Wednesday, June 01, 2011

We’ll get on to knitting today, but first a bit more about vegetables.

I made sorrel pesto, and it was fine, but I felt that the deliciousness of the sorrel was sort of lost in the taste of cheese and garlic and pine nuts. I often feel that about basil, in more conventional pesto. So I won’t do that again.

Anna D., thank you for the NY Times recipe for poached eggs in sorrel sauce. I’ve printed it out and put it in The Box to take along next time. That sauce is good with fish, too – melt sorrel in butter, add cream. I use half-fat crème fraiche instead of double cream.

Annie, if your mother-in-law wanted to reveal the recipe for her egg and potato dish with sorrel, I’d be interested to hear it. I should maybe have a look at a Polish cookery book.

Three big-name British cooks have written recipe books based on their own vegetable gardens, namely Delia, Jamie and Nigel – and I think I’m right to say that none of them even mentions sorrel. It seems odd, when it’s so very easy to grow and so very delicious. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (you can’t quite call him “Hugh”, but he beats all the rest for surname), on the other hand, who also grows his own, is properly enthusiastic. So is Robin Lane Fox.


I’m now shaping the top of the second sleeve of the pink Araucania sweater which has been my Strathardle knitting since Late Forty-Eight, or so it seems.

The most recent new skein to be joined in is markedly less striated than its predecessors. I didn’t turn back. I’m not planning to wear the sweater to Buckingham Palace. But it’s fairly conspicuous.

This means that a replacement Strathardle Project will be needed really rather soon. So when we got back here, I started swatching madeleinetosh. I love it, both the fabric it produces and the way it feels on my hands. Today I’ll block the swatch and, I hope, address the serious question of how wide I want the shirt to be across the shoulders. Other measurements can more or less take care of themselves.

Daisy, I know Sally Melville’s “classic shirt”, and admire it. But it lacks the feature of the Japanese shirt which makes my knees tremble (I exaggerate) – namely that big turned-back collar and the way the button- and buttonhole-bands go right up along the edges of it, so you could theoretically button yourself in up to the hairline if, for instance, you said something embarrassing. See picture, May 26, although you can't really appreciate that feature.

Finishing is going to be a bit fiddly.

And the other thing about knitting is that, as of today, Joe Ogden’s 21st birthday is NEXT MONTH. So the next thing to do is to finish off his socks – it won’t take long.

Thus is one plunged into multiple-WIPpery.


  1. Any recipe which goes "melt in butter and add cream" has to be a winner! Re the Japanese shirt -such understated chic is very hard to achieve. I'll be fascinated to see what your friend comes up with.

  2. I would not dare melt in butter and add cream to anything - but oh how I would love to do so! I have not tried sorrel - can you describe the flavour at all? I know this is difficult but I am curious!

  3. every time I read the name Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall - I have to think about the wordgame of "hugh fearlessly eats it all" and grin:)) love his books, adventurous and leaving space for own ideas, I think!

  4. You make me want to grow some sorrel, Jean. I am going to see if my herb man at the Farmer's Market has any. Every time I read your posts about it, a line from Edna St. Vincent Millay comes into my mind - White with daisies and red with sorrel...

  5. I agree with Mary Lou - now I would like to try my hand at growing sorrel. I don't think I have ever eaten it before, but you make it sound wonderful!