Some Assembly Required

 photo WP_20160929_002_e_zpsc9jcw7ab.jpg“Draining-board again?” I took away the sponge at least.

Dearest Reader, it’s is, yet again, your pal, your forever friend, Jack. He of all trades, with a masters in none. That’s not the saying? You sure? I’m sure if they’ve immortalized me in a figure of speech I’d know it off by heart, by rote, etc. How could I ever be wrong? I’m glad you agree, that’s all for today them…the post? Oh, of course. This is just a bit of a meandering fill in post. I might be too busy to do much searching for new recipes, it depends on the weather, you know: Whether the weather can be weathered and the garden can become a bit closer to the vision in my head. So, today I learned that running putty is an old skill,  not so useful in these blissfully insulated days of double glazing. So, yeah, I again end up older than I should be. On the flip side: The greenhouse is almost ready! The perspex is in, the putty has been put in place, the silicone needs a bit more. The door and skylight are in too. I was standing on a ladder, hitting the skylight into place by striking a two by four with a hammer. It’s an old frame, but solid. Nothing goes too easy in this household. Still, it’s turning a corner. Soon I’ll clean up the inside, pin the matting a bit more, sweep up the miscellaneous debris and set up the staging. I’ll have a greenhouse. That hasn’t fully sunken in yet.

 photo WP_20160929_004_e_zpseaxcwlbk.jpgOne barrel.

 photo WP_20160929_003_e_zpsexn0jfhm.jpgTwo Barrel (I’ll get to the guttering too).

 photo WP_20160929_012_e_zpsdnvkm3ud.jpgThree barrel. (Needs to be raised)

Yeah, the barrels are tapped. They just need an overflow and I’ll start collecting a lot of rain water. I think I’ve done pretty well with my ideas, a lot of them have been successful. This garden should be transformed come next year.  It’s worthwhile, you know? Nice to share too. Don’t worry I have a bit of a recipe for you today. As with the greenhouse and barrels some assembly is required. I’ve been messing around with the ever ubiquitous Pumpkin Spice (Follow the hyper-link trails, reader), I guess because I’m a Jack without a culinary country. A lot of Irish cooking and baking is cut off from me due to my issues with food. So I’ve wandered the world of various viands, multiple morsels, countless chow and, what feels like, every eatable. When I come across a staple of somewhere or someone I like to see what I can do with it. Pumpkin Spice is ultimately rather simple. It’s mostly cinnamon, but I do like its warming profile of spices. I was looking around the internet and spotted Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter. So, I thought, why not try it? Butternut squash was going cheap, and what better to replace a squash, all pumpkins are squash after all, than another squash? I made Gingerbread with some of it, now Dairy Free, and the rest was saved for today. I steamed it in the microwave until soft and Sautéd it, it’s lazy, but works as well as boiling. Alongside the squash I sprinkled Pumpkin Spice (1 Tsp), Salt and Brown Sugar (1/2 Tsp of each). I’ve found pumpkin spice in baked goods is delicious but it’s apt to get lost in savoury recipes if not backed up with something else. Sweet and salty is always a good combination when using cinnamon, so here we are. The amaranth, no I’ll never tire of it, is a version of the Cashew Butter Amaranth, but with added garlic and Peanut Butter replacing the cashew butter. It’s, as always, too good, too pure, too delicious for this world. It elevates plain amaranth to a culinary zenith, the apogee of edibility, you know, it’s really tasty. The chicken is just plain with a bit of garlic. Pork makes my stomach hurt and beef is just boring without all the trimmings, fat-me knew, oh, lord how he knew, so chicken is good with me all the time. It all worked really well, squash and peanut butter is actually a really great combination, whether savoury or sweet and the slight kick of warmth from the pumpkin spice was really welcome. So, that’s that. I’ll be back with something new soon, I hope. You hope too and maybe it’ll come true. Later.

