Grow your own vegetables in pots and containers

516nyzhlszl-_sx317_bo1204203200_Grow your own vegetables in pots and containers

This book is aimed at the majority of us who live in terraced houses, high rise flats, town houses and semi-detached properties with a small garden and often nowhere to grow but the patio. It shows how to make the most of pots and planters; how to plan for a reasonable yield; and how never to run out of at least something to special eat.

You might not have all the space in the world, but you can enjoy all the flavour in the world. With the step-by-step instructions in this book you will be able to grow, nurture and harvest your own fruit, vegetables and herbs in a range of pots and containers, including recycled ones such as plastic milk bottles, and kitchen sinks.

Buy for £6.49 saving £2.50 on Amazon Prices and free postage

Bun Loaf

Bun Loaf


  • These are lovely, toasted with butter!
  • You will need:
  • 450 g Strong white flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Mixed Spice
  • A couple of grates of nutmeg
  • 7g Sachet of fast action yeast
  • 60 g Soft brown sugar
  • 80 g Mixed dried fruit
  • 250 ml milk
  • 80 g butter
  • For the icing:
  • 50 g icing sugar
  • 2 tsp brandy
  • A little hot water


  1. Mix the dry ingredients
  2. Make a well in the mix and add the butter and milk, slightly warmed so the butter melts in the milk
  3. Knead
  4. Leave to prove for a good hour
  5. Bake at 190 C 375 F Gas 5 for 35 minutes.
  6. Mix the brandy, icing sugar and a little hot water and pour over the cooled loaf.
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Listen to “Recipe for the Day – Bun Loaf” on Spreaker.

An hour in the garden 8

Listen to “An Hour in the Garden 8” on Spreaker.

This week we look at the following:

Preparing containers for winter
Having a bonfire
Let the leaves do the work
Sowing Aquadulce Broad Beans
Sorting the strawberries

Out top ten must have for the garden (Not all things you can buy!)

1. A place for everything
2. Great gloves
3. Fleece and ground cover
4. The best tools you can afford
5. Water collection
6. Good secateurs
7. Warm clothing for winter, an overall for summer
8. Greenhouse
9. Good paths
10. A Garden Plan!

Frugal fridge luncheon

Frugal meals doesn’t mean poor quality food. Sometimes you have to make the best of what you can find.

Listen to “Frugal Meals, cheese and mushroom on toast” on Spreaker.

This time we found some mushrooms and some soft blue cheese in the fridge, used a little butter, a little oil and some very ordinary bread to make a wonderful lunch – or is it dinner? Depends where you come from I suppose.


Recorded in real time, so this is how it happened, and you might just hear Pippin having a good woof!

Recipe of the day – Tea Loaves

These are gorgeous with a little butter and they make good Christmas pressies.

Listen to “Recipe of the day Tea loaves” on Spreaker.

For the All Bran loaf
1 mug of mixed dried fruit
1 mug of cold strong tea
1 mug of allbran
Mix and cover overnight
Grease and line a loaf tin
Preheat the oven to 180C 350F Gas 4
1 mug of brown sugar
1 mug of flour
5 – 6 tablespoons of milk

Beat well and pour into the loaf tin.
Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 30 mins

For the marmalade loaf
Sift 200 g self raising flour
1 tsp cinnamon
80 g muscovado sugar
Grated zest of an orange
In a pan add 100 g butter and 3 tbsp marmalade under a low heat.
Beat 1 egg and 5 tbsps milk
All all the ingredients and beat well.
Bake at 170C 325 F Gas mark 3 for about 60 minutes.


Image by Pam loves pie from The City of Culcheth (027 of 366) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Gnocchi is real peasant food, it’s cheap and utterly gorgeous.It has another name ‘Priest’s Ruin’ after a gentleman who ate too many!

It is basically a dumpling, a potato cake if you like, chopped and boiled, but also can be baked in the oven. It can be served with lots of sauces, tomato based sauces, pesto, butter and sage or simply cheese and oil.

Listen to “Recipe of the day Gnocchi” on Spreaker.

1 Kilo potatoes
400 g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg


First boil your potatoes with the skins on until soft. Keeping the skins on keeps them dry inside.

Remove the skins and mash them lightly with a fork or a potato ricer. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt.

Add the flour and the egg, beat in and mix the ingredients. Knead lightly, but not too much. If you feel it isn’t coming together – add another egg.

Form into a loaf shape.

Cut into 2 cm ish pieces.

Roll each piece into a long thin sausage about 1 cm, with a spreading movement of the fingers. Be gentle.

Cut into small pieces about 1 cm each.

Lightly flour to stop them sticking and store in the fridge. They will be good for a couple of days. You can press them into all kinds of shapes if you like. You can freeze them too.

Cook in salted boiling water. When you put them in they will sink, but rise to the surface when they are ready, scoop out with a slotted spoon.

