Harvesting beetroot and making a tart

beetroot tartBeetroot tart has become a favourite of ours since we started growing our own beetroot. It’s a bit surprising to the uninitiated just how sweet beetroot can be, mostly I think because they’ve only tried the pickled beetroot from jars and just assume this is what beetroot actually tastes like. It is actually a lovely, sweet vegetable that come in so many more colours than red.

This recipe is inspired by a Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall recipe from his River Cottage cookbook. It’s a favourite on our table now.


• 1 tbsp olive oil

• 25g butter

• 500g baby beetroot (no bigger than a golf ball), scrubbed

• 1 tbsp soft brown sugar

• 1 tbsp cider vinegar

• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

• Puff pastry (shop bought is fine)

For the vinaigrette

• Green tops from a few spring onions, finely chopped

• 1 tsp English mustard

• 1 tbsp cider vinegar

• 5 tbsp rapeseed oil

• 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley


Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan large enough for all the beetroot to sit snugly add the beetroot and toss to coat in the oil and butter. Add the sugar and vinegar, season and taste, adjusting the vinegar and sugar if necessary.

Cover the pan with foil and place in an oven preheated to 190°C/gas mark 5 for approximately 30-40 minutes or until the beetroot are tender.

When the beetroot are cooked remove from the oven and arrange the beets neatly in the pan. Roll out the pastry and cut a circle a little larger than the pan. Carefully place the pastry over the beetroot tucking the excess pastry into the pan. Return to the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes until golden and puffed up.

Make the vinaigrette by placing all the ingredients in a clean jam jar and give it a good shake.

When the tart is ready remove from the oven and leave to rest for a few minutes.

To serve place a large plate over the pan and carefully, but quickly, turn upside down, remove the pan and pour over the vinaigrette.


Lunch for the aged parents

Kate’s mum and dad are visiting for lunch today so we thought we’d treat them to some garden delights (since they are blog fans). So today’s lunch will be stuffed chicken breast wrapped in Parma ham with baby carrots, sautéed potatoes and asparagus (asparagus not from the garden).

So pictures? Silly question.


Ok so maybe more like teenage carrots than baby. However we did have an interesting find when we were pulling the carrots…

cuddling carrots

How’s that for cuddling carrots?







Next… potatoes…


Our potatoes have been a big hit, especially as Kate’s potato salad, I’ll get her to blog her secrets recipe.






Lastly, the herbs for dinner.

kate cutting herbs


Hospital corner update

Remember we told you about hospital corner, about our fuchsia which we were trying to save?

Well we thought we’d give you a quick update on how it’s looking.


hospital corner







We had four fuchsias two of each colour but the winter had really taken its toll so we thought they had died. However we decided to try to revive them with a little love… And …


fuscia - hospital corner











Can’t wait till there flower again. They are truly lovely.

Wheat on earth???


It seems that the birds approve of the leftover homemade bread we feed them to the extent that they decided to plant some grains so we can grind our own flour to make more!!!!

Eating what you sow

This week we thought we’d do you a wee update on the food we get from the garden rather than just lots of pictures of plants, although we will also be including pictures of plants of course

The exciting news this week is that we are seeing our first tomatoes. This is quite a big deal as last year we had so many tomatoes and it left us go wild in the kitchen with pasta and salads etc. So we’re both quite excited about this prospect again. Obviously the tomatoes are only small and green just now, but it’s a sure sign of things to come.

baby tomatoes




So what do we do with tomatoes from the garden? Well this recipe is a big favourite of ours.







garden pasta salad

Summer Pasta


• Lots of tomatoes – all different types

• Garlic – raw – 6 cloves

• fresh basil – handful of shredded leaves

• olive oil – 6 table spoons

• spaghetti cooked


How to make

It’s really simple.

Cut up your tomatoes into bite sized pieces, mince the garlic and mix this all with the olive oil. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for a few hours.

Cook some spaghetti and then mix the garlicky tomato goodness through it.

Add your basil and some seasoning to taste… and serve.

Don’t be put off by the idea of the raw garlic, it’s not actually as overpowering as you think, it’s more of a warm hum when added to the tomatoes and basil.

Serve with a nice glass of chilled white wine in the garden.

So what else do we have?

Well the courgettes yet again are growing up a storm, we’ve already had one meal from this plant and there are clearly more to come. So what do we like to do with the courgettes?


Kate’s Lemon Thyme Chicken with Courgettes.



• Courgettes – sliced

• Chicken breast – cooked and sliced

• crème fresh

• lemon thyme


How to

Again a dead simple meal made with fresh ingredients from the garden.

Fry off the sliced chicken breast with the courgette slices until cooked.

Add the crème fresh and some lemon thyme from the garden, give it a good stir and a heat through, season and serve in a big bowl with homemade bread.

A big favourite of mine is beetroot and before you screw your nose up – real, fresh beetroot is completely different from the pickled stuff in jars we were fed as kids. Trust me.


Kate does the most amazing roast beetroot tart, which this beetroot is destined for next week – although I haven’t told Kate that yet. But she also does lovely roasted beetroot with rosemary. We blogged the recipe last year so click here and go make some.





Now rather than bore you with loads more of our recipes, here are some baby lemons… awwwwwwwww

baby lemons








Now this rhubarb is destined for a rhubarb and ginger crumble… I promise I’ll blog it when I make it. Yum!









