Another gorgeous week here in London and the start of the school holidays. It doesn’t matter how old I get this still feels like the start of Summer proper, the days feel quieter, longer and more relaxed. So here I am thinking about days out with a picnic in tow.
A couple of weeks ago on invitation from Annie at Manneskjur I met up with a group of blogging friends at Hitchin Lavender in Ickleford for a long lunch and a bit of nature. We were a little early in the season to see the fields fully in bloom but were still greeted by sights one might normally associate with Provence. Right about now it should perfect.
If you’re looking after children this week and want to do something that’s fun for them but doesn’t step too far away from your gardening passions then this would make a super day out. It’s also a great spot if your keen on photography, with plenty of butterflies, bees and wild flowers to shoot.
All the information about Hitchin Lavender can be found here.
Admission is currently £4.00 per adult and free for children under fourteen. You will also be given a brown paper carrier bag and some scissors to cut your lavender.
There is a very nice cafe and gift shop and a large picnic area in the fields with a beautiful gazebo if you need some shade.
The fields are also opening in the evening as part of the National Gardens Scheme and there are some open air cinema nights planned. The details for those can be found here.
’m linking this post to Annie’s How Does Your Garden Grow over at her blog Manneskjur.
Why St Tropez? A spur of the moment name because it’s warmer than the south of France here today, certainly too hot to cook and also it put me in mind of the type of food I like to eat when on holiday. Continuing the theme we’re lucky enough to have a proper family run French patisserie in Eastcote that sells all sorts of wonderful waistline expanding deliciousness including a favourite baguette studded with green olives that goes well with this.
Quick to pull together, the salad uses Feta cheese, a favourite of mine, mozzarella would also be good if you prefer a milder taste and because there’s a lot of big flavours going on the dressing is very simple, a couple of spoonfuls of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.
Glass of ice cold rosé anyone?
St Tropez Salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
A bunch of watercress washed and trimmed
Two large tomatoes cut into eight wedges
An avocado peeled and chopped into chunks
One red onion sliced thinly
Black olives - I used Kalamata olives in brine
Half a pack of Feta cheese
A tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
Two tablespoons of olive oil
Put the watercress on a large plate.
Arrange the rest of the main ingredients on top.
Mix together the lemon juice and olive oil and spoon over the salad.
A couple of weeks I think since the last Plotlines post and it’s that time where I can’t quite keep up with everything. I particularly noticed the difference today because we were away for the weekend and bar a quick pop in yesterday afternoon to water, hadn’t seen the plot since last Thursday.
The corn may not be quite ‘as high as an elephant’s eye’, if anyone knows how tall that is perhaps you’d be kind enough to let me know, but the tassels are formed, the cobs filling out and my mind already turning to what I might use them for once I’ve got over the steamed with lashings of salty butter phase. I’m thinking fresh corn muffins and a chowder.
Tomatoes are forming well and I’m keenly checking for the first signs of ripeness. We do have some small yellow plum tomatoes but honestly they’re such a great mid morning snack so no gorgeous tomato and mozzarella salads yet.
We’re getting good crops of new potatoes, courgettes, little gem lettuce and French beans and I need to get on and sow some more of the latter to get a late a crop. This was a tip from one of our past plot holders Rodney and a good one I think. There are a couple of raised beds empty now so I’ll be also be sowing some small parsnips, coriander, beetroot and perhaps some more lettuce.
The pumpkin patch is invading all four corners of our new plot, snaking down the pathways and through the tomatoes. I’m wondering how far to let this go. Should I cut the plants back? If everything comes to fruition we’ll be well fed for months.
The strawberries are now finished for the year, the raised bed tidied and the plants fed and mulched, I normally leave this job until Spring so will be interested to see if it makes any difference. The gooseberries are now ripe and will be picked in the next couple of days.
Pie at the weekend I think.
Thank you for reading.
I’m linking this post to Annie’s How Does Your Garden Grow over at her blog Manneskjur.