Bollywood Focaccia of a sorts

Yesterday, I dabbled with spicing up a cheese and potato pie. Today, I fancied a bit of focaccia fun

So using this focaccia recipe I have tried to see what happens. This recipe has been adapted. I have added red chilli flakes, onion seeds, cumin and carom seeds. As well as Mum’s home grown rosemary, both in the mixture and on top as it bakes.

Was really a very labour intensive process, the whole kneading and proving. It actually requires a lot more muscle than you’d think.

bread one breadtwo

Still going with Shardlake: Lamentation

I like Shardlake, I really do, and I eagerly awaited ‘Lamentation’ til it was available on my e-reader on Diwali Day. Seriously. I had been clock watching, counting down the days. The time awaiting this next instalment has passed slowly. I even re-read ‘Heartstone’ so that I would be up to speed. I didn’t want to miss the transition and not know what was happening.

Naturally, I did actually read a few chapters on Diwali night, I just had to. I am still going. According to my e-reader, I have three hours left to read. Which is fine, I am roughly half way through the fifty odd chapters. I cannot get through them quick enough, and real life does get in the way of sitting down with a cup of tea to flick the e-pages.

Matthew Shardlake rides again, battling through the minefield that is the Tudor Court. I won’t, by way of courtesy, give away the plot lines. I don’t think that this fair, readers should have their own impetus to make their way through the texts. One thing is for sure, I personally prefer Shardlake, to the the italian fella concocted by S.J,Parris. I read ‘Heresy’ just to see what other alternatives there were to Sansom and Shardlake. Parris is certainly easier to read. But not as good. In my mind, there was no contest. That said, i do plan to make way through the rest of the Parris series. There is even the Rory Clemens books to read too.

Going back Shardlake though. We have the beastly Richard Rich there still. Whenever I read that man’s name, I want to boo-his. He’s a piece of work, and torments Matthew no end. Can’t stand the man. Walsingham, the man who aided Elizabeth I makes his mark, and I cannot read him without thinking of Geoffrey Rush. And Burley, is of course Lord Attenborough. These images help to keep it alive. I am not sure, though. About Matthew Shardlake. For years, Sir Kenneth Branagh has been touted as being Shardlake. As much as I try, i cannot out the face to the character. Even with Barak, and the new guy Nicholas. Skelly, I am sure its whasis name David Bradley, good old Mr.Filch from Harry Potter. And Tamasin, Mrs.barak, Would be Dr.Watson’s wife. Then there is Guy, the moor. The Physician. I am waiting, for him to have a more meatier, heavier presence in ‘Lamentation’. I would like him to have a more prominent role. If say the series was a TV show, you’d want Guy now to be part of the main cast. I’m sure he would ask for a pay rise and a better contract in becoming so. I still can’t see his face though, and when reading Parris, it was a though her Italian was Guy.

As mentioned, I still have a lot of reading to do. I couldn’t say at this stage, what the ending might be. I still want to slap Richard Rich though. Still have a burning question or a few burning questions, Shardlake is now up to Queen Katherine Parr, the last of Henry VIII’s wives. What happens next? We have Edward, mary, Elizabeth. Will Shardlake be drawn into the next set of sovereigns, as thunder rolls around the throne.  With Walsingham, perhaps he will, Edward has yet to feature, in this story as far as I have read it.

Who knows?!

NaBloPoMo: Why not…I do like writing….

I have heard about the one where you attempt to write a novel over a month. Only recently, have I heard about NaBloPoMo, Not sure that I could write a novel over a month, and I already write fan fiction (I am part of Star Trek Fan Fiction RPG, you can find it at sectorg,org) Have been involved with that for nearly ten years, but have been writing that sort of fan fiction for 12 years, So you never know, I might send out a few horticultural themed star trek posts, trust me, the horticultural theme is present in star trek. I was convinced that I saw Kes and Neelix grow tomato plants in Voyager, and in DS9, there is a whole day of planting that one colony does before it is unceremoniously wiped out of existence. Even TNG does not escape, there is a botanist and an arboretum on board.

There has to be more gardening and GYO in star trek,,,,,somewhere!

Oh, I remembered something. I did mean to start a blog novella…it’s called dandelions and gerberas, so it is waiting to be written. The blog category is there, it’s just a bit empty that’s all. I think I was waiting for a burst or a boom to act as a muse. I guess that will turn up at some point then. Just watch this space.

So this NaBloPoMo business. A post a day for the month of November. That seems plausible, an outlet for things that I find interesting and want to share. I’m sure I will think of something.

