After the Christmas feasting, it’s good to get back outside. Firstly for a bit of fresh air, but secondly for a bit of exercise. When I went to the allotment today there was no one else about. Why would there be, it was cold and frosty. But me being me, I went up to see if I could do anything. There’s always something that needs to be done in the garden. Sure enough I found some things to do, and I’m sharing them with you now. I hope you enjoy. If I don’t see you before the end of the year, I hope you have a wonderful New Years Celebrations and see you in 2017!!
When I was tidying the back garden this weekend, I needed to prune the tree at the end of our garden, and the only way to get to it all, is to stand on the shed roof. I’m not scared of heights, and yes I was very careful. As I was pruning, I noticed nestled tightly in between some of the larger branches was a very small birds nest. I would like to think that it was used this year. It wasn’t there last year, as I prune the tree every year. Then once that was done I then went to investigate the nesting box I have attached to the shed. In the spring there were Great Tits busy going in and out, and I was really hoping for some more babies. The camera is no longer working, so I was waiting to hear the little tweets of babies as the hatched. But something must have gone wrong. The adult birds suddenly disappeared, and I found a wonderful nest, but sadly lots of bird skeletons inside. WARNING!! If you don’t like anything macabre, then please don’t watch. I don’t want anyone to get upset, but I felt that I should show you, as I find it fascinating.
It’s been a while since I’ve been on my allotment, but because it’s November there isn’t much happening. I managed to get on my plot for a couple of hours this morning, and it was great to be back there again. It’s surprising how much you miss it when you’re unable to go and visit. The allotment site is very quiet at this time of year. I saw 2 other plot holders. I did have a successful morning though, as I harvested my Salsify, which I was very pleased with. It’s only the second time I’ve ever grown it. It’s not a fussy plant, and just takes care of itself. I then dug up a load of Jerusalem Artichokes, which again have grown brilliantly this year. If you dig any up that are too small, then just pop them back in the soil again. Then finally I harvested some more of my Horseradish. What an amazing plant. The smell as soon as it comes out of the soil is wonderful. Use sparingly though as it’s very hot. Perfect for spicing up a pasta dish or those all important casseroles at this time of year.
Another hearty recipe for using up your Pumpkins. This Savoury Pumpkin Pie is a Mary Berry recipe from her “Complete Cook Book”. But I’ve added a few other bits to it, to give it a Claire twist. I think there’s a newer version of this book, but the one I’ve linked to is the one I’ve got. It was first published in 1995 so I must have got it not long after Mark and I got married. Yes we’ve been married for that long!! It’s the perfect warm dinner to have when British Summer Time ends and the nights draw in much earlier. Just serve with some green vegetables and it’s perfect. Maybe a glass of white wine as well, and then snuggle up under a cozy blanket with someone you love, and watch some TV.
I’m discovering all sorts of wonderful recipes with Pumpkins in them. Some are sweet and some are savoury. Today I made some wonderful Pumpkin Cupcakes from a book I have called “Muffin Bible”. If you would like to give them ago please do and then let me know how you get on. There are loads of other recipes in the book as well and I’ve tried loads of them. The measurements are in cups, so make sure you have those to hand before you start, and the flour is Plain/All purpose unless otherwise stated. Happy Baking!!
Mark and the kids are a Comic Con all day today, so I’ve been at home on my own. I’ve had so much fun filming what I’ve baked today. I hope you try these Crumble Pies at home. Use whatever fruit you like. I work in old weights so I’ll apologies for that now. If you prefer the other new fangled way of doing things then you’ll have to figure it out. For the Pasty you’ll need: 8oz Plain Flour, 4oz Margarine, 2oz Granulated Sugar and approximately 1.5floz of cold water. For the Crumble Topping you’ll need: 10oz Plain Flour, 4 oz Margarine and 2oz Sugar (whatever you have to hand). My little pies baked at Gas mark 4 for 30 minutes, but if you’re doing a larger pie then it’ll take a little longer, but keep at the same temperature. Enjoy! Mary Berry will be very proud that I had no soggy bottom!