Welcome to the Secret Garden South of Bobber's Mill Bridge in Nottingham

Welcome to Windmill Community Gardens, home of the Climate Friendly Gardeners Project.

We are a group of local people, who are nurturing a wonderful community garden in the heart of the city. You'll find us just South of Bobbersmill Bridge, on the allotment site at the South end of Ascot Road. The Gardens are a great place where anyone can come to find out more about growing their own food in a changing climate. We cater for all abilities and welcome any nationality or age group.

Why not come and join us?

Thursday 31 July 2014

Aubergines! And Thinking Ahead

Good session today, with lots of reasons to be pleased with ourselves.

The first is that we harvested the first aubergine of the year - and it was a beauty! Keep reading to find out what we did with it!

We picked a mega-harvest of currants and blackberries - thanks to Hassan, Mark and Guy.

Hassan finds where the red-currants were hiding

We also planted our Christmas potatoes - which may sound like we're doing it at the wrong time of year. If you haven't come across this before, it's a question of confusing the tubers into thinking they've had a very long Winter by keeping them in chill-storage until late Summer. When these are then brought out, they will very quickly begin to grow in the warm soil, and the result, in a good year, is a nice crop of new potatoes, which should taste wonderful at Christmas. It's a risk, as the amount growing season left can vary wildly, but we're always hopeful! We have been gifted some plastic dustbins with the bases removes, so we put some of the spuds in those to make it easy to cover them with straw if it's cold. They will also help keep the straw in place if it then gets windy.

Not Binning Them! Mark plants the Christmas Potatoes

Another good job that we've started is cutting back the meadow. Most of the flowers have set seed now, so we need to cut down the vegetation, leave it for a short while to drop the seeds, then remove it. If we leave it to rot down, it will make the ground too fertile, so we usually remove the cut material and stuff it under our dead-hedge to help create habitats for some of the local critters.

Lunch was a gourmet cheat treat - cream-cheese and saag-stuffed aubergine slices in a tomato sauce - quite quick to do on the stove top, and delicious with some crusty bread.

Stuffed Aubergine Slices in Tomato Sauce with Basil

Recipe -

1 large aubergine
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
healthy cooking oil, e.g. coconut, olive or rapeseed
10 large leaves or saag, or 20 leaves of spinach or chard.
1 pot of cream cheese or ricotta
2 - 4oz of extra mature cheese or 1oz of parmesan
Jar of ready made italian tomato sauce

First slice the aubergine down its length, and fry the slices in some olive or coconut oil until they become bendy.

A wok gives lots of room to fry aubergine slices.

Finely slice an onion, 1 clove of garlic and some saag, spinach, kale, cabbage or other leafy veg. We used about 10 large leaves. Drain the spare oil from the aubergines (you can squeeze them with a spatula) into the cooking pot and use it to fry off the veg until the onion looks see-through and the saag has wilted. Add the cream cheese / ricotta, and the strong cheese and mix together. 

Mixing the cheese into the vegetable mixture

Now take each slice of aubergine, place a spoonful of the mixture on it and roll it up to contain the filling.

The stuffed aubergine slices

Put the sauce into the cooking pot, then place the stuffed aubergine slices in the sauce, being careful to keep them rolled up. 

Heat the sauce through until it is bubbling, then scatter torn basil leaves on the surface and serve with crusty brown bread. Tastes amazing!

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