Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Winter fruit and vegetables and a few fruit and vegetable suppliers now delivering nationwide

So we're inching, bit by bit, into winter and of course, with that comes a change in the fruit and vegetables available. We're not growing very much at all at the moment, we have a few winter bits and there's still apples and some pears on some of the trees. 


Monday, 2 November 2020

Back into lockdown

 So we found out over the weekend that we're heading back into lockdown, for the second time. It wasn't a huge surprise, particularly in the day or so before when it was leaked that it was coming, but it's still a little strange.  

I had the garden to occupy me, the first time round as it was spring and it was a warm spring at that. This time will be colder with less warmth and al fresco fun to soften the blow. 

Friday, 18 September 2020

Late summer tomato salads

So I know I have posted many of these sorts of posts but my tomato pictures always seem to go down quite well on Instagram and I do love a tomato salad so thought I'd post another regardless. 

I am SO partial to a tomato salad, or tomato based dish in general. I love them just as a salad, on toast, mixed with cheese (cheddar, feta, Parmesan or goats cheese in particular, but also most other cheeses), or as a sauce with pasta, rice etc. 

This time of year they are even better that usual as I am picking them fresh off the vine and there isn't much that tastes better than a sun ripened tomato picked fresh off the vine covered liberally in salt, pepper and some olive oil. 

With that said then, here's a few pictures of some that I have had this week, along with some pictures of how my tomatoes in the garden have been getting on. It has to be sad, they've been very slow this year, namely because summer has been so hit and miss, but we've had a little blast of summer this week and it's really helped them along.

 I have also been utilising lots of the advice I put in this Instagram post and that also seems to have helped, though I am, of course, not quite sure which bits have helped as I tried everything at the same time- there wasn't much time for experimenting. It may, then, have been any one of these things that worked, or perhaps it was just the sunshine, either way as long as they're ripening I am not too bothered. 

And that's it really, I just thought I'd throw out that quick post in case you might be interested, but also because, as I have said before, it is nice to have these little memories stored somewhere for me to look back on. These are funny, anxiety inducing times, but it's nice to remember these little moments of calm and happiness, of late summer lunches spent outside and seeing the fruits blossoming from plants I started right in the heart of lockdown. 


Thursday, 3 September 2020

Five ways to use up courgettes (that aren't just courgetti and courgette cakes)

So it is officially courgette (zucchini) season and they are coming thick and fast as they always do. As usual I made the mistake of planting too many and I am harvesting them daily now. I do however have lots of recipes that use them up, both because I like to grow them a lot but also because back in my very low carb days I used to eat them a lot as they are much lower in carbs than many of the other vegetables. I thought, then, that I'd share a few ways I like to use them. You probably have already tried lots of the obvious ways like courgetti/ zoodles, fritters with cheese and stuffed courgettes so I've not really covered those, 

The first way is as a sort of ravioli, you can do this with quark and herbs if you want a really low calorie low carb meal or with a fattier cheese if you're just watching carbs and aren't so bothered with the calories. I love this either with pesto or tomato sauce but a really quick and easy way to do it is to fill a baking tray with tomatoes and herbs and then place the ravioli on top and bake it all together. It's really good, and while it's not quite ravioli, it's a lovely alternative and despite looking very fiddly it's also really quick. I wrote the recipe here but really it's more of an inspiration and you can just mix it up with what you have available. I will warn you that I write this recipe years ago, in 2014, and took the photos with my phone camera in very bad light. 

A recipe I saw a few years ago and have made loads and loads is the courgette confit from Nigel Slater. You can find the recipe here and it's lovely to keep in, it lasts for days and goes well on a cheese board or with a picnic. To make it you basically cut the courgettes into little rounds and then bake/ roast them with olive oil, plenty of herbs and lemon, you then leave it to cool and dispense into an airtight jar and keep in the fridge. He suggests even having them with labneh/ yoghurt, which I haven't tried but sounds nice and a very different way to have them. 

