Wednesday, 18 April 2012

B is for Broccoli - purple sprouting of course

My purple sprouting broccoli is still pumping out, must be all the rain we are having. And this year or rather next years plants have germinated, yeah. The packet of seeds from Wilco only cost 54p, so no excuses not to grow it. Find a patch and plant out in June, ready the following year in March, April and May. Gardening requires some degree of patience!

After a fairly sparse couple of months on the leafy veg front, the start of the purple sprouting broccoli season marks a welcome addition to the winter vegetable palate. Simply steamed or boiled, it partners almost any fish or meat dish. I eat with Sunday lunch, something to look forward to.

Purple sprouting broccoli was initially cultivated by the Romans. Broccoli has been grown in the UK since the early 18th century, although the purple sprouting variety has only risen to prominence in the last 30 years.

Broccoli is a cruciferous plant, in the same family as the cabbage, and is closely related to the cauliflower.

Cruciferous foods are now hailed as having a number of important health benefits. Purple sprouting broccoli contains the phytochemical sulphoraphane (thought to help prevent cancer) and may provide resistance against heart disease, osteoporosis and diabetes. It is packed with vitamin C and is a good source of caretenoids, iron, folic acid, calcium, fibre and vitamin A.

All the information has been taken from eat the seasons web site

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Craft and Design Fair Set in a World-Class Garden

The beautiful and inspiring setting of RHS Garden Wisley provides the perfect backdrop to the ever-popular ‘Craft in Focus' Contemporary Craft and Design Fair, 3- 7 May 2012, which showcases the best in British design and craftsmanship.

Exhibitors to the craft and design fair have been chosen for their flair and passion for the work they create. There are no imported or mass-produced products and you can even discuss bespoke commissions with the makers in a relaxed atmosphere.

Visitors will be spoilt for choice among the stunning collection of original and affordable designs. Textiles, paintings, jewellery and glass design are just some of the products that will be available to purchase.

RHS Garden Wisley will be in full bloom, so take the time to explore this 200 acre garden. Cascading purple wisteria will be in abundance as well as vibrant rhododendrons on Battleston Hill. The Country Garden will be full of poppies and peonies making it a haven for bees and other pollinators.

For more information visit

Sunday, 8 April 2012

custard buns

I bought a cook bookd called GoodFood 101 cupcakes and small bakes about 2 years ago; I finally got round to trying one of the recipes this weekend custard buns. My second attempt in a few days at making cupcakes, not as easy as other people make it look! But they taste good for a novice (need a piping bag)! So if you have a tin of custard power lurking at the back of the cupboard why not give it a go?

Saturday, 7 April 2012

A recipe revisited

I had a couple of days off last week and managed to get the garden clear of our kitchen re-fit rubbish (with the help of Ian of course) sowing seeds and generally having a potter around the garden. In between this Moss had a vets visit which resulted in him being sedated but more about that in my next post.

I hadn’t taken the heated propagator out of the loft so decided to make so with what I could find. Last year I bought a pack of Suttons Tomato Collection Seed Mats on eBay and although out of date they germinated in about 5 days! I’ve never tried seed mats before and wouldn’t normally pay silly amounts of money for them but on this occasion my eBay bargain has paid off. I’m going to have more plants than I need but hopefully some friends and family will be pleased with the little pots. (Gardeners Delight, Marmalade + Money maker) Also one tray of Matina (T&M 99p last year) that were brilliant rcoppers; the leaves are like potato plants! Well worth a go in grow bags; these will be my main plants grown along the fence out of the way of Moss!

So this made me think of cooking with the end results and I hunted out a jar of tomato + apple jam, which may sound odd tastes very much like strawberry jam (honest!) So here is the recipe again for you to try, it’s so easy and tastes delish! You can find the recipe here tomato + apple jam or on my previous post

Here are some photos from recent sowings + harvesting.

Gardeners Delight seedlings appearing

Happy Easter and happy gardening (weather permitting) Amanda x

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Make History With Your Garden

RHS Gardens of the Nation, Tuesday 17 April 2012

part of National Gardening Week

People across Britain can make history on Tuesday 17 April, as part of National Gardening Week. The RHS, the UK's leading gardening charity, is asking gardeners to share their pictures of the UK's hidden plots, and create a picture of the nation's gardens in 2012.

Led by the work of the world-renowned RHS Lindley Library, Gardens of the Nation is an RHS campaign to preserve for history a record of the styles and trends that we see in our gardens today, and share it with the nation.

The campaign will launch on Tuesday 17 April, when garden owners can post their favourite picture of their own front or back garden, taken in the past year, onto to share it with the public.

The collection of images will form part of the RHS Lindley Library archives.

Barbara Collecott, RHS Head of Libraries, says: "Britain has a rich history of gardening, and looking back at our archives tells us a huge amount about the social, economic and cultural history of our country. Our gardens today are the history of the future, and it's vital that we continue to record the evolution of our gardens, and the part they play in our society, to create a complete picture for future years."

With an unrivalled collection that spans almost 500 years, the RHS Lindley Library is the world's most important gardening archive, and celebrates the history of gardening in all its forms.

Throughout National Gardening Week the RHS Lindley Library will also be hosting an audio-visual exhibition of images by the renowned garden photographer and plants-woman, Valerie Finnis, at RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey. The exhibition will feature images of UK gardeners, including famous faces such as Geoff Hamilton and Margery Fish.

For more information please email

National Gardening Week has been launched by the Royal Horticultural Society to get the nation growing. To find out more, visit or