Growing the hill o beans

Whoops, there goes another week, so much for my hopes of slowing things down a bit. Still, it wasn’t completely without event, but none of it interesting enough to warrant a post by itself.

It was the first properly sunny Saturday this year so I thought I’d get my first seeds into some compost to get a nice early start on the growing season. Not to miss an opportunity to get caught up with a few good friends, I grabbed a bag of seeds I’ve been saving up and took it with me to see what interesting things I could swap. I started with a mixed collection of sweet peas and half of my Borlotti bean collection that I’ve been steadily propagating up over the past few years, and I managed to come back with 3 types of beans from the Heritage Seed Library. Fun!

I normally like to give my peas and beans a good opportunity to spread their roots a bit by planting them in loo roll middles. However, I haven’t really got the space in the new house to collect tat like that, so I’m experimenting with a propagator full of plastic ‘root trainers’. More on that in a couple of months when they’ve germinated and are ready to be potted on.

My significant other earnt a substantial I Told You So. I was apparently not mad keen on having a sofa in the kitchen when we first moved on, but it was an ideal venue for happily reading some of Madhur Jaffrey’s book on currys in between stirring one of my favourite dinners, Grilled Salmon with Risotto and Roast Squash,

I lost my Sunday to a textbook example of Literature Abuse. I’d borrowed Scardown, opened it at about 9 o’clock in the morning and apart from coming up for lunch finished it early afternoon from the sofa. Always fun when one can get away with such irresponsibility.

The recipe I was looking at last week didn’t quite go accordingly to plan however, due to a lack of wild boar, dried orange peel and the will to marinate or deep fry anything. I had a bit of an experiment instead. I selected some vegetables that I would normally make a stir fry with, added some freerange chicken from the farm shop, concocted a sauce out of a few components and spices, including a star anise and the zest of an orange, and then put the whole affair in the oven for an hour. Feeble excuse to play with my Le Creuset? Never..

The result wasn’t swimming in sauce like casseroles normally are, but it was a much more matured flavour than you’d get from a stir fry. The orange worked well to give the dish some fragrance, but it didn’t really come through in the flavour, which was no bad thing, and it disappeared quickly enough from the plates, so I’ll give the approach the thumbs up for now. I’ll try writing it down next time I attempt it and we’ll see if it’s worthy of publication šŸ™‚