Guess what we’re having for dinner?

Sorry no prizes it’s not exactly difficult

On a grey overcast day, with rain constantly threatening it is not a perfect day to take you on a walkΒ up to the allotments. I’d planned to show you my walk, take you around my part of town, maybe share a sea view. But the weather is truly gloomy and the photos are equally so.

Change of plan and a season’s first on the menu. There that’s brighter!

Artichokes are coming into season here, we’ll cook them quickly in boiling water, and in a separate pan melt some butter, squeeze a lemon and add a dash of salt, drain the artichokes and then get peeling and dipping. Simple.

For extra ideas and how to cook them I’d pop across to the Bartolini Kitchens for fabulous Italian style eating.


    • OK I’ll tell you what I do, which is not text book stuff and then you can choose to happily ignore it!
      In spring/ early summer I sow seeds in large starter pots (easy to grow from seed) and then I transplant them into maybe a 6 inch (or more pot) and let them grow, they do need watering as they get thirsty.
      Then I tend to ignore them over winter – but you could bring yours indoors. Come Spring I plant them out in a sunny border, I literally plonk them in, no fuss and attention.
      Give them plenty of space – they do grow to huge proportions.
      I then forget about them for another year
      After that they are ready for picking.
      they do attract black fly, so tomorrow I plan to go and spray a bit of washing up liquid and water on them to try and stop them
      I prefer the rounded ones as they are more fleshy – the plant in the picture will be pulled up this year as these pointy ones aren’t as fleshy. Besides I have some purple ones to plant out πŸ™‚
      For winter I just ignore hem, but you may want to or need to cover them with straw.
      And you can always let the odd one go to flower – magnificent is a perfect word
      One last thing I’ve always fancied growing them in a border, several of them I think they would look magnificent πŸ™‚

      • πŸ™‚ Right now it’s not at all warm, June has been a totally odd month – storms, cool and a lot of rain. I find artichokes very hardy and can withstand our grey skies, in fact they probably withstand them better than I do!

  • I’ve never tried artichokes though I’ve watched the chefs on various cooking shows trim and trim and trim until there was almost nothing left, remove the choke, throw them in acidulated water etc.

    The result never seemed to be worth all that effort, frankly.

    • It is a bit of effort – getting the choke out is the trickiest. After that it’s a pleasurable meal – picking away at the leaves and dipping them in lemony-butter. I like it as their is no cutlery involved πŸ™‚

  • I LOVE artichokes! The prep can seem a little daunting, but you make it sound easy as pie. Sounds like a wonderful meal on a gloomy day!

    • You know Cindy, I think they will lift me out of the rain and grey and give me hope of a sunny and warm summer ahead. I can’t believe how wet and cold June has been so far!

  • Now you’ve got me scheming.. I’ve an artichoke recipe to make and I’ve got a craving! Your artichokes are fabulous, btw, lucky, lucky you!!

  • With temperature extremes here on the plains, some people are still successful in growing artichokes. I gave up–content with their survival even if they do not produce. I stuck them in the back of my flower bed as an ornamental leaf.

    • Hi Claire, to be honest they will look very similar as all I do is break off the main stalk and then plonk them in the boiling water. I’ll have to take some more photos another day πŸ™‚

  • Mine were planted last year and the leaves have come up magnificently this year, but with no flowers/globes yet. Is the second year of the plant too early to expect anything? Also, do you take out the first globe as the books say? Thanks for the advice.

    • It is still fairly early, it also depends on where you are, here in the SE we are a bit ahead of most of the UK.
      I’ve heard about removing the central globe, I think the thinking is that when you remove it the plant then sends out extra side shoots which will produce globes, so that way you get more. But I must admit, I generaly ignor eth eplants until they start producing, so I’m a tad lazy in that respect !
      Oh and thanks for popping in πŸ™‚

  • Looks great. I am sure they are precious but it is always good to let at least one flower- the blooms are incredibly beautiful…

  • Bees love the bloomed out ones too! I once observed a bee in drunken delight diving into the center, and back up to the surface several times before she flew away. She was entirely covered in pollen! Wonderful!
    Have you ever tried cardoons in your garden? Very tall, so plant them in the back if you do. They’re so beautiful. ~ Lynda

    • Hi Lynda, a great picture of a drunken bee carry away their load!
      A few people on my allotments grow Cardoons, they are splendid plants, and as you say definitely one for the back of the border! I’ve read about eating them too, but I’ve never tried one.

