Thursday, 21 May 2009


Well, the tomato plants I'm growing are doing really well! They are almost ready to be planted out in a grow bag. In the end I kept the five strongest seedlings and planted them into individual pots. I only photographed one of the five, which happened to be the biggest, but the others are similar. The peppers are not growing anywhere near as quickly, although they are coming along. I have decided to wait until they grow their second set of leaves before transferring them into separate pots, just like I did for the tomatoes. Actually, this works out really well because by the look of it they will be ready for this at just about the same time as the tomatoes are ready to plant out.

I don't know quite how many I shall keep, probably only three or four. I have to remember that all the other seeds I have bought but not planted yet will need some space!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Crops (rapeseed and potatoes)

I'm sure anyone who has been through some British countryside recently will have noticed the bright yellow fields of Oilseed rape. I always think that these look absolutely beautiful, especially when contrasted with the green of other fields nearby and a clear, blue sky. As far as I am aware, most of this crop will be used to make vegetable oil for cooking, or bio-diesel. I did a feature a while ago on rapeseed oil, which has a high smoke point making it ideal for, amongst other things, stir frying.

I also noticed that potatoes have been planted and are just beginning to shoot. These don't look quite so pretty, but are certainly quite useful!

Monday, 18 May 2009

Tebay Service Station

I recently had cause to visit the Tebay service station on the M6, whilst driving down from Edinburgh. You might well ask why this is so interesting, given that there are plenty of service stations along the M6, why should this one be so unique? Good question, but as far as I am aware, Tebay is relatively famous in the world of motorway service stations. At least part of the reason for this is that it has a fabulous shop that sells all kinds of local produce range from food such as sausages and vegetables, to various craft items. In short, given my interest in British produced food, I could hardly drive by without popping in! Actually, I had hoped to visit during my original EatingBritish year, but somehow never quite had the time (I was also without a car for much of it, so that didn't help either).

I didn't stop for as long as I would have liked really, since I still had about 300 miles to go and was keen to keep moving. However, I wondered around the shop and they do indeed sell an amazing array of local produce. In the end, I bought some lamb, cranberry and orange sausages and, in keeping with my efforts to work my way through all the different cheeses produced in Britain, some Blue Wensleydale cheese.

Both turned out to be really good! The cheese is wonderfully creamy, fairly similar to Stilton in flavour, but perhaps a bit rounder. The sausages, which I cooked in the oven (30 minutes, at 190C) and served with potatoes and peas (the way I nearly always do sausages), where absolutely delicious.

If it wasn't so far away, I would definitely go back! However, I will have to resolve to pop in if I am ever passing that way on the M6 again and I would recommend it as a good stopping point should you every find yourself over that way.

More information is available from their website:

Tuesday, 5 May 2009


The tomato plants I've started growing are continuing to do really well:
They will soon be ready to be transplanted into individual pots. The time to do this is when they get their second set of leaves. The first leaves to form will have smooth edges, as you can see in the picture. The second set and all subsequent sets, will have jagged edges, so it's quite easy to tell when they are ready. You can just see in the picture that the new leaves are starting to form, but it'll be a day or two yet.

The sweet pepper plants are starting to shoot as well!
I shall leave the cling film on for a little while yet, just while one or two more shoots appear.