Tag Archives: beetroot

Sowing this week

This week’s main task was planting out some of the broad beans that we sowed a few weeks back. They had developed into robust young plants in perfect condition for moving on. Whilst we planted out the peas in the polytunnel, broad beans do not do so well under cover as they rely on pollinating insects and the pods are often poorly filled. Destined as they were for an outdoor bed, I should have hardened them off for the last week or so. That simply involves getting them acclimatised to the cooler conditions outdoors, where they have been enjoying the protection of the polytunnel. Continue reading

Finnish Christmas recipes – beetroot salad

This beetroot salad is my version of a dish widely available ready prepared in Finnish stores. It is one of those elements of our Christmas table that is not an established part of the traditional menu, although the salad is widely consumed throughout the year. It is one of my favourites, and something I often prepare for the many gatherings of the local Finnish ladies. It is quick and easy to make, an excellent accompaniment to herrings, cured and smoked fish, and great on open sandwiches. Continue reading

Finnish Christmas recipes – rosolli

Rosolli is the classic salad accompaniment to the Finnish Christmas meal, going particularly well with the cured herrings. Some add herring to the rosolli, when it is then known as sillisalaatti – herring salad. This variant is particularly common in Sweden. We, though, prefer to serve the salad without adding herring, and serve several different side dishes of herring that one can pick from. Continue reading

The Finnish Christmas table

I have come up with a few excuses for the lack of blog posts over the last few months, but now I have a good one – I am hobbling around on crutches after an arthroscopy on both knees; I am definitely not working the garden for a while. However, for those readers not of the Nordic persuasion, and maybe even for some that are, I thought it might be interesting to write a few articles and provide some recipes for Finnish Christmas food, starting in this post with an overview of the Finnish Christmas table and the dishes that will be covered in subsequent posts. We have the best of both worlds here – CT is Finnish, and the Finns celebrate on Christmas Eve, leaving us free to follow the Finnish feast with an English sort on Christmas day. The in-laws stay with us for some weeks around Christmas, and mother-in-law Riitta and I do our best to prepare the traditional dishes, along with some family favourites. Continue reading

Roasted beetroot and shallots

We are both very keen on beetroot. It is an easy crop, reliable, taking up little space, and offering a harvest over a long period; all great qualities for the kitchen garden. The ubiquitous harshly pickled stuff is nasty and really does no justice to the sweet earthy roots. We most often treat it rather simply, boiling until tender, removing the skins, chopping or slicing and dressing lightly whilst still warm. This is ideal served as a side dish or as an ingredient in salads. However, they are equally good raw and great when roasted. Continue reading

Recent sowing and planting

The blog has been rather slow lately, with nearly one month since my last post. Partly, at least, one must blame this lazy blogger. In my defence, we have been busy with various other things, and the garden has reached that maintenance phase where the mad rush of propagating and planting out slows down to a more modest workload. Most of the beds are now full, with crops for summer and autumn use as well as many to go through the winter or put into storage. It has also been hot lately, and the partly walled vegetable plot can become unbearably hot to work in the summer, not to mention the glasshouses and polytunnel, so we tend to reduce our activities at this time of year. Continue reading

Sowing continues

This weekend we avoided the gloomy weather and made more under cover sowings. Down the centre of our polytunnel is a four foot wide bed, which we use for general planting of crops including beans, peas, sweetcorn, saladings, and so on. At this time of year, it is warm enough, especially under cover, to make some early sowings of root crops, provided suitable varieties are selected. The bed was prepared by a little weeding and a light forking, followed by the application of a couple of handfuls of fish, blood and bone, which was lightly raked in. No manure was added, as root crops respond to too rich a rich soil by forking. Four foot drills were made across the bed. These were watered thoroughly before sowing. This bed had not been watered for some time, and it is amazing how much water is required to properly penetrate the soil. Continue reading

Seed list 2014 – part 1 – root crops

I am sure I am not alone in feeling like a kid in sweet shop when it comes to browsing seed catalogues and preparing sowing plans for the coming year. Long before we even broke ground here I drew up a ‘shortlist’ of seeds that I thought would make a good starting point. This shortlist was, admittedly, not at all short and I have spent the last few years trying to refine it based on our experiences, trying new sorts and removing others depending on how they perform for us. Despite my best efforts, there are still a great many varieties on my list. I must also confess that I have completely ignored my scientific training and made these choices on rather whimsical grounds, and perhaps I ought to conduct more rigorous trials before making such decisions. Perhaps one day, but in the mean time, preparing this year’s seed list was long overdue. Continue reading