Saturday, 20 June 2015

"Strawberry Fields Forever!"

Today didn't start with strawberry fields, but in our garden veggie patch. It's probably the smallest veggie patch ever...and this morning I realised it was only going to accommodate one of the five Funky Veg I have been growing from seeds.
Teen Two came out to help me ( with the promise of being paid!) with the sieving. We haven't used this patch of ground since we moved here over 20 years ago, so it needed some serious nourishment!
After what seemed like an age of digging, sieving, added compost etc, it was time to plant out the yellow courgettes. I just hope after all this effort they grow.  I have decided, at this early stage of the process, that I suspect veggie growing is not for me. I kept thinking how much easier it is just to pick them up at the shops! "But think of the fun" said Teen One, when I shared my shocking thoughts. But who has been the one who has been doing all this hard work.....Mum of course. So it hasn't really been fun to be honest. Now, if I had a family member (any of them will do) I would enthuse all day long about the virtues of home grown produce and I would really really love just being able to wander out into the garden and pick something fresh to add to that days dinner. But as for being the one who does the actual growing of it all....nah...don't think its for me!
By the time the planting was done, it was late morning and I had wanted to go out before lunch, so thought I would rustle something up to take with us, so as to avoid hungry tummies en route.
A regular feature on our days out at the moment are cheesy tortillas, pan fried, then  sliced and  wrapped in foil.

If kept in an insulated lunch box, they stay warm for quite a while, but are just as delicious cold. If you eat them straight out of the pan they are of course crispy too. Today I added some fresh baby spinach leaves, other times I have added grated carrot, and of course marmite is perfect combination too.  If we are setting off very early in the morning for a long trip and our tummies  are not quite ready for breakfast, they can be made very quickly and eaten in the car a little later on.

I saw online last night, that the Strawberry Pick Your Own season has started. Its been a while since we did that with the Teens, so thought we would make the most of having a relatively free day. I couldn't help thinking how wonderful it would be to have a strawberry patch in the garden....then I remembered all the time that goes into home produce and thought perhaps I will just be content with PYO!
Those sumptuous plump berries certainly did look a treat, and so stunning with the green, reminding me of my previous post
I made sure the Teens picked a basket each as I had a little treat in store for later on today.
I have seen a lot recently about "Jam Jar Puds" and thought today would be a good day to try one out. I have been saving jam jars for a while, they are so useful for so many things. The ones I have favoured are from Lidl's. The label comes off SO EASILY!Just soak them over night and it comes off perfectly clean, not scrubbing and picking at stubborn areas. Not only that, the lids are pretty, and the jam is good too!
Teen One set about crushing some meringues whilst I whipped up cream..... with what we brought home from the strawberry fields...
 I don't think you will need three guesses to come up with what we were planning to fill the jars with...
Eton Mess!

Aren't these lids just perfect!
Sadly Teen Two doesn't like strawberries ( can you imagine!!) so he has Mess without the Eton! We added some toffee sauce to make it a bit special for him.
Dinner tonight is going to be a BBQ on the beach ( weather permitting) so our Jam Jar Puds will be perfect!
Barbecues are all well and good, but I do like something fresh with mine, so made up a coleslaw using carrot, sweetheart cabbage, apple, dried apricots, garlic mayo and a dash of cream to make it more palatable for hubby. If I had any Greek Yogurt in the fridge I would have used that instead...honest!
Whilst Teen One and I played in the kitchen, Teen Two spent some time putting his new Lego kit together. It won't stay like this for long, he likes to mix the kits up and make his own creations. If any of you saw the TV programme "The Secret World Of Lego" last weekend, you will be familiar with the term "AFOL." (Adult Fan Of Lego)  I am sure Teen Two is going to join that ever growing club!
Once down on the beach it became obvious lighting the BBQ was going to take more than striking a match! The wind was very strong, and despite digging a hole to put the tray in for some shelter, and using the picnic blanket as a wind shield....the flame was not going to stay alight long enough for the charcoals to catch light. I have always thought, if I was to be marooned on a desert island, I would want to have hubby with me. So resourceful in so many ways! Today confirmed my beliefs in him. Whilst many might have said..." well we will have to pack up and go home" hubby charged Teen Two to go and look for pieces of drift wood. He set up little piles of matches in between the charcoal, used littered paper found nearby, and together with the driftwood Teen Two successfully found, within five minutes the BBQ was well alight! Teen Two really loved the challenge and felt it was like being on a survival programme! I knew how he felt...although felt we were cheating a tad by pulling out a pack of burgers from the back pack....not to mention the Eton Mess!
Talking of which...they were delicious and Jam Jar Puds are definitely going to appear in our picnics in the future.
Of course no BBQ is complete without marshmallows!