Garlic planting: Provence Wight

It is that time of year again, where I look at overwintering allieums. That’s garlic, onions and shallots. This year, there are no over wintering onions and shallots. These crops are simply not successful enough for me. With the heavy clay, tendency to flood, these tend to be written off. However, garlic is something of a staple. It grows well, and is always used. It is sad, when we run out of home made garlic.

This year, I have taken the decision to plant garlic into raised beds. Mainly as I have more success in raised beds, in comparison to the ones in open ground. This is across varieties, and I have sown many different varieties over the years. This year, I have gone with provence wight as it has performed the best when planted previously. At this stage, I have planted about four bulbs worth. This has filled one raised bed of 2m x 1. Far fewer than I haver planted, which is a little sad. I am looking into perhaps sinking more, being more scrooge like. Plus, mama H will bend my ear about how much room I am going to dedicate to garlic. Thing is, I can sow it around the edges of raised beds, and then plant things in the middle.The allotment wouldn’t be the same without garlic being planted.

Decanting Day Part one: Potent pink

Remember that first batch of home brew, the one with blackberries in Dark Rum. Well, since I couldn’t wait for three more weeks and I had a couple of bottles to recycle. Today was decant day. I cannot remember exactly what I might have put in there. There was the staple dark rum, sugar and blackberries. Might have put some cinnamon and cassia bark in there.

The bottles were cleaned and washed. The muslin scalded with boiled water, jam funnel thing located.

And then we decanted. The blackberries hadn’t broken down as much as I liked, so armed with a masher I went about breaking them up in the jar. This did make the jar liquid a bit cloudy. Otherwise, the liquid is a  beautiful claret colour. Very rich, very deep. Fairly potent, you cannot escape the potent vapours.

Small amounts were poured into a pint glass and then passed though the funnel. The funnel was lined with a scalded piece of muslin. I got fed up of watching it drip, though that is probably  the best way to get the liquid beautifully clear. So I took it in hand, and squished the muslin to aid the process. The cloudiness from mashing was significantly reduced actually.

You’re all wanting to know what it tasted like?

Pops tried a bit-i couldn’t get it all into the smallest bottle, so a dribble was left. Pulled a face, shrugged a shoulder, waved hand, That means okay, I think. I tried another dribble. It really was a dribble, after the vapours, I wasn’t going to have a cocktail.You get the alcohol, and then you get spiced blackberries. Might need more fruit, the next time I might make it.

Bruno babies 2014


This years Bruno is awaiting sacrifice. However the seeds of Bruno previous have been donated to ‘New shoots’ in Leeds, Gardening Leave in Ayrshire and Aston University allotments.

Gardening leave supports Veterans through Horticultural therapy. Aston university is my Alma Mater, and have this year started an on campus allotment.


Baby of Bruno on the Mersey: Never walks alone

King Kenny, Sir BoB, Bill Shankly
King Kenny, Sir BoB, Bill Shankly

My thanks to @Redlegend68 for the above image.

As you may be aware, a few years ago I grew a ghostrider pumpkin that we called Bruno. When Bruno was harvested in 2011, I saved the seeds and sent them the length and breadth of Britain. Some of the progeny went to Liverpool, and have turned into some beautiful whopping specimens. Two of the above were donate to a harvest festival.

My own bruno is waiting on the window sill, and the seeds of bruno 2014 will then be saved. Once more, they will hopefully go to good homes.

chillies…taking their time, I tell you

thai_two thai_one serrano dorset_flowers

It’s been a wet and windy week in blighty, the nights are drawing in and the temperatures are dropping. With work, I’ve not been able to pop down to the plot during the week. I wandered down today in the vain hope that some of the superhots might have started to fruit, There is has been nothing in terms of habaneros yet, which is disappointing. What I do have, is quite a lot of foliage and white flowers dotted around. The number of flowers is certainly greater than during the summer, and to be frank, I have been ignoring the chilli plants.

What I have done, is walked into the poly, and done the shake shake. Shaken the plants from side, in the same way a breeze might. Hoping that this may help the self pollination. There are not many insects around, and touching the flowers risks them falling off. Even the serrano chilli plant is full of flowers now, Though these are slightly rusty looking, which doesn’t bode well.

Checked the aubergines, with their lilac floo’ers. There are quite a few now, so you never know if we are going to have more of those.

Did the hokey cokey with the hot thai chilli plant, and thought why is there a bit of red ribbon down there. It was not a red ribbon, it was a ripe fruit. There were exclamations of oh em gee.  And it’s hot, as i had a rather itchy palm just from holding it.