I’m sure the sales of artificial vanilla flavouring would plummet if more people knew how easy it is to make real vanilla extract at home. It’s really as simple as two ingredients: about 110ml of vodka and 1 vanilla bean.To make, simply split your vanilla bean lengthwise, flatten it a bit and then insert it into a dark coloured bottle. Fill the bottle up with vodka, screw on the top, give it a good shake and set it in a warm window that you’ll come to on a daily basis.

A visit to several ‘hidden gardens’ and the Port St Mary Allotment There are nine allotments on the Isle of Man and it’s my goal to visit all of them eventually. Not only is it fun to check out what everyone is growing but it’s a great opportunity to see local gardening techniques and gather new ideas. So when I was recently invited to visit the Port St Mary Allotment by a member of their committee, I jumped at the chance. On the day of our visit, Anthony Murphy picked

What do you do with the end pieces of bread loaves and other odds and ends of bread? I know a couple of people who absolutely love eating these bits but to me they’re less appetising – especially since they’re the last of the loaves to be eaten at our home and therefore a but ‘crusty’. But I hate wasting food so I’ve learned to make delicious and crunchy home-made croutons with mine. I tend to save all my bread bits in the freezer until I have enough to make

Well, what do you think? It’s neither a pumpkin or a courgette (aka zucchini)… so does that make it a Pumpkette? Or perhaps a Pumpkini? What about Courkin? Last year I saved seeds from a pumpkin a fellow allotmenteer gave me with the plans of growing my own Jack’o’lanterns this year. It didn’t quite work out that way though, since it seems that my pumpkin-present had an illicit interracial affair with the neighbouring Courgette! Who would have known? I’ve learned a couple of things from this experience: 1. If you’re

I took some pictures of my allotment last week – it needs a bit of weeding still but am fairly happy with the harvest so far this year. Tons of new potatoes and the greens have done exceptionally well with all the showers we’ve been getting. Of course there are not so successful crops this year too…but let’s not dwell on them.            

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