Monday 31 August 2015

Poor man's ratatouille


1 kilo marrow (skinned and de-seeded) or overblown courgettes
500 g onions
1 kilo tomatoes or 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
5 cloves garlic
1 red pepper (optional)
2 tbsps tomato paste or puree (optional)
Herbs - bay leaf, thyme, marjoram, rosemary
Black pepper & salt to taste
1 tbsp vegetable oil


Skin and de-seed the marrow and chop into 2cm cubes (very rough guide)
Peel and chop the onions - roughly the same size as the marrow cubes.
Chop the tomatoes if using - or open the tins!
Peel and chop the garlic.
Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy pan or oven-ready casserole that can go into the oven.
Add the garlic and marrow and cook for 20mins,
Add the onions and cook till onions starting to soften.
Add everything else.
Put a lid on the pan and either cook slowly on the hob or in a medium oven for an hour.


Serve hot with sausages, pork, cheese-on-toast or whatever you fancy.
Freezes well.

Summer days

Not sure what happened to July and here we are at the end of August! At this time of year there's lots going on in the garden and we've had several friends visiting. They love to spend a few days in the country ("it's so quiet!") and enjoying our home-made food. So not much time for blogging.

The soft fruits - currants, loganberries and gooseberries and the first flush of raspberries have all gone - the birds took all the redcurrants before we could net them and quite a lot of the blackcurrants. The raspberries and loganberries were pretty good with enough to make raspberry jam and put some in the freezer. The second flowers, on this year's new raspberry canes, are just opening and are buzzing with bees. At least they were for the last few days. Today it's raining heavily and the forecasters warn there will be two weeks rain falling today.

The weather has been pretty mixed with some very hot spells interspersed with grey, drizzly and rainy days. There's been a few days of heavy downpours. But overall I have the impression that the season has been fairly dry. The green pipe has not been running and when digging potatoes the soil has been quite dry.

Potatoes have ben a bit of a disappointment. The Kestrels and the Pentland Javelins were very good quality, hardly any worm holes, but mostly small. Keen gardeners will refer to to my previous post about the poppies and nod knowingly about how I should have done more weeding.  But some "feral" Desirees left from last year and growing under the runner beans are enormous - also with no infestation or damage. I have yet to dig up the official Desiree patch. I did manage to weed that a bit and being a later variety they kept the leaf for longer than the whites. I'm hoping!

Marrows and squashes have done well. Struggling to keep up with picking the courgettes to avoid them turning into marrows. The larger courgettes become soup or souffle and the marrows into chutney and "poor man's ratatouille" which is a kind of stew with marrow, onions, tomatoes and loads of garlic and herbs. It's good to freeze and bring out in the winter with chops or sausages.

All this activity to a backdrop of gorgeous flowers, pretty butterflies and dragonflies and accompanied by birdsong and aerial displays of the swallows. Wonderland!