Thursday, 28 February 2013

Another challenge recipe - Marmalade & Carrot Ginger Spice Bread

You'd be forgiven for thinking I'd gone blog challenge mad.  I've just realised that 4 out of the last 5 posts are linked to challenges.  This one's no different either!  It's been a bug I've been getting recently as it's been inspiring me to cook and try out different things so that must be a good thing yes?  There's some belters out there; sad to say I don't have the time to do as many as I'd like what with having to work (booorrring) and all but in the process of looking up different things to do you often stumble across interesting recipes, techniques and ideas.
This is one of those cases.  Whilst hunting down who originally wrote the marmalade ice-cream recipe I wrote about yesterday I saw a mention on a blog post of marmalade ginger bread.  This intriguing idea led me on a hunt round the t'internet to find a definitive recipe and also - whose it was.  This last is difficult as I've found exactly the same recipe several places but here seems to be the earliest.  I've adapted it but that's the base original.  I adapted it primarily because I wanted to use up some carrot (left over from the stuffed carrots I made for random recipes) and replace some of the flour with wholewheat.  I then discovered I had less golden syrup that the recipe called for so upped the amount of marmalade in it's place.  I also changed the spices and if I made it again I'd change them more. 
So for Turquoise Lemons' Preserves No Waste food challenge here's my unplanned yet snappily titled:

Marmalade & Carrot Ginger Spice Bread
75g butter
115g golden syrup
75g lemon marmalade
185g orange marmalade
100g carrot
50g wholewheat flour*
175g SR Flour
0.5 tsp BP
4tsp ground ginger
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground all spice (If you don't have this use 0.5tsp nutmeg and 0.5tsp clove)
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 170˚ / 160˚ on a fan oven.  Grease and line a tray / tin.
Melt the butter, golden syrup and marmalade together. I did mine in the microwave in a pyrex jug, heating for a minute at a time to avoid any boiling jam splashes.
Grate the carrot into a mixing bowl.
Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl on top of the carrot.  When you get to the end of the sifting and have all the wheat pieces left from the wholewheat flour give everything a last press to ensure any lumps of spices or flour are through the sieve then tip the wheat in.  We're sifting to add some air but don't want to lose the goodness brought by using some wholewheat flour.
Stir gently to coat the carrot in flour so it doesn't clump together then make a well in the centre.
Pour the melty butter, syrup and marmalade mix in and gently fold in.
Beat the egg (use the same pyrex jug - saves on washing up!) and add to the mix.  Fold in gently again so we don't lose all the lovely air.  You should have a batter that is slightly runny, but not totally liquid; a gloopy sort of consistency.  At this point I will mention that all of the recipes I saw also called for 'a little' or 2tbsp milk or warm water at this point.  I'd imagine if you're using a smaller egg maybe this would be needed but my egg was pretty big so I didn't feel extra liquid was necessary.
Pour into your tin/tray.  I used an 8" x 12" tray.
Bake.  Mine took 40 minutes in this tray.  Some recipes quoted up to an hour if using a smaller tray or a tin; therefore a greater depth of cake.  It's done when a skewer pushed in comes out clean - though do be aware it could hit a spot of marmalade so it's worth doing it in 2 or 3 different places.  The cake itself will be a nice golden brown and should spring back when pressed gently in the centre.
*I used 50g only of wholewheat flour as I hadn't made this recipe before and was already changing it with the addition of the carrot so I was wary of making it too heavy.  As it is the bake has come out moist from the carrot but stayed light and airy so you could add up to 100g I think and it still be a good light bake.  Don't forget the baking powder though!
Apparently like gingerbreads normally are, this is one of those bakes that improves after time; 3 days being the quoted timescale.  Having tried it fresh my current impression is that I'm inclined to switch the spices round more next time by swapping out some of the ginger.  At the moment the marmalade and general spices come through first then the ginger follows which seems a little unbalanced to me. However, I will come back in a few days and tell you how it is then.  As I did end up using less golden syrup and more marmalade than originally planned this may have tipped the balance of the flavours.  All in all I'm pleased though as it's stayed light, it's tasty, and it used up some odds and ends of marmalade and excess carrot innards.  :-)

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Marmalade Ice-Cream, a No Waste food challenge

