Friday, 30 March 2012
April the fourth will be my official one-year anniversary as a regular blogger. It's amazing how quickly that time has passed but when I look back over my last year's posts I realise how much I've done. I've written on everything from attending the Edible Garden Show and visiting the British Museum to pottery classes, allotment life and making wines, Kahlua, jams, soaps and much more. I would have been doing all of these things anyway but I'm so happy to have been able to share my passions with others and meet some really lovely people online.
Thank you to everyone who has stopped by to lend support and give advice - your comments make my day and I appreciate each and every visit you make. To show my appreciation I'd like to send a pot of my Manx Beeswax lip balm to my top four visitors. I spent all day yesterday going through my old posts counting comments and have come up with the winners listed below. Thanks ever so much for visiting regularly - even though we've not chatted in person I feel as if we are already longtime friends.
There were so many other wonderful people who visited in the last year and I wish I could send each and every one of you something as well. Whether you visited twice or dozens of times I'm happy that you've stopped by and that you support Lovely Greens. So what I'm going to do is have a random draw on Friday, April 4th for a fifth pot of lip balm. To be entered, all you need to do is comment below and tell me which of my posts you liked best.
My top four followers for 2011-2012 are:
Jo of The Good Life
Jo lives in Leeds in West Yorkshire with her husband, son, daughter and Archie the dog. She's a stay at home mum and has many hobbies which include gardening, knitting, crochet and genealogy. The Good Life blog follows her progress on her allotment.
Mo and Steve of A Small Holding
They grow vegetables, fruit and herbs, keep chickens, and raise rare breed pigs. Their interests include self-sufficiency, wildlife, food, cooking, and growing your own.
Pat of The Weaver of Grass
Pat is a farmer's wife living on the eastern edge of The Yorkshire Dales with her husband and a young border terrier. Her interests include the countryside, poetry, writing, wildflowers, birds, Border Terriers, farming, Yorkshire Dales, gardening, ancient artefacts, and textile art.
Elaine of A Woman of the Soil
Elaine is a dedicated grower of all things beautiful and edible and enjoys benefiting from hard work in the fresh air. Her passions include being involved with the cycle of the seasons with the satisfying process of helping nature create beautiful flowers and nourishing food.
Congratulations to all four of you and please be in touch with me on where you'd like me to send your gift. And please tune in to my blog next Friday to see who has won the last pot of lip balm :)
Thursday, 29 March 2012
Hi everyone! Come visit me on this gorgeous sunny day down at the Tynwald Mills Farmers Market. I'll be there from 11am to 3pm and have two new varieties today as well as new stocks of my other naturally scented and coloured soaps and lip balms.
Click here to find Tynwald Mills on Google Maps.
Hope to see you there :)
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
Lavender is one of my favourite flowers - it's fragrant, bees love it, it grows into nice looking shrubs, and I use the blossoms in my handmade soap. And with more and more product sales this year I know that I need to make sure that I have enough homegrown lavender to use in my products.
Lavender can be successfully propagated in various ways depending on the time of year. In summer and autumn you can take semi-ripe cuttings and winter is the time to plant ripe cuttings. But in the spring you propagate by take either soft-wood cuttings, layering an existing shrub or by sowing seeds.
Taking cuttings is basically snipping a piece of an existing plant and placing it in compost to grow its own roots. In effect, the small plants that result of taking cuttings are clones of the parent plant and will produce the exact same foliage, flowers and root system - providing the parent plant wasn't grafted. Many plants can be propagated this way and it's the cheapest and most effective way to increase the number of plants you have in your garden. It's also a wonderful way to share plants in the community since you can take cuttings from plants in friends' gardens or even from shrubs found overhanging public footpaths, pavements, carparks and green spaces. Granted you have the permission of course (wink wink!). It's also a non-obtrusive method of propagation and the parent plant will not be affected at all. So the next time you see a lovely rose bush, Hydrangea or Lavender shrub do keep it in mind for a propagating experiment of your own.
