Something to eat

Following on from yesterday’s post about all the potential crops, I just wanted to say that, even at this time of the year, we are still harvesting from the garden. Throughout the winter we have picked (and continue to pick) kale, mizuna, parsley and blood-veined sorrel and now we are about to have our first purple sprouting broccoli of the season:

In addition, because of all the preserving, we are still eating last year’s crops: bottled apples, bottled passata, frozen raspberries and red currants, apple juice and frozen chillies. We are also getting loads of eggs from the hens. Plus we are undertaking a different sort of cultivation by making yoghurt and cheese.

We are a very long way from self-sufficiency, but I am very proud of what we do manage to produce in our small garden. Even if you don’t have much space, you will be amazed what you can achieve if you have a go.

Food with friends and ginger

Today we went round to see some friends for brunch, being treated to fresh pineapple, bottled damsons, blackcurrant jam, homemade bread and Grossmutters Rührei mit Schinken* (that’s grandmother’s scrambled eggs with ham, in case you weren’t sure). It’s lovely to have friends from round the world in order to be exposed to different culinary experiences from a home kitchen rather than a restaurant. As you might guess, one of our hosts is German, so the bread was sourdough and the scrambled eggs were not the usual British variety.

Suppliers of the Llwynhelyg Farm Shop (from

Suppliers of the Llwynhelyg Farm Shop (from

On the way home we called in at one of our favourite shops, the Llwynhelyg Farm Shop. As always, the place is stuffed full of local food (some local and some very local), although at the moment we don’t need to buy any vegetables as we are well supplied with lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, mange tout and courgettes out of the garden (and we will soon have runner beans and sweet peppers). However I needed live yogurt, as mine had turned whilst I was away over the weekend and I needed a new culture to get going again making my own. Of course we were also tempted by a variety of other produce and, just as we were about to pay, I noticed a basket of root ginger that was starting to sprout (ok, not everything they sell is local). It was all a bit shrivelled and unlikely to be bought by anyone planning to cook with it, but I wanted some.

Sprouting ginger root

Sprouting ginger root

I used to have a ginger plant grown from a root piece that I bought in a supermarket, but I lost it one winter and I’ve been keen to get another one going ever since. So, I bought a likely looking piece and came home to read up on what I need to do to nurture it. According to the ginger section on the Plant Cultures website, which is run by Kew, they are relatively easy to grow, but it’s unlikely that I will manage to harvest useable roots and it will probably  die over the winter (like the last one). Apparently they need high temperatures (more than 30C) and lots of light… according to the website, it’s the lack of light that does for them over the winter. Anyway, I have planted it in some potting compost and it’s currently residing in a toasty greenhouse. I try not to believe everything I read, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I will be able to produce some local ginger and keep it alive over the winter; if not, I will have had fun cultivating it and will have used something that was probably just going to be composted otherwise… not a bad outcome either way.


* The recipe can be found in Free Food for Rats by Anja Forrest Dunk; she also writes a lovely food and family themed blog.

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