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19 Dec 2015

Cereal Testing

I was very pleased to receive some complimentary products to test in the form of a big box of Nestle Fitness. Delivered by Coolbrandz, who have an intriguing business model based around honest consumer testing and social media, we've been sampling them for the last couple of weeks.

My partner and I are both believers in simple eating, and trying to consume fresh, organic food where possible, combined with adequate exercise. Products with excess sugar and salt tend to scare us and the increasing dominance of big brands, and equally big ingredient labels is a trend we try not to follow.

Having said this, the new recipe of Nestle Fitness is ticking some boxes in the fact that there is less sugar and salt than the previous version. There is quite a high wholegrain content and added dried fruit in one version. Whilst we don't eat it for breakfast (not substantial enough) we have been using it as an evening snack or post-sport filler. In this capacity we're really enjoying it.

Additionally, the parcel got a lot of love from my twins, even if they weren't allowed to try it (they get unsweetened porridge and fruit)!

Stage 1 of cereal appreciation: Inspect the box and it's contents thoroughly.

Stage 2 of cereal appreciation: Throw  everything out the box and check you've not missed anything.
Stage 3 of cereal appreciation: Lie across the box  so that your brother can't get to it.

Overall, great for cereal lovers and those looking for a quick breakfast without fuss.

I Grew a Bunch of Flowers!


I decided to try and grow some flowers this year to cut and use to brighten up our flat. Did the usual trick of planting them then abandoning them for the next few months and it seemed to work (sort of). I think I planted them around May and they hadn't started appearing until a good few months later and I thought they had failed.

Eventually everything started coming up at the end of summer and looked fab if not a bit chaotic. With a bit more weeding, love and attention next year I think the cut flower patch will be a winner! I bought my seeds from the wonderful Higgledy Garden. They shipped free to Switzerland and have a brilliant blog and growing guide on their website.

My nigellas bring all the bees to the yard

Candytuft 'Crown' 
Picking calendula whilst we get on with some weeding

Salvia viridis ‘Blue Monday'


19 Nov 2015

5kgs of Tulips

It has been around 16 degrees the last few days which has been amazing for November. The temperature is due to drop to 0 at the weekend so I have been desperate to plant these tulips that have been in the shed for the last few months. All in but probably need to add a layer on compost on top because I am not sure if they are deep enough in the ground...Broke the bulb planter oops!

31 Oct 2015

Almost End of the Growing Season 2015

This is only the second time I have made it up to the garden this month. I really wish I had planted more flowers, lettuce and attempted turnips like I'd planned. I have great plans for next year of course! The garden is looking pretty dry and there are lots of weeds but it's still manageable and I had a couple of hours to pull out a lot of the dead plants and clear the space ready for autumn planting. I think I just need two more afternoons and it will be ready to go. I've got about 100 tulips waiting to go in the ground... A gorgeous sunflower plant is in full bloom and the Salvia which I planted in April is still going strong and attracting a lot of beautiful butterflies. 

16 Aug 2015

Courgettes, Zucchini, Courgettes, Zucchini

Pretty much the only thing I can guarantee will grow without fail in our allotment is courgettes. After 3 weeks of only eating courgettes, I never want to see another one again. Especially after I gave them to my nearly one year old twins so many times that even they got sick of them. Once particular vomiting incident has left me with scars for life. 

When my enthusiasm for the garden wanes a bit (usually at the most fruitful time of year), I don't go for three weeks and we have huge, giant marrows to deal with. I shouldn't be ungrateful for these lovely vegetables  though. We have been making a lot of courgette and lemon juice which is actually delicious and really cleansing. 

I grew two different varieties this year, both from Franchi seeds - the Courgette Rugosa of Friuli which has been described as 'one of the ugliest courgettes you'll ever see' (however probably one of the tastiest) and the courgette Genovese. Both delicious and very easy to grow. 
M&C not quite sure about the Friulan courgettes!

13 Aug 2015

WTF to do with Redcurrants?

I still have a huge bag of redcurrants in the freezer from last year. They are pretty bitter little berries that I don't think taste good on their own and you don't often see recipes using them except for jams, chutneys etc.

I love their beautiful colour though and they really look great in the garden so this year I was determined to use them somehow before they rot on the tree and go to waste. 

I found a great article on the Huffington Post with a number of redcurrant recipes. 

I ended up making this red currant tea cake from the gorgeous Fork Spoon Knife blog. It was surprisingly delicious and the use of ground almonds gave it a sticky, marzipan-y texture. I must have got the measurements wrong somehow when converting from cups to grams because it didn't rise at all but it tastes delicious nonetheless and was eaten in one sitting.

27 Apr 2015

Woodchip Paths & Planting Flowers

We decided to put down woodchip paths this year to make the expanse of the plot less daunting and to keep the weeds at bay. Hopefully they won't blow away in the wind. I'm also going to try and sow some flowers to cut - started off with Calendula and Echinacea.

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