Taming a Wild Garden

It’s another Jack moment. Jack is somewhat tired, I’ve been taking advantage of the unseasonally good weather, supposedly we’ll have another day of it tomorrow, but I’m not sure my sore muscle can hack another four and a half hours in the garden. Nine hours and counting so far. I hope all this grunt work pays off for the me of next year, dear reader, or I may slowly lose more of my marbles. All joking aside, it’s all taking shape. My greenhouse is almost ready! I’m excited to say the least, it’ll be used next year, but the planning, oh, the planning! So for now let’s take a look around with you lavender scented friend, Jack.

 photo WP_20160927_011_e_zpsuz4lebpq.jpg“You’re going to explain that, right” – My anxious Readership

I pulled some lavender, stuffed it into my pocket and went on a walk. Then later, I planted the cutting alongside my saved lavender, which was originally cuttings that rooted, which when transplanted haven’t faired well. Back into a pot they go. I have a big bush of lavender already, but I like the smell of these two, whether different varieties I have no idea, but they smell different so I’ll give them a try. I have my eyes on many plants, in many gardens, perhaps even yours, reader. It’s funny how much this has become part and parcel of who I am.

 photo WP_20160927_010_e_zpsbk72snv9.jpgRest on my Laurel? I’ll cut them back instead.

I’ve been attacking the wild overgrowth with a hedge-trimmer. The laurel was pushing against the greenhouse and depriving it of some of its light, no, not you dear reader, although you are the light of my life, so I cut it back and used up some scrap plastic to create a little walk way. It’s just the area behind the greenhouse, rough and ready, but that’s all that’s needed. I also cleaned up the bush beside it, which as had trouble with weeds growing wild at its base. So after a little creativity we have some protection. I used a bit of black plastic with a barrel hoop to create a little weed prevention circle that can be strimmed around.

 photo WP_20160927_008_e_zpsex9dvk9i.jpgRing around the bushy, hedge, tree thingy. Pine? No idea.

 photo WP_20160927_009_e_zpswzeg9vt1.jpgAnd now….A Coal Scuttle!

 photo WP_20160927_007_e_zpsoljvjvgh.jpgAnd yet another bush!

Yeah, coal scuttle strawberry has found its home at last. I have to cover a stump so I’ll use the scuttle, fill it in and plant flowers at some point. The bush was moved from the front garden to the back. I’m not uprooting any more bushes, well one, but still, so I put it in a pot. The problem was that the root system was huge, so I had to force compost into the gaps to fill the pot. Those Hadopots are amazing. This one was an old squash pot. There’s a lot to do yet, one job begets another. But there’s something big happening or has already. What? Read on.

 photo WP_20160927_006_e_zpsuvmouort.jpgThe Snowball tree was cleaned up too.

Oh! I was shown how to disassemble a pallet today and went to work. I’m going to cut those boards and use them to surround the tree. I’ve pinned down the plastic and matting with my patented bent wire pegs then I’ll cut the boards and nail them down into the ground. It’s rough and I’m no carpenter so the simplest way will be the best. I’ll drill a hole, insert an express nail, they’re like hollow stakes, and stake the board flat onto the ground. I don’t want them raised up as they could be lethal. The ground is uneven and stepping over boards could be hazardous. I can’t saw well, so no fancy angled edges either. When this is done I’ll be able to dig here without worrying about hitting the matting or the pots. The pots are the coal scuttle strawberry, mixed tulips and a golden raspberry plant. At least I think so, the person who gave it to me wasn’t 100% sure, still raspberries!

 photo WP_20160927_002_e_zpsyns8joxw.jpgAh, yeah! Here we are!

Yes, elated reader! It’s a mess…What? No! It’s what was once termed the “wild garden”, which really did go wild, with weeds. So instead it’s been tamed. Dug up, all roses removed, all lupins uprooted, all lilies found, weeds are gone and matting is down. There was a lot of work getting a bush up, it was so well rooted and so deep. The rest wasn’t so bad after that. You can see there are boards marking the place where a path will be. Which should help with maintenance. The potted plants are the aforementioned ones. The rain barrel, the second one that is, is awaiting boring and tapping, then I cut the pipe, attach a curved section and move it all out of sight behind the shed. The old one goes behind the greenhouse. The roses have a secret. Let’s go see!

 photo WP_20160927_001_e_zpsl4q1z3h5.jpgWrong photo, whoops.

 photo WP_20160927_005_e_zpsxs1akphi.jpgYeah, here we are.

 photo WP_20160927_003_e_zpsomazwwjd.jpgHere too.

