Jelly in a jar

Having collected a handful of purple rainbow chillies, I wanted to do something with them. Whilst a single solitary one, made it into a courgette chutney ( ). I wanted to make further use of the rest. The chillies are small, berry like. And quite full of seeds. There are additional chillies in the wendy. I have been impatient, and harvested a few non green Nigels, as well as some green frauzauber, These are a lovely lime colour. I have yet to ascertain, whether this is a sweet or a spicy chilli. it went in regardless.


The recipe that I used is as follows :

There was some nervousness about this recipe. In particular, with the quantities. I didn’t want make too much of it, and how would I know if it had boiled properly to then set. The home grown chillies, were padded out with two large red chillies, and one and a half sweet red peppers. I did panic abit, with the boiling, and the mixture was boiling for 15, rather than 10 minutes. Wobbled beautifully, whilst cooling. There was the flecking floating too, of the chopped up chillies. Definitely in the wobble and the flecking.

The verdict. It tastes lovely! Consistency wasn’t bad. Depending on how much you have, it either wobbles like jelly, or splodges like jam. The flavour is a lot like a sweet chilli sauce, just with a different texture. Goes lovely with the dipping crisps, we know that for a fact. It is also wonderfully more-ish.

Might try it again 🙂


Yours in anticipation


Horticultural Hobbit

Space Invaders

Is it a plane, is it a bird, no it’s a funny shaped courgette!

To most people, a courgette is a courgette. A nondescript vegetable, shiny, straight and available from your local supermarket. Alas, they have clearly never grown their own veg. I must admit, that I too started off with a straight, relatively typical courgette. The courgette Astia, simple, straight forward and green. Then, I moved onto yellow ones, rounds ones, stripy ones, as you are aware of. Only recently, was I aware of another creature. Yellow Scallop and patty pan. You can argue that these are the one and the same. They may well be, I’m covering my bases here, with synonyms and semantics.

There have been daily explorations of the Esther Bucklee bed. Trying to find down these curiously shaped creatures. These are housed, between the Incredible Sweetcorn, all eight plants of them. I have three of these, I think, and a sweet dumpling, in the confines of a raised bed. This bed is one metre squared, and foray into two out of three sisters. The bed is heaving, you’d think I was growing triffids. This is exactly, what it looks like. A mass of green leaves, the size of dinner plates. Vines making an escaping, with eight long, willow corn plants, standing above a parapet. When the wind blows, the bed appears to be dancing and shaking it’s thing.

As you can see, the courgette is tiny. I almost missed it, but espied the small alien saucer like shape; and had to inspect it further. Not quite sure what I will do with them. As it stands, there are two courgettes in the kitchen. Despite having chutneyed two yesterday.

In other news, have harvested some curly kale and nero di toscano for dinner.

Yours in anticipation,


Horticultural Hobbit

Little bits of rocket fuel

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I love my spicy little triffid monsters. These leafy, flowered beauties have taken up the kitchen window sill for some time now. Little berry sized chillies have formed; today I harvested those of a reasonable size. I felt compelled to as there are a lot of flowers but also a number of these self abort and fall off.

The vague plan with these, is to possibly make an experimental batch of chilli jam.

And with the jam making. I tried to make a courgette chutney.

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The recipe is from pam the jam at river cottage. And is tenuously Bollywood. It now sits in the fridge. Ready for consumption.

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit

Sunk: classroom cabbages

Finally! I became bored of seeing them sat on the pathway.

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These are the sole survivors of the classroom experiment; and they were looking decidedly sorry for themselves. Have sunk them today and netted them. Must make a return visit however, to attach cabbage collars to them. Have never had any successful cabbages, so would like to have some. There is netting and also the blue pellets of doom. Though a few of them have been filligreed by slimers all ready.

And to cheer you up:

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Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit

Lady of shallot gets into a pickle

I am yet to be convinced about the b*ng for buck, when it comes to shallots. I must have sunk dozens over both the autumn period for over wintering, and then quite a few in the spring. This is my third, fourth year of growing them; and I am erring towards the not sure, should I really bother?

The tray of shallots has been sat in the Wendy house since they were lifted and drying therefore for a while. Waiting, as I tried to work out what to do with them. Did a bit of research as to how they could be preserved and pickled. Traditionalists would have brined the shallots first, so as to retain the crunchiness. That’s fine, I just didn’t, in this case. I was wary, that whilst I had two jars. There wouldn’t be enough shallots to fill them both. The jars were sterilised-kept damp and then stuck into the microwave for a minute or so-and then shallots put into one of them. On the outside, shallots are not particularly attractive. Look like diminutive, wrinkly, tan coloured onions. Only when you remove the peel, do you get this fleshy pink creature beneath. I sat there for a good half a hour-tears streaming, no one had informed me of their eye watering nature-before Mama H took pity on me and sat down next to me. Decided that she could help, and peeled the baby onions.

Onions. That’s another thing. I have never known such a small sized harvest. Again, I despair. Hundreds and hundreds were planted. In the gallery, they do seem to be the same sized as shop bought pickled onions. These were put into both of the jars. The jars were still not looking full.