Soft-wood is the new fresh growth that plants put on in spring. Each sprig of soft-wood can either be left on the shrub to increase its own size or it can be taken off and used to root a brand new plant. Early on in the spring some of the new green growth might be a bit short so it's also possible to root from the main stem the new leaves are growing out of. This older stem is called ripe wood and will readily grow roots providing that you cut it in the right place and apply a rooting compound.
Using a very sharp knife cut just below a leaf node about five cm (2 inches) from the top of the cutting. A leaf node is any place along the stem where the joints of leaves grow out of and you can see what this means in the above photo. Using scissors is not a good idea for this step either, in case you had it in mind. They actually pinch the stem as they cut and partially close the stem making rooting difficult.
Using that same knife cut all but the top bunch of leaves from the stem. You need a few leaves to feed the plant but too many forces the plant to direct energy and food to the leaves rather than to the business of putting down roots.
Now dip the bottom 3 cm (3/4 inch) of the stem into your Rooting Compound and then bury the cutting along the edge of a small pot filled with suitable compost. You want the compost to be able to retain moisture but to be free draining so 50% ordinary compost mixed with 50% Perlite. Terracotta pots are a bit better than plastic pots for this exercise since Terracotta can breathe, whereas air and water can't pass through plastic. This breathe-ability creates better conditions for rooting and can also reduce the chance of fungal attacks. And if you're able to soak the terracotta pots in water overnight, all the better. The ceramic will actually absorb some of the water making the material immediately more breathable.
After your cuttings have been prepared and planted in the compost water them thoroughly but gently. Place them in a warm place such as a greenhouse or conservatory and place a plastic bag over the top. The bag helps to retain warmth and moisture and is essential unless you're using a dedicated propagator set-up. Rooting will take place within the next 1-2 months after which they can be gently taken out, potted up individually and placed outside in a cold frame to harden off. Once they are about 8-10 cm (3-4 inches) tall they can then be planted outside in slightly alkaline and free-draining soil. If you have acidic clay soil as I do, then try digging in some garden Lime and grit into their final position before planting out. Boggy and acidic soil will cause the demise of your carefully propagated lavender seedlings.
Like last year I'm also growing lavender from seed, though it takes quite a bit longer to have adult plants than if you grow from cuttings. Most people don't bother with seed but as I've said before, I'm an official crazy seed lady! However, saving lavender seed yourself can result in plants with unpredictable flowering and growing habits so I recommend buying packets of seed from a reputable dealer.
The seeds I sowed two weeks ago are already coming up in their seed tray and I've included a picture of them below. They'll likely stay in their seed tray a bit longer than most of my plants but by summer I'll have them planted up in large modules before potting them up in individual pots by autumn. The lavender you see growing in the bottom picture comes from seeds that I sowed this time last year and have been overwintering in my cold frame. They'll be planted out in a newly dug bed in the next week and will have filled by the end of the summer.
Propagating your own plants from cuttings rather than seeds can be a rewarding experience - both in terms of gardening enjoyment and financial savings. It's also very easy to do and once you've propagated one plant you'll have the basics for propagating almost any other. Patience is always key when it comes to nurturing any living thing but those weeks or months of waiting will pay out dividends when the time for planting out rolls around. If you're interested in learning more, I'd highly recommend buying a good book on propagation - two of which are in the Amazon sidebar on my blog. Plants for free is always a good thing in my book.
Click this link to go to part two of this post.
Sunday, 25 March 2012
Just a quick note today and one that might give you something fun to do on a lazy Sunday if it's cold and wet where you are. You might have noticed a fairly large red button along the side of my blog which leads you to a site called Pinterest. It could be that you've never heard of this site before or maybe you can't figure out how it works but I can tell you that once you start you'll find out just how useful it can be.
