Tuesday, 1 December 2009

The end of the year......................................

Well, we have now come to end of our very first growing season! And what a time it has been. I will you can see from the pictures how far we have progresseD! The allotments have been badly affected by recent rain - we have renamed the area round our shed Lake Allotment and the shed looks like our lakeside cabin! I think the brussel sprouts and garlic are still ok! We harvested our lovely pumpkin a couple of weeks ago and made it into pumpkin pie on saturday. This recipe is shamelessly taken from an American cookbook! But it works!

You need American pie pastry although you could use any shortcrust pastry but this is the shortest ever of shortcrust pastry!

American Pie pastry

8 oz 225g plain flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp caster sugar
50z 125 chilled lard or white cooking fat - if veggie just use same quantity of butter
1 oz 25 g butter
approx 4 tbspn very cold water.

1. Sift flour salt and sugar in mixing bowl.

Cut the two fats into small pieces and mix together.

Rub half the fat into the flour very lightly with your hands until it feels like breadcrumbs.

Rub in the remaining fat until the mixture makes lumps about the size of small peas.

Sprinkle with cold water a little at a time and blend it with your fingers until you can make it into a cohesive ball. Be careful not to let it get damp and heavy.

Roll out. If it crumbles this is good! Just flatten it into the pie tin and "patch it together" rather than trying to keep rolling it. It is incredibly short!

Chill until you are ready to use it!

For the filling..................................

Chop your pumpkin into small pieces and just cut off the skin. Steam it until cooked and strain well.

2 eggs.
8 fl oz 225 ml milk
14 oz 400 g pumpkin - cooked or tinned.
5 0z 125 caster sugar or light brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbspn melted butter

Whisk eggs.
Combine milk with pumpkin - mash it if possible.
Beat in well with the eggs.
Beat in all the other ingredients.
Bake at 200 C for 45 minutes until a knife blade inserted comes out clean!

So I will now upload a couple of before and after photos of the allotment. To sum up our first year we have had a big adventure! We have dug the beds, weeded, planted and grown courgettes, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, pumpkin, peas, tomatoes, garlic, scallions, marrow, beetroot, italian beans, runner beans, lettuce and sweetcorn. In the summer we hardly had to buy any veg. At christmas we will be eating our own brussel sprouts and we have next year's garlic planted..............And apart from all that the craic was mighty!

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