Propagating some succulents

I do seem to have luck with succulents, in that they seem to grow for me, so I thought I'd see how far I could push that luck. And the short answer is, quite far.  On a trip to the garden centre to buy a couple of succulents I noticed some discarded leaves in the bottom of the trays, so after checking with the staff there I left with my bedding plants, a couple of succulent plants and quite a few of those discarded leaves. 

I wanted to see if I could get them to grow. And basically, get some free plants. 

Unsure quite how to proceed I started by stuffing one leaf into a pot. While it didn't die, it didn't really grow either. But what I noticed was the leaves I'd not done anything with were starting to form roots. 

Checking the internet I learnt that the trick is to make a clean cut - oops, too late there and to leave the leaves to dry out. So once again the conservatory - home of the succulents - was called into action. During the warm weather it was the ideal place for some low effort propagating. 

The idea was for the leaves to dry out, which seemed counter-productive to producing new plants, but after a week or so, look what happened.

succulents starting to propagate

My free succulent leaves were starting to sprout new flowers and what I assume are roots. At this stage I put them near some soil. Not in soil. On it. I used a gritty soil as succulents seem to like that. I really wasn't sure what would happen. All I needed to do, apparently, was to keep the soil moist.

transfer the leaves to a pot

And sure enough, they started to grow.

Growing some new succulents from a leaf

And now, I have a new generation of succulents from a few leaves that had been knocked off the plants.  Including a couple of new-to-me varieties.

New plants
Actually lots of new plants with very little effort

It's so easy I couldn't believe it, and so easy I bet you could do it too. In fact the hardest thing was the waiting! 

Let me know how you get on if you give it a try.

A bargain Hyacinth

I've been seeing lots of hyacinth's around this year, and tulips too and I've been feeling as if I was missing out. I bought some tulips at the weekend - the rhubarb and custard sort, if you know what I mean. To start with one insisted on doing its own thing, but after an overnight banishment to the cooler conservatory I was pleased to see that it had righted itself.

And that was, I thought that. Tulip envy satiated.

Then on Monday, it was just too nice to sit at my desk at lunchtime so I wandered off to the local supermarket to pick up some milk. Just inside the door were trays of hyacinths, which I couldn't quite bring myself to walk past without taking a peek.

Needless to say it wasn't long before I was deciding which one I'd put in my basket. And at just £1.49 each I was wondering how many I should leave with...

hyacinth

And stumped for anything garden related to write about today I managed to grab a few photos of my bargain hyacinth in the morning light before heading off to work. Imagine what a treat it was then to get home from work and have around half an hour of daylight too, not that I did anything productive with it, but it was good to see.

Spring is definitely on its way.

hyacinth in a pot
hyacinth
hyacinth bulbs

And in case you're wondering I did leave with just one - hopefully a pink one. Although I did consider going back the next day and buying a few more, but I've resisted so far...

hyacinth in black and white

Dinner & Lunch: A reduced cooked chicken

The other weekend we were in our local supermarket looking for inspiring sandwich fillings for our lunches the following week, when we spotted a cooked chicken reduced to £4. Realising it was way cheaper than the sliced chicken "designed" for sandwiches and even cheaper than the chicken thighs we'd usually buy, it went straight into my basket. Don't get me started on why that is...

Our plan was to use it for lunches, but to use it more quickly than we would a non-reduced chicken or one we'd cooked ourselves. Making soup and freezing that seemed a good option, and would bring a welcome change to sandwiches again...

The next day I set about making some stock from the carcass to form the base of my chicken and vegetable soup. I used this recipe - Chicken Garden soup -  by Jamie Oliver as my guide, but through circumstances such as a lack of celery and parsley adapted it by including coriander stems and other aromatics instead.  Along with the stock ingredients I added a couple of whole unpeeled garlic gloves, an inch or so of ginger, half a red chilli (unchopped) and a couple of star anise. 

The rest of the recipe was pretty much the same, except I excluded the spinach as I wanted to freeze the soup and I thought it might go a bit slimy. And it turned out well. I was surprised when this £4 chicken made four portions of chicken and vegetable soup, and two 500ml of chicken stock which I've also frozen for use another day.

There was clearly too much chicken to use in the soup, so I used the chicken breasts which I'd removed in a single piece in fajitas, along with red onions and red and yellow peppers. There was still enough meat for sandwiches and I mixed up some quick Coronation Chicken for these - see my recipe below. Then we finished the last of it off in a chicken and broccoli frittata. 

For £4 that chicken provided a lot of meals, and I was reminded how easy it can be to "cook once, eat twice" at times - even if we didn't actually cook this chicken in the first place!  

Clearly though it was the day for bargain chickens, as in my local butchers he was selling three small chickens for £9.50, so I've a feeling I'll be sharing some more Dinner & Lunch ideas here in the forthcoming weeks.

My Quick Coronation Chicken

2 tbsp light Mayonnaise
2 tbsp Greek yogurt
1 tbsp Korma curry powder (or to taste)
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
Ground black pepper (to taste)
1 tbsp Mango chutney
Sultanas (to taste)
Flaked almonds (to taste)
Shredded cooked chicken

Method

Mix the Mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, curry powder, cinnamon, black pepper and mango chutney together and check it's to your taste before adding the sultanas, flaked almonds and cooked chicken. Ensure the chicken is covered in the sauce and serve in your roll, sandwich or wrap.

Makes enough for four sandwich wraps

Enjoy! 

 

What's your favourite thing to do with leftover chicken?

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A Bit Of Everything