There's a No Waste food challenge set up over at Turquoise Lemons new for 2013.  Inspired by the 'love food hate waste' campaign Kate has come up with the spiffing idea of picking a common 'leftover' as the ingredient each month to use up.  This month's theme is preserves.  So I humbly offer - marmalade ice-cream.  I have adapted the original recipe but this came from the Observer Magazine colour supplement sometime in the late 90's; I think most likely to be '95-'97 but that's based on where it appears in my little notebook in comparison to where others are against my memories of what was in there when I went to uni and what got written in later.  If that makes sense.  So with appropriate thanks to the original author* this is my adapted version.  I feel the original recipe which just used orange marmalade and cream could be a little too rich so I use lemon or lime marmalade, or both, plus fresh zest and juice to zing it up.  It will depend what you have in that needs using up though.  This recipe uses nigh on a whole jar.  It's super easy to make and pretty quick; it's also pretty cheap, especially if you get the fruit on Aldi's super 6 or just get the cream only.  Massively unhealthy so enjoy in moderation!
*With thanks to Phil in the comments I am now sure this was originally a recipe of Sophie Grigsons from 'Sophie's Table'.  Originally published in 1990 it seems to have a second edition in '98 so I'm guessing that's when and why her recipe was in the mag I saw it in.

375g marmalade - this time I had lemon to use
2 limes
300ml double cream

Put marmalade in a bowl or - I used the container I will freeze the ice cream in.  This recipe makes one of these standard litre-ish sized containers full.
Zest the limes in then juice them really well into the bowl / container.  I use the 'microwave for 10-20 seconds then roll on the counter top' method before cutting the fruit open to get the most juice from lemons and limes.  Squish the pulp in too - it all means more flavour and less waste! 
Remember that frozen foods dull the taste sense which is why recipes always call for more sugar and more flavour than you'd think in ice-cream.  So don't be worried if you think it's too limey - it needs it.
Beat the cream until stiff - I used my FP here, bit easier on the arm muscles!
Fold it into the marmalade.

That's it - none of that beating every few hours to keep the crystals small.  Every time I've made this previously I haven't and it's turned out fine, I think because you whip the cream and marmalade first.  It can be a little on the firm side so I'd advocate removal from the freezer 10 mins before serving.**  Yum!

**Edit - it wasn't nearly as solid this time, I think because I used the whisk on the FP where I've done it by hand before so it was undoubtedly better beaten.  As it is now I wouldn't stand it for any time, and 10 mins would make it a bit too melty!

Random Recipes - Wartime Stuffed Carrots

This months Random Recipe theme from Belleau Kitchen was a DIY based idea - you could pick the book yourself to choose your recipe from.  I immediately got my selection of slightly more 'historical' books out.  I find these fascinating not just for the recipes (and the veg cooking times - my god the horror!) but also as a social commentary of the time. 
One of these is a little more tongue in cheek - 'Mrs Cook's book of recipes' professes to be dishes that an 18th century sailor may have been familiar with but I'm not entirely sure some of it isn't a bit less than genuine.  Anyway, having already discarded the 1940 Be-Ro book that I inherited from my gran's kitchen (a famously poor cook according to my mother) I opened 'Mrs Cook's' at random.  Otter Meat.  Seriously. 
Perhaps my 1939 copy of 'Cooking with Elizabeth Craig' could be of more help?  I ruffled the pages past and... Roast Capercailzie.  Eh?  Besides a very vague knowledge that this is a bird of some kind I was a bit lost.  Was there a more helpful recipe on the facing page?  It's... Roast Blackcock.  Er no, not really more helpful then. 
Perhaps this idea of mine to use these old books wasn't so hot as it seemed like I wasn't going to be able to get the ingredients?
I hadn't even opened my 1968 version of the classic 1932 'Good Things in England' yet - a fantastic book where Florence White, on becoming concerned that many regional specialities were being lost set up the English Folk Cookery Association and collected them into this book.  It's available as a reprint now and fab.  However I'm well aware it includes things like 'Rook Pie' and recipes for Elvers (Baby Eels) and I'm thinking I'm doomed!
Then the Chap pipes up - "where's that war one?  By that woman?"  By this I know he means the 'Health For All Wartime Recipes' book.  This is written by one Margaret Y. Brady who was a 'diet reformer' ie vegetarian back then.  She comes across as somewhat crusading, didactic and a leetle bit of a scary lady.  The Chap as a confirmed carnivore finds her hilarious and quickly plucks the book from me to open and laugh at what he finds within.  'Stuffed carrots' he chortles to himself, unwittingly having just picked my random recipe.  So - stuffed carrots it is!
Scrape out the insides of your carrots - I carefully picked some monsters to use for this.  Mix breadcrumbs, finely chopped onion, fresh herbs, a little grated cheese and one egg - 'made up' the recipe states. 
Thankfully I can use fresh.  I also added some salt and pepper then dotted with butter and baked for the requisite 45 minutes. 
Well - it is what it is.  Eggy bready filling baked in a carrot.  There was a lack of flavour in the stuffing despite me 'accidentally' doubling the cheese included.  The herbs came through but I think as a concept dropping the bread and using some mushrooms in a wine and red onion reduction or something along those lines would be better.  Also depending how soft you like your veg I'd be inclined to drop at least 15 minutes off the cooking time.  It's a cheap recipe to make but actually TBH I'd be inclined to just not make it again really.  Oh - and carving the insides of your carrots out is a right old faff.  If you should wish to try something like this use a knife you (or in fact the Chap) has broken the tip off of as this helps as a digging out tool.  Or possibly a chisel.  :-)
So - this random recipe was edible but not really massively appealing.  It has renewed my interest in trying out some of these old recipes though.  Possibly not the otter meat one however...