Have you figured out the secret? You have well, okay then. Carrying on, hmmmm? Oh, okay. They’re all in sunken bottomless pots! We have a major case of bindweed here, it strangled everything in sight and you couldn’t control it before. Now with all the matting and the separated roses we should be able to manage it. All the inside is roses, bar one pot, or rather bucket, which hides a stump and is filled with anemone. There’s a lot of reusing and recycling here. Where it was possible to make use of something it was used up. One rose is in a bird seed bucket. I want to put some planters on the wall and one of the roses should be able to climb a support on the small wall. I hope you’ll all get to see this when everything is in bloom next year.

 photo WP_20160927_004_e_zpsjntg3k9n.jpgOrange lilies and lupins.

It takes so much to fill these pots. This way we can shuffle them around as we want. As it stands now I’ve put matting down from the top of the garden to the bottom. There’s still so much to plant and a whole other side that needs working on. Not that I’m done here yet. I’ll never really be “done”. I think from now I take control of the weeds, they’ve been left too long. I’ve removed huge sections of weed infested grass and giant clumps of unidentified weeds, all of which are rotting in a pile at the end of the garden hopefully one day to be used as compost. Or perhaps I’ll just let wild flowers run riot there. Who knows? It’s been hectic, but I’ve accomplished quite a bit. More to go, but bit by bit it gets better. I hope to see you all again soon, hopefully with photos of the finished greenhouse.

Amaranth Flour Peanut Butter Biscuits

 photo WP_20160925_001_e_zpsnacdkgjj.jpgI was left wondering if they’d even bake.

I was reading a book that explored the idea of the little parts of our personalties that make up the whole, the ego, or whatever, the id? I forget, as individual voices. It was a horror book nothing that deep, but it did get me thinking about how I write these posts. I often tell the bare truth, sometimes pessimistic sounding I’m sure, but I don’t intend to be that way, really I don’t, dear reader, it’s just I hate to mislead or give a false idea of anything I’m doing here. So if ever the posts here seem to be a shade negative please remember that it’s not ill intentioned, the opposite is probably closer to the truth. Now, in saying that I like to think we keep it breezy and light on the whole We? Why Jack and I! Jack is me, right? Of course. I think Jack is the part of me that’s come about from trying to be better, it’s not the realist in me that drove me to be better, that pushed me to success, that’s the hard voice in all this, instead it’s the part that willing to try, to accept failure and not be crushed by it. Jack is the part of me that’s hoping and believing in hope. You came here for cookies, biscuits whatever, not for a psychological breakdown of your favourite blogger. I am right? Don’t answer that, I think it’d break my heart if you told me the truth. I’m joking, I’m obviously well-beloved. You’re good people is what I’m saying.

 photo WP_20160925_002_e_zps6ipkxtpp.jpgHere, have a biscuit.

I’m going to run through the biscuits preparation, tweaks and baking, fairly quickly and then talk a little about the future of amaranth flour in this kitchen. Sounds cool, hah, just wait, it’s mundane as all out. You’ve seen this recipe three times already, you don’t need hyper-links, right? Good. Just search for biscuits and they’ll pop up. What makes this recipe interesting is that with three very different flours it came together and baked nearly identically. Here, not so much. It was a very light dough, more of a thick batter really. I had to just scoop and plop it out. It took longer to bake and stayed very soft until it cooled. At which point it flattened and became slightly chewy, pleasantly so. So it’s a decent recipe on the whole. I used coconut sugar on a whim and it gave it a wonderful taste. I also skipped creaming the butter and sugar as it’s hard to cream so little to a fluffy consistency. So what of Amaranth? Well, it’s an oddity. It’s an absorbent seed that when used as a flour absorbs liquid but doesn’t dry or firm up. It stays light and fluffy. Where buckwheat and quinoa will take in moisture and become firm amaranth doesn’t. It feels like porridge even when used as a flour. Now what I think so far is this: It’d be better used sparingly and in conjunction with another flour. I can see it giving a bit of bounce to a recipe, but with too much it could just make baked goods soggy. I haven’t reached a real understanding of it yet, I will, I hope, in time, but that will take a lot of tests and trials. But when I do it will be more than just a flour used in a blend, seemly at random, it’ll be used to its fullest potential. That takes time. Thankfully I have amaranth and ample time. Watch this space.

