Friday, July 08, 2011

We had a good time.

There is little to report on the knitting front. Except that, a week ago today, as I was walking along the street in Alyth on my way to the shop where they take in yarn for the charity knitters, I passed a knitted Andy Murray in a shop window. It was Wimbledon semi-final day. He was about a foot high, wearing a kilt, holding a tennis racket of course, with his initials on his shoes.

I didn’t have my camera with me. We were back in Alyth on Tuesday – I knew he wouldn’t be in the window any more, but I thought maybe they would get him out from under the counter for me to photograph. The shop was shut that day for “staff training”. I rattled the door to no avail.

Nor can Google find him. You’d think there might have been a picture in the Blairgowrie Advertiser.


We had a week of glorious weather, followed on Wednesday and yesterday with a tremendous downpour. Things are beginning to move, after that long, cold June. The runner beans definitely twine counter-clockwise.

Erin, that was a most interesting article in the New York Times about Good King Henry. Many thanks for the link. There were two distinct oddities in the story – one, that the plant is apparently grown from seed every year. Mine is an utterly hardy perennial. I tried seed once and failed. My current stock started with one plant, bought at the Farmer's Market in Blairgowrie, which I have cautiously divided.

The other, is the statement that it fell out of general favour because it is bland. Mine has a strong bitter taste. Plants are affected by different soils and climes, but that seems an extraordinary difference. The NYTimes picture matches my plants, and so does the Latin name, chenopodium bonus henricus.

And the big news is, that cooking it like the sub-continental vegetable bathua was a great success.

Alexander and Ketki came over at the weekend. I made a lamb korma in the slow cooker, with the unauthorised addition of a tin of cocoanut milk, and served it with a bathua raita. One of those rare meals where things go right. Alexander said that the spices I was using would overwhelm any vegetable, I might as well use asparagus, but he was wrong. Good King Henry stood up and answered back.

A few days later I tried the spiced potatoes (same link). They, too, were delicious although in that case I may not have put in enough GKH due to running out. The deliciousness may have been entirely due to the spices. I will have to give some thought to increasing my stock.


  1. Nice to have you back Jean, and well done on your culinary success with Good King Henry.

    A question: was the knitted Andy Murray wearing a *knitted* kilt?

  2. A pleasure to have you back. It was nice to hear that all of your research and grocery shopping with Good King Henry paid off.

  3. I once read (somewhere... can't remember where... you know how that goes) a book about how plants got there names. Supposedly, there is also a Bad King Henry, that looks much the same as the Good, yet is toxic. Know anything about that? I've never been able to turn up any further information.

    Also on the topic, Good King Henry is closely related to Quinoa, the seed from S America that's a new and happening food. They're both chenopods, members of the goosefoot family.

    As always, I am boggled by your ability to knit projects so quickly. And they always look wonderful.

  4. Sounds like your time away from the blog was a lot of fun.
    The potato recipe looks very good indeed.
    I wonder if bathua is available in Toronto? Off to look along Gerrard St. East in the coming weeks.
    LIsa in Toronto

  5. =Tamar9:16 AM

    I wonder whether spinach drove out Good King Henry.
    I wonder whether Bad King Henry is the strong tasting one in the UK and the bland one in the USA is the original Good King Henry. Virtually identical varieties with a significant taste difference?
    I wonder whether the fact that spinach has a lot of iron in it is the real reason it drove out Good King Henry, if it did, and what minerals are in the (I assume) two varieties of King Henry.
    I'm told that the old Breton name for the Big Dipper was Henri's wagon (phonetically spelled Anri). And that sounds to me like "on rit", "one laughs"... I love theories.