Pinterest is a fabulous online idea-tool that I've come to rely on for ideas on great recipes, gardening styles, ingenious crafts and time-saving tips. The idea of the site is that you can save pictures, either from online websites or even from your own computer, which can also have links to their original sources/websites. What you do with these 'Pins' is categorise them into galleries, called 'Boards', for both yourself and your followers to see. I have boards with titles such as Gardening, Clever DIY, Yummy Sweet, Healthy Living, Crafty and Beekeeping and Barnyard among others.
The additional tool which makes Pinterest so much easier to use is an add-on 'Pin-it' button which is installed into your browser window. This clever little button allows you to instantly pin an image (with the website linked to it) whenever you find a good blog post, article, recipe, tutorial or website that you want to bookmark and share. It's so much better than keeping it as a conventional bookmark on your browser since you have a visual to go along with the link.
I do encourage you to have a look around the site and send me a link to your own boards if you decide to join. It's fun to share ideas and by 'Following' each other you can see what your friends are pinning.
Enjoy your Sunday :)
Thursday, 22 March 2012
Seedling season is ramping up and the first of my little plantlings to be pricked out and potted up are the tomatoes I sowed back in January. All three varieties, Moneymaker, Yellow Stuffer and Gardener's Delight are over an inch tall and quickly using up all the space in their trays. So it's quite urgent that they're potted up into individual modules before their roots become hopelessly entangled and they start to suffer from being in such close quarters.
Most of my tomatoes are destined for my Farmers Market stall though I plan on keeping about ten of them here at home for both inside the conservatory and outside in the garden. Growing them outdoors hasn't been that successful for me since I grow them so far north and have to contend with cooler temperatures and the ever persistent Blight that seems to affect them just before their fruits turn red.
I hope the rest of my multitudes find good homes through my stall but I've got to give them the best chance of growth in these early days in order to make them 'fruitful'. Good potting compost is essential as is warm conditions and making sure each plant has enough, but not too much space to spread its roots. This means that the tomato seedlings are potted up into small modules now and then in a month's time or so are potted up again into the next largest pots which will be sizable enough to sell them on at the market. It's important to not to pot up into larger pots initially because that means the roots spread out too much and don't bulk up into proper root-balls before they hit the sides of their pot. Not having a strong root system can affect the chances that plant has of growing on once it's been planted out.
Planting these tiny seedlings into their first modules is the toughest part of growing tomatoes from seed. Their roots and stems are fragile at this state and can be easily damaged. So when you're lifting them from the seed tray try to just hang on to them by a single leaf and tease their roots out gently with a pencil or small stick. Once you have them free, tuck them into the new pot or module - first pressing a hole in the centre of the compost makes this step much easier. Gently water in and let them grow until they've put on a couple more inches before potting them on again.
It's another gorgeous day today and I'm off to do some errands before coming home and finishing up potting of the rest of the tomatoes I didn't get to yesterday. I also managed to sow some Toothache plant seeds yesterday and am very interested to taste one of their flowers. It apparently gives you a little electric shock. Probably not to everyone's taste but fascinating nonetheless!
Have a great day and enjoy the sunshine :)
Tuesday, 20 March 2012
As Secretary of our allotment I'm trying to find some new people to take over some of our vacant plots. We have full-size spaces of about 30X40', priced £50 per year and half-size plots around 30X20' which cost £25 per year. The plots are currently untenanted and do require a bit of digging but the site is lovely and we're a great group of gardeners to work alongside. We also practice Organic gardening so you won't have to worry about any pesticides or inorganic fertilisers making their way onto your tasty home-grown fruit and vegetables. If you have any questions whatsoever please feel free to email me directly or via the allotment email which is posted below.
"We have plots available at our Laxey allotment and are looking to recruit keen gardening enthusiasts. Whether you're an experienced gardener and are just looking for a bit more land or are a complete beginner, we invite you to get in touch with us.
