Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Vegetable Garden of Oddities...

   After a couple of years of trying to raise veg in shady conditions, it came to me in a flash of brilliance that the sunniest spot in the garden is right in the middle of the lawn.
   I truly hate lawns, the horticultural equivalent of tasteful beige, so it was with some gusto that I set to with a spade a couple of months ago. What's there right now are two beds, one each side of the bowling alley path (that has to go too, at some point). The soil here is beyond fertile and completely free of stones so digging is a real, and easy, pleasure.
      These beds aren't huge but they're jammed with vegetables that you don't normally see at the market. At the back are yard-long green beans grown from seeds I brought back from Chiang Mai. In front are white aubergine plants (from the same source), and bronze and green fennel. Mixed in with these, in no particular order:
 Can someone please tell me what this is? I bought it from an organic grower at Mirepoix market, but forgot to ask its name. It's quite pungent, and a little works well in salads and stir fries.
The Espelette pepper that is one of the basics of Basque cuisine. I picked up a little plant at a market in St. Jean de Luz when we were there in June.
 Gorgeous crimson-stemmed chard, one of four plants that just keeps producing and producing. Again, bought at a local market.
   The best euro I've ever spent was for this tomatillo plant. I've never even seen tomatillos for sale in France so this was a real find. I'm thinking salsa (and margaritas) some steamy night soon. Tiny when I first brought it home, the plant now stands at least a metre high, measures the same wide and is absolutely dripping with fruit.
     Also growing lustily are Asian greens from seeds I bought while we were in the UK, (which reminds me it's time to write some posts about travels earlier this year).
    Time to cook up some of those greens, grill some slices of pork belly that have been marinading all afternoon with chilis, soy sauce, garlic and sesame oil, and crack open the jar of homemade kimchee.

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