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Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Best Laid Plans

So I got up yesterday with the plan to be a real organized ‘Super Mom’.

The plan was to cook up a batch of ketchup in the morning and then to take myself and the younger offspring to the allotment to do some more clearing of my plot, then on our return, we would go straight to the school and pick up the older offspring return home and cook up a batch of chutney before dinner (there was enough leftovers not to actually worry about cooking dinner).

Ok now for what really happened:

Ketchup making took much longer than expected so morning session at allotment was moved to mid afternoon after picking up older offspring (perfect as little one will have company which frees me up to get more work done) and chutney making moved up into empty time slot, great save I thought.

Feeling well smug about saving the day but in hindsight I am suddenly aware of the old proverbs, such as; ‘pride goes before the fall’ and ‘don’t count your chickens before they hatch’.

So leaving 5 minutes late to go pick up the eldest and the youngest running ahead falls not 20ft away from our gate on pavement and badly (I mean badly skins her knee). The scenario plays out as follows; grab child up off of the ground, run back into house , grabs box of bandaids and run next door, thrust screaming child onto neighbours kitchen counter and ask her to please clean her up for me so I’m not late picking eldest up.

On the return home youngest is no longer crying (she is a toughy) but her knee is hurting a lot and her mood is not nice. She doesn’t want to visit the lotty (can’t blame her) I dose her up with some painkillers and she promptly goes off to sleep within an hour.

SIGH! So much for being a super organised mom, never mind, better luck next time as they say.

This morning she is still very sore and walking very higgly piggly, so the lotty is out of the question this morning as well but hopefully once the knee has warmed up sufficiently maybe we could fit a trip in this afternoon with big sister in tow as well.

So walking backwards so to speak from yesterday to my last posting date I’ll fill you in on what I have been up too.

So yesterday I finally got round to cooking up a batch of ketchup using some very ripe tomatoes that had gone pass their eating fresh best but were still lovely to use in sauces etc.

I used a recipe from Jamie Oliver’s - Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life cook book. It took a lot longer than I thought it would and though it did taste delicious I think I would look for and use a simpler recipe next time.


(Clicking on the recipe will open it up bigger)

I did do a couple things differently though; as I had no bulb fennel I used one bunch of fresh fennel seeds right off the plant (I think this did impart some bitterness to the sauce but once I added the sugar and vinegar that bitterness disappeared). I also did not dice up the chilli but cooked it whole in the sauce to impart its flavour but without too much of it’s heat (gotta think of the kids). The end result was approx 900- 950mls of yummy homemade tomato ketchup.

After lunch I started to make some chutney with some of the patty pan squash I had in the vegetable bowl. This plant is cropping really well this year and as such I have had to give away and now pickle some into a chutney for winter relish. I used this recipe ‘Glutney’ from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall last year for my courgette glut and it was a huge success, so as they say don’t fix it if it ain’t broken. I got 6 bottles jars, my larder is stocking up nicely.

The weather over the last five days or so have improved greatly and with this return to hot sunny days and relatively mild nights the beasties are remerging from their hidey holes. Here are some photos taken on Monday of the garden’s wildlife and flora.

I am seeing a few more of these of late.
The bees are also more active again.
As are the hoverflies.
Female Ichneumon Wasp query sp.
And not sure how many of you have noticed but gosh there are tons of these about, they are making huge webs in all manner of places, which freaks my girly girls out.
The flowers as I mentioned are still at it although not at the numbers they were before:
New sunflowers are still opening.
California Poppies are still blooming.

And finally the Jerusalem artichokes are finally going to open their buds.

Monday I also did another big harvest; along with the usual stuff another of my winter squashes were ready ‘Blue Banana’ weighing in at 5lbs 4ozs.

Well that’s it for now, toodles.


  1. I hope your little one's knee is feeling better this afternoon, poor thing. Shame you didn't make it to the allotment when you planned to, but the kiddies come first!

  2. Well her knee is still quite sore and she is really keeping to the sofa. it is very strange to not have her bouncing off the walls like she usually is.

    Well we are off to the lotty in a little while mainly because she really wants to go but I think that is only because she wants to get to wear the new overalls I got for her to use when we go there.

    Isn't it amazing how quickly girls start to suffer themselves for the sake of fashion (roll eyes).

  3. really have been busy...sorry your little ones still not right but maybe you should use this time for a little tranquility!!!

    Some great pics...i can't believe how late all the flowers are blooming this year..we still have strawberries growing!!!

    I love the Californian poppy..where did you get it??

  4. Hi Kella, so sorry to hear about your daughters knee, I hope it's better soon. Your tomato ketchup sounds delicious. I have that Jamie Oliver book myself, so maybe I will give it a try. I think I will give patty pans a go next year too, my friend was very pleased with her crop this year.

    I have just taken a photo of the same variety (is that the right word?) of spider that you have on this post, it's horrible and was having it's lunch (a little insect) but I thought of you and took the photo anyway, and now you've beaten me to it, ha ha. I'll still post it though.

    I hope tomorrow is better for you.

  5. Well we never did make it today, after posting my comment to Jo I got dressed and went downstairs to meet her half asleep on the sofa.

    She is still hobbling around and I'm not sure how it will pan out tomorrow either, aaarrrgh!! and the weather is just right too, Sod's Law!!

    Tanya, thanks re: the compliment about the pics. The California poppies found me, all self sown. I'll be happy to send you some seeds if you like, I'll have to check my stash and get back to you.

    Mangocheeks, tell me about it.

    Maureen, I love the texture of the dense flesh (plus when cooking it doesn't just melt away in the pan and its great baked with other veges). My mom found this particular variety (a green one) somewhat bland and prefers the yellow variety I grew last year, I would say that yes the yellow was more flavoursome but I enjoyed them both, maybe next year I will give one of the white varieties a try as well.

    This year by accident the first one to be harvested was a couple inches bigger than the recommended harvesting size (tennis ball size) and as such had developed seeds (not ripe though). Well I don't waste those bits and found that the young seeds had a somewhat nutty flavour to them, so I continued to harvest them a couple sizes to big, which thankfully didn't appear to slow the plant down.

    Those spiders are everywhere aren’t they? good for you re: taking the photo, I look forward to seeing.

  6. Kella, I didn't know patty pans came in different colours, my friend is growing the white ones.
    I was just about to put my photo's of the spider on my P.C, but couldn't bring myself to look at them this late at night !! I would probably have nightmares, so I will have a look tomorrow if I'm brave.

  7. Oh yes Maureen there are three main colours (which also vary in hues and even strips) and the shapes can differ slightly as well, the two varieties I have grown thus far are flatter in shape with very defined scalloped edges but there are others which are more muffin shape so to speak with less defined edges.

    They also go by three main names: scalloped, patty pan and custard squash. There are other names but these are the most popular.

  8. Oh I forgot to add if you let the fruits ripen on the plant they will store well for winter use. I plan to grow at least one of these plants next year just for this purpose.



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