Friday, June 25, 2010

The weather was glorious – very dry, although only a fortnight before it was heavy rain that drove us away a day early. I made the beds upstairs, and got a certain amount of minimal tidying-up done, but most of the time was spent carrying water to my dear vegetables and rescuing them from the encroaching weeds.

Things are looking pretty good.

Except for the white currants, which are being consumed by (I think) gooseberry sawfly.

And the pak choi and spinach have bolted.

This is the year devoted to beans and onions. The climbing beans have started climbing!

And the dwarf ones have started blooming!

Germination of broad beans has been on the disappointing side – or else mice have made off with the seeds. I think my trouble was planting three fancy varieties – one with red beans, which a magazine recommended for deliciousness; one with small pods which can be eaten at the mange-tout size; and one from the Victoriana nursery which had some other merit. The mistake was not to sow a mainstream variety from a mainstream seedsman.

With onions, the result has been exactly the opposite. I have failed, or nearly failed, as usual, with the mainstream easy-peasy varieties, White Lisbon and Ishikura. Poor germination, little progress since. But I think I am getting somewhere with the rarer ones. Germination was best for the Italian Cipollotto da Mazzo,

but I think the Siberian Bunching from Real Seeds are making the most progress.

I have brought in the radish crop, and today for lunch we will have this, from one of Robin Lane Fox’s gardening articles in the FT two years ago:

“Lightly fry an onion, put in about two dozen sliced radishes and the chopped leaves from their tops. Add garlic and cook until the leaves flop. Add the mixture to a big spoon of the water in which you have cooked tagliatelle. Mix in the pasta, grated cheese (strong cheddar does the trick) and top with fresh parsley. The result is remarkably satisfying – a pasta del giardino that is within the competence of us all.”

I even grew the variety of radish he recommends for this purpose, namely Rougette.

We managed this dish once before. It tastes a lot better than it sounds.

As for knitting, I literally didn’t touch it while we were there. Here in Edinburgh, I am posed for the slow row near the top of the fourth rank of Green Granite Blocks, where I set the colours for the tops of the blocks and introduce some space-creating blackness.

But I doubt if I’ll make further progress today, because James and his children must already be airborne. Tomorrow, insh’Allah, we’ll go to Kinloch Anderson and see about that Montrose jacket.


  1. Hello Jean - I'm getting ready for their visit also - am reading Catherine's latest The Slaughter Pavilion. Good so far. I found it in Hong Kong.

  2. Dawn in NL12:46 PM

    Aha, so we may see some modelled photos of the jabot soon?

    We tried radish leaves lightly fried recently, they tasted like cabbage in bubble and squeak.

    Enjoy the family visit, Jean.


  3. Anonymous5:03 PM

    Exciting! I've never before seen a recipe which required one to cook radishes. I may try it, though my choice of radish varieties is limited unless I seek out an upscale farmers' market--something to keep in mind.


  4. Not sure I like radish very much. Cooked radish? Interesting thought!