simple is best

 simple is best

I don’t know why I haven’t made carrot salad more considering how often it comes in the veg box and that they are almost always available in your local corner shop. There is a very simple recipe in Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book and it’s lovely.

Take 1lb of carrots, grate them, add 4 tbsp’s of extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp of lemon juice, 2 tbsp’s flat leaf parsley (or chervil), mix and leave to chill for a while .
Add salt and pinch of sugar to taste (though I didn’t) and hoof it down you. Lovely.

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Better to have gardened and lost than to have never gardened before

I spent hours today digging out two stubborn, rickety old bush stumps to free up space for vegetable beds and basically because I didn’t like them. It was a good day for it. Not too cold or not too warm. Not too windy but a nice little breeze.
Working in the garden can go either of two ways for me.

1 I enjoy it
2 I get frustrated.

Digging in this garden makes me a little sad. It could be a great garden, I imagine corners filled in with kale and sunflowers, our picnic table painted and friends around for a picnic (I have to imagine friends as well because I don’t have any friends here yet) I imagine onions drying out or frames with French beans. I think of blackcurrant bushes and perpetual spinach.

What makes me sad is that I know it is not my garden and that by the time it will be getting into the swing of things our time here will be up. Being a joint congregation with the Methodist church means that you might only be here 7yrs or extended to 10yrs or a little more.
7yrs seems like a long time, but it’s nothing if I plant an apple tree now. By the time it would be producing more than a few apples we will have to move on.
Then there is the emotional attachment to the ground you have worked.
Just like some artists find it hard to part with their paintings, something unique that they have made I’ll find it hard to part with a garden I’ve help create.
Of course no one knows what the next 10mins will bring never mind the next 10yrs. Still, it does make me a little melancholic and sad pulling up stumps and moving soil, wondering where I should put the apple trees.
Better to have gardened and lost than to have never gardened before?
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La crique

La crique

We’re still getting our vegetable box delivered each week but somewhere over the Christmas holidays someone in the house (probably me) bought a 10kg bag of potatoes that has lead to a back log of spuds that need eaten.

I am trying to redeem my relationship with potatoes which means learning to appreciate the hassle of having to wash or peel them and empty them into the compost heap and finding recipes that are a bit more exciting that boiling them or don’t involve adding buckets of butter.
Also recipes that don’t involve using an oven to bake them would be good as that adds extra carbon to the air.

So I gave this recipe for potato and garlic cake, (La Crique) a go and it was tasty in my opinion.

Basically grate 1kg of peeled potatoes.
Beat two eggs with pepper, salt and a garlic clove bashed with some salt.
Mix them all together (I took the clove out as I don’t like discovering a lump of garlic when I don’t expect it).
Heat a frying pan, add 4tbsp of olive oil, spread the mixture over and gently cook for 15mins shaking every so often to stop it sticking.
Turn over when crisp at the bottom and cook for 5
mins.

The recipe is in my favourite cook book, European Peasant Cookery by Elizabeth Luard.

Fantasy Raised Bed League – leaf celery, coriander, mixed salad leaves

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I’ve decided on three more things to grow next year that I reckon will be more than useful additions to the fantasy raised bed league

1 Mixed Salad Leaves

I was up at ALDI shopping there and noticed a packet of these selling for €1.49. We could easily use one of those a week . If we did buy a packet of mixed leaves each week that would work out at €77.48 a year. Over the course of 7 years that would be €542. So its worthwhile growing mixed salad.

2 Leaf Celery

I’d like leaf celery in my team as apparently it’s much easier to grow than normal celery and I get fed with recipes that only need one or two stalks of celery and leave you with most of the head of celery to use up.

Maybe this would be alright if celery was something that I particularly enjoyed eating but it’s not one of my favourite vegetables.
I reckon I’d use celery every 3 weeks or so, but could use it more if it was there. A celery type thing going on somewhere would be worth at least €15.42 a year.

3 Coriander

I could probably make use of coriander every week, usually in a curry or a soup. But it just doesn’t keep well so although I often need it I often don’t have it. My own supply would be a nice addition to the Fantasy Raised Bed Team and would save me about €38.74 a year.

So that is flat leaf parsley, coriander, mixed salad leaves and leaf celery in the team for next seasons raised beds. They won’t take up much space either (a few sq. metres?) and I reckon they could be worth about €170 a year.  What comes next though?

8 things I like about getting a veg box (as I couldn’t think of 10)

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A veg box has been arriving on the doorstep each Thursday for the last month. Here are 8 things about it that I like

1 It is exciting. Perhaps I’ll grow out of it but there is the surprise of wondering what will be in your box this week. (Perhaps I need to get out more)

2 Most of it is grown in a farm 8miles outside Galway. There is something satisfying about knowing that you can email the owner of the farm and hsay ‘Hey, those cabbages you are growing taste great‘ or ‘Can you stop sending me broccoli?‘.

3 There is the sense that you are preventing the town being homogenized. I went into a shopping centre last week and it is the only part of Galway I disliked. The reason was that it looking like the shopping centres in Lisburn, Dublin, Belfast, Cheltenham. Suddenly I was no longer in unique place but no place with the same stores and shopping malls that have destroyed towns and made them identikit.  I could get my veg there in Tesco and have the same shopping experience I’ve had all over Ireland and the UK but I’ll be helping homogenize Galway and homogenize myself and other people.

4 The veg are organic. I I think there is a bit of guff surrounding organic vegetables but at the end of the day it seems to me to be more in tune with loving Creation in a respectful way. I realise that they are more expensive but the cheaper vegetables maybe have hidden costs that are mounting up?

5 As they are organic you have to pay a bit more for it and thing like onions can be smaller in size. Because you are paying more you don’t want to waste what you have paid good money for and try not to waste them or let them go off. Also it forces you to eat your veg on days that you would rather not, sort of like your mum would have told you to do growing up.

6 It gets delivered to your doorstep. You leave out the box he brought last week and a box of veg is left on your doorstep.

7 The vegetables are good quality and look really fresh. Apparently they would have been harvested yesterday. I was just looking at a romanesco and thought ‘That is just a beautiful piece of work…’
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8 The owner sends out an email every week and there is activity on their Facebook page. You  feel like they take joy and pride from their work and you want to support people like that.