Admittedly my little patio veg plot hasn't done amazingly, but it wasn't all bad, and to be fair i didn't have to fork out for salad during the summer, as i had that by the pot load, If you've put off growing things for fear it won't work, the "come back again salad leafs" are fool proof, they grow pretty quickly from seed and you'll have enough leafs for decent sized salads, my only tip: leave it a day or two for the plant to have a chance to grow some more leaves for picking.
Last September i bought a Raspberry plant, it was only £2 something, a bargain compared to how much you pay out for the berries, It bore a few berries but started on a big growth spurt where its now got 3 main stems? so its really leafy and a lovely shade of green, and I've been surprised to see it fruiting again, not many but enough to scatter in my porridge, and there was enough on Saturday to pop in my croissant.
I'm also growing a pumpkin, that was a surprise! i must have saved a seed from pumpkin carving last year and forgotten all about it, now that's a tricky plant! maybe because i put it in a pot and it would rather the freedom to crawl along the ground, unfortunately i don't yet have the space to do that.
I'd also planted chillies and peppers, but due to the very cold start to the sowing season, mine are still miles away from being where they "should" be at this time. I was hoping to make Nigellas Chilli Jam from my own garden, but alas i had to go and buy them. On the plus side last week i got given kilo of tomatoes from my Mr's aunt who owns an alloment. So i turned that into Tomato Chutney. Something so rewarding turing home grown goods, into something that you can keep stored. these two preserves will go perfectly for a night of wines, cheese and crackers! mind you the Mr said that he's quite like the tomatoe chutney toppped on a buger.
So if you'd like to try your hand at presvering- again if you've been put off these two recipes are nice and easy to get you started.
Nigellas Chilli Jam
- 150 grams long fresh red chilli peppers (deseeded and cut into 4 pieces)
- 150 grams red peppers (cored, deseeded and cut into rough chunks)
- 1 kilogram jam sugar
- 600 ml Cider vinegar
MethodYou will need 6 x 250ml / 1 cup sealable jars, with vinegar-proof lids, such as Kilner jars or re-usable pickle jars.
- Sterilize your jars and leave to cool.
- Put the cut-up chillies into a food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped. Add the chunks of red pepper and pulse again until you have a vibrantly red-flecked processor bowl.
- Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar in a wide, medium-sized pan over a low heat without stirring.
- Scrape the chilli-pepper mixture out of the bowl and add to the pan. Bring the pan to the boil, then leave it at a rollicking boil for 10 minutes.
- Take the pan off the heat and allow it cool. The liquid will become more syrupy, then from syrup to viscous and from viscous to jelly-like as it cools.
- After about 40 minutes, or once the red flecks are more or less evenly dispersed in the jelly (as the liquid firms up, the hints of chilli and pepper start being suspended in it rather than floating on it), ladle into your jars. If you want to stir gently at this stage, it will do no harm. Then seal tightly.
Tomatoe chutney - found on BBC Good Food
- 500g red onions, finely sliced
- 1kg tomato, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 red chilli, chopped (optional)
- 4 cm piece ginger, peeled and chopped
- 250g brown sugar
- 150ml red wine vinegar
- 5 cardamom seeds
- ½ tsp paprikaTip all the ingredients into a large heavy-based pan and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring frequently. Simmer for 1 hr, then bring to a gentle boil so that the mixture turns dark, jammy and shiny. Place into sterilised jars and allow to cool before covering. Will keep for 6 weeks.I've been blackberry picking also and i shall be turning those into a jam along side apple and cinnamon, a perfect combination for Yule.Should be interesting as i've not made a fruit jam before.