Family moments – Grace’s 10th birthday plus veg plot and seed updates

Grace, our daughter, will be 10 this week.  As her birthday falls on a Tuesday we offered to throw a birthday party for her on Sunday.  She invited a couple of her friends and family joined us to celebrate.
Having your birthday right after Christmas means usually you have everything you want, however there’s always something you can buy a 10 year old girl isn’t there?  She will open her gifts from us on the actual day.  She received some lovely gifts that were very thoughtful from friends and family.
So with a collection of people coming over, all with different tastes and likes, I set about thinking what I could offer food wise that was a) delicious and b) not going to break the bank.  Also I was bearing in mind that anything that wasn’t used, would be used for packed lunches the coming week.
I decided to put the following together:
Roast pork and stuffing sandwiches.
Roasties and gravy.
Pulled pork, flat bread and salad
Veg soup with wholemeal bread
Chicken korma with rice, naan, mango chutney and mint yoghurt.

I didn’t photo the hot food but it was in the 3 slow cookers on the bench behind me.

I also had on display my good friends platter that she made for the day as she’s starting a new business and wanted honest feedback on the products.  They have a Facebook page if you would care to take a look and support small UK businesses.  Their signature dipping oil was delicious so I made a bread to use as to dip.  I highly recommend it!

I made a cake for Grace:
She had a lovely time and looked very grown up.
Finally but by no means least, I have a recipe for Louise’s chocolate brownies which I am making tonight for Grace’s after school surprise tomorrow and may have to sample a few myself 🙂
What I have learnt from this weekend is that I love putting on a spread for people and making my family happy.  I’ve also learnt that no matter how well you plan, things won’t always go to plan.  No matter how well I know how to make this and that, I still need it all written down to the letter.  I got in a bit of a fluster when I realised I hadn’t put the slow cooker pork on the day before ready to heat up separately on the Sunday.  I still managed to get it done thanks to Caroline’s husband!  Otherwise, most things went ok, though I think I would like to work out what I can cook in advance, so that next time I can do more the day before.
In the veg garden this weekend:
I’ve decided to tackle one thing at a time and see it through from start to finish.  Sounds obvious but sometimes I have so many things to do that I flit between them and don’t feel like I have completed anything!  If I’m going to supply my family with all year round food, then I need to be organised and on the ball. 
Therefore after riding out on Saturday and getting the animals seen to, I set about in the veg plot.  It was a delightful day and when I looked up I saw blue sky and thought to myself, this is what it’s all about. 
I decided to work on the bed which has fruit in it.  We have 3 currants, 3 rhubarbs, 2 (3?) gooseberries, strawberries and some unruly but highly productive raspberries in here.  Now I’d like to train the raspberries to just grow along their intended path which you can see marked out with rope.  They don’t, they try to take over everyone elses patch.  The strawberries don’t like being contained either.
Firstly I put wood ash around the currant bushes. 
Then I used my new (Christmas gift) rotavator to turn over everywhere else as this is the bed I’d put the paper on to last year to suppress all of the weeds.  I know they will come back this year so I needed to prevent that.
I had invested in some membrane for another project but dashed off to get it.  I’d had an idea.
I covered the soil with more rotted muck (it really was in a sorry state when we moved in).
Then I used the membrane to cover the 2m width where the currant bushes are, leaving just enough space at the side for the rhubarb – perfect.
I’m really pleased with the end result.  In fact, I’m considering building up the edges and covering it with bark as the membrane can stay down.  I’m not sure about this yet.  It doesn’t matter too much for this year as long as the weeds don’t come through. 
Along with the blue skies we have snowdrops coming through.
This wheelbarrow was left by the previous owner and when the hens were out they liked to take dust baths in it, so I was pleasantly surprised to see the bulbs had survived!
Seeds update
The Brandywine tomatoes that I re-sowed (31st Jan) after the first lot were too leggy (expected) popped up yesterday so a week to germinate.  They’re on the South windowsill now, I made sure I caught these in time.
I’m going to replant some of the other leggy ones, which I did last year successfully and hope for the same result.
I sowed Mint, Basil and Chives on Saturday (4th Jan) along with 3 broad beans (Jubille Hysor).
I’ve also got Spring onions sown and the leeks are starting to show.
The peas that I planted in the drain pipes?  Remember them, well their indoor counterpart are coming through already.  Impatient little things 🙂
None of my peppers or chillis are through but I’ll wait – the aubergines too over 2 weeks, so there’s time. 
Next up is early carrots and more broad beans – can you believe I ran out? If anyone would like to seed swap some – I’d be happy to take a packet off you and send something over 🙂

9 thoughts on “Family moments – Grace’s 10th birthday plus veg plot and seed updates

  1. Lovely post Tracy. Thanks for the link.x Party food looked yum. Hope Grace enjoys the brownies tomorrow. Good effort on the fruit bed; I am on the same project myself. Yes, snowdrops fab; we have some, too! Can't decide whether or not to start my peas indoors. The only place I could put them would be the conservatory but I do have some fleece, I'll see. Great post. I am over-flowing with tomato seeds but nothing else I'm afraid.


  2. Tomatoes are amazing though, you can never have enough. You're more than welcome 🙂 I'm really pleased with the fruit bed, given that we had little time and I did it on my own 😀 xx


  3. Lovely grown up party food, your food garden is coming along great, and yes it helps to see one job through start to finish but so easy to get distracted


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