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Growing our own (so we can eat our own)

It was such a sunny day today that I couldn’t resist getting outside and planting vegetable seeds with my daughter.  

I wish I had the skill, time, inclination, space and weather to grow all the vegetables we eat ourselves, but I’ll just have to make do with growing a few of our favourites.  

I’ve still got courgette, tomato and lettuce seeds from a couple of years’ ago so we’ve started off with those to see if they germinate.  I also want to get basil, cucumber and pepper seeds to give them a go too.  I think we might be a bit late for potatoes – but I really love growing them as it’s so satisfying when you harvest them 🙂

We haven’t got a very large garden so I am planning on growing the veggies in pots rather than in the ground.  I’m hoping this might deter the slugs too!

So here is propagator number one ready to go into the cold frame.  

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I find it amazing that a tray of seeds in soil will (hopefully) turn into loads of tomato, courgette and lettuce plants!

As you can imagine, a 22 month old only has a short attention span so she soon got fed up and we played with boxes instead … can you spot her?!

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I’ll let you know how the vegetables (although I just realised that tomatoes are officially a fruit!) come along.

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Hey Pesto

As spring has sprung and the weather is so sunny at the moment, it’s time to start making one of my favourite dishes again: bruschetta.

It may be just a personal thing, but I feel the fresh, crisp flav0ur of bruschetta is more suited to warm weather than cold, rainy days.

I’ve only gone as far as buying a basil plant and making the key ingredient so far – green pesto.

I used to buy pesto from the supermarket, but a) it’s fairly expensive and you don’t usually need a whole jar at a time so you end up wasting some; b) my husband and I are intolerant to cheese so the parmesan is an issue for us; and c) making it yourself makes the flavour so fresh and delicious.

The ingredients are very simple:

3 garlic cloves (or more or less according to taste)

handful of pine nuts

1 tbsp olive oil

15 large-ish basil leaves

salt and pepper to season

then you just throw them all into a food processor and – as I punned nicely in the title of the post – hey pesto!  Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

I’m planning on making bruschetta at the weekend so the pesto’s all ready for action.  I’ll chop up lots of cherry tomatoes and red onion, place them on top of toasted ciabatta, spoon the pesto on top then drizzle some balsamic vinegar.

I made the pesto yesterday because I used a couple of spoonfuls on home made pizza – it added a really nice flavour when sprinkled on top of the chicken and vegetables.  Not really as satisfying as melted cheese on a pizza, but it was delicious nevertheless.

I also use it as a stir through sauce with pasta for a quick meal.

Once I know the frosts are definitely over, I’m going to plant some basil seeds in pots in the garden.  I love the smell of basil!  A couple of years’ ago my husband and I grew some but it had a lemon flavour which I found a bit too sweet-smelling and tasting so we’ll go for ‘normal’ basil this time.

My daughter has just started to like cherry tomatoes so I’m hoping she’ll learn to love bruschetta as much as my husband and I do … it’ll be her first time trying it this weekend, wish me luck!

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