Click here for a Parsnip (yep - Parsnip!) and Walnut cake recipe and why afternoon tea is a great idea!
Lovely Lane Blog
Welcome to our blog. We want to help you make special memories for you, your family and your friends. So we will share the ongoing adventure that is LOVELY LANE. The memories, achievements, frustrations, traditions, chaos and hopefully some laughter and give you some memory making ideas and hints and tips along the way.
Category: Food & Stuff
Did anyone notice that the minute Halloween was over the masks were replaced by Christmas baubles? I know they have been around since about August but 1 November arrives and they multiply so quickly we all panic that we won’t be ready for Christmas!
Well I decided to ignore that and find out what else is going on in the world. Did you know that today is Sandwich Day in America. What’s so special about that? In the great scheme of things not a lot and Google can’t tell me why they celebrate it – does anyone know? But the interesting fact is that it’s origins of the sandwich are in England.
November 3rd is the anniversary of John Montagu's birthday, an 18th-century English noble better known as the Fourth Earl of Sandwich. As the story goes, Montagu was a hard-core gambler who wanted to eat his meal with one hand during a 24 hour gambling event so he told his servants to prepare his lunch meat between two pieces of bread. That, supposedly, is how the sandwich was invented!
And we love them - quick breakfast (bacon sandwich), quick lunch (cheese and pickle), quick dinner (beefburger), four year old won’t eat anything else (chocolate spread), great memories of picnics on the beach (sand in the sandwiches!). They're convenient, easy to eat, compact and so good you can eat two! The best part, though, is that you can make your sandwich as healthy or unhealthy as you want it to be. So skip the sprouts, pile on the pickles or go easy on the mayo - when it comes to sandwiches, it's up to you.
How is this for a creative concoction? The Godmother from an Italian Deli in Santa Monica is described as:
‘a testament to old-world sandwiches still being done right. Genoa salami, prosciutto, mortadella, coppacola, ham and provolone cheese are all thinly layered inside a crusty length of Italian bread. It comes with "the works": mayo, mustard, Italian dressing, onions, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, and a chopped pepper blend that keeps the Godmother zippy.’
It may be delicious but doesn’t sound quick or easy to me when you’re trying to put packed lunches together and get 3 kids off to school!
But there is no doubt that we are very grateful to that Earl of Sandwich and his invention – I wonder if he won his gambling event?
I spend the winter collecting jam jars. I use them for all sorts of things – hanging tea lights in the garden, storing the kid’s marbles, collecting 2p pieces to take to the amusment arcade with the grandchildren, a colourful button jar and anything else I can think of.
At this time of the year I make jam. And chutney. And pickle. In fact anything to use up the glut of fruit and vegetable that arrives daily from the allotment. We love the allotment (particularly hubby who would do that in preference to anything else!) and get really excited about the latest crop – especially if it is particularly healthy and abundant. And then it arrives in the kitchen AAAAAAAAArgh!
What you need is a plan. Advance planning and knowing what you are going to do with it is definitely the key. It’s corguettes at the moment and I have perfected a particularly nice chocolate corguette cake – just don’t tell the kids what’s in it! I have also just found a really simple corguette soup recipe – delicious! Make it with yellow corguettes if you can – the colour is wonderful.
Beetroot chutney is a favourite – tried and tested.
We have just cropped the last of the rhubarb. I used the easiest rhubarb jam recipe in the world found on a great allotment blog - http://allotmentheaven.blogspot.co.uk/. I now have 10 jars that can be put on toast, spooned into yoghurt, used to liven up vanilla ice cream or even eaten with a bit of custard!
Follow the links for the recipies – the internet is a wonderful thing!
Beetroot Chutney http://bit.ly/IY7orB
Courgette Soup http://bit.ly/1rj6p9R
Chocolate Courgette Cake http://bit.ly/1k2dYZ1
Rhubarb Jam http://allotmentheaven.blogspot.co.uk/ and click on easy recipies
I'm just off to the kitchen to deal with the tomatoes! Enjoy!
Life meeting reality (or is it reality meeting life!)
What do you know about growing things? Do you want to know more? The BBC think you do as we are now into week 4 of the The Big Allotment Challenge And so another reality show has hit our screens and one which had the potential to be like watching paint dry but strangely isn’t! At least Lynne Truss of the Telegraph agrees with me if no-one else! Unlike the Great British Sewing Bee where contestants are given 5 hours to turn a piece of material into something lovely and wearable it has taken 15 weeks of digging and nurturing and pruning to have fresh produce that can be displayed or turned into family meals, jams and chutneys. A bit of Jam and Jerusalem meeting Gardeners World!
So what does all this do for us? We gave up telling children long ago that babies were found under gooseberry bushes. Now, from a very young age, they grow up knowing the basic facts of how their little brothers and sisters find their way into their lives. But what about onions and potatoes and tomatoes – they come from supermarkets don’t they?
Anything that encourages us to lift up a fork and trowel and grow something for tea (even if it is only some lettuce leaves!) is good. My dad liked a nice bit of grass that he kept cut and manicured to within an inch of its life so it was my uncle who supplied the wonder of planting a very small seed that grew into a very large cucumber. From about the age of 12 I picked raspberries and strawberries during the summer to earn some money (the advantage of living in a fruit growing region in Scotland) and come October it was the potato harvest. So no reality shows for me - I grew up knowing that food didn’t magically appear in polystyrene trays wrapped in plastic.
Mention the allotment to my grandchildren and they are interested – for about 5 minutes! But that is long enough to plant a few sunflower seeds or pick a few strawberries for tea. It doesn’t take a long time to create a few memories and introduce them to the wonders of gardening.
This picture is of my daughter aged 9 with a cucumber that she grew from seed – she is 34 now with a 9 year old of her own and an allotment! She had no interest at all during her teenage years but the seed had been planted at an early age – it just took a while to germinate!
Alan Titchmarsh recently took umbrage with Jeremy Clarkson for suggesting that ‘gardening was a pointless way of passing time until you die’. Well, not everyone is going to be turned on by growing a cabbage, but gardening is far from pointless (all the jars of jam and all those green beans in the freezer tell me that!). So I find myself agreeing with the gardening guru and his assertion that there is something for everyone in gardening, whether you are a fanatic (my hubby is almost in that category!) or a casual gardener who grows the odd patio plant.
However, I do feel strongly that we should all have the chance to have a go if we want to. So we need to know what it is all about so that we can pick up gardening or put it down as our lives and inclinations allow. Fruit, vegetables and flowers are a mainstay of our existence, give us lots of pleasure, nutrition and a sense of achievement when you say “I grew that!”.
So the odd reality programme – I’ll live with it and probably love it - in an odd sort of way!