A short jaunt away for anyone living in Lonan, we have a convenient carpark and taps installed on
the site as well as the best allotment views on the island. We also will have a communal shed built in the next month. Our current group of gardeners comprises a wide range of people of all ages, gender and several nationalities."
for more information
Email: lalaa at manx dot net
LALAA Website: http://lalaaland.wordpress.com/
And we are now on Facebook: LALAA - Laxey and Lonan Allotments Association
Monday, 19 March 2012
It was a bit of a chilly and blustery day but also quite exciting since I was given an unexpected tour around the apiaries of a local beekeeper. The afternoon began with the beekeeper in question, Mr. E, meeting me at the site that I've chosen for my own first hive. I invited him out to see the spot some weeks ago in order to make sure the placement was alright and to absorb as much expert opinion from him as possible. We spent a good half an hour chatting about ideas to secure the space against the wind then he offered to show me around his own apiaries which were only a short drive away.
Mr. E currently keeps eleven hives and all within the same general area that mine will be in. There's no worry about competition though since the hills separate us and there's plenty of forage on either side. This forage changes over the year based on what comes into bloom and right now the hazel tree pollen is what the honeybees are out collecting when the weather isn't too wet or windy. The problem this time of year is really with their getting enough nectar for them to live on - Honeybees require several types of food in their diet and the sugar-rich nectar produced by flowers is one of them. Considering this, Mr. E went up a couple of days ago to feed his hives some 'Candy' which is a semi-hardened sugar syrup that he made at home. It shows how little nectar is around yet when he opened the hives today to find all the containers completely empty.
Another revelation for me today was that while Mr. E has previously used only WBC hives, the traditional white ones you see in the first two photos, he's now switching to using National. These ones are the green hives pictured in the second photo. While both hive types are suitable for beekeeping, it seems that the Varroa floors which are built into the National hives actually help keep the hive a cleaner place in general - which can help stop diseases and pests from harming your hive.
We don't have Varroa on the Isle of Man (knock on wood) but I can definitely see the benefit of having a floor that easily slides out. The amount of waste and gunk that had accumulated on the bottom of Mr. E's was a bit alarming, especially when he started scraping it off with a small stick. In a traditionally built hive the cleaning of the floor happens about once a year which means that all of that waste can be lurking around in the bees' home for months on end. Not a nice thought so I'm going to look into purchasing a Varroa floor for my own hive, which is fortunately a National.
The tour ended with a stop by Mr. E's cottage and a look around his wonderful shed which is kitted out with every beekeeping contraption you can think of. He has dedicated sinks, hand dryers, an oven, a massive stainless steel [honey] extractor and pots and pans stacked from floor to counter. Around the back is another shed that he stores the glass pots and jars which are used to bottle up his yearly 500lb honey harvest. And that's not the end of it - he also has a garage and other storage sheds filled top to bottom with beekeeping equipment as well as a living room floor covered in hive frames that he's prepping for the season.
Through my tour and listening to Mr. E's stories and advice I can see that beekeeping can be both a fulfilling as well as an addictive hobby. And that my goal of having two hives will likely result in me gathering more than a handful over the years. I'm inspired by Mr. E's set-up though and look forward to the day when I'll be just as experienced and well kitted out as he is. The only thing I'm a little bit nervous about at this moment is actually getting the call to go collect my first swarm; I think that when that day comes I'm definitely going to be giving Mr E a ring to see if he can help!
Hope you're having a lovely day :)
Sunday, 18 March 2012
It's a lovely sunny day for the Farmers Market :)
Today I'm located in the carpark of the Southern 100 (S100) Club in Castletown on the corner of Arbory road and the A5. The market will be open from 1.30 to 3.30pm and will be clearly visible from the main road. Directions from Douglas
Saturday, 17 March 2012
Visiting my grandparent's house always entailed letting the hens out of the coop in the morning and hunting among the nest boxes for warm, freshly laid eggs. I can still smell that coop and picture the old dilapidated piano left inside for the hens to roost on. Their gentle clucking is one of those sounds that instantly reminds me of the comfort and safety of weekends on the farm.
