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Food & Drink

Strawberry Smoothie Recipe

July 22, 2013

Strawberry Smoothie Recipe  | greensideup.ieIf you follow Greenside Up on Facebook or Twitter you may have spotted lots of photos of strawberries in recent weeks, as well as the recent strawberry cordial recipe shared here. It’s been a fantastic year for them in our garden as a result of some serious spring weeding and strawberry bed management (see here for tips). That combined with a sunny summer means the fruit hasn’t succumbed to botrytis and rotted on their stems as in previous years.

Sunny StrawberryWe began harvesting berries from the small patch in the pollytunnel at the end of May, enjoying a few fresh ones with our muesli every morning as well as on the occasional strawberry cheesecake, but the long hot days quickly brought them on outside.

We picked over 5kg one day and another 4kg a few days later with more in waiting, all from a bed 1.2m x 7m. The plants originated from a dozen or so of the Cambridge variety given to us by a friend a few years ago.

strawberry smoothie recipeThis week one of our children noticed that a major supermarket are selling strawberries for €13.30 per kg and as a result I’m thinking I should check to see if we have freezer insurance!!

Freezing strawberries

When faced with garden fruit and little time, the quickest thing to do is to freeze it. To prevent the berries turning into a globulous goo, just wash and remove the hulls, place them onto a baking tray and freeze them open on the tray. Once frozen weigh and pop them into manageable sized freezer bags. I find 500g to be a handy weight for our family.

strawberry smoothie recipe | greensideup.ieWe’re a household of strawberry lovers but one of our many favourite ways to eat them is in a simple smoothie. Just add all the ingredients listed below into a blender and blitz. This recipe is enough to fill four generous glasses.

Strawberry Smoothie Recipe

strawberry smoothieIngredients

500g Low Fat Natural Yogurt
200ml 100% concentrated orange juice
1 ripe banana
500g frozen strawberries
Edible flower or strawberries to decorate

We use this as a base for most smoothies, swapping the strawberries for raspberries or blueberries – whatever’s in season at the time. We’ve found it’s a great way to encourage our children to eat dairy foods, providing calcium that’s essential for strong bones. Given that our twelve year old daughter has broken her arm THREE TIMES playing sports, I’m constantly on the lookout for food sources that will strengthen her bones and she can’t get enough of this one!!!

Do you enjoy the berry season as much as we do? What are your favourite ways of eating them?

Food & Drink, Green

Strawberry Sensation or Alien Aspartame?

July 5, 2013
Strawberry Sensation (Strawberry Cordial & Cava)

Strawberry Sensation (Strawberry Cordial & Cava)

This post started out as a very simple but totally delicious, in season strawberry cordial recipe, as per the usual food blogging posts. However, as I was researching it and in particular the area of food sweeteners versus sugar, it became a lot more.

The recipe for the very tasty summer drink is at the bottom of the post. If you don’t want to know about ASPARTAME just scroll down to the vibrant strawberry picture below and you’ll find it. I can’t recommend this strawberry cordial enough (if you have a supply of strawberries)! Seven out of seven people ranging across three generations loved it when I offered the first sips around the table here. Continue Reading…

Vegetable Garden

Help? What do I do with my strawberry patch?

May 10, 2013

“My strawberry patch is overrun with weeds and I don’t know what to do… can you help please?”

This was a question asked by a customer recently who’s strawberry beds were full of weeds, just like our own.

strawberry flowers

Strawberries are flowering in the polytunnel

Like my customer, I’d left the strawberry patch to last as it really was the most weedy, daunting job in the vegetable patch this year. It had been neglected for several months and with no weed membrane or mulch surrounding the little plants that had been transplanted there from runners last year, it was now seriously out of control.

