Posts tagged July
Eat Seasonably in July

July feels like a bit of an in between month in our garden. The tomatoes aren't quite ready and neither are the courgettes, but the strawberries are nearly over and the elderflowers are browning in the sunshine. Luckily, though, if you know what to search for, there are still many delights to enjoy on your plate this month.

Lots of people are unsure about gooseberries and find them too tart, but they are a wonderful fruit that we really should utilise much more in the kitchen. Try baking them in a tart or turn them into jam (particularly good with leftover strawberries) and enjoy with a dollop of creme fraiche.

Beetroot is starting to come into its own by the time July rolls around. Don't be put off by any you've had from the supermarket swimming in vinegar - the real stuff is so much tastier! Grate into curries and chilli dishes, blend to form a soup or roast with other summer veg for a quick and easy midweek meal. If you've got time it's also rather wonderful in a chocolate cake, and makes for a much healthier treat.

French beans and mangetout are two other summer staples for the month ahead. French beans in particular are so easy to grow and take up so little space, and they just keep on coming over the summer.  Add to stir-fries, pasta dishes or use them to spruce up a salad. If they're picked early you can enjoy them raw, but if not don't overcook them or they'll be limp and bland.

Lamb is also at its best, so get the barbecue out and grill some lamb and mint burgers. Throw on a few vegetable kebabs and serve with nettle jelly (nicer than it sounds!). Finish the meal with homemade rose petal ice cream and you're in for a treat.

July in the Garden
Creative Countryside - July in the Garden

July is the month of green in our garden. June is for new life, August is a blaze of colour, but July is definitely the lush, green month. Not that I'm complaining! The weather this year has made for a particularly fast growing season and I can't seem to mow the lawn often enough, although this has meant that the borders have been filled with plants. Looking back at this time last year we definitely had a lot more produce on the go, and it makes me a little sad that I've just not had the time to dedicate to growing as much as I'd like, but other things have to take priority sometimes. We have lots of exciting plans for next year, and are determined to set aside small chunks of time each week so that come summer we can be rolling in courgettes, lettuces and a whole range of other delights.

Creative Countryside - July in the Garden
Creative Countryside - July in the Garden

So here's what the garden has looked like over the past month: (from top left) I've let this thistle grow wild in the front border just because I love the shape; an area of solitude to escape the busy day and hot midday sun; beautiful evening sunsets; the tree-lined drive into our little set of houses is a joy to return home to, particularly when the sun falls through the leaves like this; my parents' dogs certainly enjoy the relaxation of these lazy days; the branch is gone (!) - Mr CC got sick of our patio area losing the light so early so one morning he got his saw out...and then it was gone; more spherical, spiky beauty; a few green tomatoes hinting at what's to come; a bright pop of scarlet from the crocosmia.

What's in your garden at the minute? Have you managed to grow anything new this year?

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P.S. Want to see how the garden looks at other times of the year? Check out previous 'The Year in the Garden' posts here!

July in Pictures
July in Pictures
July in Pictures
July in Pictures

What a month! I'll be honest and admit that most of these photos are from the second half of the month, but the first half flew by in a flurry of work deadlines and long days. As such, I haven't achieved a great deal in the garden and the house is slowly entering that 'now really needs tidying' stage - I'm planning to blitz everything today so fingers crossed for success! The last few days have been filled with excitement and happiness, and I hope that next month is more of the same. We're got our week away to look forward to but I also really want to work on making some jam and taking time for stargazing; two items on my Big Summer List. Once August is upon us I always feel like summer is slowly slipping away and I find myself frantically trying to fit everything in that I've wanted to do since the start of June. Are you the same?!

Enough of next month anyway, here's what my July has looked like (from top left): drying rose petals for confetti at our wedding; something different to drink when in the city; vintage watering cans that are good enough to display in the garden; tons of pea flies in a beautiful bloom; summer pudding courtesy of my mum - I never used to like it but this year I am a convert; Shakespeare's Globe (finally!); painting an owl mug for a work's evening out; so much more sun now a big branch in our garden has been cut away; seeing The Beatles musical and being happy knowing pretty much every single song.

What have you been up to this month? Have you gone away anywhere or spent summer weekends at home?

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P.S. Want to see what I was up to last month? Check out June in Pictures.

Eleanor CheethamJuly
Eat Seasonably in July

We're approaching the height of summer and at last gardens, allotments and fields are filled tempting produce. But what kind of things should you be eating if you want the best of the current crop?

Eating Seasonally - July
Eating Seasonally - July

First up is beetroot. Not the pickled variety stacked in tall glass jars, but the earthy, pungent spheres pulled up directly from the soil or bought from a local farm shop; perfect chopped into chunks in a salad or roasted with other vegetables. Broad beans are still in season too, but eat them soon because as we get closer to August they become a little stringy. New potatoes are now in full swing - try them boiled and laced with butter and freshly-ground pepper for a truly fresh flavour. Finally the early season carrots are started to pop up; these work well in salads or boil them whole to go with a summery roast chicken dinner.

Check out the Eat Seasonably calendar for more advice on what to eat in July, or head over here for seasonal recipes.

What are you planning on cooking up this month?

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Goals: July
goals for july

My goals for June were - I have to admit - a little ambitious. That is, they would have been achievable had life not pushed into every spare second and kept me busy from dusk until dawn. This sounds like an excuse, and I suppose in a way it is, but I don't want these goals to be something I should feel negatively about; after all I set them for myself, and if I don't achieve them it's only me that really suffers.

GoalsforJune
GoalsforJune

Goal number 1 was definitely achieved; I even did some gardening after work one evening! Goal number 3 was also fulfilled (Mr CC is pretty glad this one is over and done with). The rest were a little more difficult. I am, however, determined to persevere and will keep looking back to June's goals as well as those for the month ahead. So without further ado...

goals for july
goals for july
  1. Watch less, do more. I'm still in the habit of sitting in front of a film or the television after a long day at work. Must resist!
  2. Start to enjoy cooking again. I go through phases and lose my motivation for cooking, usually when I'm busy at work or otherwise, and currently I'm experiencing a lull in my cooking creativity. It's time to get the recipe books out.
  3. Make more time for family. Although I see my close family on a regular basis I would like to spend more time with relatives that live outside my village. I'm a busy person, but it's all about prior planning and realising that some things are more important than worrying about fitting everything in.
  4. Stop feeling guilty. About eating unhealthily sometimes. About forgetting to exercise. About everything, really.
  5. Get inspired. This links quite nicely with my second goal, but I also want it to apply to this blog and my creative writing in other spaces. It's about time I sat down and appreciated all of these inspirational people and places that surround my life.

Have you set any goals for July? Do you want to work on any of the same things I do?

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P.S. Want to see my previous goals?

Goals for June Goals for May Goals for April