Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Down on the Allotment - August


Hoorah I have managed to harvest some actual fare that can be consumed this month! (we didn't eat the flowers). All the hard work has paid off with a glut of round yellow courgettes also, crab apples, salad leaves, runner beans, bobby beans, globe artichokes, blueberries and blackberries. I prepared the runner beans, blanched and froze them. The blackberries are also in the freezer, destined to become crumbles and smoothies. The french (or bobby) beans were used in one of my favourite salad recipes namely Jamie Oliver's 'Good Old French Bean Salad' See below for what became off the blueberries and crab apples. The casualties (there are always casualties!) were the sweetcorn and onions, I think they suffered from not enough water, believe it or not (remember that hot dry weather in the spring?!).


I used Nigella's 'Best Blueberry Muffin' recipe and they were delicious.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (approx 280 grams) Self Raising flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt 1/3 cup (approx. 67 grams) sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup (175 ml) milk
  • 2 cups (approx. 300 grams?!?) blueberries, well-dried
  • Optional: 1 tsp grated orange or lemon rind muffin pan lined with muffin papers (I use one 12 cup and one 6 cup pan)

Method

Serves: Makes 18 muffins
  1. Wash the blueberries and drain. Sprinkle a tea towel with flour and roll the blueberries in it. Wrap the now lightly floured berries and leave for a good 30 minutes or so to dry completely.
  2. Preheat oven to 425F/210C/Gas Mark 7.
  3. Sift the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder into a large mixing bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Add the melted butter and then the milk.
  5. Quickly stir the liquid ingredients into the dry, confining yourself to only 10-15 strokes. Leave the lumps as too much handling will result in tough muffins.
  6. Add the floured blueberries and the optional rind if you are using. Briefly fold in the berries. Spoon into the prepared muffin pans, allowing the mixture to fill about 2/3 of the cup. Bake in the hot oven for 15-20 minutes. Muffins will be a light golden colour when fully cooked. R
  7. Remove at once from their tins. Serve with plenty of butter. To really make this a meal, scramble some eggs to eat with the muffins!





I made tons of crab apple jelly this year (below is a picture of batch number two!) as my little tree bore 121lbs of fruit. This means that I can make a contribution to the harvest gathering at the allotments. Here is a recipe from Waitrose I added some chopped mint to this batch just before I poured it into the jars.


Ingredients

  • 4 kg crab apples
  • 1 kg caster sugar
  • 1 lemon, juiced

Method

  1. Wash the apples, remove the blossom heads and cut out any bruised bits. Put in a saucepan, fill with water to cover the apples and bring to the boil. Simmer for 25 minutes until the fruit is soft. Pour the pulp into a jelly bag or several layers of muslin and let drip overnight into a pan beneath. Don’t squeeze the bag, it will cloud the jelly.
  2. The next day, measure the juice, and combine with sugar at the ratio of 10 parts juice to 7 sugar. Add the lemon, then bring to the boil to dissolve the sugar. Keep at a rolling boil for 35–40 minutes, skimming off the froth regularly. To test, chill a dessertspoon in the fridge. When the jelly is set, it will solidify on the back of the spoon. Pour into warm, sterilised preserving jars and tightly seal while still slightly warm. Store in a cool dark place.



And finally, happiness is a huge bunch of beautiful cornflowers.