Posts Tagged ‘recipes’

Plot 29 - All posh and grown up with it's own blog and EVERYTHING!!!!!!

Plot 29 – All posh and grown up with it’s own blog and EVERYTHING!!!!!!

The last few months have been manic! What with allotment stuff, non-stop making, a rather marvellous holiday with wall to wall sunshine and an extra campervan to look after (my T5 daily driver no less)………. πŸ˜‰

In truth, I really haven’t had a minute to blog that much about stuff – I just seem to be busy ALL the time!

But today I stopped to draw a breath (albeit after three hours spent at the sewing machine since early this morning) and tried to capture a little bit of summer before I blink and it’s gone…….

So I went up to Plot 29 – My little bit of heaven……….. Now officially the eighth best little bit of heaven in the whole of Leeds and the surrounding areas (I confess that I got a bit competitive over the last few months!). …… I mourned at the fact that the weather may have laid waste to a few things, shrugged my shoulders (See how I don’t get stressed?) and picked some big plump courgettes with a mind to preserving them for days that are drearier….

As a result, here’s a recipe for courgette relish (or, What I did with the rest of my day……):

YOU WILL NEED:

1kg of courgettes – washed, dried and then chopped into little bits;

2 medium sized onions – chopped into little bits;

1 shallot – chopped into little bits;

1 green pepper – chopped into little bits…… what can I say? I find chopping vegetables to be very therapeutic! The smaller; The better.

1 tbsp of salt – Place all your chopped vegetables into a bowl, sprinkle/mix in the salt, cover with a tea-towel and leave to ‘brine’ for at least an hour….. Rinse thoroughly with cold water and drain once this is done;

Try to leave your vegetable mix brining for at least an hour - This will help to remove some of the excess liquid held inside the courgettes and keep them crisp and with 'bite' in the finished relish.

Try to leave your vegetable mix brining for at least an hour – This will help to remove some of the excess liquid held inside the courgettes and keep them crisp and with ‘bite’ in the finished relish.

In a heavy based pan measure out:

250 ml of cider vinegar;

250ml of white wine vinegar;

350 g of granulated sugar;

1 finely chopped green chilli;

1 tsp turmeric;

2 tsp mustard powder;

2 tsp cornflour;

1 tsp dried coriander seeds;

1 tsp fresh coriander seeds (This is optional – If you can’t get fresh seeds just add an extra tsp of dried ones).

Then you just:

Place the pan on a medium heat and keep stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

Add the chopped vegetables and bring to the boil. Make sure you keep giving everything a good stir.

Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If, after this time, Β it has reached the consistency of relish, spoon carefully into sterilised, warmed jars and seal; If it needs a little more time to reduce simply turn up the heat and boil vigorously for a few minutes more.

At this point I usually give the mixture a little stir with a sterilised skewer to remove any air pockets/bubbles.

Seal jars and allow to cool before labelling.

Ideally, this relish needs about six weeks to mature and allow the flavours to fully develop. Once opened it should keep for a further six weeks/two months. Keep refrigerated once opened.

Voila! A little taste of summer, captured in a jar!

Courgette Relish - Using ingredients picked straight from the eighth best plot in Leeds and beyond ;)

Courgette Relish – Using ingredients picked straight from the eighth best plot in Leeds and beyond πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

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April: Another month and time to change to the fourth theme of my ’52 Crafts in 52 Weeks’ odyssey: Home.

Fellow camper van owners around the world would possibly all agree that this can be wherever you park it – and there’s certainly nothing quite like embarking on a road trip when you’ve got all the comforts you’ll need to set up ‘house’ right there in the interior of the vehicle that’s getting you from A to B. It doesn’t even matter if your ride isn’t the fastest or prettiest on the highway when you rest safe in the knowledge that you can pull over at any time to make a cup of tea and rustle up a snack before setting off on your way again. And even better to know that once you arrive at your destination you can simply take the key out of the ignition, reach into your fridge and pull out a nice cold beer and relax without too much worry about setting up camp πŸ˜‰

My bus - And home away from home πŸ™‚

So this is the home I’ve chosen to conduct current proceedings from – My wonderful hi-top, T25 camper van, known to the world as ‘Vince’. Β And my weekly craft feature will focus on making delicious things to eat wherever I choose to pull up and stop along the way. It’s also a great opportunity to share some of the beautiful places that are within easy reach of my more permanent bricks and mortar base and a brilliant excuse to pack up and go on a regular weekly road trip.

