It’s not exactly salad time yet but, when a gloriously sunny Sunday coincided with the local point-to-point races and the family coming round for a pre-race lunch, I couldn’t resist poking out an old bag of puy lentils (still working my way through two kitchen’s-worth of ingredients!) to combine with the last of our Ushiki Kuri squash.
The veggie garden is looking a little sad at this stage in the year. Just a few scraggly kale plants, as-yet-unformed purple sprouting broccoli – but we still have some leeks, when we remember to cook them! We’ve recently been having a cold snap so I’ve been making lots of soups and, one day when I happened to remember that we still had to use up the leeks in the garden and actually had some potatoes in the house, I made a version of Clothilde’s minimalist Leek and Potato Soup, which she in turn had adapted from Sophie Brissaud‘s recipe. As I was just after a stock-making session, I used chicken stock as well as water in the soup for more depth of flavour, and finished it off with dollops of ever-present yoghurt. This is very much an approximation of the recipe – I just didn’t want to get out the weighing scales!
Beware when you’re sowing seeds. Especially if, as happened to us, you’ve ordered them from the Irish Seed Savers Association or Brown Envelope Seeds and every single last one of the seeds sprout forth. We planted way too many in March, didn’t thin the seedlings enough, and now have copious amounts of kale, purple sprouting broccoli and leeks for later in the season so I’m keeping my eye out for recipes for those (will definitely have to check out some of Sarah‘s ideas for the broccoli!). The squash is trying to escape from the confines of our rabbit-proof fenced veggie garden while I try to figure out what to do with armloads of silverbeet.
Rabbit is in season at the moment, at least according to one of the emails I got from Eat The Seasons a few weeks ago. I should tell the Husband although, with lush, fresh grass everywhere at the moment, I’m not sure our rabbits would venture into one of the cages for a carrot (even if it was a recently pulled one!) At least they’ve stopped trying to dig their way inside the fenced-off veggie garden recently and our purple sprouting broccoli, kale, sweetcorn, beans and silverbeet are all thriving.
Life is busy – but, despite a routine that involves week-long neglect and frenzied activity at the weekend, the cottage garden is thriving! The Boyfriend is a member of the Irish Seed Savers Association so we got a few different types of potatoes from them, planting Cara, Ratte and Arran Banner varieties, along with some Roosters that sprouted in the bottom of the cupboard in March. They were all – apart from the Roosters, which is a more floury variety and an accidental planting – chosen deliberately for their blight resistant and waxy properties. So far the blight resistance, together with the blight-spray ministrations of a very helpful neighbour, seems to be working so hopefully there won’t be a reprise of the Great Irish Famine in Ballyvoddy (still, there’s always rabbit for the eating…)
It’s been a long time – and two rabbit traps, one from Norfolk and one from New Zealand – coming but this weekend the Boyfriend finally managed to catch a rabbit. When he announced that there was a rabbit in a trap at the back of the garden on Sunday morning I didn’t initially believe him but when fresh back steaks and legs arrived in the kitchen there was no doubting. That’s one rabbit down – probably about 9999 left to go, judging by their attacks on our newly planted beech trees.
Last weekend saw the Boyfriend and myself travel down to my parents’ place in North Cork. As a result of the warm, damp weather over the past few weeks, I have received constant reports from my mother about the abundance of mushrooms so, with a Beef and Guinness casserole bubbling away in the oven, we off headed for a pre-dinner ramble down the fields with our eyes firmly fixed on the ground.