The last way is as a sort of crisp. Again super easy and you can mix this up a little depending on what spice/ flavouring you use. You just slice them thinly, coat with oil and then either Parmesan and garlic powder or perhaps sweet or smoked paprika, or even just salt, then lay on a baking tray in single layers, none overlapping, and bake for around 15 minutes. Eat them warm when they'll be lovely and crispy, reheated they aren't so good and go quite soggy (though still nice just quite different). 

I hope they've given you some ideas! Just writing these has made me fancy them again so I might make a couple of these over the weekend. Also worth a notable mention are, using them in soup, either alongside other ingredients, or as the main hero, alongside say mint and feta as a more summery soup, or tomatoes for a slightly heavier, more wintery soup. Please do let me know if you have any ways I haven't thought of, I am always always open to thinking about new ways to eat them and use them up! 


Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Dahlias in July

When we decided to come back to the UK in March, one of the things that I was really excited about was seeing all my favourite summer flowers that I'd known I would miss in Dubai. One of those of course was dahlias.


Monday, 3 August 2020

Our English garden in spring

This has been a funny spring and as you know we didn't think we'd be back for it, but due to everything that's gone on with the Coronavirus it felt like the right thing to do to return. It has meant though, that as well as spending time with my family (albeit at a 2 m distance) I've also been able to experience a pretty British spring again (and possibly a summer) before we go back. It's been largely beautiful weather and I did lot and lots of planting, I was even ordering seeds on the plane on the way home!
Collecting elderflower for cordial
Anyway, thought it would be nice to pop some here so I can remember it all and have it one place, and also thought some of you might like to take a look too... As always I'm a little late as we're now quite firmly in summer, but better late than never! 
I will also warn you that this post is really quite photo heavy! It's also a mixture of iPhone pictures taken in the garden alongside some camera ones I took of flowers I'd cut and taken inside 

Monday, 29 June 2020

Homegrown early summer salads

Since lockdown started I have been making a few new salads that I haven't made so much before, dictated, largely, by whatever is growing/ in season/ available in the farm shop. Some have worked and been lovely, and others, not so much.

I thought I'd share some of the better ones with you. These aren't recipes as such, more just ideas of things I put together and worked well.

I'm writing in June, and June has seen the strawberries coming thick and fast, the start of the raspberries, the redcurrants as well as the geraniums, mint and basil that had already started flowering.
This salad is just a super quick one that I threw together with the contents of the bowl above as well as some feta and then tahini and date molasses (around a tablespoon of each).

The next salad, which really is barely a salad, is a tomato and herb salad. The tomatoes have just started coming and while I only have small ones so far they are super tasty and I am picking them each day now. I think tomatoes this fresh, preferably picked still warm from the sunshin, straight from the vine, only need some olive oil, basil and salt and pepper so their flavour can really shine. I've been having lots of just that, sometimes with some bread as a sort of open sandwich but piled high.


Monday, 4 May 2020

Dubai flowers in winter

Well we're back from a winter in Dubai and I thought I'd share some of the (millions) of photos I took. Before we went I was thinking a lot about what I'd be able to grow given how different the climate is to here, and whilst I didn't get round to growing much other than tomatoes and a few other bits of veg as we had to come back, I did spend lots and lots of time admiring the flowers everywhere so thought i'd pop up a little post to remind myself of how it was all looking in winter/ very early spring and with a view to hopefully comparing it if we manage to get back for their late summer/ start of autumn.


Monday, 27 April 2020

Lilac infused water

Spring has sprung and we have been so super lucky with the weather so far, which we've been even more grateful for it given we've been home for weeks now!


Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Three ways to travel by boat in Dubai for less than £5

Jetty at Dubai Creek
Well we've just got back to the UK after a bit of a crazy few weeks deciding what to do but I have come back with lots of ideas of posts that people might like once the lockdown is over, and as I currently have time to write them I thought I'd put pen to paper, or finger to keyboard as it were.

© The Vegetarian Atkins Diary

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