Parked up nice and early at Sandsend, North Yorkshire.

Earlier this week I took advantage of the gorgeous sunshine and record temperatures and made the journey to a beautiful coastal village in North Yorkshire called Sandsend. My driving companions consisted of two English Bull Terriers, and Mr Other Half.

Sandsend - Just down the road from Whitby, North Yorkshire

Sandsend is 92 miles and around two hours away from where we live and the journey there takes you through the breathtaking North York Moors National Park – Home of ‘Heartbeat’ and the fictitious Aidensfield. At one end of the bay, approximately two miles away, is historic Whitby – the legendary home of Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’, Captain Cook’s birthplace, a medieval Abbey and one of the best fish and chip restaurants in the country; at the other end of the bay is Sandsend, start of the Cleveland way coastal path and once the scene of a busy alum mining industry.

Old picture showing Sandsend at the height of the alum mining era.

On arriving, we put the kettle on to have a quick cuppa before setting off for a two hour walk along the cliff top to Sandsend Ness – a slightly incongruous lunar landscape attributable to the industry that once thrived there. The sun was beating down, the birds were singing and it was lovely to see signs of Spring bursting forth in all directions!

A cinder pathway leads along the top of the cliffs.

Heralds of Spring - English violets growing wild at the side of the pathway.

Sandsend Ness. The quarried spoil heaps look like some kind of lunar landscape - stunning against the backdrop of a blue sky and glittering sea.

Sandsend Ness was our final destination before turning round and heading back for lunch. It’s a slightly strange and eery spot, and a lasting legacy of our British industrial heritage. This barren and arid landscape can be attributed to one of the extraction processes of the once thriving alum industry – the shale burning ground. It’s an operation that’s been closed down for nigh on a century yet still nothing grows here!

View from Sandsend Ness looking further up the coast towards Kettleness

The walk back to the bus was equally breathtaking! We certainly worked up an appetite and a hefty thirst for a cup of tea in the process πŸ˜‰

Whitby - As viewed from the clifftop path on the walk back.

We had to make lots of stops - It was such a hot day!

Back at base camp the two bullies of the bus flaked out whilst Mr Other Half took charge of preparing the vittles – I was supposed to be doing this, but in honesty he’s much better at making delicious stuff to eat, so I was relegated to making the tea whilst he whipped up lunch πŸ™‚

Yup! The tea cozy now takes pride of place in the Bully Bus πŸ™‚

And this is the essence of this week’s blog post really – making something that addresses the theme of ‘Home’. Courtesy of Mr Other Half.

Mr Other Half preparing lunch. It's a case of standing well back after lighting the blue touch paper!

He chose to make a hearty goats cheese and marmalade toasted sandwich – delicious!

Here’s what he did:

Cut a large bread roll in half and place crust side up under a hot grill – remove when toasted and spread a generous layer of marmalade on the untoasted side. Add a layer of finely sliced mushrooms and tomatoes and top with thick hunks of goats cheese. Add a few extra halves of tomato for garnish. Place back under the hot grill until the cheese begins to melt and bubble – leave it longer to brown on top if you prefer. Serve up with a light green salad dressed with lemon and olive oil. Very filling, extremely tasty and guranteed to set you up for the rest of the day!

Delicious! Mr Other Half's marmalade & goat's cheese toasted sarnie.

I guess some people would consider this a bit of a weird combination – but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it; it’s seriously good. And you could always substitute onion marmalade if you have a more savoury palate. Here’s a link to a really nice recipe that’ll keep for about 6 weeks in the refrigerator:Β http://www.rivercottage.net/recipes/caramalised-onion-marmalade/

Whether the idea of this appeals to you or not it must have at least smelled nice as we had a crowd of unexpected visitors for lunch!

We had guests over to dine in the form of a few inquisitive ducks.

Once our meal had settled and the teapot had been drained we went off for another walk – but this time along the beach. Fossil hunting, digging holes in the sand, lots more sunshine and a nice dip in the briny to round off the day πŸ˜‰

First fossil find of the day - Crinoids!

The sea has sculpted these wooden groynes into some weird version of Stargazy Pie!

A late afternoon paddle in the briny was just the thing to cool down toasted tootsies.

The bullies of the bus! Absolutely shattered after a fun packed day and ready for the trip back to Leeds.

On the way back the bullies of the bus crashed out on comfy cushions at the rear and dreamed of sandcastles – Lovely!

It’s like they say though, home is DEFINITELY where you park it πŸ˜‰