Month 2 was great in terms of what I was able to use from the garden. Now that summer is well under way, I am able to use increasing amounts of produce and so look forward to many meals with such in Month 3.
So, to start my third month of this diary off, I am happy to say that on Day 60 I have continued in a positive vein. For breakfast, I finished off the cauliflower dish I made a couple of days or so ago (with my own garlic and carrots). As my daughter is still of an age to be a fussy eater, it means most dishes I cook tend to be for me and consequently last a long time. On this occasion, the cauliflower was quite small but, even so, I have been eating it over three meals. I have no doubt that with persistence, in time this will change, though.
Anyway, lunch was another finishing-off meal. This time it was the parsnip and carrot soup with some of my coriander. It looks like this is the last of the coriander, if not for this season, at least until I have sown some more and it grows into something edible.
This evening, I have just eaten the rest of the vegetable medley with my own onion and mangetout and hopefully later on we will be having the jam I made with mint from the garden. This jam is more like a coulis so I’m going to drizzle it over cake I have taken from the freezer. I am sure if I try really hard I can empty the freezer within about a week (it is small) and then there will be space for garden produce that I can’t eat right away.
On Day 61 I have used less from the garden that yesterday, or should I say grown by my own fair hands, as one of my ingredients was a chilli from the plant on my daughter’s window sill. This, as well as an onion and garlic went into chilli beef, which will do me for lunch tomorrow and a meal on another occasion as well as our evening meal tonight. That does mean something going back in the freezer but only for a few days!
My daughter loves tofu, so in spite of the need to empty the freezer, we had one of our favourite dishes on Day 62: noodles with tofu and stirfried vegetables. The vegetables included our own mangetout and onion. What a fab meal!
As I had intended I ate some of more of the chilli beef for lunch at work and my daughter also had some more of our strawberries in a milkshake. There are a lot of unripened strawberries on our plants at the moment, so I wonder how long it will be before they are ready. I do hope it will be soon and that they are ready at the same time, so that we can have a bowlful for dessert rather than just a small addition to a milkshake, for example.
On Day 63 I’ve finished off the stirfry I made last night and hence the onion and mangetout. I’ve also eat a salad which mostly comprised my own garden’s offerings: lettuce, radish and rocket. With that I ate a lentil soup from the freezer which contained some of last year’s garlic. I’ve still got a way to go on the freezer front but the tubs are going down……
I’m very pleased with the garden’s offerings this evening (Day 64). I used up some liver and onions from the freezer and accompanied this with steamed broad beans, carrots (hurray, they can grow in my garden!) and one of the leaves of one of the fledgling broccoli plants which I have decided is planted too close to another, stronger, one. Altogether a nice range of colour and lots of vitamins and minerals 🙂
It’s been more of the broad beans and carrots this evening (Day 65), padded out with some of my fried onion. I also managed my own coriander seeds in a soup I dug out from the freezer for my lunch earlier in the day. No idea which culinary delights await me tomorrow yet!
Well, on Day 66 I’ve eaten another lentil soup from the freezer which included some of my garlic and coriander seeds. And I’ve made a salad with my own radishes, beetroot leaves (to thin the beetroot out a tad) and parsley. This was absolutely delicious with tomatoes and is definitely going to be on the menu again 🙂
We’ve had visitors today (Day 67), so they also got to try some of my garden produce: a salad of lettuce, rocket and fennel. There was so much of it that I finished it off for my evening meal, along with the rest of the lentil soup I started last night (with my garlic and coriander seeds). For breakfast, my daughter had also had our strawberries in a milkshake and it looks like she will be able to do the same again tomorrow.
In spite of going to a children’s birthday party and eating lunch there, we still managed a fair amount of homegrown produce on Day 68. I took another stab at emptying the freezer, so the evening meal was in part chilli beef from last week (own chilli, onion and garlic). I even ate more of my garlic in using up the garlic butter from the other evening: I fried some of my broad beans in it, which really helped the chilli beef. And my daughter had a handful of strawberries in her morning milkshake.
The food from the freezer is almost finished now. For breakfast on Day 69 I have eaten the rest of the chilli beef, and for lunch I used up a rice and meat dish spruced up with some of my cress. Because cress is so easy to grow and you don’t even need a garden for it, it seems a copout to say that I am consuming one of my own vegetables but at the end of the day there are no food miles involved, it is very fresh and I could have forgotten to water it, so eating it is an achievement all the same.
For our evening meal, we had our favourite stir fry: mushrooms and tofu. I did this in the slow cooker last night and it wasn’t quite as tasty as when it is actually fried in a pan but it did mean the meal was very quick to prepare and that is something I need to do more often so that I can get the food on the table earlier in the evening. Anyway, I got quite a few mangetout from my plants to add to the mix (and there was also my own garlic and onion). So, today had been another successful day on my challenge.
I’m absolutely stuffed today (Day 70), after eating what seems like a mamouth amount of food to try and get through the freezer stock and other food I’ve prepared recently, which needs eating up. So, working backwards, this evening, I had a huge plate of noodles with my mangetout and for lunch I ate okra curry with my own coriander. I’ve enjoyed every mouthful but I will be glad to get back to ‘normal’ meals and hopefully stocking up the freezer with stock from my garden. Roll on Friday when the big defrost begins!
