One of My Favourite Times of Year!

Yes, it’s one of my favourite times of year. I can see everything is brightening up. The particular bird song, new shoots peeping through the soil, blossom coming out, so it’s time to get active in the green house. My fingers get itchy this time of year and I get the impulse to grow things! I’m not one for gardening in the cold so tidying up is being done now as well. 🙂

I’ve had a sort out in my green house and moved a few things round and it’s now set for action.

Today I sowed some tomatoes, cucumbers and small red peppers

I have made a gardening journal from an old book, that I try and keep a record of how things go in my garden as well as hints and tips for me to refer to.

Here’s a sample page. 🙂

New Years Marmalade

It’s the time of the year for marmalade, the Seville oranges have been in the shops and thoughts are directed to making a years supply of marmalade. The reason for this sudden desire to slice 6 pounds of oranges is two fold. It tastes better and it’s cheaper!

For several years now I’ve put the oranges in a food processor to chop them, but this year I decided to slice by hand. Oh my word, I was so surprised how pleasant it was to sit and slice the oranges by hand (with a nice serrated steak knife) in the quiet. A very simple life thing to do, and it was easier to extract the pips too!

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Once the sliced oranges have soaked over night they are meant to be simmered to reduce the liquid by a third. When I had heated the the water in the pan and added the sugar I realised I hadn’t done that!!!

I managed to rescue it by taking some liquid out, adding more sugar and a bottle of liquid pectin. Here on my pantry shelf are twenty jars of marmalade. I now feel like Moomin Mama and I have a very happy husband!

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It tastes exceptionally good too 🙂

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Garden Success

How do you see success in your garden? Are you like me expecting that you can achieve what you might  consider great things as well as working and looking after you family and your house?! I continually have to put this success into perspective. There is only so much time you can put into growing things unless you are putting all of your time into being self sufficient (so my husband keeps telling me)!

I’ve just been out to explore the garden that gets attended way less than I’d like, to pick some things for lunch and this is some of what I saw.

I have pumpkins,

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beetroot,

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chillies,

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peppers

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and tomatoes

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and my husband says I should call this success! 🙂

Peppers

Here’s a long awaited update from the green house.

These are red sweet peppers from bought seed.  I don’t want to speak too soon but I think they are doing alright.

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These are chilli peppers I got free from a magazine. ‘Demon Red’ There were only five seeds and I have three healthy plants from them. By the sound of their name, they are gonna be hot!

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These are ‘Scotch Bonnet’ chillies, from my own saved seed. They are looking good. If you look carefully you can see little buds forming on the top of the plants 🙂

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These are common red chillies, medium heat, from my own saved seed. I dried some of these before and they keep well.

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Can’t wait until they start turning red. I must look after them carefully now so as not to loose the fruit!:-)

Banana Pancakes

Well there’s been a lot happening at Simple Life HQ, so much so it has kept me away from you.

We’ve had some hot weather the last week or so here and though I love bananas I can’t eat them fast enough. When it’s hot you need some recipes using the ones which have become very ripe! I generally google around for ideas and then make something completely different or inspired be what I’ve seen.

So banana pancakes! I just used the basic batter recipe that I use for just about everything 2 oz flour (I like to use gram flour) 2 eggs and as much milk I need to get it to the consistency I want.  (recipe for two people) and then just added half a ripe banana mashed up.

Then I sliced the rest of the banana up and layered them with the pancakes, yogurt and runny honey.

Yum!

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It was delicious.

Using gram flour makes it very light and I use sheep’s yogurt which is very light too and all very good for you 🙂

Exciting things happening in the green house

Things have definitely warmed up around here and the temperature in the green house is above 30 degrees. If you’re not used to British weather, that is exciting for this time of year!

I’m so pleased with how the things are growing. I have several varieties of tomatoes, red peppers, three varieties of chilli peppers, cucumbers, rocket and radish.

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Some will be transplanted outside and some in the poly tunnel and some will stay in the green house. I’m especially pleased as I didn’t do very well with these last year! 🙂

Home Grown Chicken for Dinner

Well, this is a huge sense of achievement. We’ve just had one of our own home grown chickens for dinner. These are three more going in the freezer. One small step towards self sufficiency! Girls for laying, boys for eating 🙂P1380113
We pot roasted one (which I forgot to photograph to show you) and this is a risotto with some leftovers. I also plan a pie or pasty for tonight and then make some stock for some soup.P1380114
This makes me happy! 🙂