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A different walk to work

It's very misty this morning, and cold.  A cold that chaps my face and makes my cheeks tingle.  It's also kind of magical and a little bit spooky too. 
 The familiar landmarks of my daily journey hide themselves, then briefly loom out of the enveloping mist to vanish again behind a few steps further on.
Soon the sun will burn it all away and the ethereal otherness will be gone; until the next time.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Themes of wild garlic pesto

3 weeks back the Chap and I went for our first forage of the year and were pleased to see the wild garlic sprouting already. We’ve been meaning to go back since but have variously been deterred by rain, being busy and watching the opening 2 weekends of the 6 nations rugby. So today, it being reasonably sunny (though very windy) and lacking in rugby fixtures we made the trip and found a lot more of the garlic has come up.
As a contrast this is the same area I pictured last time, you can see many more of the shoots have unfurled properly, and the river has taken its rightful place within it’s banks again! There were also plants all the way along this stretch that weren’t in evidence last visit so we should have plenty to keep us going this year.
So we stocked up and came back with about 300g of the stuff. We’re wild garlic pesto aficionado’s and made a few batches once we got home trying out using hazelnuts as well as the standard pine nuts and adding lemon juice to some. I think the lemon juice really lifts the mix and I’m a big fan of that version. Otherwise I did prefer the pine nut version to the hazelnut one. I also made one batch with half basil and half wild garlic as I had some fresh basil in the fridge to be used up which was lovely. So with this many herbs I’m going to enter this into this month’s Herbs on a Saturday over at Lavender and Lovage. Having just nipped over there I’ve also found that serendipitously this month there is a mini-theme of foraging!  :-)
We’ve adapted our pesto from the HFW recipe in his Hedgerow book which incidentally is a good read as are the seashore and mushroom ones in that series.

Wild garlic pesto and variants thereof - for a small batch that fills a 200g-ish size jar:
50g wild garlic, rinsed well of any mud etc
30g pine nuts / hazelnuts
30g parmesan / veggie version
80ml olive oil + a little extra
S + P
10ml lemon juice – if using
Toast off your nuts gently. Pine nuts I do in a dry pan, for the hazelnuts we added a little oil as they’re less naturally oily than the pine nuts.
Rough grate the parmesan and place it, the nuts, garlic and salt and pepper in your FP and blend.
During blending pour in the olive oil. Taste and adjust, it may need more salt than you think to bring the flavours out but it’s always best to err on the side of caution to begin with.
With the motor running once more add the lemon juice. You can do this in 5ml increments if you want until it’s pleasing to your own taste. I made one batch deliberately more lemony as that’s my favourite.
Pour into a sterilised jar and tap sharply on the counter top to encourage it to settle and remove any air bubbles.
Lastly drizzle a little more oil over the top to ensure it’s sealed from the air then store in the fridge.
For my basil and garlic version I had just over 25g of basil so just made it half and half with the garlic and used pine nuts and the lemon juice. We had some straight away on a hardboiled egg with a little sea salt sprinkled on and it was divine!
This is also very good with cheese and crackers, stirred through pasta or one of my favourites – smeared on top of the cheese on toast before grilling to melt the cheese. I think it could also work with spinach and feta in a pie, drizzled into the top of soup, tossed with new potatoes for a salad; there’s a myriad of uses.
If you have a patch of wild garlic local to you this is well worth making and works out pretty cheap. The garlic is nuppence and although pine nuts and the cheese are more pricy you only use a little of them. Try it and you’ll be a convert too!!