Strawberry Patch

Strawberry patch: before, during, after

Three days later (on and off) and the strawberry patch is looking fabulous and we’re hopeful that we’ll have a good crop of fruit this year, but it took some work to get it there. On my hands and knees pulling up dandelions, dock, creeping buttercups and thistles, I was almost ready to throw in the towel but kept going as I knew from previous years that this lovely Cambridge variety of strawberries can provide a bountiful harvest.  Continue Reading…

Community Gardens

In the Community Garden in March

March 27, 2013

Here we are, the last week of March and more snow, more biting cold winds and still nothing at all sown outside in Goresbridge community garden! Thankfully the weather hasn’t been remotely as bad as those living in Co Antrim or the UK, (Lorna over at the Irish Farmerette blog has written a post about their hardships and the difficulties farmers are facing due to the long winter-spring). 

A tree in March in BaunreaghAs I left home to meet up with gardeners this week, the sky was heavy with its frosty load and the huge flakes softly floated around me as I tentatively set off once again down the slippery hilly lanes.

There was snow in the community garden with most of the beds frozen, but inside we were starting to see slow signs of life.

The potatoes are chitting nicely…


We transplanted strawberry runners into guttering that will be hung on the wall outside when the weather warms up a bit.

strawberries at Goresbridge community gardenVery few seeds have germinated that were sown two weeks ago, it’s been so cold. The rocket is just up, a few tiny lettuce plants and some kale. We’ll be sowing fresh seeds over the next few weeks to counteract the losses/non germination…

Lastly we were able to thin out and divide the chives that we planted from seed a couple of years ago that were in danger of taking over the herb bed.

goresbridge community garden chives

There is one delightfully uplifting area of the garden during this barren time… a large container full of pretty spring flowers. Fingers crossed for a warmer Wednesday next week!

spring flowers in the community garden



Bimbling and harvesting in the vegetable garden – early June

June 12, 2011

Just in case anyone’s under the illusion that we have the perfect garden, this is a picture of the wild area in our veg patch.

One day it may turn into a pond but for now it’s the place where all the wildlife hides, the insects buzz and the children’s balls get lost.

I love it as much as the rest of the garden, particularly when all the creeping buttercups flower.

No washing drying today… up in the clouds

Today was a peaceful bimbling day – tidying up, not too much weeding, a bit of sowing, listening to mellow tunes in my own head space.

I transplanted some cauliflowers a week or so ago and already the slugs have found them. Looks like the night time patrol will be starting up again very soon.

The bed above is waiting for the winter cabbages to grow bigger before they’re planted out.

The bulbs on the onions that were planted to overwinter are swelling nicely too.

I love the leaf shape and colour of this Bordeaux Spinach, but we’ve yet to taste it… maybe this evening it will grace our plates.

All the action’s happening inside the polytunnel at the moment. Here we’re harvesting lots of peas, perpetual spinach, scallions, beetroot, french beans, courgettes and herbs.

I love working in here as the scent from the herbs is so delicious.

The rosemary brushes against the leg as it’s passed and the perfume from the dill, tarragon, chives and thyme fill the air when a soft breeze blows in.

The dwarf French beans have struggled but are producing pods now.

I took a gamble and sowed them early, and they’ve had a tough time of it… they took a real munching from the slugs and haven’t grown very big, but good to see some flowers now and I’ve sown extra to replace the eaten ones.

One bed in the tunnel is taken up with squashes.. a couple of courgette plants, a couple of cucumbers and this year an unknown variety of something.

We dried and saved the seeds from a chestnutty flavoured squash purchased from an organic farm shop last autumn. Am thinking it’s a Blue Ballet but will have to wait and see… it’s looking very healthy though so fingers crossed.

A row of phacelia has been sown in front to attract pollinating insects inside.

To finish off my pottering, as a reward (as if I needed one after my peaceful day) some ripe strawberries were picked and shared. The runners from the outside patch were dug up and planted in the tunnel during the early spring producing the most exquisite flavoured fruit.


Cambridge Variety Strawberries
Still a few jobs to do, but feeling good for a catch up.