You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2010.
I have been really enjoying Sophia Dahl’s TV series The Delicious Miss Dahl. Last week she made a delicious vegetarian curry and dahl and knowing what a curry fan Mr Rigg is I thought I would make it as a treat last Friday night.
So I got all the ingredients – sweet potatoes, the spices to make the garam masala from scratch etc. When it came down to making it I followed the recipe and had fun making the aromatic garam masala spice mix by grinding it up in my loved-but-under-used pestle and mortar.
I seasoned the sweet potatoes and onions as instructed with the the spice mix – but not all of it. Then I tasted it and couldn’t really taste much, so decided to add in all the garam masala. On final tasting it just didn’t taste of anything. I was devasted.
Watching Sophia Dahl cook this recipe I could imagine how it tasted…and yet there were none of those lovely flavours I had dreamt of. I am sad to say that the curry was saved by a jar of Patak’s Balti sauce after a quick dash to the Co-op.
In the end it tasted ok, but was greatly lifted by Unicorn’s dahl (divine!) and fragrant rice also care of Sophia Dahl, which was delicious.
Yesterday we finished off my new herb beds at the allotment. We have created two L-shaped raised beds with timber planks left on our allotment by the previous owner. In the bare patch of soil between the beds we are going to put some turf and create a small grassy spot on which we can sit and eat our lunches.
So far in my new herb beds I have planted: 2 lavender, 2 sage of different varieties and a French tarragon. I am planning to make a trip to Kenyon Hall Farm to source the rest of the herbs to fill these beds as they have a truly wonderful selection – at least 20 varieties of thyme (which is possibly my favourite herb).
We also started digging on the next section of the allotment – I plan to divide it into four beds and plant potatoes into two of those – they have chitted well and I am behind in getting them in the ground. Work for this week.
Tonight we enjoyed a picnic dinner at our allotment after an hour or two of raised bed construction. This is what we managed to achieve – one half of my new herb bed:
We ate Majorcan new potatoes boiled then smothered hot in goat’s butter and lots of salt and pepper … grilled blackened sausages from Little Heath Farm in Dunham Massey dunked in Wilkin & Son’s tomato ketchup …
sliced tomatoes sprinkled liberally with salt and garnished with torn basil leaves (totally unseasonal but irresistable as the weather starts to warm) …
and slices of coffee coloured seeded bread from Red House Farm smeared with Oxford Blue cheese …
Sitting on an old rug looking out over our allotment eating good grub – what a blissful way to spend a weekday evening. Buddy peered down at us from the boot of the car, his nose twitching as the smell of sausages wafted up his nostrils.
Two little robins hopped around the allotments, perched on the spade…
then a tub of chicken manure pellets…
and finally an orange plastic bottle balanced atop a bamboo cane…
Meanwhile, we are majoring on spring stew – a meal of my own invention – pearl barley, pancetta and a host of vegetables. Served for friends on Friday night with poached chicken. Yum.
Today we have been busy at the allotment enjoying this fabulous heatwave. Covered in suncream we got about moving the ‘shed’ (it’s more storage than shed) forward about a foot so that we can get to the raspberries more easily.
Then we built a compost bin from old gates and a pallet. We feel like proper allotment owners now.
Here’s the before…
And the after…
We stopped lots to eat delicious chunks of frosting coated chocolate brownie cake.
At lunch we sat on the grass in the shade of the car and devoured hunks of bread smeared with gooey camembert.
We cleared a sizeable patch of the allotment which I’m planning on turning into a herb garden with a small patch of grass where we can sit and picnic during the summer.
Then we filled out new compost bin with bits we had dug up and a well-rotted heap of rabbit droppings.
Our day finished with the first barbeque of the year and dinner outside.
Sausages (from Little Heath Farm), lettuce, cherry tomatoes with basil and Parmesan, and bread.
It’s been one of the nicest, most relaxing and productive days we’ve had in a long time. Rosy cheeks all round.
Lunch today was made up from what was found in the fridge, and as always these turn out to be the best meals. A delicious lunch of capers, parsley, ham and new potato salad…
Peeled, boiled and cooled new potatoes. Chopped into chunks. A couple of teaspoons of mayonnaise, a spoonful of capers chopped, and another spoonful of whole grain mustard.
A handful of torn flat leaf parsley and some shredded ham (my favourite kind – Focolare Italian herb ham from Barbakan). Mix in some salt and pepper to taste.
Four day weekends should be had every week I think. We have had a lovely Easter weekend so far – today we went to Formby beach with Buddy…
It was so cold – I think N was the only one in shorts…the rest of us were sensibly wrapped up in coats, hats, gloves etc.
And yesterday it was my granny’s 80th birthday with about 20 of my family – aunts, uncles, cousins, you name it, they were there. My cake was a success, so I will find some time to post the recipe and show of the final cake all decorated with spring flowers soon.
Tonight I’m wishing for a quiet night in by a log fire.
Wishing everyone a happy start to the Easter weekend! I am about to head off to get some eggs so that I can start baking a beautiful lemon pound cake for my granny’s 80th birthday tomorrow.
It needs to feed 20 family members – wish me luck! If it works out I’ll post the recipe…