I didn’t eat very much on Day 71, although I had egg mayonnaise with my own cress in sandwiches for lunch. Then this morning on Day 72 my daughter has had a very pink milkshake due to the addition of several of our strawberries. The food from the freezer that I’ve been using up this evening was fine without anything from the garden (though I did add some cooking wine and grate some cheese for a topping).
The freezer has however been defrosted (very quickly and easily due to the reasonable temperature we are experiencing at the moment) and cleaned out. So, now I can begin to fill it up again and might even try blanching vegetables for the first time!
On Day 73 I ate the final jar of frozen food taken from the freezer (this contained some of my coriander seeds) with some potatoes I dug up on Friday. My daughter also had another handful of strawberries for her milkshake. We had a surprise invitation to go for a birthday tea in Bradford, though, so that was the lot for today!
Yesterday (Day 74) was hectic socially – we ate out for both lunch and in the evening, so the only food we got round to having from the garden was strawberries in a milkshake. However, this evening (Day 75) we got home early enough to try out dumplings with stewed fruit, idea I got from the following website: http://marcellarousseau.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/rewards-for-doing-everything-right-in-your-vegetable-garden/comment-page-1/#comment-107
The fruit were both rhubarb and strawberries from the garden (after some potato salad with my own potatoes and mint, which I had dried successfully). I need to work on putting the dumpling mix in the fruit so that there is sufficient time for them to cook without the fruit burning underneath, but the result was nonetheless very tasty and I will definitely be making this again.
Well, the strawberries are coming thick and fast now, so on both Day 76 and Day 77 my daughter has had strawberry milkshake for breakfast (with a banana they go thick like the commercial variety, only without all the additives). For lunch yesterday (Day 76) I also finished off the stewed fruit with dumplings, which tasted even better after being in the fridge overnight. Then in the evening, I made some stewed tomatoes with our own mangetout to go with homemade beefburgers.
Today, I had a repeat of yesterday’s evening meal and this evening I made lots of good stuff. Meatballs with couscous, accompanied by a ratatouille (own onions and a radish for a bit of edge) and an Egyptian dip of (own) with lentils, lemon juice, olive oil and parsley (own). The broad beans are almost at an end now, so I need to decide whether I am going to eat the final few fresh or try my hand at blanching and freezing for a later date.
On Day 78 we’ve been out for tea at a friends’ house, so the food from the garden was my lunch of broad bean dip and the onions and radish in a tomato sauce from last night. I think that is the last of the meals away from home for a few days now, though.
Yesterday (Day77) started well with poached eggs stewed in tomatoes (own onion and garlic). Sadly, I had to remove two of my onions to the compost bin as they were too soft – I didn’t realise that onions which had bolted would become rotten quite so quickly. Anyway, after that we went for our weekly shop and spent the rest of the day eating purchases, apart from one small taste of the strawberry cake I made in the evening.. Unbelievably (to me!), we had about half a pound of strawberries out of the garden to use up, so a cake seemed an excellent idea 🙂
Today (Day 78), I’ve been under the weather and so have not eaten a great deal. This evening, I have, however, cooked fried rice with a teryiaki sauce (well, almost as I forgot the sugar), which used up one of our garlic cloves and the last (?) of the mangetout. And now I am going to sit down with a cup of decaf filter coffee I discovered at my local organic farm and a piece of the strawberry cake. Just what I need after a hard day’s sleep.
On Day 79, I’ve been more like my normal self again and so for both lunch and our evening meal we’ve had food from the garden. At lunch time it was mint in the couscous and later in the day it was cress in a salad. In comparison with the last couple of weeks or so, the garden offerings seem quite paltry today but a little is better than none!
On Monday (Day 80), we did an Indian cookery class and got to eat the curry we made but in the evening I still managed a salad of my own lettuce, beetroot leaves and radishes – after a breakfast of strawberry cake made a couple or so days ago. Then on Tuesday (Day 81), we were out all day at Fountains Abbey and I wasn’t in the mood for any cooking, so the only thing I ate from my own garden was some mint in a tomato salad. Now today on Day 81 I have eaten the purple sprouting broccoli leaves from a few small plants I had no room for with some of my carrots (and feta, which I grilled and which was really lovely).
Day 82 was a tad paltry on the own produce front, as apart from a handful of strawberries in my daughter’s morning milkshake the only thing I used was a small head of garlic in some ratatouille (minus the onions). However, today on Day 83, we have enjoyed picking the last of the broad beans and using them with tomatoes to make a sauce to go with our beefburger and potato wedges. If I had dug up the new batch of potatoes before cooking, I could have used these for the wedges, but no matter, they will be there for another day. Anyway, as the strawberries seem to be ripening thick and fast at the moment, my daughter was able to enjoy another milkshake with them this morning, as well.
Well, today (Day 84) I have managed to eat something from the garden with every meal. First thing, my daughter had her usual milkshake with strawberries and I had some of the strawberry cake I made the other day. Then for lunch I ate a salad of lettuce, radish and parsley (I am really growing to love fresh parsley). Finally, we ate a small handful of mangetout, onion and garlic with our favourite: noodles and stirfried vegetables.
Day 85 was the last before a short break and I can’t remember what we ate from the garden, apart from strawberries in milkshake and some strawberry cake from the freezer. However, I did pack sandwiches on Day 86 which contained my own cress in egg mayonnaire.