Funny Hurried Yummy Summer Honey Kohl Rabi Stir-Fry

16 06 2009
yours in 15 minutes!

yours in 15 minutes!

Last night’s dilemma:

We have 30 minutes before we have to leave the house.

We’re starving.

Cue “Flight of the Bumble-Bee” and chopping for my life…

It was stir fry time!


What Earth Day Did For ME!

28 04 2009
with you, little spinaches, I will change the world...

with you, little spinaches, I will change the world...

Bless my cotton socks, but I thought I was going to go down in history as some kind of vegetable crusader. Remember the Earth Day Challenge I was preparing myself for?

Well, let’s just say it didn’t quite go as expected ūüėČ

Was I pelted with copies of last week’s TV Times? Perhaps I was routinely ignored in a slightly sneering way by all and sundry… Or maybe there WEREN’T any passers-by to accost with smiles and spinach seedlings…

No. I can assure you it was worse. Or maybe that should be better? I’m still a little confused!

Read on over on ooffoo to find out what exactly became of my attempt to change my neighbourhood.

What to do (on the veg-patch) in May …

1 04 2009
would you grow this?

would you grow this?

Thinning the spinach, successional sowing the lettuce for cut and come again, pinching out the broad beans, using manure for the squash, and planning for the brassicas …

All the things our mentors Tony, Ann and Red are telling us we need to be doing over the next couple of months…

But what ARE they?!

Join us over on our sister site,, as we share what we’re learning on the journey to home-grown food.

April’s Second Veggie-in-the-Spotlight: Spinach

23 03 2009



When is Spinach in Season?
Spinach is best from April to September.

How to Buy
Look for bright leaves and a fresh smell. Avoid anything even slightly yellow or slimy.

How to Store
Keep spinach in the salad drawer, but NEVER wash before storing it – it will get very soggy!

Spinach leaves are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin K, calcium, folic acid and antioxidants. It is a good source of iron, but not as good as Pop-Eye would have us believe! 1 cup of lightly cooked spinach contains 1/3 of a woman’s recommended daily intake of iron, but a cup of cooked spinach is a lot of spinach!

Spinach Secrets
Spinach originated in Iran and didn’t arrive in Europe until the 11th Century. It was imported to Spain and when it arrived in Britain, it was known as the “Spanish Vegetable”.

Like tomatoes, lightly cooking spinach makes it easier for the body to absorb the nutrients it contains. For example, 1 cup of cooked spinach contains 10 times your daily requirement of Vitamin K, 6 times the amount of raw spinach.

How to Prepare Spinach
The absolute key with spinach is to wash it well. It tends to pick up grit and soil and nothing spoils a dish as easily as lumps of gravel in your lasagne!

If you’re going to eat spinach raw in a salad, or if you’re going to saute it, then once it’s washed you need to pat it dry again.

How to Cook Spinach

new recipe

new recipe

Check out this brand new recipe:

Tom’s Breakfast Spinach Special
Let us know how you feel about spinach using the comments box down there, and if you try the new recipe, perhaps you’d send us a photo? We were so hungry we ate it before we remembered to take its picture!

Growing Our Own: Update 3 from the New VegBox Garden

3 03 2009

VegBox Novice Lesson 1: Get seedlings right up to the glass in the sun.

they shouldn't be lying down ... they should look like tony's!

they shouldn't be lying down ... they should look like tony's!

A picture speaks a thousand words.

Mind you, to sum up the picture on the left above, I only need five.

“I killed the lettuce seedlings.”

Thanks to my mentors (Ann, Red and Tony) over on the selfsufficientish forum, I saved the carrot seedlings from the same fate by moving them right into the window.

very floopy broad bean stalks

very floopy broad bean stalks

VegBox Novice Lesson 2: Start bigger-seeded veggies off in their own separate pots right from the beginning.

The support of more experienced growers has been vital over the last few weeks. They keep reminding me: the first year is about learning as as much as growing.

Phew. Because 1) I should have planted the broad bean seeds in separate pots from the beginning, 2) I waited far too long before planting them out, and 3) if I’d grown them closer to the window, their stems would now be fatter, shorter and less, well, floopy…

VegBox Novice Lesson 3: Seedlings started indoors need “hardening off”.

Then Tony patiently instructed me to “harden them off”.


“That means putting them outside in a warm spot during the day and bring them in again at night. Do that for a couple of days and they should be OK to leave them out all the time, then you can plant them in your garden.”

Thanks Tony!

fingers crossed

VegBox Novice Lesson 4: Boo. Broad beans don’t climb. No “Jack” impersonations for me!

Next, Tony assures me that broad beans, unlike runner beans, don’t climb. So all I needed to do was give them some canes and string for support as they get bigger.

And finally …

VegBox Novice Lesson 5: Keep outdoor seedlings warm and sheltered in the beginning.

mini greenhouses

mini greenhouses

What about the poor old lettuce seedlings? Well, I picked them and used them as “cress” on top of a new soup I was trying, and am starting again with new seeds. I’ve placed a trough on a South-facing outside windowsill, and have sown new seeds into that, covering them with mini-greenhouses made of re-used plastic bottle tops, thanks to a great tip from Anne.

In another 10 days, following Red’s advice, I’ll sow another lot in a second trough, and in 20 days another, etc etc. This should guarantee a long harvesting period for me, PVH and the neighbours.

Well, that’s enough growing antics from me for this week. Next week I’ll be planting the spinach and thinking about where to start the butternut squash.

Please, use the comments box to let me know that you’re making less of a mess with starting to grow your own veggies than I am over here!

Until next month!