Allotment crops, surprises and recipes

To my great delight, this is what I saw when I went up to water plot 201 yesterday. It’s the mother fox, looking quite tired and thin, but happy and healthy. She sat around on the path for about ten minutes, obviously waiting to see if I was going to feed her (I don’t although Himself does) and then mooched off. Of course it’s still sad about the young one, but the underlying fear that we had a few days ago was that the entire family might have been poisoned. It’s illegal to poison foxes but that doesn’t stop people doing it, and it’s a particularly horrible death. At least we now know that she’s fine and that we are probably right in guessing that her poor cub met up with a dog fox.

We’re not the only ones to have been finding things on our allotment. In Northamptonshire, a plot-holder at the Billing Road East Allotments found most of a gravestone for ‘Edward, passed away February 11, 1942’. I think I’d be pretty surprised if my fork turned that up too! However, it’s not quite as creepy as it sounds. Apparently there is a graveyard at the other end of the road that was bombed during World War II and that the rubble was used as landfill on what came to be the allotment site.

We have been picking currants, planting broccoli and trying to identify beetles! The currants this year are fantastic, and as we love summer pudding it’s a fifty-fifty split between stringing and open freezing berries to eat in winter and chucking them straight into a dessert!

Summer Pudding

Around 850 grams raspberries and currants – you want around twice as many raspberries as currants, and you can use red, white or blackcurrants. I also tend to chuck in alpine strawberries and tayberries too.
8 slices white bread
Around 3 tablespoons white sugar (vanilla or lemon verbena sugar are best)

Sort the fruit – taking out any unripe or mouldy berries before stringing the currants. Put them and the rest of the fruit in a thick-bottomed pan over a low heat. Warm through and add sugar to taste – it depends on the ripeness of the berries and the blend you have in the pan, but don’t oversweeten. I usually find 3 tablespoons about right. If you taste the berries before they warm, you’ll tend to add too much sugar. Add a tablespoon or so of water and the bring to the boil and then simmer for just a couple of minutes. Remove from heat.

Remove crusts from bread and butter a pudding dish. Leaving one piece of bread aside, slide the rest into long fingers and use them to line the basin, making sure every tiny corner is covered.

Pour the warm fruit into the basin and use the remaining bread to make a lid, patching it with any remaining bits of bread so that no juice can escape.

Set the basin in a shallow dish so any spilled juice is caught, then put a flat plate on top of the pudding with a heavy weight on it – I use two cans of kidney beans!

Leave overnight in the fridge.

To serve, slide a palette knife around the edge of the pudding to separate bread and basin – put a pretty plate on top, and invert the dish, shaking neatly to ‘plop’ the pudding into the middle of the plate.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Thursday, July 8, 2010


Anonymous said...

summer pudding sounds great...I had some redcurrants that a friend let me pick but the kids ate alot of them before I got the chance to do anything with them...I was going to make jelly but after I had cooked and strained them the kids then started drinking the juice so now I am left with less than a pint!!

The fox looks nice and healthy...I have some that come around my plot as I see the footprints but have never actually seen the foxes although the kids have spotted them a couple of times in the field beyond!!

July 8, 2010 at 6:26 AM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Summer pudding is delicious - but it can be difficult to get enough raspberries in my house, as they tend to get eaten before the dish can be made.

The fox is rather skinny, to be honest, last year, before the four cubs, she was a lot sleeker and happier looking. She gets fed by a couple of our allotment neighbours so I know she's been getting enough food.

July 13, 2010 at 7:10 AM  

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