From Rake To Bake – Cheats Curry for One


Vegetable curry collage images with aubergines

Cheats Curry for One

Amanda Davies
June is perfect for making Cheats Curry for One.
With crops sown in late winter now bursting in the allotment, greenhouse or garden, this month, I thought I’d take advantage of some of ingredients available right on our doorstep, along with a way to use up any of last year’s sauces you may have hidden in the freezer.
The list of ingredients used was enough to make just a meal for me as my partner doesn’t like aubergines. Just double/triple etc, the quantities to make extra portions and use up a glut of crops.
Note – I have not used salt in the list of ingredients as I do not cook with it, however you may wish to use it, therefore just season to taste. You may also add chilli flakes.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Defrost Time 12 hours
Course Main Course
Servings 1


  • Chopping board.
  • Potato peeler
  • Vegetable knife
  • Small saucepan
  • Large saucepan with lid
  • Colander
  • Spatula
  • Wooden spoon.
  • Garlic Press or heavy handled knife.


  • 1 small bowl of defrosted homemade sauce containing onion, red pepper, garlic, red and yellow tomatoes and herbs and spices.
  • 1 small potato.
  • 1 snack sized sweet pepper (any colour)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/4 aubergine
  • 3 dried apricots
  • Handful of raisins
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Garam masala
  • Curry powder
  • Black pepper


  •  Defrost the homemade sauce the night before.
  •  Peel the potato, cut into bite size chunks and par-boil in the small saucepan.
  • While the potato is boiling, de-seed and slice the sweet peppers. Wash and slice 1/4 of the aubergine into identical shaped cubes.
  • Chop the dried apricots into quarters. Slice and dice the onion and press the garlic. If you don’t have a press just bash the handle of a heavy knife onto the garlic on a chopping board.
  •  Drain the potatoes and leave in a colander.
  • In the large saucepan, on a low heat mix curry powder, garam masala and black pepper with the olive oil, and allow the spices to infuse.
  • Add the garlic and onion and fry until translucent. Next add the aubergines. The aubergines will soak up the oil, but don’t add any more, just turn down the heat and keep moving the pieces around with the spatula/wooden spoon.
  • Add the sweet pepper and fry for about two minutes. Next pour over your sauce, stir well, cover with the lid and heat for ten minutes.
  • Add the cooked potato, apricots and raisins. Taste and add more spices if needed.
  • Replace the lid and heat on low for a further ten minutes. If your sauce is getting too thick you can either add some vegetable stock or a splash of boiling water.
  • When you have the desired consistency and taste, serve immediately.


Serving suggestions:
  • Go traditional and eat with rice and naan bread.
  • Go British and serve with chips.
  • Go lazy and just eat with brown bread and butter.
Keyword aubergine, curry, seasonal vegetables, vegetables
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Leek muffins recipe


Leek muffin recipe start to finish

Leek muffins recipe

Amanda Davies
Have you ever wondered why Welsh fans carry inflatable leeks to rugby or football matches? Legend says Cadwaladr, a 7th century King of Gwynedd, once ordered his men to wear one into battle for identification purposes.
But this tasty veg is more versatile than identifying troops. Rich in antioxidants, leeks are packed with vitamin K, manganese, vitamin B6, copper, iron, folate and vitamin C, as well as vitamin A vitamin E, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids.
Leeks may be perfect for roasting, souping and frying, but they make surprisingly good cakes too.
Course Side Dish


  • Measuring scales
  • Nest of measuring spoons
  • Wooden or silicon spoon
  • Measuring jug
  • Cheese Grater
  • Fork
  • Vegetable knife
  • Sieve
  • Mixing bowl
  • Muffin/bun tray
  • Paper or silicon cases
  • Cooling rack


  • 1 leek
  • 1 egg
  • 175 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda.
  • 100 ml olive or vegetable oil
  • 50 ml milk
  • 75 g cheddar cheese
  • 2-3 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1-3 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4.
  • Grate the cheese.
  • Line the bun or muffin tray with paper/silicone cases.
  • Wash the leek throughly to remove any soil from between the leaves. Then slice the leek into thin circles. Slice these circles into thirds.
  • Measure out the flour, baking powder, herbs and spices in the mix together in a bowl, then turn gently with a wooden/silicon spoon. (Note salt can be used if desired.)
  • Pour the measured milk into a glass and beat the egg into it with the fork.
  • Make a well in the flour, add the milk eggs mix and required amount of oil.
  • Quickly blend together for one minute.
  • Next add the leeks and cheese.
    Continue stirring for two minutes until the mixture is of a stiff consistency.
  • Use a filled teaspoon to drop the mixture into the cases.
  • Place on middle shelf and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  • Cool on a wire rack before serving.