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Bloggers around the world - a Mexican feast

This month’s theme for Bloggers Around the World by Chris over at Cooking Around the World was Mexico. Well - other than opening a tin of refried beans (a long time ago) and making (once) guacamole from scratch I've never done any actual Mexican cooking despite being a fan of the country's cuisine so I set out to find some interesting recipes to try.
There's a lot with meat in so I hunted a bit further; I wanted to try and find something that I could enjoy whilst being at the same time authentically Mexican.
I met with some success finding this blog and this site both with recipes on, and the second one introduced me to Esquites, a corn based street food complete with cheese, mayo, lime, chilli and the herb Epazote that I’ve never even heard of let alone can get here!  Nevertheless I decided to give it a bash as I love sweetcorn.  After some more searching for an actual recipe I stumbled on this video from a Mexican restaurant and loosely based my version on that.  This was served with Mexican rice (admittedly from a USA site), refried beans (BBC!) and preceded by a Seabass ceviche from here - I’m sad to say that she isn’t Mexican either!
So – how did it go?
The ceviche was super easy to do and tasty too.  It’s the first time I’ve ever made ceviche or indeed eaten it and I was very much taken with it.  Not sure the coconut came through a lot but then I didn’t see coconut making much of an appearance in any other of the Mexican recipes I looked at so I’m not sure how authentic it’s inclusion is or isn’t.  I had a moment’s worry when I realised I had totally forgotten the tortilla chips to serve it with and that my avocado was still rock hard but I muddled though.    We both found this refreshing, though perhaps more of a summer dish.  Although there’s a lot of lime in it (I used the juice of 2 limes as this was enough to cover the fish) it isn’t too overpowering, just being citrusy and zingy.  I added a minimum of avocado to serve and sadly dumped my plan for guacamole to go with the other dishes as the 2 avocado pears I bought at the weekend had obstinately remained too solid to be used yet, despite putting them in a brown paper bag to hasten the ripening process.
Next to be started was the rice.  Here again I had a minor panic when I came to add the rice to the hot oil as I realised I only had about 1.5 cups of long grain white rice rather than the 2 called for.  I made up the quantity with Arborio rice and the dish seemed none the worse for it.  The Chap hadn’t noticed anyway so it can’t have been too bad.  Again this dish is fairly simple to do and I had great hopes of it but… I found myself a little underwhelmed if I’m honest.  It was nice but it didn’t really ‘sing’ to me.  It needed more heat for sure but I still found the flavours a little lacking and the only thing I changed in the recipe was to use veggie stock instead of chicken which I don’t think would have made that much difference. 
I like the idea of whizzing up your raw onion and tomatoes to make the ‘stock’ for it to be cooked in though and I may borrow this technique for future experimentation.  (Although I did manage to break the only tin opener in the house getting into the tin of tomatoes!!)  If you do check the recipe out however I must state that I most definitely do not advocate discarding any extra you may have like the recipe states!!  Put any left in the fridge for use another day like a good frugal bunny.  Oh and one more thing – this made a lot of rice.
Refried beans.  I must admit to having had a previous fling with refried beans many years ago, back when I was at uni in fact when I used to regularly buy a tin (sorry) and eat them…in something?  In what however I have no recollection.  I have been looking at them again on the shops for a year or 2 now and wondering what exactly it was that I did with them and I’m forced to draw the conclusion that I just ate them as they were.  Which seems to be what a lot of people do; they’re just another element to the meal.  The BBC recipe I used was to actually make them for quesadillas, I just used the start of the recipe that told me how to do the beans.  These were tasty enough although another small problem reared its head here when I ran out of smoked paprika; I think this Mexican meal was starting to be jinxed!  This was after I'd opened the tin of beans by going round the edge individually piercing the lid over and over until all the holes joined up. 
I realised I’ve gone off the texture of these a bit in the last decade  and would enjoy them more in a quesadilla with cheese and toasted tortilla for some contrast but I can see me making these again as a fast easy cheap meal.  Not a lot to report other than that.
Which brings us to the part I was looking forward to trying out most – the esquites!!  Complete with some fresh basil and mint and dried tarragon in an effort to replicate the taste of the missing epazote.  Having scribbled some instructions watching the video I set off.  First problem – I couldn’t get the lid off my jar of small dried chillis that looked the closest equivalent I had to what they fried off first in the film.  No matter how I tried it wasn’t coming off, I was hopping about the kitchen sprinkling the environs with a few choice words but to no avail!  So – some finely minced fresh chilli it was instead.  I fried this off for a few minutes stirring pretty much constantly to ensure they didn’t burn, just fragranced the oil nicely.  Next I added the corn which I judged by eye as enough for the 2 of us.  I now have to own up here to using frozen sweetcorn not the fresh off the cob you should really use, that was my entire forgetful fault though rather than the gremlins that had been dogging me so far!  Fry this until slightly browned – it gives off a lovely popcorny sort of smell.  I must admit to being a little impatient plus aware that this was all taking me absolute acres of time and there was a voracious Chap waiting to be fed so mine weren’t quite browned, but the flavour was getting there.  Add the torn up herbs and keep stirring and frying.  After watching the video I used a sprig of fresh basil and one of fresh mint torn up as that was what the chef described the epazote taste like.  If you read the Wiki article however it claims an aniseedy edge to the taste so I added a couple of decent pinches of dried tarragon too.

