Saturday, 28 August 2010

Taking a tumble

Well there has been no news on the blog of late as I've been away from the windowsill with work. And what a time to go away! A few days in to my trip I had an email from the guy that lives downstairs saying that our troughs were in his front garden. Oh dear... the weather has been so awful in London that the wind had picked up the two troughs on the living room windowsills and deposited them in the garden. Thank goodness they were only plastic ones and not terracotta!

The damage doesn't seem too bad anyway, we lost quite a few green tomatoes and one of the sweet peppers (which is starting to turn red as well!) has split but asides from that they don't seem to be too bad which is lucky. They've had a few days to recouperate back in the fireplace but I think we'll need to pluck up the courage to put them back out on the windowsill soon or otherwise they'll start growing in that crazy way like they did before in the fireplace.

There was some damage to the chilli plant in the trough on the kitchen windowsill which didn't tumble in to the garden too and the plant snapped right in half so has had to be chopped right back unfortunately. Fingers crossed the worst of the weather is now behind us!

Monday, 16 August 2010

Feeling hot, hot, hot!

Look at our chillies now! From being completely green a week ago, to starting to see red patches on Thursday, they are now bright red all over!

I never realised that when they turned red it would happen so quickly. You can see them shining out now in all their red glory when you're walking back down the road - puts a smile on my face every time.

Verdict: Wahaca chilli seeds - success!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Perfect hangover cure

Last Sunday we both woke up feeling pretty special having had one too many beers/gin and tonics the night before... After a rather slow start to the morning we managed to drag ourselves out of bed and become compos mentis enough to think about getting some pans out of the cupboard. A glass of orange juice and this Mexican breakfast - from the good old Mexican Food Made Simple by Thomasina Miers again - sorted us out completely.

Fried corn tortillas layered with smoky tomato sauce made from tinned tomatoes, chillies, garlic, onions, sugar and lots of chopped tarragon topped off with a fried egg, grated crumbly cheese like Wensleydale or Lancashire and more chopped tarragon and accompanied by a good cup of coffee. A great pick me up after a heavy night the night before and perfect Sunday soul food.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Daddy long legs...?

The other day we had a long-legged visitor to our pepper plant. He was moving so quickly all over it that it was really tricky to get a good photo but I managed it eventually. Looking at some spider i.d. guides online the only spider with long legs I can find is the daddy long legs but I'm not sure that he looks exactly the same as them.

Does anyone know if he is definitely a daddy long legs or not?

Friday, 13 August 2010

Flowers on the sickly tomato plants!

Well the poor little tomato plants that I had to completely chop back to pretty much nothing after I put them out on the windowsill and they got battered by the wind have just started to produce flowers! It's great to see how they've sprung back to life after the ordeal. I'm not sure that we'll get massive amounts of fruit off them but I'm pleased to see they recovered.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

A shade of red

I should blog about my discontent with the plants more often... Check this out!

Just 4 days after I blogged about the lack of progress with the chillies changing colour, tonight we have realised that two of our chillies are on the turn. So despite the fact that it has been pretty much pouring in London all week the chillies are battling on through and getting on with getting red anyway. That's made my day. Fantastic!

Sunday, 8 August 2010

A few more sunny days like today is what we need!

If only the weather could stay sunny like it is today. Then maybe my poor green chillies would have more of a hope of turning red at some point soon. They are all looking very healthy and now all, bar one of my plants have got several chillies on them each (even the ones that I've had to keep indoors!) but they are all still staying resolutely green with not even the tiniest hint of redness coming out yet.

Being entirely new to this gardening malarkey I have no idea how long I should be expecting to wait for chillies (or peppers in general I guess?) to turn red. Can anyone offer me any advice as to how long these things normally take? The three chillies that have been around for the longest don't seem to have changed at all in three or four weeks now since they stopped getting any bigger but they are still showing no signs of changing colour...

Friday, 6 August 2010

New cookbooks!

I had some money left at the end of last month so I decided to order a couple more cookbooks and they've just arrived!

Bit of a restaurant themed cookbook shop with the first of the River Cafe and Moro books. Great to have some new inspiration and can't wait to get started cooking some of the recipes out of them.

We're actually off for dinner at Moro in a few weeks time too, been once before and really looking forward to heading back again!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Honey and peanut butter booster bars

Not strictly something that would come from the windowsill (although I guess you could claim that sunflower seeds could have done if our sunflowers had produced any...) but these booster bars are so tasty that I couldn't resist blogging about them! They make the perfect addition to a lunchbox to munch on when you get a little peckish whilst working. The recipe comes from Hugh's book River Cottage Everyday which has a fabulous section all about lunchboxes.

You start off by warming unsalted butter, honey, soft brown sugar and crunchy unsweetened peanut butter over a very low heat until it is all melted and mixed together. Stir it occasionally to make sure everything is getting properly mixed.

Once it is melted down take it off the heat and add in porridge oats, dried fruit (one or a mixture of sultanas, raisins, apricots, figs, dates, prunes etc...) and seeds (I used a mix of sesame, linseed, pumpkin seed and sunflower seed). Stir it all together so that the melted concoction is nicely holding all of the fruit and seeds together and then spread it out into a baking tray that has been lined and greased. Scatter the top with a few more mixed seeds and drizzle with some extra honey.

Place the tray in an oven preheated to 180 degrees and leave it for half an hour until it is nicely golden all over. When you take it out of the oven place it on a rack to cool and make sure it is completely cold (this takes quite a while!) before trying to cut it up into perfect lunchbox sized bars.

Monday, 2 August 2010

A week in the life of a pepper plant

I am completely amazed at the speed at which our sweet peppers are growing! I can pretty much see them growing day by day with the increase in size from when I leave for work in the morning and get home in the evening. And where last weekend we had two little peppers, at the start of this week we've got five! And properly pepper shaped peppers now too rather than the little green nodules I blogged about before (the picture below is of the same fruit that is in the photograph of the July 24th post).

In other windowsill news our most productive fruiting tomato plant is getting more tomatoes by the day and we've started to get a few buds and flowers on some of the other plants.

It's amazing how much joy a few little plants on a windowsill can bring...

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Itsy bitsy spider

We had a spider visitor to the windowsill the other day. I think that it was a male garden spider (Araneus diadematus) although if you think otherwise then please let me know! It never ceases to amaze me how much wildlife actually manages to find its way up onto our windowsill considering it's only a few small plants but it's wonderful none-the-less. Here you can see one of the chillies on the chilli plant that was placed outside a few weeks ago. That plant has now got six little chillies coming along on it. Still waiting for the big chillies to even look slightly like they are going to start turning red though... They are still looking green as a cucumber!

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