Whilst the wind might have put our BBQ in jeopardy, it most certainly made our next activity a more fun one....kite flying. We have been kite flying for several decades, with various nieces and nephews. Many of them were hand made  (usually last minute) ones and whilst the making of them was fun, we never seemed to have the right sort of wind for flying them! Today however was the best we have had. Whether it was the excellent quality kites, or the perfect wind, who knows, but it made for two very happy Teens and one very happy dad!

These kites were actually a gift from family in Australia a few years ago, they certainly are easy to use and gave two teens a lot of fun!
The wind provided a bit more entertainment for us today as well...Teen One managed to make some "music" by letting the wind blow over the top of her bottle. It was good to see two teens laughing over something so simple.
Whilst they were amusing themselves with the kites, I did a bit of beachcombing. I was trying to find some unusual pebbles or shells for a summer display we are trying to build at home. Since returning from the States in 1996 I have always decorated the fireplace with autumnal things. Then more recently Easter/spring collections have become a feature. Christmas of course is the time when lots of decorating goes on in the house, but Teen One thought perhaps we ought to have a summer collection too.
I didn't manage to find anything too out of the ordinary, but at least the collection has begun.
Although I was delighted to find this little pebble...complete with heart!
Our walk back to the car is passed a row of beach huts...I always think there is something so appealing about their design and the painted wood.
Well that was our Saturday, its time for a relax on the sofa and a spot of crocheting I reckon!


  1. Wow what a day!! I'm exhausted just reading it!! You are creating such great memories for the teens, and as you say they enjoying such simple things which is quite refreshing these days.
    We ha a great strawberry crop growing in the garden and in the courtyard the first ones were picked today but it will only be a couple of days and we will have more than we can cope with!! I will freeze some even though they turn mushy in the freezer, they are still good mixed with cream or meringue to make eton mess plus other things.

  2. My present husband and I were talking yesterday about your grandmother and I suddenly realised that I don't think I ever remember knowing what sort of work she did before she got married, I am assuming she did work.
    She would love to have seen all the photographs on your blog. Xx

  3. Well you know what, I don't know I can be sure what she did before she was married either. The jobs I know she spoke about were being a roundswoman and working in a chocolate factory ( was it Rowntrees) but whether she was married then I don't know. Sometimes it makes you wish you had asked more questions doesn't it!
    We deliberately don't pick large quantities of strawberries as they are really at their best when fresh. As you say, they are ok for some things like Eton Mess when frozen, but otherwise they are just too expensive to waste by freezing...unless of course you have a very useful hubby, like your present one, who has green fingers xx
    Had any thoughts of Jam Jar Puds?Would be great at wedding receptions I reckon.

  4. I tell you what...maybe the wedding certificate would shed some light on the matter?

  5. Marriage certificate is blank for profession. Grandad is down as "general labourer."

  6. No I haven't really given the JJ puts any serious thought, however I did see some small jars today with different spices in them 50p each and I did think that's not a price for the jar let alone what was in them. Just had a thought - I could get several with cloves or cinnamon in, use the contents for a christmas craft and then I would have the jar for the pud!! I'm rambling now better stop and go to bed! Xx

  7. Sounds like you've had a great day. I did see somewhere that you could use large pebbles to play noughts and crosses in the garden by simply marking them.