Liz Garnett writes … Spring has arrived much to my surprise as my body still wants to hibernate. It doesn’t feel particularly spring-like out there today but, I am told, the first of March heralds the meteorological spring and this means that I should be doing more in my garden and if I don’t get on with my next cookery book I will miss deadlines.
Gardening has never been my forte. For me it is a means to an end and that end is food. I like nothing more than fresh produce from the garden although there isn’t as much as I would like due to two factors: my lack of green fingers and the inability of my chickens to differentiate between weeds and a potential food crop. At this time of the year I need their assistance to help prepare the soil for seeds but the “girls” are currently locked in the garage thanks to bird flu. The upside of their current incarceration is that I can sow seeds and then not have running battles with them escaping into the fenced off areas where seeds have been lovingly sown. This game we play is all because I don’t have a high enough portable fence to keep the chickens away from my precious vegetables. They can still fly, even with clipped wings and are clever enough to wait until my back has been turned to plot their escape. If I try and catch them out they immediately look like guilty children trying to pretend they were doing something quite innocent.
As part of my bid to be more environmentally friendly I have a wormery for recycling food waste. So far this has not been a success. The first batch of worms died – probably due to the cold weather because I set it up in the middle of winter. The second batch escaped and ended up providing the chickens with a very expensive snack. Not to be deterred by these setbacks I have ordered some more worms in the hope that Spring is a better time of year to start off a wormery.
In the kitchen I have been experimenting with recipes for different vegetables that I am hoping will grow in my garden. Having grown up eating boiled beetroot I have been exploring different ways to make this vegetable into a more interesting meal. For my next book I have been grating it raw for salads which has proved a great success. Beetroot also makes an interesting soup when combined with fresh ginger, onion, vegetable stock and juice of 1 orange. Whizzing it up with a stick blender to make a smooth soup made an enjoyable and healthy lunch at the weekend. Taking the stick blender out of the soup while still having the blade running made the resultant mess in the kitchen worthy of any cop show crime scene.
After all that hard work I think it is time for a cup of coffee and some chocolate. Last week I was lucky enough to receive a couple of food parcels of chocolate and other French goodies from my co-hosts, Deborah and Gwen, on Girls Do Coffee. What a treat to be able to enjoy a quality bar of chocolate while drinking fresh coffee from my Limoges coffee cup before thinking up questions for this week’s guest.
Liz Garnett – www.lizgarnett.com