Tuesday, 24 June 2008

The loveliness continues...

This has to be the easiest laziest bread recipe in the world. Although in all honesty it does taste a bit more like tea bread than 'normal' bread. It's from Nigella Express, her Lazy Loaf. Rob made it at the weekend and it's yummy.
200g sugar free muesli
325g wholewheat flour
7g sachet of yeast
2 tsp Maldon salt or 1 tsp table salt
250ml low fat milk
250ml water

Put all the ingredients into a bowl and stir. Transfer to a greased loaf tin and transfer to a cold oven turning the heat onto 110/gas 1/4 for 45 mins, this will allow the dough to prove.
When the 45 mins are up, turn the heat up to 180/gas 4 and bake for an hour. By this time the bread will be cooked through and when you tap on the bottom of the loaf it should sound hollow. If it doesn't sound hollow pop it back into the oven for a few mins without it's tin.
Smother in butter and home made blackberry jam...which leads me to...

Blackberry Jam

2 lbs blackberries
2 lbs sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Put a saucer in the freezer!

Pour blackberries into deep heavy based pan. Put on a low heat on the hob and stir gently every now and then until the fruit starts to go mushy and soft.
Pour in the sugar and stir gently, then stir in the lemon juice. Continue to stir until the sugar has dissolved. Then bring to the boil and boil rapidly. Stir every couple of minutes to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Continue to keep it on a rolling boil (all small people and animals to be locked elsewhere!) and then take saucer out of the freezer. Let a bit of jam drop onto the saucer (not too much, don't waste it!) it has reached 'setting point' when you can push it with your finger and it goes a bit crinkly, if that makes sense. If it doesn't crinkle then keep boiling and do the saucer test again a few minutes later.

When it's ready pour into sterlised jars, very carefully and put on sterilised lids. I sterilise mine by putting them through the dishwasher and filling with boiling water afterwards.

It tastes seriously good. This pair of jars is making its way to Oxford on Thursday for two small people who have become fans.

Alison from Vintage Amethyst sent me this fabulous rosebud heart after my name was pulled out in her prize draw giveaway a couple of days ago. If you haven't checked out her blog and FABULOUS shop you must, right now!! Her address is in the side bar-over there, see?

Thankyou Alison, you are very generous and sweet. If I could post you a jar of jam I would. However I fear for the postman.

My cucumbers are coming along well in the back garden-this is them first thing this morning. I think we will be able to keep the street in cucumbers for weeks to come.

The first rose on our beautifully scented bush by the back door. It smells beautiful. I think it has been in our garden from when the house was built. It's huge and every summer we have an abundance of these deep red blooms.

Home grown radishes. I grew these in pots. Highly recommended if you want to grow your own at home and only have a tiny garden or window box-these take about 4 weeks to grow, so are particularly good if you or your children are impatient!

I went to the allotment this morning and picked some more strawberries with Dad. The strawberry patch smells beautiful. They are now covered by huge cages that Dad made, covered in chicken wire to keep the birds away. We are having a bumper crop this year, due to the weather conditions. We're really pleased with how they've done.

We also met our old friend Len up there this morning, complete with baseball cap and roll up ciggie. He spends all day every day up there. I may have mentioned before that he owns several allotments all together in one corner of the site and has been a fixture up there for years, as have several other old boys. I love watching them sitting together putting the world to rights, or swapping tips on how to grow the perfect cabbage. Len is particularly good at 'suggesting' when something isn't being done quite right. He has told me 4 times now how to grow the perfect parsnip, having seen us sow them a few weeks ago. We did it wrong, by all accounts and I don't think he will be happy until he sees a trench dug a foot or so deep. Then he may stop bringing it up!
He can talk for England. I sometimes struggle to understand him and start to get tired of saying 'Pardon?' (he doesn't like that, starts to shout as if Im deaf-although he thinks I talk too quietly so is always saying 'Eh?' when I mutter something.) So instead I sometimes smile politely and nod. Seems to work.

He gave me a couple of lettuces this morning and a big bunch of spring onions. His allotments and vegetables are PERFECT. Seriously, there is not a weed in sight. He has built sheds, greenhouses, fruit cages, even a toilet on his plots. It's like a home from home.

I'm not actually that wild about spring onions, but will throw them in something or other. It is good allotment etiquette to take things when offered, otherwise you don't get offered again!


Kitty said...

Oh wow - well done on all the allotment food. That bread looks easy enough for even me - I might give that a go. And I LOVE that rosebud heart - so pretty.


Dragonfly said...

My mouth is watering at the sight of all that yummy food. Your cucumbers are miles ahead of mine, but I did manage a bowl of strawberries last night, with lashings of double cream.

mollycupcakes said...

Yummy freshly frown fruit and veg Anna, I'll be round with my trug lol
Have ago at making potato salard and pop the spirng onions in that it tastes very nice and takes no time at all to make.
If you'd like a recipe just drop me an email hun.
Bless that old guy, he sounds full of great stories bet he was a Kack the lad in his day hehe!
Thanks for the birthday wishes for Ben's Mum.
And loving the look of the bread and jam, hmm jam my fav.
Catherine x

Katherines Dream said...

