Archive for October, 2008

Pink Fir Apple Potato – Vegetable of the Month Recipes

Monday, October 27th, 2008
Pink Fir Apple Potato The pink fir apple potato is pink (surprise!)  and an unusual long thin shape and can be knobbly, so a bit of a pain to clean. However they have a wonderful flavour and are NEVER cheap in the shops – so tick the boxes that help me decide what to grow!    I have also discovered this year that they are amazingly tough – while allotment colleagues have complained about blight and slug damage, my pink fir apples have been remarkably problem free.  They are a main crop potato – so October is the month in which they reach their full glory!

They are most suitable for boiling – although they are a main crop potato their waxy texture is more like that of a new potato, however you can also cook them in the oven with a bit of butter (add a sprig of rosemary for a great flavour).  They make a wonderful salad potato.  I slice them and mix them with parsley, chives or spring onions and mayonnaise.  For a complete meal add some shell fish or tuna or firm white fish or chicken.  Top with rocket.

They also make a great potato gratin.   Here is my recipe for the best potato gratin ever.  If you cannot source chanterelles then ordinary mushrooms will be very nice, but it will definitely not be the same dish.  The quantity given here will serve 4 – 6:

Scrub about 2 pounds (1 kilogram) of waxy potatoes and slice them into thickish rounds.  Boil the potatoes in lightly salted water for a couple of minutes.  Clean and slice (not finely) 1 pound (500 gm) of chanterelles and  fry gently in butter with  a couple of finely chopped garlic cloves and a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes.

Butter a gratin dish, layer half the potatoes and season with freshly ground pepper.  Put the mushrooms on top and cover with the remaining slices of potatoes.  Pour 3/4 pint of single cream over the top.  Bake in a moderately hot oven for about 40 minutes – until most of the cream has been absorbed in the potatoes and they have a golden crust.

Shetlands Islands Council to Create Allotments

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Until now allotments have been an alien concept in the context of the Shetlands.  It has always been assumed that anyone who wanted to grow vegetables would have a big garden or would somehow have access to land.  However a recent consultation exercise identified more than 130 people interested in renting an allotment, the greatest concentration of interest being in and around Lerwick,  Reasons given for the interest included lack of access to suitable land for growing, the rise of cost of food and increasing awareness of the healthy eating agenda.

The council proposes to hold information meetings during the week beginning November 3 in areas where interest has been expressed.  The hope is to set up a Shetland wide Allotment Association which can then bid for funding from organisations such as the Climate Challenge Fund.  The council itself owns two parcels of land suitable for allotments, otherwise hopes have to rest with private land owners being willing to release land for this purpose.

Information regarding the meetings, or the method of registering an interest, can be obtained from the council’s Environmental Management Officer, Mary Lisk who is based in the Infrastructure  Services Department.

Scottish Government proposes to release land for allotments

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Richard Lochead, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment in the Scottish Government, announced on October 16 that the government would be exploring ways of making new land available for allotments.  He said “I am asking a number of public bodies to consider how the land that they manage for the Scottish Government could be made available to local authorities to increase the number of allotments in Scotland”.

SAGS is delighted that more land will become available.  We know the huge number of people on  waiting lists for existing allotments and in addition we are in contact with 20 groups in areas with no allotments who are searching for land on which to set up allotment sites.  This announcement will give their morale a great boost.  We are also pleased that in the statement both the government and COSLA recognise very strongly that allotments are about more than isolated individuals producing food for themselves: they are about physical activity, community involvement, environmental improvement and mental relaxation.

The full text of the press anouncement can be downloaded or read here.