Ingredients

90g Amaranth Flour
85g Coconut Sugar
60g Natural Peanut Butter or Any Natural Nut Butter
60g Butter
1 Flax Egg (1 Tbsp Flaxseed and 3 Tbsp Water)
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
Dash of Vanilla Extract

Makes 13 Biscuits.

Method

1. Preheat oven to 160c (Fan) and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

2. Mix the Sugar and Butter together with a fork until combined. Then mix in the Peanut Butter and the Flax Egg until fully incorporated. Finally stir in the Amaranth Flour and Baking Powder until a slightly sticky and very light dough has been formed. Rest for 5 minutes.

3. Scoop 1 Tbsp worth of the dough onto the prepared tray. Don’t flatten out as they will spread while baking. When all the dough has been used up bake the Biscuits for 20 minutes until golden and just slightly firm to the touch. Let the biscuits cool on the tray for 10 minutes, they should be firmer, though still a little soft they should be able to be handled, by then and then transfer to a wire-rack to cool completely.

Amaranth Porridge

 photo 2014-06-08-14h19m52_e_zpsglixhkka.jpgMemory’s a funny thing. I remember where this photo was from two years ago and I can’t recall last week clearly.

Just splitting this off from the main Amaranth Page as it’s a bit muddled. It’s been a long time and I’ve only eaten it once or twice, but it was okay, it tasted strongly of amaranth, but it wasn’t bad on the whole. Sorry for being vague, but, again, long time since I ate it. This is a more textured porridge, but you can make a smoother version from what I’ve read. Longer cooking with more milk or pressure cooking. I’m looking at amaranth recipes so hopefully I’ll find something interesting or at the very least gain some inspiration. I’m having it Cheesy Style tomorrow, oh, how I’ve missed this grain, er seed, no, wait, fruit?!

Amaranth Porridge with Blueberry Compote (Single Serving)

Ingredients

For The Porridge

60g (1/4 Cup) of Amaranth
175ml Milk
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup

For The Blueberry Compote

50g Blueberries
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Water

Method

1. Add Milk and Amaranth into the pot and bring to boil, cover and cook for 15 minutes. If it starts to bubble up too much just stir it and cover again.

2. As Amaranth is cooking add everything for the Compote to another pot and bring to the boil. Cook on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until Blueberries have popped, then keep cooking uncovered until the compote has become thick, should take about five minutes.

3. When the 15 minutes is up remove the lid and stir the Amaranth, it should be tender, but still have a little chew and there should be some Milk still unabsorbed. Add the Maple Syrup and bring to the boil for a minute and then pour in serving bowl and top with Blueberry Compote and serve immediately.

Sweet Mango Curry

 photo WP_20160922_002_e_zpskmsyv0er.jpgAh, curry, well nightshade free curry. Still, curry is what I’m saying. Curry.

I just popped off for some rooibos tea and to tear the neighbours teabags. Hmmm? What did they do to me to deserve such ill-treatment. You have me all wrong, dearest reader, they drop down their used bags and vegetable peelings for my compost. Working with three bins means I have plenty of room for recycling. An untorn teabag is useless in composting, unless it’s able to break down and many aren’t. Tea, coffee grinds, and occasionally horse muck, are the keys to fast breaking down rich compost. You came here to have your taste buds tantalised and instead I’m talking about equine excrement. What a load of horse sh…Woah! This is a family blog. Heh. This is where food comes from. I hope to have my own compost to feed my squash next year. My recycled planters already contain this year’s compost so that’s a start at least. I regret not making a gift-horse oral-observation here. But, hay, what can you do?

