Monday, 20 September 2010

fledgeling back

She's back! She had a great time! She got muddy! She abseiled! ("I'm not doing abseiling")! Abseiling was fun - once you got your feet over the edge (though apparently a chocolate bribe was used by the brownie leader - wise woman)! She wants to do it all over again!

Friday, 17 September 2010

My fledgeling flutters

My no 1 fledgeling is trying her wings out this weekend. Well, she's gone on a brownie trip to the local PGL, but she will be away for 2 nights, which seems immense to me. We dropped her off this evening, with vast amounts of luggage, and don't get her back until Sunday.

Interestingly, even though I would have said BT was the one who made all the noise, the house is very quiet.

Monday, 13 September 2010


I have pickled some plums.

That's all. I have restrained myself from making chutneys and jams. Apart from 3 jars of chilli jelly - red chilli flakes suspended in apple jelly, like pollen in amber. Rather beautiful.

But nothing else. Really. Promise. We have a shelf full of jam, and chutney, and quince jelly, and marmalade. So this year I'm holding off. Definitely.

I will make sloe gin. Rainbow wrote the labels for me last year, so it was all neatly labelled "Slow Gin". Actually, I find it is rather fast gin. but there you go.

I had quite a good summer in the veg patch. It is a blaze of gold and orange now - marigolds and nasturtiums, which gradually take over as the summer goes on - and there are 5 rather splendid pumpkins, one immensely tall sunflower, still a steady supply of courgettes (and the odd courges), and runner beans. I have some chard and kale on the way back, too. We may keep some over the winter, but last the year the deer came in and ate all my winter greens, so I'm not expecting much.

I have discovered sorrel - sharp, lemony, very useful in salads and sandwiches. Will definitely have some next year. And lovage, which is really like celery, so a little sprig gives that celery flavour to soups and stocks. I rarely buy celery, because I find I use a couple of sticks, store it til it goes totally flaccid and then put it in the compost bucket. And now I have lovage, I don't have to!

I have conceived a desire to grow jerusalem artichokes next year. Am trying to work out where to put them.

Also, some different kinds of beans, some mange-tout, more carrots and parsnips. The spinach was good, and we used loads of it, though it seems a long time ago. There is some perpetual spinach coming back. I am not entirely sure how perpetual perpetual is.

Nigel Slater has almost convinced me to grow beetroot.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Sail Away Ladies by Wholesome Fish

Sail Away Ladies by Wholesome Fish This little lot were busking in Barnstaple town centre the other week. They were fantastic - full of energy - bluegrass on speed - it was sunny, and I could have stood there all afternoon listening to them, but I had to go back to work. And someone bought the last CD they had on sale right in front of my very eyes. Bummer.

Friday, 3 September 2010


OK, last week I succumbed and bought Nigel Slater's tender. I have been eyeing it up for a while, but there it was in the cheapo bookshop in Barnstaple, £6.99, serious bargain. (Sorry, Nigel, hope you got your share). In fact, there were 2 of them, so I bought them both. One for me, one for the  present box. Not for anyone in particular, you understand, but in case an occasion presented itself. And low and behold, was talking to Charlie, who is a Real and Professional Cook, who revealed she was about to move house. So there was her house-warming present. And I had already revealed the bargain that it was, so no-one can accuse me of cheating. So there.

It is a lovely book. Would I have spent £30 on it? Hmmm. Maybe if someone had given me it as a present.

But I am enjoying it. I used to be a big Nigel fan, but over the years we have drifted apart. He is very much a last minute, throw it all together kind of guy, and I am gradually morphing into a slow cooker kind of woman (though this week we have been mainly eating M&S pizza and sausages. Bad mother). But this book is lovely. Why??

There are lots of nice pictures of VEGETABLES

He talks about his vegetable patch as if he loves it.

He has lots of recipes for chard - always exciting

He enthuses about runner beans. The fact is that everyone who has a vegetable patch grows runner beans. And if you grow runner beans you get a lot of them. It is impossible to grow just enough runner beans. They glut.

Now, go to Delia, go to Nigella, go to Rachel, go to the Good Housekeeping book of every dam' recipe you want, and none of them will give you any ideas of what to do with your glut except for boil them. Or steam them. Or runner bean chutney (which I think is vile. I only really like fruity, spicy chutneys). So a runner bean section is VERY EXCITING. And if you don't think that, then you don't have a vegetable patch.

He quotes Michael Pollan in the introduction!! Is there no end to the wonder of this book?

Well...I was a bit irritated when he dropped in the fact that Monty (nice trousers) Don popped round to have a look at his soil.