Saturday, 4 July 2009


Just taking a moment to record the veg patch progress, whilst watching the women's Wimbledon final.

This morning I planted a row of carrots, and a few courgettes. The courgettes finished the 2nd row of purple sprouting broccoli and started the far end of another row. The carrots are at the far left end of the patch. So, this is what the veg patch now looks like:

R1: carrots R2 (end): Courgettes R3: Courgettes & broccoli R4: Broccoli R5: Onions

The carrots are seed, and should be thinned as they develop. They should do well, as the soil hasn't been manured - although the stones aren't going to help. We should have our first harvest in October.

The courgettes are also seed, planted in groups of 3. Only the strongest seedlings should be left to grow, so I need to keep an eye out and thin them. I think we should get our harvest in September/October time.

The purple sprouting broccoli, I think, will be harvested in March. I'm not sure though, so will have to check. I planted it already germinated back in mid June. If you plant it from seed it takes an entire year to grow. Who has that kind of time? I'm definitely of the MTV generation when it comes to vegetable patches. Grow now, now, NOW damn you!! A year?? Fuggedabahdid. They're looking good, though.

Lastly, the white onions will probably be ready in October. I'm not so sure about them, frankly. The stems are looking a little yellow around the tips, and haven't grown the way the broccoli has. I mean - obviously it hasn't grown like the broccoli as it's a totally different plant, and if I harvested an onion and got a broccoli dangling at the end I'd be seriously surprised and not a little annoyed - but you know what I mean. It's not got the same healthy look to it. But I guess it's what goes on underneath the soil that matters, so I have to bite my knuckles and not pull one up - just to have a teeny, tiny peek. It's like baking bread. Don't open the oven door.

It's astonishingly hot at the moment, so I'll have to keep the seeds moist. Who'da thunk Scotland could be so Mediterraneanesque? The garden smells like herbs and sunshine, and I got such joy out of wandering out and picking my own thyme for the salad dressing on Wednesday night.

Oh - thinking of that, I ought to remind myself of this dressing, as I thought it rocked. It was to accompany the pigeon breast salad (courtesy of Jimmy the Post's gun), with black pudding and goat's cheese. I had to improvise as I went along as I wanted to use rich, sweet balsamic vinegar but we didn't have any, so I used red wine vinegar instead and it was ... shall we say, a leeetle sharp. Basically, this is what I did:

Reduced some port, burning off all the alcohol by setting fire to it, for flamey flamey fun.
Added red wine vinegar - but would have preferred good balsamic.
Added honey.
Added olive oil
Added fresh thyme.
Added some more honey. Ack! Still a little tart for my liking. Added brown sugar until my tongue stopped shrivelling.

Also - cooking pigeon is a piece of piss. We marinated ours because we were serving it cold (although not, I hasten to add, in a piece of piss). I wouldn't have done so if we were eating it hot, as I don't think hot meat should taste of anything except itself, with a little simple seasoning. But that's just me. I marinated it in port, thyme and olive oil (hence the dressing) for 3 hours or so, then pan fried it for about 2 1/2 minutes each side. It was too rare on 2 minutes, and, if I'm honest, some of the breasts were just a tiny bit overdone on 2 1/2 - but nothing to really be disappointed over. And it's delicious! So dark and rich - a little bit like liver, but sweeter, without the dryness.

God, this Wimbledon final is a bit of all right! Them Williamses can play, eh? I'm going to give it the attention it deserves. Adios.