In order to do something different each week of the year, I have a list of challenges to undertake...

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Week 47 - Grow a New Vegetable

Having had a half plot at the Hill for 7 years, I try to grow all sort of tasty fruit and veg. I do tend to grow pretty much that same thing year after year, though - partly as I know what I like, partly as I know what I can grow well.

But precisely because I have settled into growing mostly the same things year on year, it is a good challenge for me to have a go at something a bit different.

Following a discussion on the Grapevine at the beginning of the year, I decided to have a go at celeriac - I don't think I've eaten in more than a couple of times - but enjoyed it - and I certainly haven't grown it before.

The seeds are like dust, but they came up in their little pot.

I pricked the seedlings out into modules, then planted out in June.

They did well, as I kept them well watered, and kept the weeds down, and stripped a few leaves off the top of the growing bulbs each week or so over the summer.

And today, I dug my first one up. It might look like an ood, but peeled, boiled and mashed with potato and butter for tea tonight, it was delicious!
It might be the first time I have grown celeriac, but it will not be the last - and that's my week 47 Challenge completed!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Week 46 - Visit a New Town

The annual Christmas shopping trip with Mum tends to be a tootle over to Solihull - it's about the right size, with enough shops that we don't have locally, and the right distance away.

We've experimented with other towns over the years - Sheffield Meadowhall (too far away), Worcester (too open air in the cold weather), Telford (too soulless), Merryhill (surprisingly difficult to get to, given the proximity to home), and tend to gravitate back to Solihull.

But this year, we went to Derby. I've not been there before, although it used to be a popular trip out for Mum and Dad, and Mum was keen to go back and have a look round.

It's just a straightforward 45 minutes from home, and having a look online beforehand would appear to consist of a new shopping centre (Westfield), an enormous indoor market and an old shopping quarter by the Cathedral.

We parked at the shopping centre, wandered round the market, then had coffee, looked at the chain stores (most much larger than their counterparts in our town), and found an independent kitchen shop.

Then to the Cathedral, which we had a look round before going to the shop for Christmas cards, and having a look round the independent shops there - the prize being the wonderful Bennetts department store.

We were out of time - we should not have lingered in the shopping centre at the expense of the independent shops. Derby is certainly worth a return visit.

The camera conked out, so the only pic I have is of the Cathedral, but that is my week 46 Challenge completed!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Week 45 - Do Some Knitting

The execution of this Challenge is - I confess - a slight cop out. The original Challenge read 'Finish knitting that beautiful sage green cable jumper that you've had hanging round for years and stopped just because you've got to the tricky armhole bit, you lazy mare'.

But obviously, that was far too much of a mouthful, and so I went for knitting a little scarf instead.

I recently bought a lovely new (to me), green corduroy coat, and it really needs a matching scarf.

So a couple of ounces of wool later, and here's the result.

So that's my (modified) wk 45 Challenge done!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Week 44 - Make Sweets

I don't think that I've ever made sweets before (except some rich chocolate truffle/fudge thingies as part of my International Cookery course, which turned out just a bit solid, and just a bit big - a whole one made you feel sick), but with the festive season (almost) upon us, I thought I'd better have a go to see if they will make good presents.

You can't have an easier recipe than peppermint creams, so I gave them a go.

Whisked egg white and icing sugar went in the bowl and was kneaded to the consistency of plasticine, then I split it and added green colouring and peppermint to half the mix;and red and yellow food colouring and orange essence to the other.

I punched out tiny rounds with a cutter, chilled them then melted chocolate to brush on top.

Verdict - peppermint, excellent if a bit overly green; orange, bit of a funny taste but ok.

Overall - yep, as 'homemades' go, these are better than the bath bombs (wk9), and on a par with the tree decorations (wk43). My week44 Challenge is done.