Monday, 11 October 2010
Is there anything so dreary as a stale blog? Anyone paying attention will have noticed that the summer has not been very fruitful for my blog, luckily my garden has fared a little better. Late autumn is a satisfying time on the allotment the weeds don't grow quite as fast and the crisp edge to the air seems to make the colours stand out all the brighter, cosmos, zinnias, sunflowers and pot marigolds are all still blooming making the plot a cheering sight. Today I picked a big bouquet sized bunch of rocket planted in August and a colander full of borlotti beans to be made into an aromatic soup of garlic, chilli and waxy potatoes diced fine.
Last week I picked a handful of extremely shiny, slim green chilli peppers. Anxious to make the most of them I cooked chana dahl and added the garlic and peppers fried in ghee, then made dough and filled some little round pancakes with a spicy mixture of potatoes, peppers and spices. I served the parathas with dahl and a fresh tomato and coriander relish.
Today I thinned and replanted my rosso treviso chicory seedlings and planted shallots (echalot grise) and garlic (early wight purple). Next year's garden is already taking shape. I have sown green manures of rye grass and clover to cover the ground in winter and feed the soil. Late plantings of courgettes planted in late July are still cropping and this got me thinking that a garden planted for harvesting in late August would make a lot more sense for people like me who have to be away from their plots in August. This year was a good year for globe artichokes, blackcurrants, raspberries and salad (especially the speckled kind). The chard self seeded lushly beneath my greengage (still reluctant to produce any fruit) and my pink fir apples were a welcome surprise on my return from holiday. I've realised that its time to take the allotment in hand, its ten years old now and desperately needs some renovation. This winter I will be doing my best to make it a bit more respectable looking with new paths and a bit more structure (that's the theory anyway). I also hope to start work on a new book that celebrates city food producers and a more direct way of cooking with what is to hand.