers - veggies can be beautiful too!

Just look at the lovely rhubarb-pink of the stalks and the deep aubergine colour of these beetroot roots.
These were bought from the supermarket; the beetroot on the allotment are but tiny seedlings at the moment.
I have my fingers crossed. This past week they have had to survive an onslaught from our unpredictable British weather - sunshine followed by howling gales, followed by showers of hail.
But tiny seedlings are very tough it would seem and their ability to bounce back always amazes me.

Beetroot was not a vegetable we ate much chez fenland lottie until we started growing our own.
Now, they are a favourite, valued for their lovely earthy flavour and bright cerise colour.
I spotted a recipe for beetroot, new potato and creme fraiche pies in my Yeo Valley Great British farmhouse cookbook.

6 little individual tarts, baked blind, then filled with a delicious mixture as follows:
1 chopped onion lightly fried for 10 mins to which add
2 crushed garlic cloves, 
200g of thinly sliced waxy new potatoes,
120ml whole milk
120g creme fraiche
salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer for about 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
Remove from the heat and stir in 250g grated cheese ( reserving some to top the pies)
250g grated beetroot and a bunch of chopped chives.
 Season then spoon into the pie cases, top with the remaining cheese and bake at 200c/gas mark 6 until the cheese is golden and bubbling.

They made a very nice summery lunch.
Here's hoping that the beetroot seedlings on the lottie grow big and strong.

And talking of seedlings, last Thursday I finally planted out my climbing beans and courgettes.
The little plants have been on the windowsill for weeks whilst I tended to their every need. I am already 2 or 3 weeks behind my allotment neighbours who have already planted out their beans, but the truth is I was nervous for my little plants. So many difficulties lay ahead of them once they left the security of the windowsill; cold wind, potential frost, not to mention the unwelcome attentions of passing slugs and snails! Call me daft, but I lay awake that night listening to the rain coming down and wondering how they were getting on in the big wide world!
Today is another cool and very windy day. But I need not have worried; a quick trip down to the allotment earlier revealed that the bean plants are doing quite well - just a little wind damage to some lower leaves.
As I said seedlings are remarkably tough!

Happy weekend :)

Saturday, 2 May 2015

lately on the lottie - beginning of may

With spring fast advancing, there has been much activity on the allotment; seeds are being planted, weeding continues apace and in this (so far) dry spring, lots of watering has been done.
The water in the water butt is getting low, so the rain forecast this weekend will be very welcome -though I know it it is a bank holiday!
The plants are responding to the warmth and water and are bursting into growth.
Our little apple tree, Rosette, is covered in pretty blossom. 

The blossom on the plum tree, on the other hand, has been and gone and is replaced by fresh green leaves. There was less blossom this year. I'm hoping this does not mean less fruit after last year's bumper crop.

The beetroot, spinach and radish are showing through and this weekend I am hoping to sow lettuce and carrots.

The poles are ready for the climbing beans which at the moment are still on the window sill at home.
I am also trying a climbing courgette, shooting star, this year.
There is nothing better than eating fresh veggies, particularly if you have been able to grow them yourself.

And talking of eating vegetables, tiny girlie is 6 months now and has started on the big adventure known as 'solid food'.
Her mummy is offering her a combination of puree and finger food and tiny girlie has taken to the whole process with great enthusiasm.
She has already tried an impressive array of vegetables and has eagerly munched through broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, sweet potato, avocado and courgette.
Like her mama and nana, she seems to love her food- long may it continue!

Enjoying a piece of melon with her mummy.

Munching her way through a lunch of steamed carrot and broccoli.
It has to be said that mealtimes are VERY messy now, but great fun!