Sunday, 15 September 2013

GBBD September 2013

As I walked into the kitchen early one morning a few days ago I spotted a sparrowhawk sitting on the garden fence waiting for breakfast to fly by.  It saw me and flew off to the safety of the neighbour's roof so I grabbed the camera.  It was obviously wary of me as I zoomed in.  A pair of magpies didn't appreciate its company though and soon chased it off.  I love seeing hawks.  We were especially priviledged last week:

I was in the living room reading but there was a particularly noisy buzzard outside.  When I looked it was over the field right outside the house so I shouted Andy and went out for a better view.  Suddenly a small hawk began to mob it ... a peregrine.  Brilliant!  They stayed in view circling each other for quite a few minutes and we were just thinking how luck we had been to see the peregrine when another large bird sailed into view ... an osprey!! Fantastic! I didn't grab the camera so I can't share it with you.  Sorry!

The garden is full of yellow marigolds this week. 

The cornflowers and verbena add touches of blue and the apples, roses, berries and snapdragons throw in the reds.

I've spent HOURS peeling, coring and cooking apples: the composter is full of damaged fruit and there's still half a tree-full left ... shouldn't complain though!

I'm particularly pleased with the front pond at the moment.  The water lilies have gone wild since I worked on that area a few months ago.  I will need a machette to get through the leaves soon!

This is what it looked like at the end of June:

The other major change to the garden this month is the new greenhouse:

We haven't got round to ordering the staging yet but there's no rush.  As you can see from the blanket the cat has moved in already.  She finds it very confusing as the glass is so clean she keeps trying to walk through it!  Nothing to worry about, it won't stay like that for long.

Visit May Dream Gardens for more GBBD views.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Ten Green Apples

"Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year.  The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple...” 
J K Rowling Deathly Hallows

The trees are weighed down with apples, pears and plums and the wasps are getting drunk and drowsy.  Time to harvest.
Last year I collected the fruit, made a few pots of jam and bagged the rest for the freezer.
This year I decided to be a bit more inventive so I turned to fellow bloggers for inpiration:


1.  Apple Chutney from Rachel Cotterill.  This looks simple and delicious.  It made me look around the internet for other chutney recipes and I'm now hooked on the idea.  I really fancy one with apples, carrots and onions ... sounds a bit like Branston Pickle though!  In searching round I came across a blog called A Foodie's Quest who had a green tomato relish recipe which might come in useful for Elaine at A Woman of the Soil!

2.  Stuffed Apples.  I imagined baked apples stuffed with raisins when I thought of this one but you can stuff them with all sorts of things apparently ... stop smirking at the back!  I like the sound of Baked Apples with Savory Pork Stuffing from Cosmo Cookie or this sweet dessert (baked apples stuffed with nuts and chopped fruit then smothered in caramel!)  from Backup.

3.  Homemade Apple Pie.  Yes, we all know how to make an apple pie ... don't we??!!  Well, just in case this is how it's done down on the farm in America.  Makes you want to reach for the ice cream before it's ready.

4.  Apple Muffin.  People don't seem to bake buns any more, they bake cupcakes or muffins.  (Aren't they just very big buns? Will we all end up waddling around with very big bums?)  Well Thyme to Garden Now has a lovely whole wheat version so a slight nod to healthy living.

5.  There is absolutely NO nod to healthy living in this so called Apple Salad recipe from SiggySpice!  Made with Snicker chocolate bars and caramel I dread to think how many calories it contains.

6.  Here's a proper Apple Salad from Marky-the-chef to tone things down again.

7.  A simple Toffee Apple came to mind next.  We used to make these for Bonfire Night.  Take care not to burn yourself when coating the apples though.  There are loads of toffee apple recipes out there but Mia Loves Pretty has made her's extra special.

8.  Apple Strudel has to be a favourite.  Delia can always be relied upon and this one sounds great but I discovered a beautiful Bavarian blog called Words and Herbs ("For all who appreciate the beauty of words, flowers and homecooking") and I think I'll give this one a go.

 9.  Now I've gone international I have to include Apple Curry taken from a blog called Dining with Phryne.

10.  Lastly .... you guessed it .... cider.  I am in fact teetotal so I would choose an apple juice such as the one found at Chaos in the Kitchen or A Sweetpea Chef but if you want a more alcoholic one add some rum ....

I'll end with a link to Robert Frost's poem After Apple PickingHis apples are achievements and desires from his younger days.