Month 5

Over the past couple of months, I have found the challenge of using something from my garden every day relatively easy, in view of what has been produced over the summer. In fact, it has been more of a challenge making sure I eat something decent every day due to laziness, but I wonder how things will pan out over the next few months, as winter approaches.

Anyway, it was Day 118 on Saturday and I ate chard (own) omelette for lunch as well as stewed fruit which included my own strawberries. Then yesterday (Day 119) my parents were here to celebrate my daughter’s birthday (which is incidentally today), so I made yet another omelette, this time with our parsley. Now, on Day 120, I am about to make noodles with tofu and our own garlic. There are also some of our strawberries to go with the birthday cake later on, so doing well this month so far!

Well, yesterday foodwise things went a bit pear-shaped on the home front as we didn’t end up going swimming because the pool wasn’t actually open to children at the time we arrived, so to cheer my daughter up on her birthday we went to a local carvery for a meal instead of cooking what I’d planned… However, I did have some of my strawberries when we got home. Then, today (Day 121) I made the noodles and stirfried vegetables I’d planned for yesterday’s evening meal. Thus, today’s offering from the garden was garlic. And for a snack at work I had a bowl of newly picked strawberries from the garden again.

I am very pleased with myself this evening (Day 122) as I have made dan-dan noodles, a dish I often ate for lunch when I was working in Chengdu, China. It included garlic and spring onions from my garden, which made it even better, and now that I have found the inspiration via a booklet I got from an Asian supermarket last weekend, I think I will be making this dish again as well.

Day 123 was another good day for using produce from the garden. First of all, I ate a second helping of dan-dan noodles for lunch. And I was doubly pleased as a colleague worked out that I was saving approximately £900 per year by bringing in my own food for lunch. Well, actually it would be a bit less now I only work three days a week instead of five but nonetheless it is a remarkable saving.

Anyway, for our evening meal we had a salad which included our own spinach and a made a potato salad enhanced with our parsley as well. I’m not sure how many more days will include so much from our garden (and windowsills) once autumn really gets underway but I am happy that so far on this challenge I am consuming quite a variety and amount of produce I have grown myself.

Moving onto Day 124, I made the second stir fry of the week with tofu (not my own!), which had been marinated in, amongst other things, my garlic. Then today (Day 125), I made a spinach (own) salad for lunch and in the evening I had a marvellous aubergine curry, which included the following of my own: garlic, green chilli pepper and coriander leaves. I’ve just said that the curry was ‘marvellous’ but I can’t emphasise enough just how much I enjoyed it. Aubergines are definitely a vegetable to try to grow next year, as it is so long since I’ve eaten any and I had quite forgotten how much I enjoy them 🙂

Day 125 was another day of delicious aubergine curry (as per the ingredients above) as well as another salad with spinach. And Day 126 has been meals with my own garlic: for lunch as I had leftovers from yesterday’s evening meal and then this evening we’ve had noodles in a stirfry.

Day 127 has been another with garlic – this time a Libyan dish, Macaroni Umbakbaka, which I haven’t eaten for years. However, my own garlic is not the only thing on the menu as I plan to make stewed apple with some of our remaining strawberries.

Day 128 has been sad in as far as one of my colleagues retired and we had a leaving party for him. However, when I got home I remembered I had made some chicken stock last night and was intending to use it to make mushroom soup, so I’ve just eaten that for my supper with my own parsley. Yum yum!

Someone rather unkindly stole my purse on Day 129, so tea was a little rushed – between calls to the police and bank card companies etc. However, I still managed to put together a salad with parsley from the back garden. Fortunately, I still had my purse at the deli market I’d been intending to go to, so I was able to buy some cheese to go with the salad 🙂

At last, something a little different: on Day 130 I had a salad with my own carrots and spinach for lunch. The carrots are the difference – this year, they haven’t done too well in my garden and I can only guess that because of all of the rain the soil has been too solid. Never mind, I enjoyed the few that did grow!

Day 131 was sad in as far as I used the last cloves of my own garlic (in a chickpea stew) and had what are definitely some of the few remaining strawberries. It is getting to cold and there is insufficient sun for the rest of the fruit on the plants to ripen properly. That is, unless there is a major upturn in the weather!

I’m absolutely starving after rushing around at work today (Day 132) but I did manage to eat most of my meal at lunchtime (more of yesterday’s chickpeas). And I will certainly enjoy an omelette with our own chard in a little while. Perhaps we might even have some more strawberries with stewed apple – or perhaps I will just enjoy them as they are. What a treat, eating my own fresh strawberries in October.

Yesterday and today (Day 133 and 134) have been mopping up days in as far as I finished off the chickpea stew and the chard omelette for lunch at the respective lunchtimes. However, this evening I also made a salad garnished with parsley from the garden. It looks like my plan to dry some of this for the winter is going to go by the wayside as I am rapidly using up the fresh leaves as I love them so much, but so be it!

I’ve been busy with my car having its MOT today (Day 135), so it’s been toast and more toast for meals. However, for my evening meal I did rustle up a salad to go with the toast, which included corn salad from the garden. This tasted fine – nothing spectacular but definitely worth growing as a filler for salads. Now I just hope that the plants grow bigger so that the crop will last for longer into the autumn, if not winter.

There isn’t really that much on offer in my garden at the moment apart from corn salad, which I ate some more of at lunchtime on Day 136. We were out so I made up the salad to eat as a picnic in the car after we’d been to the kids cinema in the morning. I need to get into gear and plant some more coriander and cress, so that we can have fresh stuff as the garden outside produces less over the winter. So perhaps tomorrow will be the day I find some space on a windowsill for them?

I was feeling very lazy over lunchtime on Day 137 – so much so that I nearly did not have what I had planned from the garden: parsley to go with the onion soup I had made. However, I did find the keys for the back door and retrieve not only parsley but some mint to have as tea after the meal. Thank goodness I have set this public challenge to use something from the garden every day, though, otherwise I would probably have stuck in my lazy mode this afternoon!

On Day 138 I made some green tomato chutney with my own green tomatoes, so I definitely had to try that as soon as it was made. I also added to the dish I made in the evening and finished that off for lunch on Day 139. Then on Day 140 I continued the chutney theme with some of it in my sandwiches. However, I did also have some parsley in the accompanying salad.

As I’ve just written (Day 141)on my latest post, Golden Sunrise, it looks like October is going to be the month of the tomato. I had intended to try frying some of my green tomatoes this evening, but I was too tired to any more than jacket potatoes in microwave (not my own) with baked beans and sausages. However, I couldn’t resist peanut butter sandwiches with my chutney (i.e. green tomatoes anyway) for breakfast. At least the chutney is going to last me a while, even if the green tomatoes in their raw state don’t!

Well, the green tomatoes certainly didn’t last. When I went to fry them this evening (Day 142), half of them had to go in the compost. Still, it was interesting to taste the difference between them and red tomatoes. And the chutney tasted as delicious as ever before that, in a sandwich for my lunch.

Onto Day 143, and it was a good day f0r eating my own produce. Or rather there was a change to the theme as I pulled up some spring onions to add to flatbreads, which we ate with one of our favourites (mushroom omelette).

Over the weekend (Days 144 and 145) we ate more of the flatbreads with our spring onions as well as the green tomato chutney. So, yet another month of this diary has been completed with something from the garden consumed each day 🙂

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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