Serving suggestions:
  • Go Welsh and serve with a bowl of Cawl.
  • Go Oriental and dip in a bowl of sweet chilli sauce or mango chutney.
  • Freeze for the summer and enjoy with an egg fried in plum tomatoes for lunch.
Grow your own leeks
Leeks are hungry plants, so add plenty of well rotted manure to your plot, or alternatively grow them in a deep container with fresh compost, adding a feed of Incredigrow.
Start the seeds in late February or through March and April either in a single seed in cellular trays outdoors or direct in your soil. From May to July the plants can then be transferred to their final growing positions.
To have a more blanched stem it is necessary to fork the soil around the stems as they grow, being careful not to get it between the leaves.
Beware of the leek moth and leek rust – for more information on this you can always visit our guide on growing onions and leeks from seeds.
Keyword leeks, muffins, vegetables
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

The history of the petunia

Petunia ‘Surfinia Star Burgundy’ from Thompson & Morgan

Surfinia petunias are a popular choice for hanging baskets
Image: Petunia ‘Surfinia Star Burgundy’ from Thompson & Morgan

There’s always a plant that, like Marmite, you love or loathe, and through the ages the petunia has often divided opinion. In fact, during the 1500s people believed that petunias were a symbol of demonic power because they harboured anger and resentment!

Part of the nightshade Solanaceae family, the petunia is closely related to plants like tobacco, cape gooseberry, tomato, potato and chilli pepper. Here’s a potted history of this fascinating flower, explaining how petunia seeds have been developed over several hundreds of years to become one of the most popular choices of all time.


Summer 2018 – From Pembrokeshire with Love

Editor’s Note : Many of our customers are familiar with Amanda, one of our bloggers who has been writing for us for some years now. Here’s her latest post. Unfortunately, Amanda has some health and family issues which she quite rightly needs to concentrate on, and so she is going to be taking a break from blogging for the time being. We wish Amanda all the very best and a speedy recovery!

Dear Gardening Friends,

How’s this summer been for you? The high temperatures and lack of rain meant that apart from looking after what had already germinated, grown or been transplanted, I have done very little. Mark, on the other hand, has watered, composted, dug, cut, trimmed and taken care of everything else.

In Ty Mawr, the scorching heat meant that the Rainbow Beetroots almost bolted, but I caught them in time. It was also the same for the onions and garlic. The tomatoes grew on the vines and hundreds of cape gooseberries appeared almost overnight. The leaves started to curl on the peppers, chillies and aubergines, so for the first time ever we had to buy a whitewash paint to protect the plants. Inexplicably, in the heat, dormant Amaranthus and Nicotiana seeds germinated after we pulled the beetroots.

In the second week in July, I harvested more of the new potatoes and we went off back to the New Forest for a week, taking the potatoes with us. They were perfect for salads or a light evening meal.

After last year’s holiday disaster of not watering, Mark set up a drip irrigation system using an old hose pipe that he drilled holes into. He then attached this to the water butt and asked his mum to switch it on two days later. She did, but because Pembrokeshire experienced its hottest and driest week in decades, she and his dad came down three times that week to water everything for us. I told them to help themselves to any potatoes, gooseberries, or other produce they wanted.

Mark’s mum said to me “I had your three apples!”

“But there are none on the tree.” I replied.

She laughed and explained that she’d had them from our fruit bowl inside!

As soon as we were back, a few of the trial tomatoes had ripened, along with two dozen cape gooseberries, and have been continuously supplying me with produce.

The aubergines and peppers are flowering and the chilli bucket has tiny green fruits forming.

The spider plant has made a full recovery and is flowering.

In The Office I have done nothing except transplant two Joseph’s Coat plants into the borders. The accidental wildlife border needs only the occasional dead heading.

The shelves are now bare as plants have been put in their final positions outside.

I’m sorry to say that this will be my last blog for a while. I have some fairly major health issues and so does another family member, so I feel that I need to concentrate on our health.

Anyone who’s read my blogs will know that I love gardening, and I love writing. Some of the best people I have made friends with have been through the T&M community. I really value you too for reading them and the comments you put on my page. You have made me very very happy over the years. Thank you.

By the way, I will be growing lots of marigolds and sweet peas from September, so I’m not going to be completely idle!

Happy Gardening!  Love Amanda. Xx

From Rake To Bake – Egg-cellent Potato Salad.

Welcome to Baking Blog. Each month will feature an in-season fruit or vegetable dish to make with a little bit of grow-your-own information on the side.

July is perfect for making Egg-cellent Potato Salad.

With second-lates and main-crop potatoes in abundance grown either in sacks or the ground, why not keep July simple and just enjoy an easy Egg and New Potato salad. This month we are back off to The New Forest in the motorhome for a few days, so a few tubs of of Egg and Potato salad, will make handy lunches for the first few days.


Note – I have not used Salt in the list of ingredients as I do not cook with it, however you may wish to use it, therefore just season to taste.

Prep Time 15 minutes. Cooking Time 20-25 Minutes. Cooling Time 20- 40 minutes or overnight if need be.

Skills Level Easy Peasy.


  • Chopping Board.
  • Vegetable Knife.
  • Electric Steamer.
  • Colander.
  • Egg Slicer.
  • Teaspoon.
  • Dessert Spoon.
  • 3 Various size bowls.


  • 400g of New potatoes.
  • 1/2 Small Onion.
  • 150g Fresh or Frozen peas.
  • 2 Large Eggs.
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Black Pepper.
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Mixed Herbs.
  • 2 Dessert Spoons of Salad Cream.
  • 2 Dessert Spoons of Mayonnaise.



  1. Wash the soil off the skin of the potatoes then chop them into bite-sized cubes and place in a single layer on the bottom tray of the steamer, and steam for 20-25minutes. (Or place in a saucepan of cold water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender.)
  2. Place the eggs in the lower tray of the steamer 15 minutes from the end of cooking the potatoes. (Or boil in a small saucepan for at least ten minutes.)
  3. Place the peas in the top layer of the steamer for the last 7 minutes. ( Boil a small saucepan of hot water, reduce heat, add peas and simmer for a few minutes until just soft.)
  4. Drain everything, run the eggs under cold water and peel immediately, before allowing everything to cool fully with n appropriate sized bowls.
  5. Slice the onion and and mix it with the peas, season with black pepper and herbs.
  6. Place a spoonful of both Salad Cream and Mayonnaise onto the cold potatoes and mix thoroughly, add the onions/peas gently combine, then add another spoonful of salad dressings.
  7. Season with more herbs and pepper. Slice the eggs and place on top. Refrigerate until use. Will last about three days.


Serving Suggestions.

  1. Add some turmeric and paprika and eat as a side dish at a hot and spicy BBQ.
  2. Mix dried mango, dried apricots a small apple and raisins with cream cheese in a baguette, pack it along with the potato salad and eat it out on n the fresh air watching the sunset.
  3. Morning munchies – eat with leftover cold sausages, and a cup of coffee/tea for breakfast.


Grow Your Own.

It’s not too late to grow potatoes now with plenty of late varieties available, I even start potatoes off in September to have new ones on Christmas Day.

Potatoes do best on open sunny ground, but I grow mine in deep sacks. They will grow in an old plastic or metal dustbin so long as there are sufficient drainage holes. Place 4 inches of compost in the bottom of the sack, add three seed potatoes, sprinkle over some fertiliser, (according to the packet directions) then cover with another 4 inches of soil. Each time the stalks grow through the soil, add more compost (earth up) until the sack is 3/4 full. Water regularly. Potatoes do not like to dry out, but neither do they like to sit in wet soil.

Once the potatoes have flowered (12-16 weeks) cut the stalks to soil level, then dig up the potatoes after ten days.

Leave them to dry then wash the skins, dry again and store in a cold dark place.


*Easy Peasy – Basic techniques/Suitable for Children with adult supervision/help.

**Treat as Tender – Intermediate Skills required/Children may need more help with this.

***Seasoned Kitchen Gardener – Confident Baker/Children might not be suited to this.

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