Sunday, 11 July 2010

Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien

Up until now, we have been cropping in dribs & drabs - just enough each time for a meal or two. Because we wanted to try growing lots of things and space was limited we only sowed & planted small quantities of lots of different things to see how they tasted. But now the big boys are ready - the potatoes, garlic & onions. We knew these'd be great, so planted these in bigger quantities.

We are harvesting in earnest now. By about a week ago all our autumn planted onions and spring planted garlic leaves had started to dry out & had collapsed, so we lifted them all, and lay them out on shelves in the shed to dry out a little. Today I collected them and bought them home to plait.
Started off feeling a bit like Barbara from The Good Life, but as I worked my way down the plaits, couldn't help myself slipping into dreadful French stereotype behavior making hauh-hee-hauh-hee-hauh noises, before slipping into a gargling warbling imitation of the only Edith Piaf song I know, Je ne Regrette Rien. I defy anyone plaiting shallots & garlic not to do the same. It's the law.

Obviously I'm not going to tell you that I then balanced a saucepan lid on my head at a jaunty angle & slipped the plaits round my neck & mimed cycling around the kitchen - that'd be silly.

Best discovery so far this year have been turnips. I've never been drawn to these when I've seen them in supermarkets - thought of them as little more than cattle fodder, maybe at best a background note flavour to a decent cornish pasty.

But on a whim 6 months ago, I bought a packet of Snowball turnip seeds.

Picked them when they were still quite small, about golf-ball sized. You can eat the leaves, but ours got heavily eaten by leaf miners. I watched the leaves being decimated and hoped the nips would be ok - and they were - when I pulled them, I thought that they were by far the most beautiful vegetable I've grown so far. I turned to the Larousse Gastronomique Dictionary (Francophile? Moi??) for instruction on how best to cook.

And when blanched then fried then baked in a Gruyere Cheese Mornay sauce.... they are the most delicately flavoured delicious thing grown so far this year - they're right up there with the new potatoes.

Which perhaps goes some way to explaining why I now have 200 turnip seedlings coming up (surely shome mishtake).

The future is definitely turnip-shaped.