Autumn is without doubt my favourite season. It starts in September with the last hoorah of summer, and makes its way through to the cold of November. So when Ashley, of US food blog My Heart Beets, asked me to write a guest post on this season’s fruit and veg, I jumped at the chance. Check it out and let me know what would be in your 7 Fruit and Vegetables to Eat this Autumn.
My friends, Little Button Diaries, are always making amazing things; whether its cakes, food like the rocket pest0 they guest posted last year, or super craft projects. All this, with children to look after too. I’m really pleased to be hosting one of their great crafty ideas, and with a raft of birthdays in the summer months, wrapping paper is always needed.
Vegetable Print Wrapping Paper
This is a quick and easy craft to which can add a personalised touch to wrapping and use up vegetables. We steered away from the potato to try different garden vegetables so we could experiment with design and texture. You can also get your little ones involved in the printing too.
For this project you will need:
- Vegetables (we used an onion, peppers and carrots)
- Acrylic Paint
- Brown packing paper
For Kids printing:
- Baby-friendly paint
1. Begin by cutting a large piece of packing paper. We made ours a lot bigger than our present in case we made any mistakes.
2. Chop your vegetables leaving enough of a handle so you can stamp with it. We sliced the onion, carrot and pepper horizontally near the top.
3. Using the sponge, dab the paint onto the vegetable to coat it. Then get stamping. We did one row of stamping then reapplied more paint. We experimented with different colours and veg to create a repeating pattern.
4. To get your little ones involve swap acrylic paint for baby-friendly paint and let them get stuck in. Their design may be more abstract but they’ll enjoy getting messy!
5. When you’re paper is full up leave to dry. We then wrapped our present with string and used a few sprigs of lavender from the garden to finish.
~ Laura & Tia xx ~
I love bagels and really enjoy making them. Friends and fellow Brighton bloggers, Little Button Diaries, also like bagels and after having some I’d made the other week, they asked me to write a guest post for them. So if you fancy finding out how to make bagels, check out the post I wrote for them below.
How do you like your bagels? Are you a sesame, poppy seed or plain bagel kind of person?
This post is submitted to Cook Blog Share
We have been able to pick the first of our peas recently and enjoyed them as part of a broad bean and pea pasta dish. When I visited the local community allotment, Plot 22, earlier I noticed how well their peas were growing. So when asked by Emma to write something for their site I had to do something based on peas; well, based on pea pods actually.
Check out the rest of the post and the recipe I wrote for them below.
The allotment has been a real haven for me over the last year. I’m sure I’m not alone in benefiting from the communal and restorative properties of time outside growing. At our allotment site we have a community plot, Plot 22, which offers people just that. So I asked Emma, who runs the project, to write a guest post.
PLOT 22 is an allotment garden project that offers people who may not otherwise have access to a garden the chance to enjoy and participate in creating a peaceful, abundant and edible oasis in the middle of our busy city.
I think of courgettes as cheerful generous friends! They are easy to grow and so gallopingly bountiful it can be hard to keep up with them. That said, the planting out stage is their most vulnerable but those that make it through and survive the slugs have a prickly and reassuring sturdiness. New fruits seem to double in size over night. And for us, gardening and cooking collectively on site at PLOT 22 this ensures a feast several days a week in the summer months. This month we are dining out on a variety gifted to us by another allotment holder: a yellow courgette that produces sweet round fruits. Happily the slugs didn’t decimate these plants as they did some of our own courgettes grown from seed. This may have been because we planted these yellow ones in raised beds, waist high, certainly out of the eye line of slugs, or more likely their scent detectors.
