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Strawberry Fatigue

Each year we have an avalanche of certain fruit.  It is not the same fruit each year, last year it was the tayberries.  This year is the year of the strawberry.

strawb2012

Last year we decided to refresh the strawberry patch.  We dug up the old plants and prepared a new bed in a different part of the potager.  Three different varieties were chosen to give us a long season of wonderful sweet red fruit.  The plants were left to grow and any flowers picked off to make the plants stronger for the following year.

Fast forward to 2012.  On the first passing – 3kgs were picked.

strawb2012b

Fresh strawberries with creme fraiche, strawberry coulis with home-made pancakes, fresh fruit salad with strawberries, 5 pots of strawberry jam …

erm …

strawberry milkshake

Homemade fruity strawberry milkshake.  Delicious for breakfast and a favourite of one of our younger house guests this year.

Another 6 kgs picked …. that makes 9 kgs in total …. and counting.   This doesn’t include the garden snacking whilst working in the potager and the hundreds of partially slug eaten or rotten ones we have given to the chickens.

So now – we are running out of things to do with them – we have given 1 kg to friends – there can be only one option left …

ingredients for strawberry daiquiri

What could this possibly be ….

voila - strawberry daiquiri's

A strawberry daiquiri – for the lady – of course !

Pumpkins & Halloween – 2011

The sixth annual pumpkin competition now draws to a close – who was the winner ?   …

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Cooking Up A Storm

From the first leeks and cabbages in late February up to the baskets of quince in November, 2010 has been a great year for Bellebouche produce.

We have enjoyed eating cherries, peaches, plums and pears picked straight from our trees – tomatoes picked and eaten before reaching a salad plate – strawberries and blueberries popped into an eager mouth before reaching a bowl – cucumbers, lettuce and fresh herbs all mixed into a summery salad – courgettes and patissans grilled on the bbq and many many more delights.

The only downfall is that at this time of year – the garden is bare.  Nothing left to graze on while walking around the orchard or potager.  So, how do we remedy this sad situation?

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Winner of the fifth annual Bellebouche Pumpkin Festival is…

certificate and prize - la citrouille d'or

The most sought-after prize in French Horticulture - 'la citrouille d'or'

NOT US!

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All in a day

Today started out as usual. Up at the crack of dawn to let the birds out, back to bed for a quick snooze, then up and a strong cup of coffee. A treat, brought back by Adrian, crumpets for breakfast and I was ready for the day.

We had harvested a lot of the plums from the orchard at the weekend. 4 bowls of plums sat on the kitchen table awaiting some attention. So … after 3 hours of cleaning, de-stalking, de-stoning 2.75kgs, I was ready to make some jam. We have a whole collection of preserving books and after looking at the various plum recipes, I decided to just plump for the plain plum jam.

The friendly farmer’s wife nipped round for coffee and I was grilled on my jam making and bottling processes. Once the jam was ready I filled 9 jam jars, with still more than enough plums left to make Mucky Duckly Plum Sauce II.

The friendly farmer’s wife commented on the bowls of tomatoes on the table, enquiring what I was planning to do with them. We had picked 8kgs of toms at the weekend and I was planning to make some soup to bottle for the winter. After discussing this with her, I realised that I hadn’t picked the tomatoes from down on the potager for 2 days. Blimey … I then spent half an hour picking the ripe fruit.

All in a day's harvest

5 bowls of tomatoes, 1 bowl of cornichons (some slightly too big) and 1 pattissan.

The grand total – 11.11 kgs of tomatoes and  1.3kg of cornichons.

So I guess tomorrow I will be making soup and pasta sauce with the 19kgs of tomatoes.  I will keep you posted …

Absolem

While down on the potager preparing a new bed for the championship pumpkins we are planning to grow, I discovered some self seeded bulb fennel among the weeds.  Carefully removing the weeds from around these plants, I noticed a highly colourful caterpillar.

After grabbing the camera and taking a close-up I carried on weeding and eventually got the pumpkin plants in place.  We have handed out a number of seeds or plants to neighbours here, for them to raise their own pumpkins.  In the autumn we will host a pumpkin festival with curries, cakes, soup and beer all made from these orange jewels.  There will be a prize and trophy for the largest pumpkin raised so –  Let the games begin!

The following morning I downloaded the photos.  On showing Adrian the photo he remarked that it looked like an Alice In Wonderland caterpillar.

No hookah pipe but still an Alice In Wonderland caterpillar

I looked up the caterpillar in our highly thumbed insect book.  “Larvae on wild carrot, fennel, and other umbellifers”  – Bingo – Common Swallowtail butterfly.

I am not common I am unique !

There is nothing common about this startling little bug and the adult is also quite striking.

Winner of the fourth annual Bellebouche Pumpkin Festival is…

Homegrown pumpkins

7kg, 8.6kg, 13.5kg and 16kg.

Erm, us!

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Abundance breeds extravagence

We’ve been enjoying a bountiful harvest for a couple of months and the tomato crop is in full flow now. Basket loads of toms come up to the kitchen every couple of days and we’re getting the Bellebouche food factory into full production mode. (more…)

All In A Day’s Harvest

Just popped down to the potager to collect a few toms …

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Heavenly Aroma of Hops

A stroll by the river yielded an unexpected find, garlands and garlands of hops hanging down and sprawling their way in and around every bush and tree. I say, if nature gives you lemons, make some lemonade!

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