We ran out of tartare sauce today.
I don’t know what you are supposed to do in that situation. If I run out of lager I’ll substitute a bottle of Merlot but I don’t have a ready made substitute for tartare sauce.
With salmon on the plate, I had to think on my feet and I went down the chutney route.
I raided the fridge where all the unlabelled, half-eaten jars reside.
I polished off the last remnants of the best beetroot relish ever! And then experimented with the unknown – the small gifted jars that either came from my family or the in-laws. The distinction is important. Lynn’s family do jams. Mine do sour chutneys and marmalade.
Neither family do labels though.
In the end I “enjoyed” salmon with rhubarb jam.
This is the first year of growing Kale. It’s taken me about 40 years to acquire the taste but I’ve now found the recipe that boosts this brassica into top spot – Cavalo Nero crisps.
I force fed the vegetable loathing teenager a crisp, hoping to recreate the last force feeding photo opportunity, but it totally backfired. She actually loved my crisps and now I have to share them!
Here’s the recipe:
- Chop leaves into 1 inch strips
- Cut out the vein out as it helps the leaves dehydrate without burning
- Toss with olive oil and a bit of sea salt
- Lay out on the microwave plate and cook for 3-4 mins
I opened the microwave after 2 mins to let some of the steam evaporate but its a fairly forgiving process – the leaves dry out well without much fuss.
They crisp up amazingly well and store for an age in a tupperware box. Not that I’ll need to keep them for long, my current problem is trying to keep them away from the teenager.
I’ll be planting an extra row of Kale next year.
I’ve always considered the allotment shed to be a home from home but the recent crop failings and resultant low morale has led it to be more of an irregular holiday home and our lack of attentiveness became apparent today.
Opening the shed I discovered my boots had been used as a rubbish receptacle, I tried blaming Lynn but further inspection revealed the worrying signs that squatters had moved in – the Rich Tea biscuits had been half inched, the coffee whitener nibbled and a row of unappealing black deposits lined up on the supplies shelf.
It appears that a mouse has declared my boot a room of his own.
I’m quite impressed with his interior design. A veritable cornucopia was packed deep into the toe recess, including two real ale bottle tops and a large handful of plum stones.
I feel like I have this entirely unsatisfactory hobby where I spend hours each weekend, weeding and tilling and planting, just in order for an army of soft, squishy critters to gorge themselves silly on our lush organic produce.
Next year I may try out a new hobby of browsing the veg aisles in the local Lidl so that I too, can gorge on some vegetables.
Broad beans have been the only success this year, in fact they were so successful that I can barely close the freeze door without bursting an over stuffed sack of beans.
Absolutely everything else is a complete flop.
Here’s the pitiful reward for digging an entire row of spuds in heavy and claggy clay.
The second row was no better, in fact I unearthed more slugs than potatoes.
The runner beans are nothing short of an embarrassment.
The mountain goat species of snail has been up and down each wigwam, decimating each and every plant.
I’ve jumped from foot to foot squishing them in a furious war dance, done to the tune of much swearing but I am still a little unimpressed with this gardening hobby.
There were some ripe utterances on the plot this morning and for a change it wasn’t me doing the cursing.
One of my latest crazes is woodworking but beyond whittling a wooden spoon and purchasing assorted hand tools I haven’t really progressed the hobby much further. I’ve sharpened one of many vintage chisels and have hacked at a sticking door frame with a blunt Stanley plane but it has hardly been an intense or successful apprenticeship.
So when we arrived on the plot and it became clear that true joinery skills would be required, I skulked off to deal with the tricky weeding and left Lynn to handle the construction tasks.
Cue much swearing….
I’d requested a second compost bin for the plot so that we can turn the contents of the bins from time to time and speed up the decomposition. Having spent a week scouring the neighbourhood for discarded pallets we had acquired enough to start the build.
The pallets were pretty much indestructible and Lynn wielded that hammer for a good hour before the blocks would loosen sufficiently to be able to fashion a sliding door for the front of the bin. I busied myself with the camera and tried to stay out of reach of the swing.
Looking back at the photos now its hard to see quite what my contribution to the day was, it even appears that Lynn completed the transfer of the compost between bins despite the very real threat of vermin attack. I can confirm that I did dig one bean trench and made a cup of tea. I would have made a bacon butty for the worker too but I’d managed to bring slightly past its best bacon and thought it best not to poison her.
We left the plot satisfied but a little hungry.