Tag Archives: tarragon

The Best Laid Plans…

I didn’t quite get the Armistice Day post done as I suggested in the last post.  After writing two part posts – probably a thousand words or so in total -I decided to give it a miss because it wasn’t working.

At that point I switched over to cookery. Belly pork and roasted veg for tea, chicken and ham pie for tomorrow and vegetable curry for Wednesday. Tuesday, which you may have noticed was missing, will be fishcakes. I cheated by buying fishcakes last night, so I didn’t need to make any.

With the associated washing up, and moving of red cabbage, this took a surprisingly long time. Finding the tarragon took the best part of ten minutes because it’s a small packet in a chaotic kitchen. Julia had unpacked it last night and as she had neither left it in the bag or put it in the fridge I was left slightly clueless.

That left me with the choice of breathing life into a moribund post on Armistice Day or transcribing the list of Farmers’ Markets.

If you consider that the transcribing was more fun than the blogging you will see how badly things were going. It kept turning into a rant on the use of the poppy and the Great War centenary as a way of making money.

Things took a significant downturn when we had to do a Health and Safety assessment and fill out a wad of monitoring and personal development forms. It went badly.

Not as badly as the search for a birthday present though, that is really going badly and Julia isn’t helping by refusing to tell me what she wants.

Hopefully she wants a brightly-coloured paper bag containing supermarket chocolates, flowers and face cream, because it looks like that’s what she’ll be getting.


A Tale of Two Soups

I tried Mushroom and Tarragon soup last week. I really wanted to do Mushroom and Thyme because we’d enjoyed it while we were out a few months ago. However, our thyme has given up the ghost and the supermarket had none. It did, however, have tarragon, As I’d seen a recipe fot Mushroom and Tarragon Soup recently I thought I’d have a crack at that. The rest of the tarragon was earmaked for a chicken casserole next day.

Now, that was good as far as it went. There was a lack of ingredients when I got back to the house butit’s not the first time that ingenuity has had to replace missing ingrdients. Next time I try it I’m going to use this recipe, give or take a few bits. It looks quite simple. It’ll be onions rather than banana shallots and, unless I win the lottery, there won’t be any porcini powder or pink Himalayan salt.

The first attempt did not go well. Apart from the fact that ingenuity doesn’t taste as good as cream, there was the water problem. I usually fill the pan up with veg then pour in a kettle of water. I did this and then stopped to think. With hindsight, it might have been better to think first. It was a bit watery but not entirely bad. Nobody asked for a second helping.

I like to think I retrieved the situation with today’s soup. It’s the old stand-by – packets of ready-chopped squash and sweet potato, garlic, onion, chilli, stock cubes and water. This time I added curry powder for a more spicy flavour. It’s less orange than previous versions due to the curry powder. It’s a sort of khaki, but still reasonably attractive.

My mother, when she first bought a liquidiser, used to produce a greenish soup that always looked like it had been festering since the days of the dinosaurs. Once she moved on to root vegetables the soup seemed so much better.

The first bite, as they say, is taken with the eyes.


Another windy day

At least we know the polytunnels are secure after the work we did on them yesterday. temperature is 10 or 11 degrees Centigrade according to the weather station but it feels colder, and the wind, consistently in the 20 mph range, particulalrly when accompanied by showers, isn’t improving matters. I don’t mind the cold and I can tolerate rain but I don’t like wind. When I worked on markets we always noticed the same thing – people would come out in the cold and most of them would come out in the rain, but the wind really used to keep them at home.

We just had a short thunderstorm and I suspect we appear on this map. We’re one of the northerly yellow crosses.

This morning we potted up parsley (flat and curly leaved) and tarragon, an endeavour that started going noticeably quicker once we turned on The Jam. You need something that moves the job along without causing too many spillages.


The tea plantation is moving ahead nicely – new leaves are appearing and that first brew can’t be far off. I would invite you all for a taste but it’s unlikely to make more than a couple of cups to start with and it wouldn’t be worth the trip. You may notice that there’s half a leaf missing; it came off in my hand while I was admiring the soft new growth. I ate it to see what it tasted like because james Wong has a recipe for tea leaf and cucumber sandwiches. It didn’t taste of much but I wasn’t surprised as his recommendations have a habit of sounding better than they taste. It may be that I expect too much, or that I have no taste buds, but I have a growing suspicion that I am merely a gullible dupe in a global marketing operation.


Apart from that it’s been a day of mixed fortunes. We’ve done quite a bit of tidying up but it’s been at the expense of planting and admin so the feeling of achievement is diluted by a vague feeling that i could have done better. One school has emailed to confirm a visit, and another has called to cancel because they can’t get buses on the days they want. Despite there being thousands of buses in the country and 365 days in a year schools seem to run their visit policy  on tha basis of limited dates and even more limited bus companies. This isn’t the first time we’ve had this problem.

For me it’s frustrating, and I imagine it’s worse for the teacher, who has just put a lot of effort into organising the trip. As for the kids – they will just have to stay inside instead of coming to the farm to hunt insects and bake a pizza for lunch.

That is life on a care farm!