Thursday, 28 April 2011

The Old Towner Gallery

Eastbourne's New Towner Gallery is now famous as a Modern Art Gallery throughout the UK. Rumour has it that it is considered one of the best in England. The modernistic structure has been subject to lots of criticism from local residents and the contents of the building have been similarly received. While the upstart continues to go from strength to strength, the old gallery in Gildredge Park, one of the finest Georgian buildings in the South East, is falling into a sad state of disrepair. Ivy now chokes the hedges and the weeds have taken over the garden where I once watched an outdoor production of Hay Fever. The main gallery building, where the works of Eric Ravilious once hung, is now covered in scaffold, graffiti and tarpaulin. The state of the building is now so bad that it has been put on the At Risk register. What a sad end to a once vibrant community building
An estate agent's notice now seeks a builder to convert this beautiful building to flats. Flats, flats, more flats. Why can we not use it for something that we can all enjoy ?

Lynne's Favourite Chicken

The following recipe is one of my Mum's best "cold lunch" offerings. It's is similar in theme to Coronation Chicken but it's much lighter and wetter and, in my opinion, much tastier. It's easy to make and apart from the chicken you can make it pretty much from the contents of your kitchen cupboards. It's very quick to make and gets eaten even quicker. Serve with a rice salad, some lettuce and fresh rolls.

What a Scorcher !

Did you enjoy some of the wonderful weather over the Easter weekend ? We had a lovely time at my in laws and Kitty certainly enjoyed the garden. She burrowed in the mud, attacked my mother-in-law's flowers and threw fallen camellia petals all over the garden ! Her Easter present was a push along lawnmower which she pushed round and round the garden. Apparently it's only suitable for over 3s..........
The allotment is taking shape well and our boysenberry is particularly bonny with lots of foliage and flowers. I finally managed to get the redcurrant and blackcurrant bushes planted in the fruit frame. You can imagine my surprise, when digging the hole for the redcurrant, to find that I had dug right into the middle of an ant nest. The currant seems to be suffering no ill effects as yet.
We have experimented with growing okra this year; as it's notoriously bad tempered I was worried when I transplanted the seedlings into the greenhouse. This worry appeared justified when I went down the following day to water them - they had all flopped. Fortunately they seem to have perked up now and are packing on some new growth. I also transplanted the physalis and padron pepper seedlings over the weekend and they are also looking happy in their new homes. Our grape vine resembles something out of Day of the Triffids and I am soon going to have to thin out the immature grape bunches.
The seeds I sowed last week (dill, borage, salad leaves, broad beans, snow & asparagus peas, brussels, leeks, courgette and gherkins) are a bit of a mixed bag. The beans and peas are resolutely refusing to budge an inch, the herbs are doing well and the courgette is already on it's 2nd set of leaves.
It all sounds great, doesn't it. Industrious.What you can't see is the two raised beds growing only weeds, the huge box of seeds still to be sown, the chitting potatoes that need planting out into an as-yet undetermined area, the tomato seedlings that desperately need transplanting and the myriad of other jobs on the Allotment To Do List. Oh well, maybe this year will be the one where I get my wish of an extra 2 hours in the day.....

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Snack time with Kitty Part 1

I used to buy "energy balls" from our local health food shop for my daughter as a snack. She absolutely loved them but at £1.45 a pop they didn't feature on the menu too often ! Fortunately for the food budget I found a recipe in an old Good Food magazine which I have adapted to suit me. It's dead easy and only takes a few minutes to whizz together and even better, costs only about £7 for the whole recipe. All you need is a food processor.
100g blanched whole almonds
500g ready to eat whole dried figs
80g diced ready to eat apricots
2 tbsp mixed seeds - hemp, linseed, pumpkin, sesame etc
50g dried blueberries
1 tbsp honey
generous pouring of pollen grains (you can buy these in health food shops)
toasted coconut to coat
Process the almonds until roughly chopped and tip into a bowl. Whizz the figs in a processor until it forms a rather unpleasant looking paste. Tip the figgy squidge into the almonds with the other ingredients and get in amongst it with your hands to mix it all up. Form into small balls and roll in coconut. Makes about 20-24. Store in an airtight container. You can adapt the fruit/seeds/nuts to suit your tastes
"Yummy, Mummy !"