Thursday, July 14, 2011

My brother-in-law sent me a link to this French Word-a-Day site when “tricoter” came up as the word. It’s mildly amusing to press on through the author’s description of buying needles and yarn on impulse, and letting the shop-keeper teach her the first steps. “Be careful”, the shop-keeper said, when she made the purchase, “this could get expensive”.

Well, here we are at a day when nobody extra is here and we have nothing scheduled to do. It feels like a long time since that happened. And the sun is shining again. We had a good time at lunch yesterday with our old friends.

My husband in the middle.

Nipping down to Tesco first thing worked well – except that I forgot Mr Salmond’s odd law that bottles of Alcoholic Liquor can’t be sold in Scotland between 10 pm and 10 am. I either had to offer our friends water, or go out again later in the morning.

Thank you very much for all the kind words about the Aran sweater. Even my husband, not given to random words of praise, said yesterday that it looked pretty good. I’m glad I did it, certainly. You can’t really see the design fault in yesterday’s photograph – it would look better if I had done the sleeves with moss st for the underarm extras, to match the sides of the body. But I was tired of moss st.

I’ll keep you posted about its fate. The Games are on the 4th Saturday of August, as ever – this year, the 27th. I promise a pic of the show bench with the other entries. I hope for a pic of the appropriately-sized boy wearing it. It blocked pretty closely to Vicki Square’s Child:large. Will it fit the smallest of Greek Helen’s boys? Or go to Loch Fyne? It would get more wear in the latter venue, but it can be cold on Mt Pelion.

I had a pleasant session later with the pink Araucania, sewing in sleeves. It’s slow work, but not unpleasant or stressful as tidying the inside of the cut sleeve seams of the Aran was. I sort of gradually segue’d from trying to do it as the Berroco video would have it, to working an edge-to-edge, stitch-to-stitch overcast. I like it better that way. Will I take out the first sleeve and try again?

An abundance of rhetorical questions this morning.

Good King Henry

Ann T (comment yesterday): Where is Zone 4? Are you sure you mean GKH and not Fat Hen? What does it taste like? My GKH doesn’t seed itself at all. I don’t think I know Fat Hen (chenopodium album, the Indian and Pakistani and Bangladeshi “bathua”) which is said to be a rampant weed as you describe. The Hussains are away on holiday this week, so I haven’t had Mr Hussain’s pronouncement yet as to whether GKH leaves taste like bathua.

I got four new GKH plants yesterday, ordered on eBay from Candlesby Herbs. They arrived bushy-tailed, so to speak, and beautifully packed. I left enthusiastic feedback and then wrote to him, sending the NYTimes link, and asking whether he knew of a “bland” cultivar of GKH. He replied:

“I have not heard of a 'bland' cultivar of Good King Henry, but then 'bland' is a rather subjective term; and I would not be in the least surprised if the American form of 'bland' might seem 'tasteful' to our senses - if my experience of USA food is typical !”

A new complication: taste-words are indeed difficult.

I also wrote to Plimoth – I’m afraid the spelling irritates me – asking them to try to describe the taste of their GKH. I suggested lettuce and grass as points of comparison, thinking of blandness. I haven’t heard from them yet, but they must be set up to answer earnest schoolchildren doing projects. They have a separate email address for food questions.

But Ann, if you could try to say how yours tastes, we’d be getting somewhere. How do you cook it? Let me recommend some bathua recipes.


  1. here's the recipe for fat hen au gratin I mentioned a wee while ago: (taken from 'Food from Green Places' by Rosamund Richardson)

    She says 'it is a sensational vegetable, rich in B vitamins, high in veg protein, and as more iron and calcium than spinach'

    Serves 4
    700g fat hen, washed and trimmed
    4 soft-boiled eggs, cooled, peeled and halved
    50g breadcrumbs
    about 600ml bechamel sauce

    cook the fat hen in a little water until tender (about 8 mins). Drain and chop, then toss in butter/marg over a low heat and season to taste. Put the fat hen into bottom of an oven proof dish, place the egg halves on top and cover with the bechamel sauce. Dot the top of the dish/sauce with more butter/marg and cook in the oven (GM 4/200 C/400 F) for 20 mins or until top is golden. Sprinkle with the fried breadcrumbs and serve.

  2. marvellous photo to start the post