Next came the garlic. A bit of a last minute idea. I rather like pickled garlic, one of those things you get in a certain Portuguese restaurant with olives, so why not have a go. Raided the four tier blowaway, where the garlic has been drying. Retrieved about five large fleshy white bulbs. Again, Mama H took the lead, and peeled them as I was going far too slow for her liking. The garlic will most likely take some time to become pickled. The combination of these was probably not a good idea. Alas, we shall see what happens.

The next thing that may well be pickled will be the jalapenos and chillies that are in the Wendy. But that is a another story; the things have to grow first!


Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit

Take a walk with me

Have been meaning to do this for a few days. To me, what you see; looks a mess. There’s lots of foliage; weeds, things planted all over the place. So I wanted to make sure, that you have a good idea of what is where. Without actually taking a microphone and doing a bit of an Alan Whittaker around the plot; this is what we have. I did try this, but the video was a bit big to transfer simply! Didn’t quite get the whittaker accent right, I must say. It really does look like a jungle. There is generally no logic to what goes where. I have a rough idea of crop rotation; in that I will do my best not to plant similar families in the same place. The next thing-other than the paper and plastic thing-is to the plant out classroom cabbages. Hence the hooped beds. I realise that these may not cope with the potentially poor weather that we expect with autumn and winter. Will probably require reinforcing at some point.



I have had another rummage in the wendy and have observed:

We have two early Jalapeno’s. These are very new arrivals, I don’t recall seeing them previously. All of the bells and chillies are doing well in the wendy house. I am surprised, actually, by the number of sweet peppers that I have managed to sow and propagate. Hadn’t thought that there would as many as I have seen.  There is a frauzauber pepper. That I have no idea whether this is spicy or sweet creature, very light lime green in colour. I really would like to know which one it is. Quite a robust creature with two fruits forming. I really must get feeding them with increased frequency.

The last of the garlic was hauled up. And of course, some carrot thinnings. A pair of which, seemed to be caught in a comforting clinch. Have sown some more today, as well as some Florence fennel.

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit

Masard and his mystery pumpkins

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Above are eight triffid creatures in a back garden of Warwickshire. There are four mystery social sciences pumpkins. I was given the seeds last year, and and have no idea what they are. Other than them being a pumpkin. There are in addition to these, four ghost rider pumpkins; the seed saved from the infamous Bruno. Masard-my uncle who belongs to mum’s sister-is a gardening aficionado. I could think of no one better to find out about the mystery squash. They are certainly doing well, with large leaves on extending stems.

These are normally in full sun; but the sun moved when this picture was taken. Looking forward to seeing what happens to these.

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit.

Bells and Bumps

As Blighty hold it’s breath in eager anticipation of the new Royal Baby, there otherwise sweet bumps in the wendy house. These were given a feed and water today, as they hadn’t been looked at in a few days. There are many flowers forming, suggesting fruit to be formed too. I have to say, that the purple beauty and long red marconi seem to have stalled. Perhaps they don’t like the wendy house. They were fine before they went in there; and maybe the weather has been too much for them.

It is my own fault, that not many of the pots are labelled. Will therefore be a surprise as to what actually crops. You’ll see that some of chillies and bells grow up, and others grow down. In my experience, hot chillies, grow down. I remember cayenne growing down. Yet, Nigel, has grown upwards. Jalapeños, have grown downwards.

These are by far, the largest number of chillies and bells that I have grown. Seeing each one develop and grow, is really quite interesting. The weather-the heatwave-has been a boon to them. I don’t think, that I would have had such progress otherwise. The purple rainbow chilli in the kitchen, is as happy as larry. Both fruiting and flowering.

You will see a little pumpkin. If the label is right, it is a jack be little pumpkin. Just not sure it has been fertilised. If not, then that is a disappointment.

Tomorrow, we are to have thunderstorms. Insert your own Queen lyric.

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit

Mama H’s Mooli pods

You’d think I was telling tales. Recounting everything that happens. Well, it’s nice to share.

Sat in Dad’s garden are the surviving classroom cabbages. Not many, but enough. I say cabbages, there could easily be cauliflowers in there too. As ever, they are not labelled. Some of them are getting quite big, whilst others look as though they are resting on their laurels. Perhaps these are seeds sown too early, and for an autumn crop.

You will see Mama H, harvesting radish seed pods. These are from the bolted moolis. Moolis that Mama H was rather relishing, alas the weather put paid to them.  Whilst the root, is a write off. The rest of them, was not. There are spicy, crunchy seed pods to be had. I remember as a child, eating them whilst playing in the back garden. Wonderfully potent. Mama H has been known to curry them with a couple of potatoes.

Talking of which; the last of the ‘new’ batch was taken up. Kestrel and orla potatoes. Next year, I might do better in leaving the kestral in a bit longer.

Mama H and I surveyed the plot today. Mum dug over a bit of the raised beds. The Cabbages will go in some of them; leaving me to review what can be put into the bed when summer has gone. Yes, I said summer, but thunderstorms are forecast tomorrow. I really need to think about that. Of course, there will be overwintering onions and garlic. That is expected tradition for me. I like doing that; only to be disappointed by the rain that ravages them over the dark and dank autumn and winter months.  I really haven’t thought too much in detail as to what will follow what. Everything was just broadcast sown and plugged in, with no logic. Successful, but does mean things get pushed around a bit in terms of organisation.

Oh, well, tomorrow is the start of another week.


Yours in anticipation,


Horticultural Hobbit