Sunday, 27 October 2013

Has Beans?

It's been a good year for beans.  I picked runner beans today, a whole month later than I would have expected.  The September cold snap normally switches them off, but this year they stuttered and picked up again. That's a real bonus.

All the same I decided today to harvest the Canadian Wonder. The weather must be turning soon, and already they have stopped in their tracks. Time to bring them under cover.  These are usually classified as Dwarf French beans in the catalogues. I grow them for drying. They don't stay green for long and for seed they produce what we all know as "Red Kidney Beans"

I've got all stages left on the plants:  

It is important to dry them off properly, and to do so in the pod.  There must be some magic natural chemical in the pods which inhibits mould.  It's hard to enough find space. Most are in the plastic covered shelving (the basil has been moved indoors). But for the final push this is a surefire place to dry them off completely.

It's looking like a bumper crop this year!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Lyonnais Pea Tree?

Been for a visit to Lyon. Came across an interesting tree in Parc Tete D'Or

Peas in a Pod?

Mimosa Albizia Julibrissin - Persian Silk Tree
A fantastic public park with Botanic Gardens

Banana seed pod

Mexican Garden

Flower Garden - lots of Dahlias

and a Zoo

Bat Eared Foxes

New arrival out for a gambol
And here are some other snaps of the sights of Lyon:

Goodbye Lyon

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Breadmaker Bread

Here's today's breadmaker bread

and here's the previous batch:

Breadmakers have been getting a bad press courtesy of a certain Mr Cameron. I am a breadmaker fan.  (I've worn two out) but I never BAKE bread in my breadmaker.  In 90 minutes it will have reliably mixed kneaded and proved whatever dough I choose to put in it.  Sometimes I leave it to sit for an extra 30 mins or an hour, sometimes I get the machine to knock down the risen dough in a brief second knead, before swithing off the machine mid cycle. Always I remove the proved dough, shape it, on a baking sheet, baguette tray or in a tin and, after a further rise, bake it in the kitchen oven.  Not as convenient as Mr C's "load at night ready when you wake up" loaf but a whole lot better tailored to our tastes. (Also no trouble removing that paddle from the bottom of the loaf.

What was hilarious was to hear Dan Lepard, venerated author of "The Handmade Loaf" being lectured by some woman on the radio who was blinded by the therapeutic benefits of getting your hands in the dough and hanging around for hours on end.  What if you work all day at something else, commute and consequently have restricted time? What if you have arthritis (as Dan asked), or exzema or some other skin condition?  And what if , as I frequently find, your hands are grimy after a weeding session???  Bread machines are a boon, make no mistake!