So, Curry? Anyway. Oh, come on, impatient reader, I have tales to tell and a virtual captive audience, imagined possibly? Sure, but still. Today I was running putty. Yeah, I didn’t know what that was either. Well, truth be told I’m just jamming the putty in the gaps and someone else is cleaning it up. This will seal the greenhouse, which is an extraordinary amount of work as it’s huge, old and the weather hates me. But, it’s getting there. All the perspex is almost in and the putty is filling it all up. Though it seems to be eating it. Next year I’ll be able to stand in my green house, hopefully, surrounded by my herbs, flowers and vegetables. It’s an investment, expensive this year, as is the garden, though I’m helping as much as possible to alleviate the cost, but it’ll be worthwhile in the years to come. A epoch in the annals of the life and times of your friend Jack. He of the puttied shoes and siliconed tracksuits.

So, we reach the recipe. I’ve been eating my Mango Curry for a while, but it’s not clicking with me. It’s too bland without the chilli heat. So I accidentally discovered a better way to prepare it while just screwing around. The result was a sweeter, richer curry sauce. I like a lot of sauce, which makes for great eating, but terrible presentation. You’ll have to adjust the recipes here to suit yourselves, if I tried to please everyone I’d be a gibbering wreck, or more of one. What you now have is a sauce thickened by the fruit and hemp. I think the extra butter might help too. It’s really smooth and luscious. It’s a bit sweet, which may cloy if you’re not a fan of sweet savoury dishes. It’s a great way to get some fruit and spices into you. As for the taste, well….it’s got a kick of honey. My tastebuds aren’t connected to my verboseness. Food is either good, bad or in the case of my amaranth bread test: Oh! God! Blearg! Ewwwwwwww! Do be careful when boiling down not to burn the sauce as it will become sickly sweet.  I think I’ll be less likely to tire of this. I use the same meals for a fortnight of meals so getting tired of one is rare but it does happen. As always you could leave out the chicken and go for a vegetable medley. See you sooner rather than later.

Oh! About the curry powder, I couldn’t cut down the original to fill a teaspoon, as I have done before. But it’s a nice blend and it never hurts to have around, right? If you can do nightshades then any hot curry powder would work.

Ingredients

2 Chicken Breasts, Chopped
100g Fresh or Frozen Mango, Chopped
160ml Coconut Cream or Coconut Milk
1/2 Yellow Onion, Roughly Chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, Cut in Half
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Shelled Hemp Seed
1 Tbsp Sultanas
1 Tbsp Honey
1 Tsp Nightshade Free Hot Curry Powder
1/4 Tsp Turmeric

Method

1. Heat Butter in a pan and when melted add Onion, Garlic mix and cover. Let cook for 5-10 minutes, on a medium heat, or until soft.

2. Add Coconut Milk, Turmeric, Curry Powder, Mango, Honey and Sultanas then stir together and simmer covered for 10 minutes.

3. When 10 minutes is up use a stick blender to blend the Mango sauce until smooth or add to Blender and return to pot when smooth. Add the Chicken and bring to a boil, then reduce to a medium simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Cook uncovered for final 5 minutes. Increase heat if a thicker Sauce i desired, but be careful of burning.

Amaranth Flour Crackers

 photo WP_20160922_001_e_zpsxvjiqvxw.jpgOne for a three year test and one for this recipe

Ah, my artisanally-inclined reader, we have here rustic, freshly ground amaranth flour. Rustic because it wasn’t perfectly smooth and freshly ground because I’m not buying it when I have the seed and a coffee grinder. Can I level with you, reader? I’m not feeling that this flour will be a rip-roaring success. I had tried a single flour recipe years ago with expiring amaranth so I thought I’d try an even buckwheat split and, sad to say, it was disgusting. I think amaranth flour will be best used in small measures with other flours, but more probably it’ll be best as a cooked seed. It’s delicious as a side and I hope to find more ways to use it.

 photo WP_20160922_003_e_zps3gg0mkwn.jpgIt looks like a country, doesn’t it?

