Welcome to our plot!

I'm Hazel, and in Nov 2006 my friend Jane and I took on a half plot at Hill Allotments, Sutton Coldfield - we want the satisfaction of growing and eating our own fruit and veg, and to improve our diet (and fitness!).

This is the story of what happened next...........

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Notes & Queries

I put the elderberry & apple wine into one demijohn this afternoon & measured the SG whilst I was at it. It's down to 994, & still fermenting, so this is set to be another dry one unless I do something.

I added a couple of ounces of sugar (which has raised the SG to 998), & I might add a bit more in a few days as I think that I should probably be aiming for a finished SG of just under 1.000.

Twinsane has asked me about the baked beans that I made yesterday - it was nominally taken from 1000 classic recipes p172 (a cookery book that has had much use over the years despite no pictures and a rubbish index), but I did tweak it a little - and I made half of these quantities. Here it is in full:

Home-Made Baked Beans

450g haricot beans, soaked overnight & drained (I used bird's egg & barlotti)
(actually the recipe says 450 haricot beans, but I presume that I wasn't supposed to count them and the 'g' had been left off by mistake)
2 bay leaves
4 cloves
2tbsp black treacle or molasses (I used treacle)
1/2 pt water
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp milk
pinch basil, salt & pepper
225g tomatoes skinned & chopped.
I added in a 225g pack of smoked lardons, & a generous squeeze of tomato puree.
  • Simmer beans, bay leaves & cloves for an hour & a half, drain & discard bay leaves & cloves
  • Dilute treacle with water & mix in flour made into a paste with the milk
  • Add basil & seasoning
  • Put beans in greased casserole dish cover with tomatoes & the sauce & bake on gas 4 for an hour.
Lovely! It freezes well, too.

Finally, Veg Heaven commented the other day that the 'polish' french beans looked similar to the 'bird's egg' variety.
They are about the same size, with the same markings, but as the photo here (just about!) shows, they have different background colours - mauve for the polish on the left, creamy for the bird's egg on the right.


  1. I am impressed - the smell of an open tin of b/beans makes me heave, perhaps I should make some "real" ones.

    Came across this recently, thought you might like a peep:

  2. It's similar to an old rrecipe I have for Boston Baked Beans. Personally I like them cooked with a home-made very garlicky tomato sauce. They are useless for those that crave the '57 varieties' taste but are a delight in themselves. I'll be doing this with my home-reared cream beans when I have enough (next year mebbe?) A GYO friends said her son had suggested Al-bean-o for these ! Cue groan.

  3. Good link, Bilbo - I don't always get along with American blogs, but this one is written with a good slosh of humour along with the sugary bits, I think!

    Baked beans don't have to taste like the tins (which tend to be rather full of sugar & salt) - it's worth buying a pack of dried beans from the health shop and having a go, Bilbo - lots of variations to try.

    Good call on the garlicky beans, Flum - a definite next experiment.

    And if I ignore your groan-worthy al-bean-o, it might go away!

  4. Thanks for the recipe Hazel. My mouth is watering already!

    Put a warning on your wine when you've finished. I made some rice and raisin last year that kept going dry, and like you, I kept adding sugar (it still went dry). At christmas I gave bottles out for pressies with a warning that it might be a bit strong. Two of the chaps (unconnected) thought I was being a namby pamby girl and decided to drink half a bottle. Neither one was able to go to work the next day! :D

  5. Neither one was able to go to work the next day!

    Thank you Twinsane - best laugh I have had in ages. Hope they subsequently had considerably more respect for your namby pamby girly winemaking skills!

  6. Ha! Brilliant, Twinsane!

    I have started to put the strength of the wine on the labels - then it's a case of 'drinker beware'!


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