Saturday, 25 January 2014

Rootin Tootin Burns Night

Looking through the seed packets I seem to have gone a bit root crazy this year: 

Aside from the range of carrots in the top row there's parsnip, the old reliable  "Tender and True",  the annual challenge of celeriac and a collection of oddities I have accumulated in the bottom row - Hamburg Parsley, Scorzonera and Japanese Burdock. But pride of place goes to "Bulbous" or "Turnip Rooted" Chervil"

I tried this last year with seed from an overseas source and it was a complete no show.  Having found a UK supplier I am hoping for success this year. We can all dream!  

Still on the subject of turnip related veg, and in honour of Burns Night (tonight) here's this year's 'neep' or Swedish turnip variety: Melfort. It's skin is green instead of the usual purple, but it is every bit as tasty and sweet.

Swede Melfort

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Urban Bees (and other insects)

I've been meaning to post on this topic for some time.  I started building an insect hotel a year ago but didn't get very far.  (It turns out you need quite a lot of material).

Then (as I may have mentioned before) we went for a week's break in Lyon. In their parks they are going in for insect hotels in a big way.  This installation was on a vacant patch on a street corner in the Croix Rousse area :

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And these were in the Parc Tete d'Or

Alongside there is a traditional herb spiral, re-dubbed an "insect spiral"!

Back at the first site I recognised an old friend from home Great Mullein (Verbascum thapsus).

All these installations looked pretty new, so it would be interesting to revisit them to see how they progress.

Meanwhile back to my own paltry efforts:

Still some vacant cells to be topped up. But it's a start.

You can see some better pictures of the Parc Tete d'Or site at the following link:

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Spring Flower Watch?

Got the camera out into the garden this weekend.  Here are the main attractions:

Flowering Cherry


Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis)
I think they might yet be in for a bit of a winter shock

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Festive Bread Roll

Here's a roll call of some of  the more exciting bakes of late:

Pride of place has to go to the pannetone - spot the new baking tin I got as a Christmas present
 For nibbles we had another Italian speciality:

With Scandinavian overtones:

Cinnamon Buns
Back to Italy for Grissini

and ending up in France for Sunday breakfast:

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Whaligoe Again

Belated New Year Greetings. 

Appropriately this is where I was on New Year's Day

The Whaligoe Steps

Appropriate because there are 365 steps from the cliff top to the harbour below at Whaligoe - one for each day of the year.

The harbour below?  Well there used to be one back in the day when herring was king! You would have to be a brave soul to negotiate this harbour.

In case you are wondering the Whaligoe is on the road south from Wick in Caithness (Not so far from John O' Groats)