Tulips

Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.

Morning tulips at 08:20

08:20

Midday tulips at 12:30

12:30

Afternoon tulips at 16:00

16:00

As is the typical English terrace-house style we have a tiny patch of land out the front that I call, entirely jokingly, “the front yard.” Most people seem to do one of three things with their “front yard”:

  • Grow weeds/grass/hedges.
  • Pave or concrete it.
  • Store excess junk (seriously, right in front of their house.)

Then again, some people aren’t completely soulless and like to enjoy the sight of arriving home, and generally improve the look of their street. I like to think myself one of these. We get the best sun out the front, so it is destined to grow leafy summer herbs and perhaps a chilli or two. Normally I’m an entirely practical gardener, but thought: why not herald in the spring with tulips! ’tis t’ dreadful British weather ‘at does it y’.

These tulips were bought as bulbs last October, kept in the fridge until late November (we were in Australia), then planted out. Aside from that very little was done, the pots were filled with a 50/50 mixture of sharp sand and potting mix the previous season. So easy even a total retard ought to manage it.

The boxes I have in at the back are also full of chives, which I intend to let flower (we have plenty more out the back – chives are less flavourful if you let them flower.) The one in the middle has a nice spring growth of French tarragon too (roast chicken is on the menu next weekend I think.)

Up against the wall are dianthus (Iced Gem), geranium (Elizabeth Ross), and ajuga (Chocolate Chip – the one with the blue flowers.)

Odd one out.

I was expecting only the crimson pointy tulips, somehow this one got mixed in. By luck alone it ended up in the middle of one of the terracotta pots and works rather well visually.

Pot of crimson.

Crimson close-up.

Chunky Beetroot, Celeriac, and Potato Soup

Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.

Here’s a great soup for these dreary early-spring days. I make soup about once a fortnight, keeping a rolling supply in the fridge and freezer (sometimes supplemented with supermarket soup!) Typically I just pop down to the local greengrocer and work out my soup based on what they have, as is the case with this one.

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 50g Unsalted Butter
  • 250g Dry Cured Unsmoked Back Bacon

Chop the bacon into pieces about 1cm square. Then fry in the butter until the edges are all turning brown and crispy.

  • 390g Brown Onion, 2 onions, 440g before peeling
  • 125g Celery, 2 sticks

Dice the celery and onion into pieces no more than 5mm to a side. Add to the frying bacon and, on a lower heat, cook through translucent until browning.

  • 776g Celeriac, 1 large Celeriac > 1kg
  • 925g Potato, 6 medium Wilja potatos (Deseree would be fine)
  • 300g Beetroot, 6 small beetroots

Peel and dice all of the above into roughly 5mm-per-side cubes. Toss with the browned onion, celery, and bacon.

  • 8g Fresh Oregano, a small handful
  • 14g Garlic, 6 cloves
  • 4 dried Bay Leaves, quite large
  • 1 tbsp fresh ground Black Pepper

Finely chop the Oregano and Garlic and add to the pot, add the bay leaves and pepper.

  • 1.3lt good Beef Stock, make your own or buy a liquid stock
  • 2.5lt Water

Add the liquid, bring to a boil, reduce to a casual simmer, then leave simmering for at least an hour, util the potato should is breaking down. Give it a sturdy mixing with a whisk, breaking up the potato further, which will thicken the soup slightly. Now it is time to carefully add salt, “to taste.”

This should give you about 4 litres of soup. Weighing in at about 160 Calories per 300g serve (8g protein, 22g carbs, 4g fat.)

Soup!

Soup!