Saturday, 23 August 2014

Compost Matters

 1. The Wormery
Kitchen waste, grass clippings and paper go into the top layer and the worms start to munch. The bottom of the top 3 layers is a fine mesh so the worms can travel between levels and the munchings go through to the layer below.
Once in the second layer below the worms continue to munch. The munchings from that layer end up in layer three as very fine compost. Layer four fills with a dark brown liquid. There is a tap to access it. It is a liquid plant feed that is diluted 1 part to 10 parts water. It's like Guinness for tomatoes, probably even puts hairs on their chests.

Hurry up and ripen!

2. The Compost Bins

Most of the compost-able materials goes into the compost bins. A mix of kitchen vegetable waste, grass cuttings, prunings and hedge cuttings that have been gone over with the lawn mower. To this is added paper and cardboard from those nice boxes that Amazon sends. this keeps the balance of nitrogen and carbon about right, hopefully. The worms help out here too but it much slower than in the wormery. It needs regular turning to speed things up. It's lucky if it gets turned over once in the space of a year but it gets there eventually. Even if if's a bit coarse it's usable as a mulch or mixed with John Innes 3 for growing tomatoes. The last photo shows a much finer grain compost that has had even longer.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Lunch at Galvin at Windows

view from the bar  click for a larger image

I had a lovely meal with my friend Ann on Wednesday. We went to Galvin at Windows on the 28th floor of the Park Lane Hilton. It has a lot of big windows and panoramic views over London. Our table faced towards Hyde Park, the Serpentine and the Royal Albert Hall.

We both chose the same starter and main course but went for different desserts, all very good. The sea bream was good and served with black rice rich with flavours. 
Desserts were followed by some 'real chocolates'  and a jar of soft and fluffy marshmallows. The green ones were flavoured with apple and the orange ones with passion fruit, in my enthusiasm to try them I forgot about photos. We and the sweets moved to a comfy sofa in the bar, overlooking Buckingham Palace and gardens.
We were well looked after by the friendly staff.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Mackerel with Barley Risotto

Maybe it should be called barleyotto as there is no rice in it.
I didn't follow a recipe.

I mug whole grain barley
4 mugs water
1 onion chopped
2 large cloves of garlic
tomato puree 1 dessert spoon
passata or a tin of tomatoes puréed
soy sauce, a good glug
chilli as much or as little as you like.
Smoked paprika as above
2 mugs of chopped veg I used pepper, carrot, French beans peas and sweetcorn

Fry the onion and garlic in some olive oil.
Add the barley and chilli and continue to fry for a minute or two.
Add the water, cover and simmer for one hour.
Add the other ingredients and simmer for another half hour stirring every so often and adding more liquid if needed.

 Serve with fried mackerel.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Tapas at Three O Two, Waterloo

Where ?     Three O Two restaurant is at the H10 Hotel near Waterloo, London.
When?        Early evening

Tapas dishes with house white,  Catalonian Vina sol

 venison carpaccio with shaved manchego cheese, honey vinaigrette and thin crusty focaccia; 

 homemade croquettes  with chorizo  

duck and crab fritters with thyme aioli;  YUM this was my favourite!
sorry about the quality of the photo was done with my phone    below

 piquillo peppers stuffed with rice pudding made of black rice and pork, with a roasted red pepper reduction sauce; 

mussels in marinara with bitter orange moscatel sauce; below

 huevos rotos with oyster mushrooms, shrimps and spring garlic. 

  Desserts: Spanish torrijas with nougat ice cream; warm brownie with Baileys ice cream.

Verdict  Excellent food and good service in a pleasant environment.

Excellent value, I went with a friend on a Travelzoo deal for 2.

Happy Christmas

                             Home made Mince Pies

I bought the mincemeat at a coffee morning in aid of Macmillan Cancer care. It was made to Delia Smith's recipe by a local lady. Originally mince pies contained meat with fruits and spices. Now mince meat for Christmas mince pies does not contain meat except for some suet. This is sometimes replaced with vegetarian suet.
I made the pastry with flour butter and an egg.
When cooked I drizzled some Madeira wine into the pies and dusted with icing sugar,

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Honey & Co

Honey& Co is a little restaurant serving Middle Eastern food in Warren Street, London, just minutes from the tube station. Blink and you could miss it. 

Meze a good balance of interesting flavours and thankfully not over seasoned.
 Very good cheese and herb bread.

       Moussaka  the best I have ever tasted.

Luscious plum and pistachio cake with almonds and cinnamon.
 ( the chef used to be pastry chef for Ottolengi)

Pros   Lovely food and friendly efficient staff.
Cons  Tables packed like sardines and noisy.
PS      We had an interesting chat with the people on the next table.
There are some tables outside and the street is traffic free but it wasn't warm enough the day we went.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Chillis and Tomatoes From the Garden

 I bought 2 chilli plants from a Summer fete in June The variety above is Cheyenne and the one below is Apace. Both are medium hot.
The 3rd one with the upward facing fruits came from Waitrose. There is a variety called Facing Heaven with upwards facing chillis but I don't know whether this is it.

Chilli Apache

Facing Heaven ?

Tomato Tangela
 These tomatoes ripen to an orange yellow colour and are juicy, sweet and flavoursome. This is an heirloom variety. The seeds came from a Cottage Garden society seed exchange and were a few years old. I sowed the seed quite late around the end of May so they have done well to have caught up and produced so many tomatoes helped by the heat wave in July and August.

Below from the left Marmande, Tangella, Gardeners Delight and ?
The ones in the pots by the house did well but the ones up the garden got blight.