Tuesday, 9 September 2008

On the menu tonight

Onions roasted on a bed of rosemary with thyme and black pepper
Puy Lentils (tinned, I'm afraid, but pantry stocks are low; will warm up with herbs to match the onions).
Cauliflower puree (CR'd version - cauli steamed with garlic, zapped with Total 0%, seasoned)
Steamed rainbow chard, petit pois

I am cooking dinner (or veg accompaniments) for friends tonight.

I am feeling quite ashamed that only one of the above is straight from the garden but really, there is only so much squash and beans a girl can take.

But the summer bounty is coming to an end. My beloved leaf patch is looking decidedly stalky. The cabbage white caterpillars have massacred my curly kale, the complete and utter little slimy wriggly bastards. I did persuade the ten year old son of a friend of a friend to spend a delighted hour picking the little buggers off each leaf and depositing them in a jam jar to feed his mother's chickens with... but it's done no good, and the chickens apparently spat them out. I can quite appreciate the sentiment, because I'm not too sure I could even stomach a bite of the kale myself now. In the squash patch, I have two courgettes that are marked for my lunch tomorrow (current lunch fave - steam squash, mix with chopped tomato, black pepper and Philadelphia Extra Light... yum), and that's about it. There is a pumpkin I am saving for a Halloween supper if it doesn't get carted off to a Harvest Festival.

However, we're still good for carrots, chard, spinach, beans (for another few weeks, probably), beetroot and Autumn raspberries. I've planted more cavalo nero, white sprouting broccoli, purple sprouting broccoli, stonehead cabbage (very unenthused about this one, even I have a limit on greenery), and lots of winter salads in pots and in the patch. So we'll see what happens.

Technically I could have been self-sufficient this summer, but I wasn't disciplined enough to eat only what I was growing. I wanted tomatoes, and I hadn't gotten around to growing those. And I failed on broccoli, and cauliflower, and romanesco.

But still, it's been quite an impressive gardening year.

I'm thinking I might be CR-ing more seriously in the near future. I haven't really counted calories for a while, but my weight was dropping so I assumed I was CR'd, if not ON'd. Not sensible, but... I hardly have an unhealthy diet. Now it's on the way back up, from 107 in July or so (too light!), to 111 this morning (hmmm, slippery slope). I feel like being more disciplined with myself, so am investigating some pilates classes, trying to summon the motivation to get back to the gym (this is very hard, has never been this hard, why why why, is it age, sheer laziness (yes, probably the latter)??), and downloading CoM onto the machine I use isn't going to be far off.

But if anyone is following this blog for healthy living tips, there's probably a while to go yet. :-)

Love to all.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008


One of my favourite sounds in the world is the singing of crickets in the evening as the dusk and darkness fall. Crickets, grasshoppers, cicadas - whatever they are; that throw up that low chirruping hum that makes the very air seem to shimmer with sound, that sound the hypnotic pulsing in the shadows that is the essence of dying heat and daylight - oh, it brings back such precious memories to me; of gazing up at clear star-studded skies in Colorado, night times floating in the warm waters of the hot springs in the arms of a lover, the sharp reek of sulphur rising with the steam, and all around the murmuring of the crickets. So imagine my joy when on a rare warm night last week, sitting in my friend's garden, that sound rose again into the night silence from a sun-warmed pile of rubble. And imagine my horror when I exclaimed in delight and she couldn't hear it. Was I hallucinating? Longing for the summer we haven't really had so much that I was conjuring its essence from memory and sheer force of will? The next night was equally warm (last Saturday, and yes, that was really the last day of summer!), and I was sitting in the same spot, with the same friend and other acquaintances of hers, and once more the low song began in the stone pile... I called for silence and everyone listened and only one person, apart from me, could hear it from where we were sitting. All but that one person were twenty or so years older than me. It does seem that, in this country at least, the cricket orchestra only plays to the under 40's, unless you're up close and personal.

I was so insistent that yes, the crickets were singing, that everyone got up and headed for the stone pile (to shut me up, I think!); after several minutes of silence, the insects struck up again, almost louder than before, amazed or terrified by the sudden proximity of their audience. And this time everyone heard them. A relief for me, because I was starting to feel that maybe the years would rob me of the ability to hear that precious sound forever, and with it the essence of memory. But it won't. I will just need to keep my mind open to wonders that are not immediately apparent. I will need to keep listening.