Serve in a glass dish (for authenticity you understand, or in a paper cup as you would purchase it off the street) topped with mayo, feta (this being the closest you can get to the queso fresco that should be used), a squeeze of lime juice and a sprinkle of chilli powder.  this was my favourite dish by a mile, it had the most taste and as mentioned before I love sweetcorn so it could only ever be a win for me. 
Served all together the 3 dishes following the ceviche certainly filled us up, I did feel the lack of a contrasting texture though; and of course guacamole would have gone down a treat.
So – some interesting ‘finds’ – ceviche is easy and gooood, rice cooks nicely in whizzed up veg  in a dish in the oven – add more flavour and the missing umami note next time though,  and fried sweetcorn with cheese can only ever be fab.  It’s got cheese in it though hasn’t it…  J  And I need to be a bit more generous with the chilli!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Breakfast reminisce

Can you guess what I had for brekkie today?  Yup - left over pancakes it was.  I am a fan of the savoury item but - it isn't pancake day [and yes - I know it really isn't pancake day today anyway as that was yesterday but bear with me here] without some good old lemon and sugar action.  This is how we always had them when I was small and it was a family affair.  We would crowd round ma in the kitchen, no doubt getting right under her feet as is the wont of 3 small girls when there's treats in the offing. All waiting for the next one to be cooked.  They weren't eaten until the whole batch was done when we all sat at the table together with both ma and dad, but for the limited attention span of a small child watching a pancake cooking is the ideal sort of time scale to witness that magical change in state from a liquid gloopy batter to a gently golden circle alive with potential and just awaiting the application of your topping of choice.  Whilst we may have flirted with freshly squeezed orange and sugar, or even chocolate spread, it is the lemon and sugar that I still return to now.  The sour zing of the lemon and crunch of the sweetly tempering sugar works it's magic on my tastebuds and memories alike.  :-)

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Pancake Day

It's the day of pancakes. Or shrove tuesday for many. Thing is pancakes came about as they were made of things that needed using up before lent right? Yet now people have to actually go out and buy the ingredients especially as they don't make stuff from scratch anymore; or even worse buy one of those shake it up ready mixes in order to have the 'traditional' pancake. Now is it me but isn't that a little out of keeping with the whole ethos behind it? Me as an aetheist - I get to have as many pancakes as I want (and I make them from scratch) but shouldn't modern day believers be eating up all their ready meals or something instead nowadays?
I would like to emphasize that I am in no way anti-religious but you get my point about capitalism hi-jacking an already hijacked religious festival in order to sell more batter mix yes?
 Anyway, apropos to this they had the annual pancake race at work today.

