Friday 18 June 2010

Vegetable garden

Is it possible to eulogize about potatoes? If your surname is Murphy and you grow your own, yes, it is.
We are digging up the first earlies, 'Foremost' variety. They do not have quite the same flavour that I remember from childhood but the texture is sublime - plot to plate cannot be beaten!

There were good pickings from the rhubarb last month, the bright pink of the early forcing is always the most appetising. Now I'm leaving the clump to replenish.

My favourite recipe is Rhubarb and Orange Meringue.

1lb forced rhubarb  cut into short lengths and place in 2 pint dish
1  orange                  grate and squeeze and make up to 3/4 pint with water
2oz sugar                 add to liquid
1oz cornflour          add to liquid, place in pan and bring to the boil,
                                  stir for 3 mins.
2 eggs                       separate, add yolks to mixture when cooled slightly
                                  Pour sauce over rhubarb and cook for 20 minutes,
                                  gas mark 2.
3oz castor sugar.   Whisk egg whites with sugar until stiff and dry.
                                 Spread meringue over rhubarb mixture
                                 and cook further 20 minutes until golden.

I grew up in the West Riding of Yorkshire, home of rhubarb forcing sheds, long, low, windowless buildings where ranks of fruit grew rapidly, pink and tender in the dark. The rhubarb was described as, 'speaking' as it squeaked and rustled in its stretch and search for light.

The first flowering of chives has been cut back but will soon be up again. I grow them in a decorative strip along the vegetable plot. They look pretty and the bees love them, although I don't know what their pollen will do to the taste of any honey. A case of je ne sais quoi or ruination?

Squash , chard and lettuce  are all coming along nicely and the peas look promising, there are never enough as it is impossible to pick them without eating as you work down the rows.

'Charlotte' potatoes, our main crop with, hopefully, the years supply of onions and garlic in the foreground.

Everything promises in June!

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