And lastly lunch last weekend. Baked Camembert with broccoli spears from the garden to dip into the gooey cheese.

broccoli and camembert


Life is hard being me and Kate!!!!









Another garden miracle

After the recent success with Lazarus the clematis, I’m proud to report that we have another clematis survivor. Not flowering yet but stood number of buds so fingers crossed….

lazarus 2

Major veggie update

We thought it was high time for a bit of a photo extravaganza for you to show you what’s going on in the garden.

So without further ado and with a fanfare…

Broccoli and sprouts

brassica beds

There were a bit of an experiment this year, we weren’t sure what to expect or to be honest just how much space they’d take up. However it’s looking good for purple broccoli.





purple sprouting broccolii


So what other exciting greenery can we show you? Well how about carrots?









carrots in bed




Although I should point out that the actual carrots are purple and yellow.





more courgettes

Actually wait a minute they are yellow.






Ok…. Beetroot

beetroot leaves







Oh I give up… How about I just show you lots of pictures of our fabulous veggies?

long shot of beds







And our herbs

herb bed










So… Tomatoes then?

tomato plants in greenhouse










The wait is on… 27th of July I’m having a BBQ as it’s my birthday weekend…. I’m planning to eat this lot.


The Lazarus experiment

As you know we already have a hospital corner, well now we have a success story from the ICU.

Last year we planted some clematis along the back fence to tie some additional privacy and colour to the beer garden area, but they didn’t really take, so when we put in the new raised bed they were banished to outer Mongolia (i.e. behind the shed. I didn’t give them any further thought till a week or so ago when I noticed that there was a bit of green where there had previously been dead sticks. So I dug out a spare pot and decided to give it a chance, and boy am I glad I did……..

lazarus clematis


Brassicas everywhere

It’s amazing what I little bit of sun does and not just to me.

brassicas everywhere







We planted a bed with broccoli and Brussels sprouts recently, all nice and spaced out. A bit of sunshine later and they have turned into day of the triffids.

We have a bed full, a large pot full and two troughs full.

The exciting bit is that we have our first baby broccoli….

our first broccoli


It’s all very exciting. The broccoli and sprouts were two of our new veggies for this year so we didn’t know what to expect. Success I think is the answer.







Another new arrival in the garden this year are our yellow courgettes. Yup yellow. We have three babies on the plant already.

baby courgettes











So on the colour theme, we have:

  • yellow courgettes
  • Purple carrots
  • Orange carrots
  • Yellow carrots
  • Stripy beetroot
  • Red beetroot
  • Yellow beetroot
  • Red stripy tomatoes
  • Green stripy tomatoes
  • Yellow tomatoes
  • Burgundy tomatoes
  • Purple Tatties and
  • White Tatties
  • Rainbow chard



Gardening Scotland

This year we got to be old hands, as we’d gone to Gardening Scotland last year as new home owners and indeed new garden owners. This year however we knew how it all worked, we already had our handy hot pink pull trolley and our map of the events. We rock! (I was chuffed that this year we knew the name and details of some of the plants where as last year we felt a little bit conspicuous by our ignorance).

So here we are, just home, bright pink from our day in the gorgeous sunny weather and only down £22 on plants (last year we spend around £140). Success!!!!

We were up early, fortified with our bran flakes and in the car, ready to get a good parking space – because you don’t want to have to carry all your purchases for miles. So off we went.

Plan for today then, looking for something or ideas for filling out the shrubbery a little bit as it hadn’t spread the way we’d hoped. A wee jaunt around the craft area, cause we both like hand-made things and of course, get some tasty treats from the artisan food area.

Eli was also hatching a plan to get onto Beechgrove garden tonight as the show was to be from the Gardening Scotland event.

Sadly that didn’t work out as there was no sign of the Beechgrove folks. Eli was disappointed as she has an ongoing competition with Jim and his tomatoes.

Eli fell in love in the craft area. We discovered a stall where a woman was selling stuffed toys she makes, and she has a thing for hedgehogs. For those of you who have stumbled across this blog for the first time, the hedgehog is the mascot of our craft beer brewing. Eli has become quite obsessed with hedgehogs. So she bought a little handmade one, which I have to admit is actually – adorable.

We had a really good wander around all the display gardens and one that really caught our eye was by the Dry Stone Wall Association. It has really set me thinking about our front garden which is very flat. This one just had so much texture and depth to it. I’m wondering if something like this could be our project for next year and the front garden.

You need to be able to see the dry stone wall garden from above to be able to see the planting – it was a saltire. Very appropriate for the day.

stone dyke garden







There were some little gardens put together by local(ish) schools, mostly around themes and we saw an appropriate on we’d take a picture of.

This one was put together to the theme of global warming and our carbon footprints and to make it all the more special, it was from the high school my Dad attended – Bell Baxter High School.

Bell Baxter High School







There were also a few other gardens that we liked as well as some displays indoors.

Eli’s favourite of course was the display of veggies, all looking very perfect and very colourful and how on earth do they get them to stand up all perfect like that? Not a single funny shaped carrot in sight.

So what we’ve done is put together a little gallery of photos from the day for you to enjoy. You can see the amazing bonsai trees, the flowers, the veggies and all sorts more. Enjoy (we did)!