Category Archives: alpha road

From Frozen Beetroot Balls to Borscht

Adventures from Alpha Road Allotment

This week, a frosty allotment harvest has resulted in lots of unexpected recipes being concocted. Today, I brought in my beetroot balls to defrost – a couple were grated and mixed with carrot, salt, pepper, toasted cumin seeds and a splash of red wine vinegar for a raw winter salad whilst the remainder were turned into a borscht served with crusty bread and feta cheese (recipe below)

beetrrot 2

Beetroot in the Frozen Ground

There were many recipes for borscht online so, I combined lots of them as usual to make them fit with the ingredients I had available. The result was a meaty and healthy vegetarian supper, which even the kids enjoyed after a few protests at the start.

Beetroot Soup & Beans

  • Fry 1 chopped onion with a crushed clove of  garlic
  • Put this mixture to one side
  • Gently fry 2 sticks diced celery and 2  diced carrots for about 3 minutes
  • Add 3 diced beetroots, a diced potato, some shredded red or green cabbage if you have some, if you have herbs add either dill, couple sprigs thyme etc about 1.5 litres of beef or veg stock and cook for up to 1 hour.
  • Then add the onion and garlic, 1/2 squeezed lemon  (or red wine vinegar), tin of red kidney beans and 1/2 tin of chopped tomatoes (can use fresh tomatoes here too) and cook for about 15 minutes

Serve with crusty bread, chopped parsley or dill if you have some (i didn’t),  feta or soured cream

beetroot 1


I’ll start to sow successional rows of beetroot from around mid March with some fleece over the top to give them a warmer start, will share photos then.

Jane x

PS If you have a favourite borscht recipe I’d love to read it

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Disliked by the deer, rabbits, squirrels, pigeons, caterpillars and Ellie – is Kale for you?

Vegetable of the month – Curly KALE 

Of all the brassicas I’ve trialled growing over the years curly Kale is a favourite. Not only because it is so meaty, robust and healthy to eat but it has also for the paskale 2t 12 years survived deer, pigeon, squirrel,  caterpillar attacks and it’s neglectful carers.

Our sandy and dry soil at the Alpha Road Alloment, Woking also provides the perfect conditions for it to grow.   In our early enthusiastic years we grew brussel sprouts, sprouting broccoli, cabbages and more brassicas. However, these need netting, staking, feeding, collars and more and now that we no longer live in walking distance we’ve gone for ease over variety.

kale 3

Today, an excited urge to visit and view the frosty allotment whilst my family slept on resulted in a good hair cut for a frosty and bushy kale plant. Polar beetroot balls and icy leeks were also forked and heaved out of the soil. Visiting my Sicilian neighbours chickens warmed my hands slightly, as we sprinkled them Christmas leftovers and chatted about the weather.

The kale defrosted on the way home and I’ve made a simple made up kale salad –

  • threw away the tough stalks
  • chopped and crushed by hand the leaves to release the fragrance
  • toasted a handful or so of walnuts
  • chopped feta
  • spooned over cider vinegar, olive oil and pepper


More here on the health benefits of kale

There will be regrowth from the leaves I’ve picked for more trimming soon, and I’ll plant new seeds in the Spring or cheat and buy plug plants from ebay.

To Kale or Not to Kale

Jane x

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