Month 4

Last month gave me pleasing results and I ate far more than I had actually expected from my own garden. So, this month I am hopeful that I will be able to do the same. Certainly, after a few days away in the Midlands, I came back yesterday to a bountiful garden, the  main source of which was strawberries and blackberries:

Not surprisingly yesterday (Day 92) we ate our own fruit (as described above) and this morning on Day 93, we started with a breakfast of fruit coulis (strawberries, blackberries and rhubarb this time). Now for lunch, I’ve eaten a lovely stirfry which included my own onion, garlic and mangetout. So, the mangetout did not give up the ghost while we were away and there could be yet one more crop of them 🙂

This afternoon, the grandchildren from nextdoor came round and helped me pick some more strawberries and blackberries – and of course eat them. We also dug up the rest of the potatoes together and they took them home for their grandparents. I then dug up a couple of the spring onions (they seem to have taken an age to grow) to add to homemade potato salad (made with my own potatoes). So, all in all, another excellent day was had!

Onto Day 94 and this was another one where we ate quite a bit grown by ourselves, although much of it was left over from yesterday, namely the potato salad and stirfry. However, I did make a new milkshake for my daughter with our strawberries and blackberries, though she has decided that it had too many pips in, so it looks like we just eat the blackberries as they come from now on. Anyway, in addition to the fruit, we did eat some mangetout for our evening meal… I’m amazed by the resilience these plants have – definitely a plant that I will grown next year, going on the productivity I’ve noticed this year 🙂

Both yesterday (Day 95) and today (Day 96), I have eaten frittata made with my own chard and onion. Yesterday, I also made myself a wonderful rice dish with red wine and my own onion and parsley. Today, the additional food was a salad which included the following from my garden: lettuce, cress, beetroot leaves. I had to have something healthy after the exact opposite for breakfast, since I took my daughter out to a local carvery for a traditional breakfast as a treat I had been promising her for a year. Anyway, we finished off our evening meal on Day 96 with a coulis of our strawberries and blackberries with chocolate custard – absolutely perfect 🙂
Things were a bit up in the air today (Day 97), as I cleaned our carpets, which meant the kitchen was full of furniture and other things which couldn’t go on the floor elsewhere. However, by teatime the carpet in the diningroom was dry enough to move everything out of the kitchen to cook a meal. So, we rounded off the day with noodles and quorn in a tomato sauce seasoned with cayenne pepper (I think I’m going to add this to every dish I can, as I’ve decided it is the tastiest pepper) and our own onion and garlic as well as the addition of a handful of the lovely mangetout. And I’ll get another meal out of the latter, too, provided the plants don’t decide it is too late in the season before the current flowers turn into pods.

Day 98 was another very good day in terms of meals. For lunch, I finally got round to make the daal curry I had been promising myself, so that meant I got to try the new coriander, which is on the kitchen windowsill, as well as eat more of my onion and garlic. (We ate this with jasmine rice, which I found out about at a Thai cookery class we went to on Monday. I had thought the rice would be strange with daal but it was in fact really delicious.)

Next, for our evening meal we had a pseudo Chinese dish to use up the remainder of the noodles from last night. I pan-fried some quorn with a few of the chilli peppers off the plant in my daughter’s room and mushroom with soy sauce. To tell the truth, I had been using the chillies purely to use them up, as up till now they have been quite tasteless. However, we were in for a surprise as they were actually quite spicy. Too spicy in fact for my little girl. What’s going on?

On Day 99, we haven’t eaten much of our own, just parsley in a tomato salad (me) and strawberries in a milkshake (my daughter), as we have been out for much of it. So, let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Wow, I have reached the 100 day mark and I am still able to say that I have used something from the garden. This time it was some salad for brunch which included some parsley and then for the evening meal we had a Thai dish for which I used some of my onion, and this was followed by our strawberries and blackberries for pudding. (We had a little guest who managed some of the Thai food, and a lot of the fruit!)

Onto Day 101, I ate potato salad (own potatoes and spring onions) and my daughter had milkshake with our strawberries. Now, today (Day 102), we have had a curry for our evening meal which used our onion, garlic, potatoes and coriander…. I really love aloo gobi but it will be next spring before I will be eating my own cauliflower!