Decades of urban living later and I'm back to where I started - in the country. It's not the country of my birth but the Isle of Man is certainly becoming home to both me and my city-born husband. It's been a funny and sometimes mind-opening experience introducing him to all things country; from growing vegetables to having pets to the hard graft of shoveling manure and building practical things from wood. You really take the home education of your childhood for granted until you meet someone from a completely different background. He takes it in his stride though and is keen to learn more, especially when it comes to building things. He even thinks he's going to take over my garden shed and turn it into his private workshop - fat chance!
So over the last year we've been discussing a number of projects and one of them has been the idea of keeping a few hens in the garden. For me, chickens are both a practical and emotional venture - and the first step to our dream of raising more farm animals in the future. We'll eat the free-range eggs they lay and use the manure they produce in our garden. But their presence will also be a piece of a puzzle I'm trying to put back together - happy childhood memories that I want our own children to have one day.
We finally took the first step to our chicken project this week when we ordered a small chicken coop off the internet. We'd have bought it locally but couldn't find anything really appropriate for our needs. Our plan is that when we eventually upgrade to a larger structure that my husband's woodworking skills will be up to building one himself.
In any case, our little wooden hen house from Amazon.co.uk will be perfect for the three hens we hope to adopt this spring. It has two nest boxes which are accessible from outside the coop, built-in roosts, a small ventilation panel, a floor that slides out for easy cleaning and both back access and front ramp doors that can be closed in the evenings. It will arrive flat-pack in the next few days and so we hope to have it erected by this time next week.
The house and fenced-in run will be set-up on a bit of spare land next to the shed in our back garden. It has been a bit of unused land filled with rubble left over from the builders and nettles and ivy which creep in from the hedge. We've cleaned it out and leveled the surface quite a bit and are confident that it's more than enough room for three hens. In fact, we're planning on closing off one half of it at a time so that grass will be able to grow for the hens to peck at. I've seen a similar system used for grazing cattle and think it'll work well with a chicken run as well. This place is also really practical since it's just below my raised beds. I easily can toss in bits of extra greens and slugs that I find lurking among my crops.
It doesn't look like much now but it will come together soon - I'll post up some more pictures with our progress as things develop.
I hope you have a lovely weekend
Thursday, 15 March 2012
Many people know what composting is and most gardeners I know have a compost pile. Sometimes it's simply a heap of garden refuse left on the ground to break down and sometimes it's a bit fancier and employs the use of a steel drum or specialised compost compartments. But when I mention the term 'Wormery' I often get a few confused looks. I imagine that what runs through their minds is that their own compost piles have worms so what makes my 'Wormery' any different?
I would have fallen in with that group myself eighteen months ago but fortunately I had some friends who happily introduced me to the benefits of becoming a worm-keeper! While having a compost pile is a fantastic thing to have in the garden (I have two myself), having a wormery is far easier and more efficient at breaking down organic household waste - including cooked food. The end products of a wormery are a nutrient-rich worm cast compost and a liquid feed that is in my opinion as good as anything you can purchase in the shop. Not least because it's absolutely free.
The idea of a wormery is simple: you keep a rather large colony of worms in a relatively closed container consisting of a series of levels. There's a bottom level, where the liquid drops down into and which is accessed via a tap on the outside. Then trays which are stacked one on top of each other as you add organic material for the worms to eat. The worms move up the trays themselves and by the time you stack on the third tray the bottom one is pretty much ready to be emptied in your garden. The structure is then topped with a perforated lid that allows both air and rain water to filter in. If you're interested in learning more about using a wormery I recommend that you look at the Original Organic website.
Living in an area with a cold season I've noticed that my worms shut down much of their activity in the winter. They curl up in the compost and seem to hibernate until they sense warmer days approaching. It's now in early spring that they begin revving up their wriggling and start breaking down organic matter at a quicker pace. It's also when they begin reproducing - I went out earlier this week to have a poke through my top tray and found balls of baby worms munching on broken down vegetable mush. If you don't like seeing worms or wriggly beasties then I warn you to not scroll down any further!
