Month: July 2018

The Allotment Garden: June 2018

Allotment updates June 2018 | Hello Victoria

Okay, so many changes here! I’m so excited about our garden this year, and all the things we are hoping to harvest! I took these photos about mid June, and already so much has changed! I can’t wait to see where we end up in August. Or even September!

I recapped our allotment in this post a couple weeks back, and used the following illustration to show the layout of our first plot.

Allotment plans for 2017 | Hello Victoria

To show all the changes that we’ve made this year so far, and our plans for all the plants, I created a new illustration for 2018. You can see it below.

Allotment Plans 2018 | Hello Victoria

So first big changes up from last year, are the greenhouse and a second plot! Richard is so incredibly proud of the greenhouse. It took a while to build, but mostly because we were doing it in winter and there’s only so much time you want to spend freezing your butt-off outside painting pallets. The frame was built out of pallets that Richard got from his work, and for so long it looked like we were building a pen for animals. 🙂 Then he added some curved plastic pipe for the roof supports, a shelf made of pallet scraps for starting seeds at the back, and everything got covered in plastic! The thing that took the longest was painting it all with the same stain as the shed (Tudor Black Oak) as pallets have so many nooks and crannies.

Allotment updates June 2018 | Hello Victoria

We’ve used it to start all our seeds this year, and made use of both the shelf as well as the bare ground to keep large bins full of seed trays. It was great to not have our windowsills full of little trays, like last year. 🙂 Now that everything has been planted out, it’ll mostly be used to grow all our tomatoes, chili peppers, and cucamelons.

Allotment updates June 2018 | Hello Victoria

Allotment updates June 2018 | Hello Victoria

Outside of the greenhouse I opted to plant some lupins and salvia because I wanted to fill the space a bit, and make it look prettier. On the other side I moved some forget-me-nots that kept showing up on our plot to make it look nicer. Our allotment neighbour has them, and they keep seeding little plants all over our plot. Since I like free flowers I decided to simply move them, rather than get rid of them.

Allotment updates June 2018 | Hello Victoria

Beside the greenhouse we have our shipping-boxes-turned-raised-beds from last year. We’ve moved them to a slightly different spot because of the greenhouse, but they’re in the same part of the plot. Instead of lettuce greens (which we always forgot to pick) we’re growing all of our herbs in two of the boxes, while keeping the third for carrots and radishes like before. Hopefully the nasturtiums, which are planted around the two herb boxes, will really fill out and spill into the middle… so pretty!

Allotment updates June 2018 | Hello Victoria

Over by the greenhouse is our shed! I gave it a couple of fresh coats of stain, as it was looking a bit worn after the winter. And of course, we gave it a much larger patio! If you follow along on Instagram, you will have seen the progress on stories. It’s soooo nice to have enough room now to sit with a few friends for a bbq, which would have been too cramped before. And I can’t stop loving the herringbone brick! We scoured Gumtree to find free bricks in our area, and then cleaned the old mortar off them to add to the existing patio. (more…)

My Perfect Scone Recipe

My perfect scone recipe | Hello Victoria

One of Richard’s childhood memories is coming home after school, to his mom making fresh scones. He would sit at their breakfast bar, with a cup of tea and a scone, and tell her about how hard his day was (he had to colour for hours 🙂 ). When I first heard that, I immediately wanted to find a great scone recipe, so I could do the same for him now. I wanted him to come home from work to fluffy, light, layered scones.

However, the first couple of recipes that I tried never lived up to their pictures. It sort of bummed me out, and I put off finding a good recipe. That is, until I was asked to make scones for someone’s wedding. That sort of put the fire under my butt that I needed!

My perfect scone recipe | Hello Victoria

My perfect scone recipe | Hello Victoria

So I decided to try Mary Berry’s recipe for classic Devonshire scones. Well, they had the same problem as the ones before, but this time, I decided to tweak them until they came out the way I wanted! Scones tend to fall into two camps – slightly dry and crumbly, or softer and layered. The first time I made this recipe, they definitely fell into the first category. And I’m not the biggest fan of the crumbly kind of scones.

My perfect scone recipe | Hello Victoria

on the left are the scones from the first attempt – and on the right are the scones after I tweaked the recipe
Then I started thinking about it – crumbly is because of a lack of gluten development. Most scone recipes tell you not to work the dough very much – just press it together a couple times and cut them out. But that’ll end up with crumbly scones. If you want them to hold together better, you’ll have to knead the dough briefly – like 10-15 turns of kneading. By working the dough a bit, you’ll end up with a softer, fluffy texture – just the way I like them! Oh, and be sure to roll them out thick! If they’re less than 1/2″ in height, then they won’t rise as much. The thicker you roll it out to, the more they’re grow! (more…)