So, in saying that, here’s an all amaranth flour recipe! You should know I don’t give up easily, but I did want to give fair warning in regards to my amaranth uses. I won’t be trying too many flour based recipes with it, but one or two may slip in regardless. Curiosity killed the cat and satisfaction made it fat. So with my second portion of flour I attempted a variant of my Buckwheat Flour Tortillas, but the dough was much too crumbly for wraps so I went for salty crackers instead. Okay, knowing that I know nothing, I will say the following: Amaranth flour seems better suited to recipes with little to no moisture. In bread it became springy, but too soft, a whole loaf made with just amaranth is just a gooey mess. Edible, but not something to be thought of. Whereas with quinoa flour you get the absorbent properties that when played with can yield a soft, but firm loaf. Why? Heh. like I say, no idea. I’ll just try to play with it’s strengths and see what I can do with it.

 photo WP_20160922_004_e_zpszzfbyylq.jpgI made a half batch, but the recipe yields double this as it’s more convenient.

Okay, the dough came together without any additional water. Maybe amaranth flour has some kind of moisture, or something in it that doesn’t allow much more. Maybe it’s the vitamin C that’s present? I know it’s used in baking sometimes. Someone better informed than I will have to look into this. The dough is crumbly. It rolls thin with no need for dusting, but if you roll it and cut it you’ll need to gather up all the pieces and reworked it. It’s tedious, but you do get a thin cracker out of it. These are really basic, they taste of amaranth, not unpleasantly, and are better with a dip of some sort. They’re basic, but considering the ingredients they’re worthwhile. There’s a lot of good in these and they’re easy to prepare. I have one more recipe to type up so I’ll leave this here. I’m not done with amaranth, not at all, I love the seed, it’s delicious when mixed with nut or seed butters, cheese too, but the flour might be a dead end for me. I like to use all of one type flour in a recipe and work from there. If anyone has any suggestions please do share them in the comments. No guarantees I’ll use them, but I’m sure people searching for recipes will be grateful too. See you next post.

 photo WP_20160922_005_e_zps4wdvatds.jpgThey’re really crunchy and crispy.

Ingredients

100g Amaranth Flour
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Flax Egg (1 Tbsp Ground Flaxseed and 3 Tbsp Water)
Pinch of Salt and Pepper

Makes 24 Crackers

Method

1. Mix the Ground Flaxseed and Water and leave in the fridge for 15 minutes or until thick.

2. Add Amaranth Flour and Salt to a bowl and then stir in the Flax Egg and Olive Oil with a fork until everything has combined. Knead the mixture until a dry, slightly crumbly dough has been formed. Form Dough into a ball and let rest for a few minutes.

3. Roll out the dough as thin as possible, then cut out circles. Dough will need to be reworked a lot.

4. Place Crackers on a lined baking tray. Brush the top of the chips with Olive Oil and then sprinkle with Salt and Pepper. Bake at 175c (Fan) for 10-12 Minutes or until lightly browned crunchy.

Seeds And Weeds

 photo WP_20160921_003_e_zpswxuk6isr.jpgThree years later I have amaranth again

Here I am again, the heart breaking heartthrob…What? I’m not the hazel-eyed idol of millions? That’s disheartening, I can only assume that you’ll continue to thrill at my proximity, I’m not with you, dear reader? Why, of course I am, I’ll always be right there, in you heart….or RIGHT BEHIND YOU! See, your heart is pounding now. Okay, you might have seen me mention amaranth is back in my kitchen. That’s right, that largely ignored, around here at least, seed, pseudo-grain is back to me after three long years. Now I’m not just going to rest on my laurels, I’m going full-force and figuring out new ways to eat it. Thankfully I’ve been here before when I first discovered it, a bit of curiosity netted me a wonderful way to use amaranth with nut and seed butters. As pictured above: Cashew Butter Amaranth. Creamy, lush and decadently delicious. But it’s all good for you. No need for butter or butter or even more butter. A bit of nut butter, shut up, I know, oil and salt and pepper and you’re golden. You can find all the tweaks on the recipe page. I had to figure all this out by myself. Amaranth seems to stay in porridge and never ventures forth. That isn’t my amaranth, the skies the limit when we get together. You know what I find troublesome? The elevation of these simple faring foods to some kind of superior status. Sure celebrating their nutritional worth, amaranth is the only seed with vitamin C or so I’m told, but when we push them as strange and exotic we scare people away. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve seen quinoa described as pretentious and thusly ignored. Sure it’s over-hyped in some regards, but it’s also a staple of my diet, has been for years. It’s a seed, I don’t think of it as anything else. If you want to extol the lofty benefits of amaranth, remember that it’s technically a weed. Not so intimidating now, huh? It’s a shame to see so much food ignored due to silly biases. Carob is a favourite of mine, but as it was once, still is really, positioned as a chocolate alternative now it’s hated by it’s failure to match that expectation and is regulated to dog biscuits, all too often (Not that that stops me). Heck there’s linseed oil, aka Flaxseed, in my greenhouse putty! I eat ground flaxseed daily. We just need to be a bit braver, more broad-minded and try, try, try. You never know when you won’t have quite so many choices.