Give them a minute to dry off on the surface then add your sauce.

For the sauce recipe in the podcast you will need:

Large courgette sliced
Small aubergine
Small red onion
Red and yellow pepper
8 cherry tomatoes
Olive oil

Fry a chopped garlic clove or two in olive oil with some chopped bacon, add the vegetables
and 500 ml passata.
Simmer for 15 mins

Christmas Puddings Made Easy

You can buy some really good Christmas puddings in the shops, but nothing feels as good as serving your own home made pud on Christmas day. Because it is made a few weeks in advance, it only needs reheating on Christmas day all the hard work is done. Actually making a pudding is very easy, the only difficulty comes in the steaming and that is only because it can take 3-5 hours to cook. If you have a pressure cooker, the times is obviously greatly reduced but use your cookers manual for best results.
The following recipe will make a large pudding that takes about 7 hours to steam, you can divide the mixture between two pudding basins and these should take about 4 ½ hours to steam.
Use a steamer if you can get hold of one rather than standing the basin in a pan of simmering water as this gives a lighter texture to the pudding. Always remember to top up the pan with fresh boiling water every half hour or so.

Traditional Christmas Pudding
This pudding is best made at least 4 weeks before Christmas.

175g plain flour
1 level tsp each of mixed spice and ground cinnamon
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
100g breadcrumbs
110g vegetarian suet
80g soft dark brown sugar
550g mixed dried fruit, currants, raisins, sultanas, glace cherries
1 Bramley apple, grated with a squeeze of lemon juice
1 tbsp black treacle
2 eggs, beaten
200ml dark stout
Brandy to feed the pudding


1.Butter the basin or basins well.
2.Sieve the flour with the spices into a mixing bowl.
3.Stir in the breadcrumbs, suet, sugar and fruit and mix well with a long handled spoon.
4.Add the apple, treacle and eggs and beat well.
5.Stir in the stout until well combined.
6.Leave for at least 4 hours to allow the flavours to combine.
7.Stir well again then spoon into the basins.
8.Cover with two layers of greaseproof paper and a layer of foil tied securely with string. Use the string to make a handle to help lift the pudding out of the steamer if you wish. I tend not to bother and just use a tea towel to help lift the pudding with.
9.Allow to steam for 7 hours if making one large pudding or 4 ½ hours for two half size ones.
10.Remove all the paper and foil and allow to cool.
11.Prick with a skewer and drizzle 4 teaspoons brandy over the pudding. Cover well and store in an airtight container. After two weeks feed the pudding with brandy once more. This process is optional.

Very Easy Pudding
This makes a small pudding and can be made up to a week before Christmas.

350g good quality mincemeat
2 tablespoons rum or brandy
60g bread crumbs
60g self raising flour
1 level tsp mixed spice
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp black treacle

1.Put the mincemeat in a bowl and drizzle with the rum or brandy. Leave for 30 minutes before preparing the rest of the pudding.
2.Butter a 500g pudding basin.
3.Sieve the flour into a bowl with the spice and add the breadcrumbs, stir well.
4.Add the mincemeat, milk and treacle and mix together.
5.Spoon into the basin and cover as for the previous pudding.
6.Steam for 3 hours.
7.Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.
To reheat the puddings, steam for about 1 ½ -3 hours depending on size or for 7- 10 minutes in the microwave. Pressure cookers can also be used to reheat them, but check on the manufacturer’s handbook for timings.

Serve your favourite sauce or butter

Image by James Petts from London, England (Christmas pudding) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

An Hour in the garden 6

Listen to “An Hour in the Garden 6” on Spreaker.

This week we look at daffodil and tulip planting.
It’s time to get your Spring bedding transplanted.
All this makes me realise how far behind I am! Never mind!

Time to lift your Dahlias, divide the tubers and treat with sulphur powder. Keep in a dark cool place.

Go round the garden heeling in plants to keep them from the rocking wind.

Time to clean the greenhouse – mine is a temporary shed!

Prune apples and pears.

Lag the garden tap if it isn’t already.

Remove debris from around roses!


Sausage Podcast No 5

Listen to “The Sausage Podcast 5” on Spreaker.

Welcome to No 5 of The Sausage Podcast. Sorry we have been a little late, not been all that well recently.

Fight in VW boardroom over sausages
Lady in Argentina finds condom in a chorizo

This week we look at merguez sausage
Linking sausages

How to make merguez sausages

1 kg minced lamb
2 crushed and chopped garlic cloves
12 g salt
2 large tsp paprika (as much as you like – even to two tablespoons!)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp corriander
3 tbsp cold water
3 tbsp harissa

Make sure everything is cold, and sterile.
Add the spices and harissa and water into the fridge.
Bring everything into the cold bowl.
Use sheep skins at 18 is mm – soaked.

Stuff your sausages.

Link and rest overnight.


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