Courgettes are most definitely a vegetable made for cooking outside. There’s very little preparation required and no need for saucepans at all! We’ve had delicate raw ribbons in our salads, using a potato peeler – easier with the long variety than the round sort, marinated multi-coloured courgette and halloumi kebabs grilled on the BBQ, and thick, colourful slices seared on the hot bars and dropped straight into fresh herby, garlicky dressing to soak up all the flavours. Next week we’ll try a recipe shared by a Japanese friend: grating the juicy pulp into spelt flour then mixed with a dash of oil to make thick green pancakes, cooked quickly in a skillet on the fire they are a treat I’ve been looking forward to for months!
It is true that you can have too much of a good thing. Sometimes a courgette’s generosity can seem like a burden of responsibility – how to make use of all this sudden vegetable goodness before they turn into the size of baseball bats? I’ve often found bags of these oversized beauties left on my doorstep by other gardeners, clearly overwhelmed by their mighty bounty. But that’s the beauty of gluts – there’s so much to go around. It reminds us how abundant Nature is and brings out the generous friend in us!
Those of you who follow @spadeforkspoon on Twitter may have noticed an increase in tweets about gluten free cooking over the last few weeks. This is because my son has recently been diagnosed as coeliac and therefore needs to follow a gluten free diet. Adapting meals to fit in with his new dietary requirements has been a bit of a challenge, but we’re getting there. Little Button Diaries asked me to create a Gluten-free Favourite Five for their blog. So, take a look and see what made the final five.
What would be in your favourite five gluten-free dishes?
Recently my friend of the fabulous Little Button Diaries recommended I check out one of her friends’ blogs. Amy blogs about her life; you’ll find recipes, craft projects, tips on gardening, and design inspiration. Amy and I met the other week and we decided to swap posts and write for each others blogs.
Here is Amy’ guest post. It looks delicious Amy. I’ll be giving it a go with the last of my Jerusalem artichokes.
Roasted Jerusalem Artichoke and Cauliflower Soup
The sun might be shining but let’s not forget it is only march and deceptively chilly in the shade… enough so to enjoy a hearty soup of a lunchtime. Especially when its harvest season for some of the most delicious root veg! I love cooking this recipe because not only is it jam packed with cold fighting ingredients, but yields enough for a dinner for the family or to fridge and last for 3 or 4 lunches. Fresh and creamy but totally vegan and gluten free!
Roasting the vegetables traps in their goodness and gives the most wonderful caramelised flavour. Do not be put off the slightly porridge look of the blended soup for what it lacks in visuals it makes up in abundant flavours!
You will need:
5/6 medium Jerusalem artichokes
A medium head of cauliflower (or half a giant one like the one pictured!)
1 bulb of garlic
1 red onion
1 white onion
A couple of good sprigs of rosemary
100ml rapeseed oil
2 litres of wheat free vege stock such as Kallo or Marigold
A food processor or good stick blender is essential!
To make the soup…
Pre heat your oven at 180 degrees. Chop the veg into medium sized chunks and muddle together in a large roasting tray. Break up your garlic bulb and throw it in with skins on. Fear not, roasting whole takes the edge of that zingy garlic flavour. Season with salt & pepper then drizzle all over with the rapeseed oil. The lemon really compliments caramel flavours of the roasted veg and livens up the whole recipe.
Roast for an hour turning veg occasionally until edges start to crisp and go brown. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 15 minutes or so.
Discard lemon pieces and remove the garlic cloves to peel their skins off before placing into your soup pan with the rest of your veg.
Make 2/3 litres of stock and pour over the veg before blending thoroughly in a large pan. If your artichokes are too big to blitz with stick blender you might need to whizz them separately in a food processor! Re-heat and serve.
My post for Amy’s blog about salad grown in a Pallet Planter can be found here.
I’m really excited to have a guest post from Northern Ireland based blogger Carrie, author of Grow Our Own. Like me, she finds the allotment can be a mood enhancing place; somewhere which provides reward, happiness and joy. Here’s Carrie’s post.
Hello I’m Carrie from ‘Grow Our Own’ – An Allotment Blog. I tend my plot along with my husband, here in Northern Ireland; it’s very hard work, often frustrating, time consuming and utterly amazing.
