Sunday, 22 September 2013



I am relatively new to the gardening lark. I tend to throw a few seeds or plants in the ground in the spring and hope for the best. Low maintenance plants are my ideal, as long as they offer something edible at the end.
Lack of time comes into this and so although I hanker after fresh broccoli, spinach and salad the slugs tend to eat more than we do.

I know experienced gardeners talk of gluts of vegetables in the garden after the summer however this year I didn’t get a single courgette, only had a few tidily little tomatoes, and not one stalk of broccoli.

We have had great handfuls of runner beans, which we all love, ad so I have been making pots of runner bean and anchovy stew, which incidentally freezes well, see my post from last August
 if you haven’t checked it out already.

The real surprise has been the rhubarb.

I thought Rhubarb was a spring thing.

Not in our garden.

Unless it thinks it’s Spring now?


So I have been cooking up pots of rhubarb. We have made delicious individual tarts, which all got eaten before I could photograph them, sorry.  There has been bowls of rhubarb lightly stewed with orange juice and sugar, another great combo, and lastly my biggest achievement rhubarb and vanilla jam.

Yes jam.

Rhubarb jam making

Not something I would normally post here, but it’s delicious so think I will share the recipe in case anyone else has an abundance of rhubarb. Advance warning, it requires marinating overnight , so don’t do what I did the first time, and think you can make it in a hurry. It is easy, as most of recipes are and quick once you have left it over night. Kind of low maintenance jam!


Preparation time 5 minutes to cut up and over night to marinate
Cooking time 15 minutes
Serves lots and makes 3small kilner jars full


1.2kg rhubarb cut into chunks
2 vanilla pods
700g jam sugar
The juice of one orange


1.      Wash and chop the rhubarb and place in a large preserving pan. Layering the rhubarb with the sugar, orange juice and the vanilla pods, cover with a clean tea towel and leave over night.
2.      The next day put a couple of saucers in the freezer ready for testing the hot jam, remove the vanilla pods from the sticky mixture and scrape out the seeds, stir them in with 120 ml water then turn on the heat.
3.      Stir until all the sugar has dissolved and bring to the boil.
4.      Boil for 10 minutes until the bubbles get bigger, or if you have a sugar thermometer until it reaches 105 degrees. I bought a thermometer this year but actually think the best way to tell is by the bubbles and then dip a spoon into the mixture and put a dollop of the mixture on the freezing saucer. You have to freeze it for 30 seconds and then if a slight skin forms it is ready.
5.      Don’t over boil as it becomes more like toffee- not as nice as it sounds believe me. Let it cool for 10 minutes and then pour into warm sterilized jars. You can put them in the dish washer or just heat them with steam from the kettle to ensure they are clean.
6.      Seal the jars and keep in the fridge is my advice. The jam last up to a year if kept un opened and refrigerated.  


Preparation time 5 minutes
Cooking time 10 minutes
Makes a pot full!!


1 kg washed rhubarb chopped into chunks
I glass of orange juice approximately 150 ml
2tbsp soft brown sugar


1.      Chop the rhubarb and place in a large saucepan.
2.      Pour on the sugar and orange juice, if the base of the pan is not covered with liquid add a little cold water, then simmer slowly for 10 minutes.
The rhubarb should melt down into a delicious soft sweet compote that is perfect for breakfast with yoghurt or in crumbles or fools.

Summer fruits from the garden

Well that’s a first, two recipes in one post hope you have some rhubarb to try them with!

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