Carrots and Kids

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Cooking in the Garden

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Firsts

It has been another lousy year in the garden. Partly my fault and partly the weather. And there appears to be an all-you-can-eat evening cafe for rabbits that has set up business at the allotment.

But let’s not focus on the negatives.

Let’s celebrate the positives. There is much to be grateful for but I admit I am struggling a bit at the moment. I am in the doldrums and I haven’t a clue why (so unlike me).

I aim to combat that with knitting and baking bread. I had a book token (I know, how quaint!) so treated myself to Dan Lepard’s The Handmade Loaf. I like his Short and Sweetwhich I received for Christmas so I’m hoping this will be just as good.

It was published a while ago and should be just the ticket for making fancy pants bread. It’s subtitled Contemporary European Recipes for the Home Baker.

I’ve also been enjoying the first strawberries from the plot and the first sweet peas from the garden. Everything seems so much later this year but all the more sweeter for it.

Lunch

Lunch is my favourite meal of the day. It’s important that wherever you are at lunchtime, you make time to show show yourself some love by having a lovely meal.

And I’m not talking about a sandwich.

Huge salads, home-made soup, noodles with veg and home-made peanut dressing, wraps with roasted peppers, onions finished with ham and feta cheese – all of them are lipsmackingly lovely.

Today it was the turn of Broccoli Gribiche from one of my favourite cookbooks, Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson (she of 101 Cookbooks fame). Continue reading “Cooking in the Garden” »

Make a Bird Nest Building Buffet

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Things have been extraordinarily stressful at Carrots Cottage this last week and a bit, but one of the most soothing things I’ve found is watching birds in the garden.

I stand at the kitchen window sipping coffee, thumbing through a very old copy of The Hamlyn Guide to Birds of Britain and Europe. It’s old, priced at £1.75, but we got it in a charity shop.

There’s not as many feathered visitors as I’d like but we’ve had dunnocks, great tits, chaffinches and bullfinches as well as the usual robin, blue tits (currently building a nest in the box as they do every year), blackbirds, sparrows and the ever present pigeons who, I know, are just waiting for me to sow some peas.

Nest building is going on aplenty. Every time I see a bird in the garden they either have something in their mouths or are eating at a feeder.

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So I thought I’d help them. We collected some moss, clipped the hairy dog and cut up some wool. I wondered how to make this tip top material available for the birds.

The garden’s currently in disarray thanks to a major patio building project so I wouldn’t have any where to place yoghurt pots or dishes of wool. Plus, they’d blow away. Oh, I know there are doubtless countless posts and tutorials on making such a thing but y’know, I couldn’t be bothered to look. Sometimes you just want to get on and do it your way. Continue reading “Make a Bird Nest Building Buffet” »

Book Review: Garden Crafts for Children

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When I was very kindly asked by the publishers if I would like to review Garden Crafts for Children by Dawn I was a little trepedatious. My bookshelves groan with children’s gardening activity books. I even have a beloved favourite. Could this latest addition add anything new?

While I did come across the dreaded planting in a welly boot activity (a pet hate of mine), I was also pleased to see some new to me crafts too.

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What I liked:

  • the alpine wreath. Never mind the children, I’m making this for me
  • tyrannosaurus garden. This is something my five-year-old will love. Just need to source a tyre
  • stop-motion bean pot. I loved this new take on growing a bean down the side of a glass. This will be gracing our kitchen table very soon
  • I liked the design of the book. It’s aimed at children and I could happily give it to my seven-year-old knowing she’d be able to follow it thanks to the clear instructions and pictures

Continue reading “Book Review: Garden Crafts for Children” »