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.


  1. Wow! My can't be arsedness regarding growing things is wavering after seeing your pics. And of course you didn't Marcel Marceau around the kitchen...

  2. Of course there was no Marcel Marceau "lady with shallot & garlic in glass box" jazz-hand action, any more than there was Jacques Cousteau "woman with shallot & garlic fighting off a shoal of exotic fish". That'd just be absurd.

  3. Just as absurd as Charles Aznavour woman singing, "She(llot) may be the beauty or the beast, may be the famine or the feast..."

  4. That shallot braid is so lovely. I'd pretend to be Edith Piaf for a few minutes just to have one of those. Beautiful harvest -- and funny post!

  5. The turnip is great; we love it here. Also, remember that you can blanch them for 2 minutes and freeze. I'm going to put in a second sowing for Autumn as soon as some space clears!

  6. You've just reminded me that I dug up lots of onions the other day, and left them on the soil to dry in the sun. Now it's raining.

  7. Never thought of turnips to be honest, I will give them a go!

  8. Green with envy... I want those turnips! Good job growing them from seed. I'm impressed.
    Actually, you got me with the blog title - one of the most inviting/intriguing.
    Found you on blotanical, by the way. Looks like you don't check in there very often. I'll be faving you soon as I get a spot free so I can follow easily. I'm there most days reading posts.
    I love Sussex, so beautiful. My garden is ornamental, but husband has allotment & I benefit: bushels of tomatoes and cutting flowers; this year, raspberries, too;-0 Cheers, Alice
    aka Alice's Garden Travel Buzz and Bay Area Tendrils

  9. Great pictures! Glad you have returned to the blogging. No Humperdinking at this end, just super sketches, all silent though are we going to get some Piaf? - I like the punishment fitting the crime idea. What would we give to slugs?

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