Sunday, 13 March 2011

Down at the allotment its all Fartichokes!

Its all excitement down on the allotment as today is our first bonfire of the year! Perfect weather conditions and a mountain of weeds and cleared vegetation dried out over the winter mean today’s the day. I’ve put 12 year old Sam and his mate Freddie in charge, foolish you may think, but my view with children and danger is you need to teach them to manage it rather than avoid it. Fingers crossed. Sam has done a great job in getting things going and keeping it stoked and I have really enjoyed the ‘man talk’. High points have been comparing themselves with their forks to the soldiers of Troy and a row over who made the Bayeux tapestry, monks or women!?

Meanwhile 10 year old Katie cleared out the pond, it all looks quite healthy but sad to say no frogspawn, despite having frogs last year.

I got on with the satisfying task of putting my onions in. The couple of hundred sets I bought cost me just over a pound from our co-operatively run allotment trading shed, which is good value which ever way you look at it. I love the neat rows you can make with them, and was pleased with my soil in the onion bed, not quite Christmas pudding consistency as they often report from the Gardeners’ World garden, but pretty close.

I’m not sure if the hard frost we had this week has effected the parsnip and salad seeds I put in last week. I’ll know soon if they are a no show.

I’ve removed the plastic housing over my rhubarb as forcing it this year seems to have really slowed down its growth, and with rhubarb at a £1 a stem in Waitrose I need quantity. We really loved my rhubarb and ginger jam last year and to celebrate my first stalks, I am making a rhubarb tart for Sunday lunch. See above, its a Waitrose recipe. 

I dug up a quantity of Jerusalem Artichokes and have made some delicious soup.  I used the Abel and Cole recipe, although I par boiled them first, a top tip from the vegetable Queen Jane Grigson, to mitigate their powers of wind inducement, hence the epithet, Fartichokes! Their unique nutty flavor are certainly worth the risk, perfect with a little crème fraiche. 

A quick postscript to apologise for any confusion over the changes I am making to my blog. I am trying to sort things out but some of the gadgets might take time to become dynamic as I am learning on the job, please bare with me.

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