Posted on Leave a comment

Organic Walled Garden Update!

Ali W here! Here is another virtual mini update from our Soil Association certified walled garden. Matt and Suzi have been feeding me with awesome information and some very aesthetically pleasing photos. Matt tells me that there’s been more planting out in the polytunnel, the seedlings have grown to a wonderful size and we have aubergine, peppers, basil, cucumbers & tomatoes all transplanted. We’ve grown basil and tomatoes before, but the others are a real first so I’m very excited to see progress of those, especially since I’m a cucumber addict! Outside, the salads are looking strong and really happy with all this rain 😊 The parsnips have been weeded after a good germination, and the progress on the allium patch is a healthy showing of spring onions and leeks so far! The very snazzy looking frame for the french beans is ready and waiting for the planting out ceremony, and Suzi tells me that fun was had harvesting the rhubarb and chard. And last, but definitely not least, the wonderful visiting bees are loving the Phacelia. As well as being very bee friendly, phacelia is also a green manure that we can cut back after it has finished flowering, and add to our compost bins. Have a look at the photos for more joyous info! If you’re interested in getting out in the open and learning more about organic gardening, why not volunteer for us and pop by to our place in Rise on a Monday? You’ll be duly rewarded with organic veg in return for your hard work and positive energy. Just get in touch via Facebook, or the website has our phone and email on it. Bye for now! Ali W.

Posted on Leave a comment

Our Walled Garden Update!

organic radishes

Ali W here! Lots of progress in the walled garden, and as I’ve been sunning myself and enjoying the thrill rides at Thorpe Park, my mini update is virtual this time! thank you to Matt and Suzi for the pictures and information from last week, with a few addendums from this week! The image gallery is below this post! As you can see, the three kinds of radishes are looking yummy and box ready, so those of you who were lucky enough to receive them should be enjoying their spicy goodness by now. At the moment we have French Breakfast 2, Cherry belle and Rudi, however our ant friends that I observed in my in-person update a couple of weeks back are partial to the Rudi’s, so Matt has decided to replace those with Cherry belles. It’s been watering central, Matt tells me, due to the dry weather, and the nights are exceptionally cold which provides quite a challenge! The unusual wild tomato varieties I mentioned in my last garden update are growing bigger by the day, and they should be ready to plant out very soon, we also have some for sale as there are a lot to spare. The plants look really healthy and strong. (UPDATE!!! Matt and co have managed to avoid the overnight frosts, and the tomatoes are now in-situ in the polytunnel!) Some Yellow Submarines and a Ruthje Red at the end of the bed!) Planting out in mind, Rohan and Paul have been busy working hard, planting the first of the lettuces/salads out, which is much appreciated. They seem to love the soil in the walled garden, and we’ve had success with them in the past so we look forward to more this year. The 2nd early potatoes are also now in the ground Sweetcorn!! a personal favourite of mine, has now been sown and has germinated, as has the chard and basil. The magnificent sweetcorn plants certainly love the sunshine that the garden experiences. Meanwhile in the polytunnel, the frill harvest is coming to a close, and we hope those of you that had them in your salad bags enjoyed their buoyant texture and flavour. The polytunnel is now being transitioned now to summery goodness, including the aubergine, chillis, cucumbers and herbs that I mentioned last time. Some long white icicle radishes have just been planted, and they will replace the golden frills. The inclement periods of weather mean the plants needed their fleece coverings at the moment, but hopefully we can take that off soon. The beetroot planted out by team Rohan and Paul is progressing nicely, and the tiny seedlings seem to be appreciating their bed of organic goodness; organic gardening doesn’t use any chemical pesticides or fertilisers, our soil is so good and expertly cared for, so that we don’t need to use anything unnatural to get great results. Matt has been busy reading, this time it’s the fascinating book ‘Fields of Farmers’ all about mentoring and internship in regenerative farming by well respected Joe Salatin from Polyface farms in the USA and meanwhile Suzi has been bird spotting with the arrival of a Jackdaw nest and a watchful Mum overseeing her new home. Volunteering is still working well here, we love the atmosphere and energy you all bring, and appreciate the time and help everyone puts in. If you fancy coming down to see us on a Monday, you’ll be rewarded with fresh veg for your hard work!!! just get in touch via Facebook to find out more. Bye for now! Ali W.

Posted on Leave a comment

Panko Aloo Tikki Recipe!

Ali W here. This is a delicious bread crumbed ‘panko’ variation of the Indian veggie classic, Aloo Tikki! It’s perfect for Valentines Day, especially in this heart dish ðŸ™‚ you can pop it in a bun, or have it with a dahl or salad, or just as a snack to go with drinks and maybe a chutney. I made these quite large – 6-7cm diameter, as I found that I could fit more peas in the middle which I love. Don’t be shy with your spices, they add something magical. If you haven’t got a particular spice, don’t worry, as long as you have most of them, they will still be fab.

Makes 6 large tikkis!

You’ll need:

2 large potatoes or equivalent – don’t worry about being too exact! – chopped small and boiled until tender then mashed thoroughly with butter/ghee or vegan equiv if you like – I don’t peel them
¾ cup of frozen peas (could also use peeled broad beans!) gently simmered for about 3 mins then well mashed
Spices as below
¾ cup of panko breadcrumbs – yes it’s a bit of a cheat! So you could use your own breadcrumbs if you like ðŸ™‚
1 beaten egg or vegan equiv
Oil to bake

Spice for the peas:
¼ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp amchoor or chat masala
1-2 tsp grated ginger or 1tsp of ginger powder
½ chopped fresh chilli (any colour)
Large handful of chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste

Spice for the mashed potatoes:
1tsp garam masala
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin seeds or powder
1 tsp amchoor or chat masala
1 tsp turmeric powder

How to:

Add the spices to the potato in one bowl and the peas in another and mix well.
Then take a medium sized handful of potato, roll it into a ball, then make a round delve in the middle so you can add a teaspoon or so of peas into the round shape. Using your hands, mould the potato all the way around the peas and flatten into a patty style shape – it’s not as hard as it seems!
Then dip carefully in egg, then roll in breadcrumbs, then place on a baking tray. I like to make all of my patties first, before I then dip them into egg and then breadcrumbs. Less messy!
Bake in a 200c gas fan oven or equiv for 20-30 mins turning now and again til they are crispy and golden. They reheat well after this point, or pop them in the freezer when cooled, as they will keep for up to 6 months. Too cook from frozen just pop in the oven on a low shelf on 180c gas fan or equiv, to reheat and recrisp! Enjoy and happy Valentines for the weekend!