I'm pleased to see my worms happily living and multiplying in their container and producing such lush compost for my garden. Upon lifting up the top-most tray I had a look at the bottom one and found pure black goodness which will be perfect in any type of outdoor planting. Egg shells don't break down completely as you can see, but by putting them in your wormery they help lower the acidity of the compost and create a better habitat for the worms.
I've kept the wormery tap open over the winter so that it isn't flooded by the rain. But a month ago I closed it up again and so was able to harvest a good cup of the feed this week. There is some conjecture into how nutrient rich it really is but my plants put out new green growth when I give it to them - indicating to me that it must have quite a bit of nitrogen.
I really appreciate my wormery and have it conveniently sitting outside the back door. Placing it here makes it handy for me to walk out to and toss in potato peelings, bits of greens or sometimes even leftover cooked food that we'd otherwise have to throw out. I see it as a useful way to recycle kitchen waste which also happens to produce some lovely by-products for the garden.
If you're interested having a wormery yourself, please have a look at them online or at your local garden centre. And if you have one already, I'd love to hear of your experiences and any tips you'd like to share!
Tuesday, 13 March 2012
My back is killing me...but I've got my big bed at the bottom of my plot weeded of dock and creeping buttercup and dug over again. I've just did half of this bed in January but the warmish weather we've had since then has meant that dozens of weed seedlings had popped up - most of them dock. The problem with dock is that it's so difficult to get rid of, especially if a plant goes to seed in your area. You can't hoe or rotovate it either since every bit of broken root springs up as a new plant. The only methods you have at hand is spraying it with herbicide, which is the non-organic way to do it, or to dig it out by hand - which is what I've done today.
The hard part is done though and in the process of re-digging the plot I also found a handful more Jerusalem Artichoke tubers which I pulled out and tossed into the weed bag. I just know I've missed a dozen more but once they begin sprouting I'll know where all those little buggers are and immediately dig them out. If anyone is interested in growing these prolific tubers themselves, I strongly recommend doing it in a container.
While on a little tea break I sat down in the grass and found myself eye to eye with a couple of ladybirds. Can you spot the second one in the picture above? They were wandering all over one of my Valerian plants and were truly the official heralds of spring for me today. It's incredible that my cousins in the US woke up today with an inch of snow and here I am having a tea party with two rosy red garden visitors.
A new development at the allotment is that we've organised the construction of a communal shed at the top of the field. I had a wander over today to see how far the builders have come and was happy to see that they've excavated the area we've laid out and put down a good sized concrete foundation. I imagine that it won't be another week or two before we see a fully constructed shed on that spot! This is really good news since it means that we can also purchase some communal tools such as wheelbarrows, a trimmer (weed-eater) and a petrol lawnmower. Without a secure shelter this would not have been possible and it's really going to make life at the allotment so much easier this year.
I hope you've been able to get out in the garden in the last week as well - the first episode of this year's Gardeners' World aired on Friday so I'm sure there was a wave of enthusiasm across the country on Saturday. Did you manage to see it yet?
Monday, 12 March 2012
Wild garlic is one of the most unmistakable wild foods in Britain and is right up there with blackberries for ease of identification and collection. For while the green leaves in themselves may resemble other types of plants, the woodsy aroma of garlic is so powerful that you can distinctly smell it through an open window as you drive by a patch.
The time for collecting it is generally around mid-March to end of April - during the time when the leaves are green and tender but before their white flowers emerge. It grows in shady, moist and sheltered areas and I have several large patches near me here on the Isle of Man. Not surprising since our glens and woodlands are filled with wild garlic in the spring and even the town of Ramsey was named after this abundant and tasty herb - Rhumsaa in Manx means 'Wild Garlic River'.