Well, on Day 103 I ate more of the aloo gobi and today (Day 104) I ate the last of the potatoes which had grown without my deliberately cultivating them (as part of a salad). The best part of today’s food from the garden was a compote made with apples and our own blackberries and strawberries. (I topped it with yoghurt flavoured with green cardamom seeds, a recipe picked up at a recent cookery class we did.)

On Day 105, I made another wonderful curry: okra with mince, which I had never eaten before. It was not only a marvelous taste but I used my own onion, garlic and coriander in the dish. And today (Day 106) I have used the last of the mangetout. There were still a couple of budding pods on the plants but I decided it was time to cut them down and put the stalks in the compost bin so that I can start preparing the garden for winter.

Yesterday (Day 106), we didn’t seem to eat very much at all, but I did manage a sandwich with my own beetroot and cress in the evening. Then today (Day 107) I’ve eaten my own beetroot and beetroot leaves in a tomato sauce with prawns and quinoa (a first… quinoa seems to smell unpleasant but tastes quite bland, so a reasonable substitute for rice). Oh and stewed strawberries and blackberries from the garden for desert!

Strawberries were on the menu again this morning (Day 108), as I managed a couple on my cereal for breakfast. Lunch was the same as I had eaten for yesterday’s evening meal (minus the prawns as my daughter ate the lot of them last night 🙂 ) and this evening I picked some rainbow chard to be added to an omelette with my own onion, too.

I finished off the omelette with chard and onions for my lunch on Day 109 and also ate an amazing salad which included my own parsley and garlic for my evening meal after we had been swimming (walnut oil is another condiment I will be having more of). Then today (Day 110) I have had another salad, this time with cress. Tomorrow (Day 111) we are going to a housewarming party and I have promised to take a curry with me, so I’m going to make red lentils which should include from the garden (and windowsill) garlic and coriander. Unfortunately, there aren’t any chillies at the moment and my onion is insufficient for a big dish.

As I had hoped, the daal curry I made on Day 111 turned out very well. I also made some flatbreads to accompany it with some poppy seeds and my own spring onions, which went down a treat at the party.

Also yesterday, I made some more stewed apple with our strawberries and blackberries ( picked the last of the latter for this year). This we finished off today (Day 112) in the evening, once we got home, after we had tried one of the yellow tomatoes from the plant on my daughter’s windowsill. It tasted fine but the flavour wasn’t very strong.

On Day 113 I didn’t eat that much apart from another tomato from my daughter’s windowsill and the strawberry milkshake she decided not to drink. However, today (Day 114) I took some strawberries and parsley as a present to a friend and then in the evening  I cooked a stirfry which included our onion and chard. It does look like the strawberries are coming to an end now but as I remember still getting some into November last year, who knows?

Today (Day 115), I’ve eaten another of my yellow tomatoes – and hopefully it won’t be the last, although with it being so late in the season the rest of my tomatoes might be going into chutney. Anyway, this evening we have eaten spring onions and purple sprouting broccoli from the garden (the broccoli was actually starting to bolt, but I hope that doesn’t mean we will miss out on the broccoli next spring).

Well, it is now the end of my fourth month of writing a daily diary of what I have used in some way from my garden (or by extension, the windowsills in the house!). On Day 116 I ate a curry with my own onions (sadly the last of them), garlic and coriander (this is also on its last legs, but at least I can easily grow some more of this). Then for desert we ate stewed apple with our own strawberries. Oh and I had a bowl of soup which I made overnight, garnished with my parsley (that was for breakfast, as I couldn’t wait till lunchtime to try it).

Finally, for Month 4 (Day 117), I finished off the curry from last night and made an omelette with my own chard. This time last year, I was making chutney with an abundance of green tomatoes, but unfortunately this year I have too few, I think, to do this as I put the plants out too late. I should have known this would happen, as I did similar a couple of years ago, but heho at least I will have a few – just holding out till the end of the month, when I think the plants will have to come out of the ground.

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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