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Tag: allotment

Seeds Of Optimism

It strikes me that gardeners are an optimistic bunch. We plant seeds and bulbs with an air of expectation not knowing what the coming weeks or months will bring. We presume that as we sow we are creating a “thing”. Be it a flower, or a vegetable, we have the end result to look forward to.

In the Autumn, when I planted the bulbs to create my “Plant Theatre”, I, like the rest of the world, had no idea of what was round the corner.

The tulips, grape hyacinth, and Ipheion, are oblivious to the ensuing chaos. They soak up the warmth of the sun, and shelter from the wintry breeze, bringing joy at these uncertain times.

During this period of social distancing I have had the benefit of having a garden to enjoy. Being out in the fresh air, working hard prepping for the coming months, has provided me with a distraction from the media.

More by coincidence, then foresight, I had made plans for my allotment well in advance of the current lockdown. This allowed me time to acquire seeds, compost, and fertiliser to start the whole process of growing vegetables for the coming months.

As such, I was delighted when my parcel arrived from Sarah Raven last week. Duly isolating it for 72 hours, today I had the pleasure of unpacking, and cataloguing, the contents.

24 packs of seeds to plant between now and October, and the prospect of harvesting the produce over the next 12 months. If that’s not optimism I’m not sure what is!

My hope is that as my seeds turn to shoots, and the shoots turn to plants, that we will have a fantastic summer to embrace.

Guess I better get digging…

It’s Not All Bad

So, like the majority of mums, I didn’t get to celebrate Mothers Day in the conventional sense this year, nor go to the cinema to see Peter Rabbit II with my boys.

Nevertheless, the sun is shining and I am lucky enough to have a garden that is beckoning to me to start work. In return it provides me with a source of physical exercise and an excuse to be out in the fresh air.

It’s not all bad.

Day one in the garden required an element of digging over and clearing the débris from last year. That in itself proved profitable as beneath the surface I found sufficient carrots to make a soup.

My first thought turned to carrot and coriander but whilst searching through my saved recipes I found one for curried carrot soup. I quickly scanned the list of ingredients. On the whole they were kitchen cupboard staples, and those not on hand, I decided to research an alternative as shopping is currently only for absolute essentials.

The recipe I had saved appeared to have been published in a Waitrose magazine back in October 2017. Writing about Duchy carrot-grower Joe Rolfe from Norfolk the recipe was an addendum to the article.

I must admit I modified it to suit my means but have copied it here for your reference.

My Version Of Curried Carrot Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 10g fresh root ginger, grated (I substituted with 1.5 tsp ground ginger)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 400g Waitrose Duchy Organic bunched carrots, finely sliced (I substituted these with my own organically grown heritage carrots)
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 1.5 tsp ground coriander
  • Pinch of crushed chilli flakes
  • 0.5 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1.5 tsp caster sugar
  • 0.5 lemon, juice
  • 3 tbs creme fraiche (I substituted this with Greek yoghurt)

Method

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add garlic, onion, celery, and salt and sweat over a gentle heat for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft.
  • Add the carrots to the saucepan and stir for a few minutes, then stir in the spices and sugar. Pour in 850ml water. Simmer until carrots are soft.
  • Remove from the heat and , using a stick blender, whizz until smooth.
  • I put through a sieve as well as I prefer a smoother blend.
  • Stir through the lemon juice and 3 tbsp of creme fraiche or Greek yoghurt.
  • Divide the soup between bowls and serve with crusty bread.

Serves 6

The cinemas may not have been broadcasting the new Peter Rabbit movie this past weekend but my carrot soup certainly reminded me of Peter’s cheeky antics.

I know its difficult times but I try to see the positives in everything. In doing so I hope I bring a little light into your life.

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