Category Archives: Photos

Courgette Risotto

Courgettes are very versatile vegetables. You can dice them, grate them, fry them or roast them. They are great with pasta, in soup, and can even be eaten raw with a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil when sliced very thinly. Learn how to grow courgettes here.

This week I was given some lovely allotment-grown courgettes and decided to treat myself to a courgette risotto. The great thing about risotto is that once you know the basic recipe, you can go wild and experiment. The method never changes, only the ingredients.

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Ingredients (for 2 people)
1 onion – thinly chopped
a couple of slices of bacon – cut into small pieces
1-2 courgettes – diced
1-2 cloves garlic – chopped
a few tomatoes – chopped
a handful of peas
a cup of Arborio rice
a cup of white wine
olive oil / butter
vegetable stock
a handful of chopped mint
salt and pepper to season
parmesan cheese
Heat the oil in a large pan and soften the onion on a low heat. Add the bacon and garlic and cook for a few minutes. Add the courgette, tomato and peas to the pan and cook for approximately 5 minutes (depending on how soft you like your courgettes).

Stir in the rice until coated with oil. Gradually add the wine and stock to the pan whilst continually stirring for approximately 15 minutes, or until the rice is cooked. Towards the end, sprinkle in the mint, salt, pepper and some parmesan cheese. Make sure the risotto ‘oozes’ before serving.

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Grate some more parmesan over the risotto and enjoy with a glass of white wine. Delizioso!

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Depending on what you like or what you have in the garden/fridge, you can alter this recipe as you want. Do you have a favourite recipe for courgettes? Please let us know!

Elderflower Fritters… Yum!

If anyone saw me walking around with a pair of scissors and an empty bag earlier today, I was attempting to find and collect the last elderflowers of the year.

My plan had been to make elderflower cordial. But when I returned to the Visitor Centre, a couple of people started raving about elderflower fritters, and I was intrigued. They sounded so tasty, I decided to give them a go instead!

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It’s best to pick the flowers when they are still very white and new. I should have gone elderflower foraging a couple of weeks ago really, but there were still a few pretty, delicate white flowers on the trees around the allotments, and I didn’t do too badly.

When I got home, I looked up a recipe, and found this simple one from Nigel Slater.

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First of all, you have to make the batter: Beat 100g of sifted plain flour, 2 tablespoons of oil and 175ml of sparkling mineral water into a stiff paste, then add a tablespoon of sugar. Leave the batter to rest for 30 minutes.

While you’re waiting, dip the elderflowers into cold water and get rid of any insects. Cut the flower heads, leaving a bit of a stem so that you can pick the fritters up with your fingers. Leave to dry on paper towels.

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Just before you fry the elderflower heads, beat an egg white and fold into the batter. Heat up a pan of oil, and when hot enough, dip the flower heads into the batter and place into the hot oil. It shouldn’t take long for the batter to turn a light golden brown. Take the fritters out and dip into a bowl of caster sugar.

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The fritters will be cool enough to eat within a few moments. It’s best to eat them while they are still warm and crisp. Yum!

Do you have a favourite elderflower recipe to share? Let us know!

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Although the snow in January was very pretty (we have the photos to prove it!), we have to admit that we are relieved that it’s all melted. No more slipping and sliding on the treacherously icy paths! We’re also happy to have our volunteer sessions back up and running.

Seeing as January is coming to an end, we thought we’d celebrate getting through the first month of 2013 with a few of our favourite snowy pictures. You can see more in our Facebook album.

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Walking through the allotments really did feel like walking through a glorious Winter Wonderland!

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 We checked up on our newly planted trees which were surviving the cold.

Cold Mushrooms

Even the mushrooms couldn’t hide from the snow.

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Finally, we couldn’t resist walking past the pear tree on 8th Avenue. Doesn’t it look magnificent silhouetted against the sky?

Heritage Open Day at St Anns Allotments

It’s been over a month since our wonderful Heritage Open Day at the allotments and we thought it about time we shared a few photos and let you know what we got up to. Unfortunately, the STAA team and our brilliant volunteers were so busy on the day that we haven’t actually got that many pictures. So feel free to get in touch if you took any good ones!

The morning started off with a promisingly blue sky and a crowd of people eager for the first tour of the day, led by Frances. The Gardens Past and Present Tour led us through the history of the site and stopped off at Charlie’s plot (which is always fun!), the Perry Orchard and finally Oliver’s Plot. Other tours of the day showed the renovations of the Western Bank and conservation and wildlife areas.

Tour

 This was the first time that Oliver’s Plot had been shown to the public, and we got some very positive feedback from visitors. It’s the perfect place to relax and escape the noise of the city. Many people enjoyed wandering around and admiring all the hard work our volunteers have put in. There’s also a fantastic view over Nottingham.

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Lots of fun things were going on in the Community Orchard! Children particularly loved pond dipping in the Urban Nature wildlife area.

Pond Dipping

It was hard to escape the International Gardener, who wandered around with a group of kids, singing compliments to passers by!

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 The day was full of lively fun, however some people also like to find a peaceful spot to settle down for an hour or two. Hidden away over the bridge and in a sunny patch of grass, a family spent their day enjoying a picnic!

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 We all had a great time and hope you did too! For more photos, please see our Facebook page.