Absence makes the garden grow faster

Posted on August 21, 2009


We got back from 5 days away on Monday and had a great time camping in Snowdonia. I always love getting home though, not only do I miss home itself, but it’s always good to see what the garden has been up to. When we got back from our holiday last year we were surprised to find that Summer had abruptly changed to Autumn and the garden was full of brown chestnut leaves and all the greenery had gone.

This time we found that there was a bumper harvest of crops. Our new little ‘Orchard’ (It’s official, you can call 5 fruit trees an orchard, not sure it counts if one of them has died though) was laden with fruit and the tiny Victoria Plum tree offered us a smashing crop of sweet ripe plums. Here are some of them.

We only have 6 runner bean plants from 6 magic beans donated from our next door neighbours, but they had produced a goodly pile of beans. The broad beans had also done a good job of producing a new supply that have now been turned into Celia’s new roasted garlic and broad bean hummus recipe.

Of course the courgettes had done their thing and so courgette soup was soup of the day on the evening of our return as that was all we could muster after a day of travelling. Some of them also ended up in a birthday hamper for George’s Grandma Wendy.

I have dug up another row of the blighted potatoes and they seem to have managed to survive quite well underground with only a few holes burrowed into them. The allium flowers that I cropped are still looking quite pretty in their pint glass vase and we are working our way through the mange tout and french beans too (tout!).

I guess it will soon be time to start planning what has worked this year and what to prepare the ground for next year.

Below is the plum and pear crumble later that day with jersey cream and a crunchy brown sugar topping.

6th October 2009

My niece Alice has just asked for a crumble recipe so I am detailing it here: The fruit always depends on what we have got in, like if it’s soft plums or ripe pears I don’t cook them 1st, I just added a couple of spoonfuls of sugar. Rhubarb, I would cook a bit in advance a bit like the apple version. If I am just making an apple crumble this is what I do:

  • 1 lb or so of peeled and cored Bramley apples (plus an optional 8oz Cox Apples) – cut into large slices
  • 2 oz sugar
  • 2 tblsp water
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Put all this in a pan with a lid on and cook for a few minutes until fluffy and add a spoonful of butter, place in an oven proof pudding bowl. You can also throw a handful of blackberries or sultanas in and perhaps a pinch of cinnamon.

Rub 3oz of butter into 5oz of plain flour, then stir in 3 oz of jumbo or porridge oats and 3-4 oz of soft brown sugar.Put this on top of the fruit and sprinkle with a bit of demerara sugar for a crispy topping. You can do all this in advance and leave it in the fridge until you bake it.

Bake for 35 minutes or so at 185 degrees, when the sticky fruit should bubble up under the topping a bit. A quick and easy pudding: