Monday, 8 August 2011

Windowsill allotment rewards - Orkney bruschetta

Orkney bruschetta, amazing what you can grow on the inside of a windowsill even up here.
Yummy Orkney Bruschetta, with home grown food from my windowsill, now that was tasty! But first, before I lose myself in the delight of tomatoes, I want to document that the 6th of August at the weekend, was a 'nice day' with absolutely NO WIND. Its definitely one of the TEN days of the year that there is no wind in Orkney, I know, I've counted weather data for the past four years and the literature is right, its only totally still and calm here for approximately 10 days a year. We've had 3 this year so far, cool eh, we might even get more windless days, please?

With the giddiness that followed discovering a windless morning, we decided to amble out and eat our breakfast in the garden. How very novel in the summer time, dining outside without your dinner taking off in a force 7 gale, bliss. And, as you can see from the 'arty' shot - I had bruschetta for breakfast, not probably a normal breakfast food, but the windowsill allotment has been producing oodles of tomatoes and basil, so I thought I'd indulge. Very yummy it was too and most excellent use of home grown tomatoes and basil. In fact the only NON Orkney ingredient in this delightful morsel was the tiny bit of black pepper, totsy bit of sea salf (why doesn't Orkney produce sea salt, I wonder) and the olive oil (1/2 teaspoon) I used on the tomatoes. Mr Flowers, more sensible than me, had cornflakes, not of course local. Then again, I don't think I actually offered him the option of bruschetta, whoops it even made it to the bench and looked gorgeous!
Orkney bruschetta, or as my grannie would say 'mattees on toast', doesn't have the same ring does it?
A relative local feast grown on a windowsill in Orkney, brilliant. Its got me thinking more and more about 'The Orkney Diet' and the feasibility of realistically feeding a typical (ish, well we're not very typical except in size maybe) family on a diet of predominantly local food, and growing my own in the 'challenging climate' whilst being on quite a tight budget (we spend about £200-250 a month on household food for our family, but I'm always looking to reduce that but keep good quality eating). And, I say predominantly as I know we can't get everything locally to sustain our needs, Orkney does not have coffee plantations and chocolate groves, not yet! But, I'm curious to know how much local produce can we realistically incorporate into our diet, without breaking the bank....... I feel a local food eating challenge coming on and I do like a challenge and, um, eating. There are quite a few local food project out there, throughout the globe so there's lots to be learnt from these experiences and plenty of enthusiasm to do it.

Oh and today, um, 11 degree, 50 km/h winds, serious sideways rain (is there any other kind?), despite the elders still being in bloom, the willow hedge has a number of the plants blown over. I think Orkney has gone through a space/time/continuim worm hole and has landed in November. Really, I do. And if we have, I'll be quite cross. I'd like an indian summer please, if no one minds.


  1. If it's any consolation at all, here in Bronteland, Yorkshire it's pretty nippy and windy, though obviously not the proper grown-up wind you're getting!

    Loved the post; thanks for sharing your breakfast with us! And that phrase 'Orkney bruschetta'... that's just wrong! sounds a bit like a girl I knew, from Lancashire, called Francesca Higginbottom (honest!). It does look exceedingly yummy though :-)

  2. Windy, rainy stuff here today - off on the ferry tomorrow to the big city too. Interesting challenge - the Orkney diet - the Lewis diet ?hmmm. I have a recipe for dandelion cordial that I haven't tried.

  3. That looks like a hearty and healthy breakfast to me. I think I would enjoy living where you are because I just love wind, although I guess I might feel differently if it never stopped. I encourage you in the idea of a local food challenge...I'd participate!

  4. Wish I had ripe tomatoes. I may leave a few in the greenhouse next "summer." No wind here but a cool coastal type day about 20 degrees less heat than normal. (My feet are cold.) But bruschetta sounds great, I'll have to get some tomatoes from the farmers' market!

  5. He he, there's nothing typical about your size my little pocket friend! Lol

    Mr Flowers.

  6. Barefoot crofter I hope the ferry was kind ours took the 'safe' route up scapa flow tonight, must have been rough out there. Enjoy your mainland trip. A Lewis diet sounds exciting. I've been reading a lot about sustainable food and a lot of the transition towns movement in Scotland. Many regions, for example fife, the black isle and countless others are really pushing for regional food. It's very interesting.

  7. How wonderful to see you take your proper title my love, thanks for popping past.

    Linniew, I hope you warm up, enjoy your tomatoes when they arrive!

    Sue, oh the wind, if you like wind, you'd love it here. I'm experimenting with breakfasts, I often skip it, but I know that's bad, and I'm not a sweet tooth, so this was lovely.

  8. Time sculptor, hello! I've heard it's parky all over. The ladies name you wrote is most excellent! I agree Orkney bruschetta does sound a bit different, probably more apt to call it 'mattees on toast' like my grannie would!

    The organic garden folk have a 'one pot pledge' to try and encourage folk to try and grow food, even just one pot, outside or even on a windowsill, it's inspired me to really think about what I might be able to grow, without a polytunnel this year. if I can do it, in our climate, I think anyone could have a go :-)

  9. Maybe you'd have lots of success with root veggies... on the basis that it can't blow away if it's underground? (You're going to tell me that it can. And it has. Aren't you?)
    Jane Gray

  10. Hello Jane
    That made me laugh, roots do well out here, I've carrots, parsnips, beetroot planted this year. Leafy brassicas do well too so I've about 50 cabbages planted too, Kale, Brussels and onions and leeks - we moved a year ago, in the midst of phd study, so garden took a while to come along, but we're getting there.

    If anything blew out, I'll let you know!

  11. looks beautiful only had a few pitiful cherry tomatoes so far. Have high hopes for next year with my extra space

  12. Yum, tho have to say mattees on toast is what I thought when opened the post hehe.
    Must try to make a meal from my windowsil garden, tho my chillis are rather well... chilly. not hot at all like mini peppers :)

  13. Breakie looks lovely - almost healthy, to boot (Welly?)! Here in Andalucia (and most of Spain) breakie - toastada - in a bar is often a similar concoction with cheese/Jamon options and lashings of good quality olive oil. Always seems to hit the spot, especially with J who loves it. Frankly it's so hot here right now that we could do with some of the wind and......dare I say it?.....rain! Hope you manage an Indian summer up there.

  14. I think you will have much better toms than me this year thanks to your indoor allotment. We are still only getting around a dozen cherry toms a day, and the larger toms remain resolutely green. Green tomato chutney anybody?! Congrats on the wind free outside breakfast, and a splendid choice of food too. Mr Flowers should be ashamed of himself, cornflakes indeed. He could at least have had a bermeal bannock!!

  15. Squirrel, fingers crossed for more space, it's been cool, the first lot rocketed, but the next lot of tomatoes have been slower.

    Emma, hi, my chillis are slow too, matees on toast is so much more Scottish I think :)
    sorry your chills are, um chilli, that's not fair!

    Iain, I love those ham/jambon things. So much we called my son 'jambon'! Hope it gets cooler and you get rain soon, in fact I'll send you ours :)

    Janet, we should have had beer bannocks! Tomatoes good this year, but tbh a hassle keeping them watered. Green tomatoes I pick them now and again and put them in. Bowl with red ones, they appear to ripen.......and 12 toms per plant is good isn't it?

  16. I'd be delighted with 12 per plant Fay, but sadly we get 12 from ALL the plants, over 2 of them...

  17. Oh, Janet, sorry, was being very optimistic for you!

    Always later, eh?