    • They are nice fresh but I have to admit I like them canned/in jars in olive oil – a lovely delicious treat! And thanks for your comment πŸ™‚

  • Perfect and it looks like lots of folk are interested in your artichokes! We pulled ours up this winter after 3 years as they got out of control but weΒ΄ll def put more in. Now, back to supper…do hope that licking your fingers is permitted in your house?!

    • I know I’ve dug up a couple this year, I need to plant out the new ones where there is room for them to grow, they do take up a LOT of space!
      oh, and finger licking is compulsory πŸ™‚ and given the occaision elbows on table are allowed too πŸ˜‰

  • You wouldn’t believe how many times an artichoke has been our main course. Served with a green salad it is quite satisfying. We started this when artichokes were much less expensive than they are now!

  • What a thing of beauty and how I envy you and all those who can grow them! I did, however, return to “my” Italian market and bought more of them. I just can’t go by that display without buying a couple pounds. They’re on the menu for tomorrow night.
    Thank you, Claire, for your kind mention of my blog. I, too, enjoy them prepared as you’ve mentioned, a quick boil and served with melted butter. Yum!

    • Hi John, the difficulty with growing them is that there are never enough small ones at the same time, so I eny you “your” market. Oh well, maybe I need more plants…..
      And the mention, it’s a pleasure you described so well how to prepare and cook them, much better than I can!

  • Oh, this is the first year that I don’t have them in my garden and I miss them! I must get some more in so that I’ll have them next summer.

    • I think they look splendid in the garden, and the bonus is that we get to eat them as well as admiring them! Hope you get some plants soon πŸ™‚

    • Last night was another night with rain of biblical proportions, trench foot is setting in aound here!! Roll on July, it’s got to be better…… pleeeeeaase!

    • I’ll have to take some more photos then πŸ™‚ And yes you do get lots of them per plant, but to be honest I have no idea as to how many. I’ll have to wait and see how the next batch grow and how many we get per plant!

    • The vinaigrette is next on the list, I like to start with butter/lemon and then as the season goes on, move to a vinaigrette. Always delicious!

  • After you have boiled them 10 minutes or so(save water for rice) let stand to cool. Make paste of bread crumbs, crab meat and egg. Stuff the leaves. Then heavy with shredded mozzarella and bake 10 minutes or so. Now that’s an artichoke. Often use artichoke/spinach dip as alternative to tomato sause for pasta – hot or cold.

    • Now that is a superb recipe Carl – I love crab meat and can get it easily locally. Consider this saved for trying later in the season. Many thanks!

  • That looks fabulous! It’s something we’ve never tried. having very limited space we have to get most crops from our plants but you have tempted me………. πŸ™‚

  • Sorry you’ve been having such harsh weather. We are baskjing under the sun, and the artichokes have just begun to appear. Enjoy!

  • Artichokes for dinner would brighten my day! I don’t think our growing season is long enough for them, but perhaps I’ll need to look that up…

    • We have quite a short growing season here too, but I giess it’s the winters and how long and cold they are that would matter more.

  • WOW! I love them too and I cook always… So good to eat. Wonderful dear Claire, you are doing the best with your garden. Thanks and Love, nia

  • It’s a thing of beauty! I think artichokes are just majestic and you have me wanting to get in the car right now and bring some home! I have never grown them and I’m sure I could. You have sparked an idea πŸ™‚ Lovely, Claire. Debra

    • Oh to spark an idea is fabulous Debra! They take up a lot of room – maybe about 3ft, but are very archictectural in their grey-green leaves so look good for much of the year

    • Hi Teresa isn’t it funny – as a gardener I want rain, but I’d like it at night when I’m not gardening! And no matter how much I water you can’t beat natural rainfall for helping our plants along the way. Hope you have a super week

  • I have 3 plants that Ive grown from seed and they are huge plants. I did try to prepare them and got in a right mess so now I just grow them for the flowers and the bees and hovver flies just love them, so I leave them for the bees and not for eating.

    • They are wonderful plants to have on the allotment aren’t they – the one drawback I’ve found is that blackfly seem to like them, but I guess if you are growing them for the flowers that isn’t such a problem. Let’s hope for some warmth and sun soon, we could do with it couldn’t we?!

    • No I haven’t tried grilling them, that sounds delicious. And I’ve learn’t something new this morning about CA πŸ™‚ So I guess you must be an expert at cooking and eating them πŸ™‚

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