Enjoy yours if you have them - but make them yourself huh?  It's easy:
4oz flour - sift it into a bowl.  Make a well in the centre and add 0.5 pint of milk beaten together with one egg.  Beat it all well together to ensure there's no lumps and fry in a non-stick pan with the minimum of oil.  Expect the first one to be rubbish.  :-)

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Gong Xi Fa Cai & some more food adventures

Happy New Year – it’s the Chinese year of the Snake. Wishing us all well for the year to come.  :-)
Yesterday I took a friend around various of the world food shops in Exeter. She’s wheat intolerant so was very happy to find certain items like Sorghum flour (apparently she has been hunting this down for 2 years!) and it was fun to show someone around the Exeter I know. As we went in many food shops it was kind of inevitable that I would emerge with a few more random items for me to try out on the Chap the Chap and I to try together. I had also recently bought a few things from my local Chinese supermarket for snacking purposes so thought I’d share them here.
The 'truly authentic' Chinese curry (*snort*) I'm planning on having tonight, just to try, out of curiosity.  In that way that sometimes you crave cacky white processed bread which you normally wouldn't touch with your wholegrain barge pole I have a curious fondness for the Chinese curry you get in some takeaways.  I know, I know - I'm sure it's laden with badness but hey - I like it.  I'm going to use a couple of Quorn fillets in place of the chicken breasts suggested and see how it turns out.
The fortune cookie I'll open to see what this year of the Snake holds for me.
The tins of 'Braised Eel' and 'Mince Prawn in Spice' I thought could be interesting but have yet to try and these are what I got yesterday.
However - I did want to share the things I have tried with you and here they are. 
The item on the left is dried bean curd.  It's pressed into something vaguely reminiscent of tofu but with flavour.  It has a slightly rubbery; although tougher than for example - raw mozzarella, texture that the Chap really didn't like but I do.  I eat these as a snack at my desk at work or chop them into noodles for lunchtime.  The one's I got professed to be barbeque flavour but were spicy with some chilli in and rather tasty I thought.
In the centre top we have some Tom Yum stock cubes - these are invaluable to add to cooking rice I find.  I've been on a bit of a tom yum kick for over a year now and show no signs of tiring of the zingy hot and sour flavours.
Below that is a 'hot mug' (literal translation) from a new (or new to me anyway) Polish deli that's sprang up at the top of town.  My Polish being totally non-existent I purely went by the pictures and used google translate once I got home to double check.  This is apparently 'cucumber with croutons' flavour but as the picture suggests - it's pretty much gherkin flavour.  Which sounds a bit wrong but I found surprisingly nice even with the 'creamed' edge.
Then on the right we have a pure spawn-of-the-devil (in my opinion) item.  'White Sesame Sandwiched Fish Snack' is kind of what it says.  Dried out fish pressed out with some sesame seeds in the centre cut into thin strips.  The texture is foam rubber.  The taste is that kind of nasty that means every couple of days you have to try it again just to confirm that yes - it really is that minging.  Some perverted part of your brain insists on telling you that you just can't have remembered it correctly and that nothing can be that hideous.  Pungent strong fermented fish taste isn't really my bag so these have been relegated to feeding the cat.  Who seems to enjoy them, the little freak.  So at least one of us is happy.  :-)
So - what does this year hold for me?

Hmmm....not sure what that's about. 
A prosperous 2013 and year of the snake to you all then.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Upcycling and seeing the potential

‘What bit of old tat is this now?’ I can hear you thinking it. Well – for those that don’t live in coastal seagull infested areas these are bags our local council issue to those people without a wheelie bin so they can put their bin bags in it on rubbish day. This means the bin men can come and pick them up and the contents won’t have be strewn all over the damn street in the early morning because one of the monster seagulls (they are easily the size of cats round here) has ripped it open and covered the entire street in refuse!
We don’t have one of these bags as we have a wheelie bin but on my way home from work I spied one flattened forlorn by the side of the road. It’s been very windy in the last few days so I’m guessing it had been blown there once emptied of it’s refuse. Now with no way of knowing whose it was, and secure in the knowledge the council will replace it for the household concerned I decided to tidy it up. You know what I was thinking – I was thinking it will make a spiffing potato growing bag. Eh? Eh? Inspired!! All together now – ‘nuppence – it’s our favourite price!’  :-)
Upon getting it home I discovered it in fact has a house number on it but frankly I’m not carting it a mile and a half back and I couldn’t be sure what street that number was from anyway. So I remain guilt free.
This is a good size to fit on our small patio at the back of the house, without quite taking up the whole thing. It’s nice and deep to give a decent size crop too. Happy days!  Plus it gives me an excuse to do some more seed buying....