 photo WP_20160919_023_e_zpsi76x3wzy.jpgSorry, I didn’t mean to be a blow-hard. Look skulls!

The miraculously keen-eyed of you out there may have noticed the roasted tenderstem broccoli. Which is apparently a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese kale. It’s like crunchy broccoli, even after cooking. I wasn’t wild on it. I’ve never been a fan of that raw vegetable crunch. Still, I’ll try any food once, if I can eat it in the first place that is. So, skulls, huh. I was looking up seeds and stumbled across Snapdragon seed pods, when they dry out they look like skulls. Which is really cool, yes, reader, I’m still immature enough to be tickled by something like this, never grow up too much, dearest reader. So I look up snapdragons, find they’re easy to grow and then find I have them in my garden already. Whoops. Jack is ashamed. Jack has started collecting seeds. I’ve never tried seed-saving before. I’m going to try flowers and some vegetables from the shop, less risk of inbreeding in the vegetables. I’ve got some painted sage, nasturtium and now snapdragons. I leave them in a brown=-paper bag and shake them. Then I sift the seeds and store them. I’ll just toss them in  large pots and cover them next year. Nothing fancy, but I hope they’ll do well. I’m also looking into growing water-lilies in buckets. I also have a lot of landscaping to do in the garden yet. Poor Jack keeps getting beset by bad weather and other obligations, but, fear not, dispirited reader, I shall get there yet. Jack’s Garden shall be blooming beautiful!

 photo WP_20160921_004_e_zpsnbv2smp3.jpgThe final planter is positioned. The plastic is permanent (Weeds, so many weeds) and pinned down. Next year there’ll be pots a plenty.

 photo WP_20160921_005_e_zpsbgxzvoyq.jpgSpeaking of crops…

I wasn’t speaking of crops? Oh, er…CROPS! There we are. I had a little steamed Golden Nugget Squash left in my freezer, just enough to try out a tweak of my new Scone Recipe, all is found there, it’s also now possible to make them diary free. So pop to the page and scroll to the bottom to get the new tweak. I tried them with the squash, water for milk and with coconut sugar. All worked well. They were easier to bring together as the squash is drier than the apple, but the downside is that the end product was slightly crumbly. Though I could still cut it when hot as seen below. I did add something else that you’re no doubt sick of already: Pumpkin Spice. I’d make a joke about white women, but as the heart-throb…hhhmmm? You sure I’m not? I’ll settle for Baby-whisperer as I’ve now been titled. Babies love me. Dogs love me. Sadly neither of those groups frequent my blog. You aren’t a baby or a dog, are you, dear reader? No? Oh, that’s okay, I forgive you. So, yeah, pumpkin spice, it goes well with squash too. You could take most of the variations listed on my recipes, there are a lot of tweaks, and cherry pick them to suit yourselves. As I say this only changes the recipe slightly, but not enough to warrant a split. They were lovely fresh from the oven with butter. They baked a tad more dense, but not so much to be unappetizing. I’ll try more vegetables in future, some fruits too. Squash is a fruit, yes, this is confusing. As to the coconut sugar, see above, I just bought it because it tastes nice. You’ll have to do your own research. Until next time!

 photo WP_20160921_006_e_zpsmqvdhweo.jpgOh the crumbs! Oh the humanity! Okay, they’re not that bad for fresh out of the oven.