It’s only the second time that I’ve made crumpets from scratch. I think I’m starting to get the hang of it: most of the batch had the requisite appearance of numerous holes on the top.



Nipped out in a brief break between showers to dig a few carrots for tonight’s stew.

I love the smell of fresh carrots being scrubbed in the sink – it’s one of the scent milestones of the year (following on from the glorious smell of pinching out side-shoots on tomatoes).


Well, it’s gone full-on autumn! Vile weather, but laying in winter stores in full swing. Yesterday was a couple of jars of raspberry jam (which I haven’t made before – I don’t use very much jam). Today is the regular autumnal batch of green tomato chutney, to use the tomatoes that clearly won’t have a chance to ripen on the plants. A mix of Black Russian and Urbikany … the very early Latah tomatoes are already finished.

I still have a couple of jars from last year, but that’s fine: this batch will need until at least Christmas to mature in the cupboard.



I’ve always used yeast when baking bread, but recently got my hands on some sourdough starter. A couple of experiments with loaves were not a major success – they rose OK, and tasted fine, but the crusts were rock-hard and inedible.

Yesterday, I thought of making rolls instead. They’ve worked out well.

Not something for everyday, though, and keeping sourdough starter alive for several months in order to be able to bake the odd batch with it doesn’t really appeal or seem feasible. I might getabit of dried sourdough starter to keep in the cupboard in case the fancy strikes me again sometime.


Having 2/3rds of a Kilner jar of pears left over from supper last night, I was seized with the desire to do something I haven’t done for some 20 years – make a flan!

I’d intended to be good. Honest, I did. But the Co-Op didn’t have gelatine, nor even lemon or lime jelly, so my plan of making a jelly using the syrup from the jar( to put between the sponge base and the fruit) had to be abandoned. I was forced, absolutely forced, to use whipped cream instead.

Very yummy it was, too.


The first signs of colour on the tomatoes! The variety is “Latah”, which claims to be ripe in just sixty days after planting out – as I put these outside just after my birthday (so around 22nd/24th April), they’re pretty much spot on.

A fairly tasty variety, and exceedingly prolific, but even the seed catalogues admit that it’s almost impossible to prevent the plants becoming a “sprawl” … I’d actually say “messy sprawl”, though so far this year I seem to have them not too far out of control.

summer evenings

This is what summer evenings are supposed to be like! Eating outside on the patio at just after 9pm (omelette, oven fries, lettuce from the garden). A vast mass of some 40+ swifts performing a complex ariel ballet overhead, pausing only occasionally to scream low over the garden.

Later, there will be raspberries, fresh-picked and still slightly warm from the setting sun on them, with a drizzle of cream.

garden bits

The white irises are coming into bloom in the pond, rising stately above the mimulus. Evening primroses are open, on this overcast afternoon, and alstroemeira has come out and is spilling over the edge of the patio.

In the veg patch, the runner beans have been in flower for a couple of days. The first green courgette has reached a “picking” length of about eight inches, and I might use it for supper tonight. Yellow ones won’t be far behind.

The first truss on the Black Russian tomatoes appears not to have set, but the second truss on one has a couple of fruit forming – the smaller one is about the size of a squash ball. No sign of fruit yet on either of the other varieties, though they’re both supposed to be very early types. Plenty of flower trusses, though, so there’s grounds for hope.

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