Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Party on the plot

On Friday afternoon a co-operatives consultant came to the shop to offer advice on how we run the shop, it was a useful session and she made some good suggestions.  We need to make more money or we might have to shut, so something needs to be done.

We went ahead with the allotment party on Saturday afternoon - luckily the weather forecast said it would be dry all day so we decided to go for it.

Chris tidied up the plot and set up the cooking and seating areas.  And he cooked all the burgers, sausages and sweetcorn too, he was wiped out by the end of it. 

I made a soup for the party with lots of fresh veg from the allotment.  It was loosely based on a minestrone style recipe, and I followed a few of the steps in Marcella Hazan's Essential Classic Italian Cookery book.  I added spaghetti pieces, then served it with fresh basil, parmesan and crusty bread.  Mmmm.  I also made a chocolate brownie for pudding which seemed to vanish in a flash!

We picked lots of sweetcorn and BBQ'd it for our guests.  It tasted lovely - really tender, juicy and sweet.

I bought a box of organic cider, a tray of small bottles of beer and some fruit juice for people to drink.

Lots of people came to the party - we had 3 babies on the plot at one point.  The weather stayed dry and there was even a bit of sun.  We stayed on the plot until it went dark, then we had to go home.  Unfortunately we didn't see the full moon rise as it was too cloudy.

Our friends picked fruit and veg to take home with them and everyone seemed to have a good time.  My feet were killing me by the time I got home - it was a busy day running about getting everything sorted.

On Sunday we chilled.  Chris went to the flea market but I stayed home and washed up the pots from the BBQ, then deheaded the flowers in the gardens at home. I spotted lots of caterpillars on the nasturtiums.

Then we went to the allotment for a proper clear up.

I watered and fed everything in the greenhouses and made sure all the top shoots were off the tomatoes to encourage the tomatoes to ripen.  I picked some more veg.  Below are some sungold cherry tomatoes and a large constuluto fiorentino.

The weather has been disappointing and mostly wet.  We're halfway through August and we've not had many red tomatoes yet.  It's a shame.  There's so many green ones and if they all ripen at once I won't know what to do with them all!  I guess I'll have to make soup and pickles/chutneys and give away what we can't eat.  Pictured are some green tigerellas.

I made a tomato, garlic and basil sauce from the Marcella Hazan cookbook, I followed the recipe carefully, and it turned out really well.  It tasted pretty authentic and to say I only used a few ingredients it turned out a lot nicer than bottled pasta sauce. There's lots of good tips in the book about what type of ingredients to choose and how to cook things like pasta properly.  I love Italian food, last Wednesday night we treated my Mum to an Italian meal out and it was really delicious.

I've put an application in for another job at work, working in the parks department developing activities in the parks.  Fingers crossed I'll get an interview and then I can find out more about the role and see if I fancy making the change.  I've been in my current job for 5 years, so I feel like it's time for something new.

I've been out on my new bike a few times (it's been raining some nights).

We've had quite a lot on socially over the past few weeks, so I'm ready for a quiet one this coming weekend, I feel as though I've over socialised, so my introvert side is a bit put out. 

I've been working on a tender for the art/community project that we've got funding for at the shop, so that's been taking up some time in the evenings.

I'm loving Thomasina Miers' 'Mexican made simple' TV programme.  She had a fantastic pinnie (apron) on last week, which has inspired me to make some pinnies of my own, and I ordered a Simplicity sewing pattern for aprons today.  More on that next week.

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