Gosh you are reaping the fruits of your labour so early...or is it that my allotment is slow to start? have had 4 lettuce though - and they acually taste more like lettuce than the supermarket ones! if you know what I mean...
The recipe is my own and very yummy too...my fellow campers were not expecting it - so it went down really well.
Your bread looks perfect...A* from me, I only wish I could share a piece with you along with a nice cuppa! is the fruit jam fruits grown by yourself?
Oh yes the campsite was ok...very hip and laid back...a few dubious looking families - we kept away from! but anyway Guy the killer dog would have scared them off...lol
Carol x

periwinkle said...

fresh veggies lovely, never thought of radishes in a pot - good idea for the little uns
lisa x

Vanessa said...

Th bread & Jam look yummy! I'm sending the out laws strawberry picking with my little dear this weekend so I can then make some jam. It will be the 1st time I do make jam I'm very excited (does that sound sad?).

I'd love the idea of an allotment but the nearest ones to me are 7 miles away and I fear I would really neglect it.

Vanessa x

Kimberley said...

Ahhh, bread and veggies-- what could be better? :) Those pictures are gorgeous.

My mom makes the best strawberry jam on the planet, no lie! I was visiting my parents a few weeks ago and she gave me 4 jars to take home with me. I was a happy girl!

kristina said...

Wow! I'm so impressed by all your allotment produce. Your plot is WAY ahead of ours. And I completely recognize the character of Len: we have one too! Do you think there's one in every allotment?

And thank you so much for visiting my blog. I tried to email you back straight away but encountered the horrid 'blogger-no-reply'. Do hope to be in touch now :) K x

Cowboys & Custard said...

who's got green fingers then?!!!
Very impressed Anna.... It must be so satisfying growing your own fruit and veg and so successfully!
I grew cucumbers a few years ago .. homegrown has a far superior taste than shop bought.. lovely and crispy!
I have yielded a crop of 5 strawberries so far.. just about enough for a spoonful of jam!

Enjoy the fruits of your labour Mrs Land Girl 2008!

julia said...

Very impressed, makes my 2 courgettes and a handful of rocket seem a bit pathetic really! Don't think we're quite ready for self sufficiency here yet! Love the sound of Len and his "advice", allotments are a great part of the quirky side of GB don't you think!
Julia x

driftwood said...

what a lot of fantastic loveliness! you clever thing!

Ragged Roses said...

Oh anna I really miss having our allotment and your post has reminded me of all the lovely kind and generous old men who had been looking after their allotments for years. We would never leave our allotment emptyhanded, they were always coming over and giving us armfuls of fruit and veg - such a lovely bunch of people. You look as if you're producing enough to set up a pick your own site!!! Have you thought of cucumber pickle or relish I think I've seen jars of it in the shops (or maybe not!). Take care enjoy your jam and bread

Vintage Amethyst said...

Mmmmm that bread looks soooo delicious and I do love tea bread!
I have never made jam before it scares me a little, I do love making chuntney though!
I'm so glad you liked your heart sweet pea.
Lots of love Alison x

dottycookie said...

All looks delicious! I have promised the girls we will plant more strwaberries next year - and remember to net them ...

Oh - and I was very excited to see that I have the same tray as you - so either I am now cool or you should be worried you're like me ;-)

Katherines Dream said...

Hi Anna - me again....I had to mention your cup cakes! what big cherries!!!!I have only just noticed them and they really tickled me....Cxx

Miss sew n sew said...

MMmm that bread looks good I have Nigella's book so will have to try out that one!
Well done on all the veg's your growing we hope to have our own teeny tiny plot in our garden when we get it sorted. You seem to know what your doing made me laugh about your olds friends remarks!
Your rosebud heart is pretty!

shabby chic said...

Hi Anna , that looks lovely and that jam looks rather scrummy too. Hope you are ok and are keeping well x

Tracy said...

Ooooo---lots of deliciousness here! Your allotment harvesting is amazing! I have to make that bead of Nigella...I can taste it now with jam...mmmm...Happy Weekend ((HUGS))

Summer by the sea said...

Your crops are coming along great, it's so nice to be able to grow your own food - so much more satisfying than nipping to the supermarket! - The tea bread recipe looks yummy too, just the sort of food I like - Natalie x

funkymonkey said...

The bread looks delicious and I certainly agree with you on the matter of sticky toffee pudding.

Jessica said...

That blackberry jam sounds yummy-I'm looking forward to blackberry and raspberry season!

Cathy said...

We have the same set of men at our allotment - always handy with advice and surplus veg. I think they laugh at Sophie and I in our shed with a bottle of wine, or making tea for the girls! We've had masses of strawberries too, and I am just starting to get stuff to bring home every time. It makes the hours slogging in the bad weather worthwhile doesn't it?!
Cathy X