Wednesday, 13 November 2013


This post has nothing to do with exercise and everything to do with my first love, which is food. I'm unapologetic about this. Lately I've been blessed with an abundance of food. After having been flooded with apples and tomatoes from my mum's garden I've had my own tomato harvest to deal with followed closely by beans, spuds, beetroots and carrots. I was seduced by a good offer (free cook book and bottle of wine... wine!) and restarted my veg box delivery with Abel & Cole, got a yogurt hamper from the wonderful Chobani and accidentally scheduled a trial of a Hello Fresh box during a time when my fridge was already full to bursting.
My proper local veg box used to look a bit like this.
If you've only started reading this blog recently you may not know I have a half plot allotment which has been rather neglected lately. Any daylight I had in the evenings was spent training and spare time at weekends recently has coincided with thunderstorms so I have quite a list of things that need doing, mostly pruning and digging, each of which should be easily managed in a half hour block. Time seems to pass very quickly when I'm on the plot but it's always enjoyable and therapeutic. Being able to serve up a meal and say "I grew that" is pretty cool too. Having herbs outside the house this year has been a revelation - meals have been transformed and there's been no more sighing over the fact a recipe calls for fresh basil that either already expired in the fridge or I failed to pick up from the supermarket in the first place.
Example of an allotment harvest
If you grow anything, grow herbs, in a tin on your kitchen windowsill or in a balcony box, they're usually very forgiving. A friend of mine said I'd inspired him to try growing veg on his balcony in London this year so I sent him some seeds in the post to plant in pots. Carrots, radishes and tomatoes did particularly well, despite suffering a bit of neglect as he's had to travel a lot this summer. I'm a teeny bit proud of him. He's been proudly telling twitter about the things he's made from the harvest and in return for my inspiration he inspired me to try a radish soup!
Growing tomato plants upside down. See, you don't even need floor space!
I adore cooking and baking. I'm no star baker or master chef but enjoy trying new recipes, and making the odds and ends in the bottom of the fridge into a respectable meal. I pride myself on rarely wasting anything. On the front of my fridge is a list of meal ideas that are possible with the current contents of the fridge and a meal plan that aims to ensure there are enough lunches to go and that bag of salad gets eaten before it goes off. I know I'm lucky to have this bounty and to be able to have such a varied diet. It's also made it easier to make healthy choices, although portion sizes might have increased a little lately...
Mutant "courgette". I appreciate this looks more like a marrow. But it wasn't
That's why you'll have been seeing a lot more recipes on the blog lately, partly because I've been sent things to try and partly because I've come up with a few gems of my own through looking out new things to do with gluts of things (I've found, surprisingly, that there is a limit to how many apple crumbles I want to eat). I hope you're enjoying them and have maybe been inspired to try a couple of new things yourself. I know not everyone enjoys cooking, thinking it's difficult, that they don't have enough time (you do) or lacking confidence to stray from a recipe but I think there's a great deal of satisfaction to be had from a little time spent in the kitchen.
Traffic light tomatoes
Do you enjoy cooking? What's your style - follow a recipe to the letter or freestyle it up? Have you started growing anything this year or been tempted to?

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