We are moving into our 6th year at this and there is still so much to learn, fun to be had and wonderful harvests to look forward too. My husband is the brains behind the operation but I get a real kick out it too, especially documenting the changes and eating the crops. I have chronic depression and an acute anxiety disorder and have found that being at one with nature and the changing seasons can have a wonderful effect on my mood. It isn’t a panacea at all, don’t get me wrong but anything that helps (and is good for you in so many other ways too) is always worth praising.
The adventure starts on the sofa at this time of year by picking what you want to grow out of the thousands of vegetable and flower options available. Gathering up all your packets of seed and tubers is a powerful expression of hope and optimism. It’s good for the soul and the imagination. A gardener is inherently an optimist you see, we put so much love and time into our soil and our plans for the coming year – you can’t be anything else.
Seedlings are a joy to behold. Once that dried up little speck of a seed comes to life it is rampant and completely addictive to watch as it matures and come to bear fruit. There’s even satisfaction to be found in locating it’s ‘enemies’ (slugs, snails, aphids etc.) and engaging in battle to save those precious crops.
Eating food you have grown yourself, picked ripe, not covered in pesticides and jetlagged is a whole new experience. They have a flavour you have only ever had a hint of before. Plus sharing this bounty with others is also rewarding, be they friends and family or the birds that soon learn that there is goodness is to be found on the ground you tend.
But really, is there anything better than your own slice of Eden? A place where the plants are a feast for the eye and the stomach. A place that pushes you in all types of weather to spend time in nature. A shed to make a cup of tea, a bench to sit upon and a garden bursting with life…this is happiness that can’t be bought, can’t be bottled but only experienced with wonder in the heart and pure joy in the soul.
I’m really excited to have a guest post from Brighton baking, making and baby bloggers, Little Button Diaries. They’ve been a huge influence on this new blog, and ignited my inner crafter as well. Here’s their post, and a great use of the rocket at the allotment.
Homemade Rocket Pesto
I’m always looking for inspiration for new ways to get creative in the kitchen utilising the fruit and veg I get from my garden. Simon’s blog is one of my bookmarked blog for it’s inspiring kitchen ideas and gardening tips and so I’m really happy he asked Little Button Diaries to write a guest post.
I have the smallest postage stamp of a garden, but despite its size I’m living proof that you don’t need a vast space to grow your own vegetables. I’m a big fan of growing things in tubs and pots and this year I decided to grow some rocket in a rusty old supermarket basket I found in my Gran’s garage (good stealing Gran!). As a pretty solid weed, it took over in abundance and I was left wondering what I could do with mountains of rocket – as it has definitely got too cold for salads now. I decided to make rocket pesto, which is actually a good peppery alternative to the basil version. Its also very very easy!
What you will need
A good bunch (about 50g) of rocket leaves
1 clove of garlic
Juice from half a lemon
25g lightly toasted pine nuts
125ml olive oil
Begin by putting the garlic, salt and nuts into a blender and pulse until finely chopped – don’t blend for too long or it will start to turn to a paste. Remove from the blender and do the same for the rocket leaves and lemon juice, with a small dash of the oil. Then remove and combine the nuts and rocket with the remaining oil, mixing well.
This is can then be stored in the fridge and used in just the same way as basil pesto. I mixed mine into some cooked penne, grated on some cheese and breadcrumbs and gave it a blast in a hot oven. Very tasty it was too.
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
John Keats, Ode to Autumn
Before I started Spadeforkspoon I looked around the blogosphere and found many which gave me food for thought when it came to what went into my blog. One of the blogs I love is The Little Button Diaries, produced by my friend Laura, and her friend Tia. Its mix of craft, baking and babies was inspiration for my own dual focused blog. So I was excited to be asked to write a guest post for them and decided on my own Ode to Autumn – a season I absolutely adore, a season of soups and mellow fruitfulness.