Thursday, November 30, 2006


Well, I have delved into the first of my 6 Lady Godiva squashes - so called for they are naked seeded (hulless). And here is the payload, all 3 ounces of it.

I made the mistake of putting them on kitchen towel to dry. They are very sticky. It was as well there was no one around when I tore them all off again, re-soaked, cleaned them and laid them out - this time on an enamelled pan. The flesh ended up in a laksa pumpkin soup. Now I must study the entrails for portents of next season's harvest...

Monday, November 20, 2006

Class of 2006

Every year I corral all my squashes together for a group photo. I left it a bit late this autumn, and all the blue and green ones have mellowed to give a slightly monochromatic result (shrug).

Last year's haul


and 2003

I weigh them all as well, but I won't bore you with those details.

Monday, November 13, 2006

More Slow Food

Pictured below is 'Winter Luxury' squash which I grew this year - billed as one of the best for pie making. You just poke a couple of little holes in it and bake it at about 350 degrees Fahrenheit, until it slumps (or follow Gracie Allen's recipe for roast beef, substituting punkin - one large prime rib of beef, and a smaller rib of beef. Put both in the oven and when the smaller one is burnt, the big one is done.) Then get rid of the seeds, and scoop the flesh into your best punkin pie recipe. The one I am currently using calls for some grated fresh ginger, which I think ups the ante.

Anyway, last year I carefully saved seed from a 'Blue Hubbard'. I've made a label for the seed packet and I'm thinking of giving away a packet containing 5 seeds and a pie recipe to the first 50 people to subscribe to my soon to be announced magazine.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Sloe Movement

We spent the past weekend on the South Downs - mostly walking (mmm, let's say putting one foot in front of the other on the homebound trek at 2 in the morning while surprising a sleeping grouse and more than a few cows along the way) , eating and drinking but also picking a shedload of sloes. The conditions were just right - frosty at night but bright sunny days. About a month ago I was very pleased to find just enough sloes on the lane leading to the allotment to make one bottle of gin. I picked them then and there because I knew that they would be gone by the time we had a frost in London. (Daddy Schlingmann wisely pointed out a few years ago that putting the fruit in the freezer overnight achieved the same end.) Anyway, there are now several gallons of the stuff, steeping quietly, in the far corner of the kitchen.