I try to always make one big "soup of the week" for meal planning throughout Winter and Autumn. This week it was my favourite irish pub soup, which contains an array of hearty root vegetables, which nourishes the body through a cold spell. It also brings back wonderful memories of Ireland, sitting down at a little round table with a bowl of hearty soup and thick cut brown bread to the side.
That’s one of the beautiful benefits of a Valencia. Ripe fruit does not drop. Rough skins turn smooth and they can just wait on the tree for you. An ideal gardener’s fruit, no rush, it has the power to be patient.
Let’s say living in a house full of boys has its challenges too in the odour department. Since I grew up having allergies to all sorts of things I've definitely learned over the years to deodorise the house in a very natural way, and there are so many different ways you can do that!
When I had captured my prized Bramley's in my arms I raced back to the country kitchen only to find I really wanted to make an apple and pistachio tea cake, and could not find any inspiration in all the regular places. So I made up a very simple recipe and it worked so well that I am sharing it here.
From the minute the cold autumn chills remind us that winter is on its way, gardeners are plotting and planning for the following year. The reality is a tad more complex. In winter we think of high summer, in spring our heads are in autumn, in summer I wonder what I will plant for colour and food in wintertime, and finally in autumn we are planting bulbs for spring. It’s a constant evolution for our gardens.
While its immensely tempting to rest every single bed under a thick layer of mulch, cardboard or black plastic and head north to the sunnier states for winter, I try to rest one bed and plant lovely greens to enjoy for winter suppers.
In many places throughout the world, autumn can feel like a clear ending. Visiting Europe during autumn in the past, it seems so clearly defined that when the season is over, there’s nothing to really look forward to for awhile. Local gardeners tell me ‘that’s it, I’ll be covering up the beds and hunkering down for the winter”. And why not! Leaves fall and crunch underfoot, evenings turn crispy cold, harvests wrap up and days get dramatically shorter. Not that much in a vegetable patch can surv
While I have grown potato onions and spring onions widely at times, the Negi onion is the one that remains outside my kitchen door and never dies off. Happily this year, they self-propagated (perhaps from the east winds swirling around the place), so now I have three pots outside the kitchen door.
These days, with many people staying close to home, we found that there are not many rescue dogs available for adoption. Some that we looked at did have very severe problems, they wouldn’t be suited to going home with a family that had children. Never having had a puppy ever before, we were resigned to the fact that we’d know when the right little personality came along. We knew it could be a few years.
This christmas we aimed to keep it simple, using what we already had, and making the most of nature and what was growing in our garden. Making gifts became important and catching up with people was extra special.