Though wild garlic's bulbs and flowers are also edible, it's the leaves that I use. Firstly, they're easy to harvest and extremely versatile - they can be used in salads, stir-fries, pestos, soups and so much more. Secondly, foraging laws in the United Kingdom and Isle of Man allow for the collection of wild berries, leaves, shoots and fungi but forbid the digging up of the plant's roots. There are times when these laws can be bent, such as when collecting Horseradish or Jerusalem Artichokes (both garden escapees) but digging up wild garlic bulbs is just not worth breaking the law - they're far to small to bother with ;)
To me, wild garlic tastes like a mix between conventional bulb garlic and leeks. Basically that means that it's a mild garlicky green that can be used to substitute both garlic and onions in virtually any of your recipes. If you know that it grows in your area, or have smelt a wispy scent of garlic on one of your recent walks I encourage you to try harvesting a bit for yourself. If you're unsure if you've found the right plant just crush one of the leaves and smell - if you detect garlic then you've found it. Alternatively you can hitch a ride into London and buy some at Borough Market for £10/pound or whatever ludicrous price they're asking for it these days. Personally, I prefer the kind of wild garlic that's local and more importantly, free!
Wild Garlic ~ Asian Chicken Noodles
Handful of Wild Garlic leaves
250g Chinese Egg Noodles
Pre-cooked shredded chicken - about half a chicken
3 pints of Chicken Broth
1 Tbsp Olive oil
1/2 tsp Sesame oil
1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1/2 tsp Chili flakes
1 tsp Honey
Note: I recommend using the remaining meat and carcass of a roasted chicken for this recipe. Pull the meat off of the chicken and set aside. Then put the skin, bones and other bits of the bird into a pot with four pints of water. Simmer the carcass for about half an hour and strain this broth off to use in the recipe.
1. Divide the wild garlic in two; chop half of it roughly and the other half more finely.
2. Heat the oils in a frying pan over med-high heat then add the shredded chicken meat. Leave the chicken undisturbed for several minutes so that it picks up some nice colour.
3. Drizzle the Worcestershire Sauce, Soy Sauce and honey over the chicken and stir well. Next, sprinkle the finely chopped wild garlic and chili flakes on top and stir again. Reduce the heat to low and allow the chicken to cook until the noodles are finished.
4. Heat the broth to boiling and add the egg noodles. Boil for a couple of minutes then turn off the heat and allow the noodles to soften in the broth for a further ten minutes.
5. Ladle the noodles and broth into large bowls then spoon the chicken mixture on top. Lastly, sprinkle the roughly chopped wild garlic on top and serve.
Saturday, 10 March 2012
I was delighted when my friend P stopped by yesterday with a few older books she thought I might like. She was certainly right in that regard, especially considering that one of the books was an older guide on making homemade wines and liqueurs. In fact, the title of the book is indeed: "Home-made Wines and Liqueurs" and was written by a fellow named Ambrose Heath.
I've never heard of the author before but it seems that he was a well known British food writer in the first half of the 20th century. He published a number of books and articles under such titles as "Good Food on the Aga", "The Good Cook in Wartime" and "Dishes Without Meat", which must have been quite avant garde when it was first published in 1940.
The book I've been given is quite small and under a hundred pages in length and can easily be thumbed through and read in half an hour or so. And what I really like about it is the simplicity and uniqueness of the instruction. In fact, he distills the entire wine-making process down into eight pages at the beginning then goes on to list individual recipes for various country wines and liqueurs throughout the remaining pages. The recipes in themselves are often a paragraph or two in length and not only introduce unusual ideas such as Sage and Wheat wines but sometimes even bizarre steps such as putting a slice of toast spread with yeast (Marmite?) into the must for Gorse wine.
Things have been quiet in my kitchen on the wine making front over the last few months since the cold isn't really conducive to the process. With our warmer and lighter days creeping back I've decided to start my first batch of wine in the next couple of weeks - so this book really has arrived at an opportune time. Its unique recipes have inspired me to try a few different varieties this year and I thought I'd share some of the recipes with you as well ~ Enjoy.