July 26, 2013

The time of year has finally arrived when the average home-grower switches from ‘will we ever actually get anything to eat?’ to ‘oh my god, how are we ever going to eat all this stuff?’. I half jokingly suggested that all those posts on twitter about the tweeter’s latest delicious home-cooked home-grown meals should have a warning hashtag (#smugveg) so people can filter them out but I’m a serial offender myself. There’s just something so … smug making … about sitting down to a meal where almost everything has just been picked in the garden, grown by your own fair, if slightly grubby-fingernailed, hand. From the first fresh salad leaves to the latest glut of broad beans, it makes all the digging, manure carting, weeding, watering and slug trapping worth while.

wild raspberries

Even better, of course, is when the food just arrives for free. We’ve always had a few wild raspberries growing along our road; they’re much smaller than cultivated raspberries, but they have a flavour all of their own – intense and aromatic, as if they’ve been flavoured with vanilla. There’s never been enough to bother going out and picking, just something to add a little sweetness to a summer evening walk. But this year they’ve gone a bit beserk and last night we took some tubs and managed to pick enough for dessert. A bowlful of pure delight. Smug doesn’t even begin to describe it…


Blowing a Raspberry

July 6, 2009

We were out for a walk yesterday evening. When we first arrived here we went for a walk most evenings if it was fine, but it’s a habit we’ve got out of recently. In fact it’s worse than that, it’s a habit that we’ve replaced with another: the evening ritual of drinks and nibbles on the sofa before supper. Needless to say, there’s only one way that can end, and that’s with the pair of us having to be winched out of the house through the window because we can no longer be squeezed out through the door. So, at my suggestion, we dragged ourselves away from the nibbles last night and set off to check the level of the water in the ford*

We had not gone far before we spotted the first wild raspberry glowing bright red among the leaves of the hedgerow (ten days earlier, it would appear, than last year). These really are delicious, much sweeter and more fragrant than commercially grown ones with almost a vanilla flavour (that’s vanilla as in ‘tasting like vanilla’ not vanilla as in ‘not tasting like anything’ – ice cream manufacturers please take note). They don’t grow as thickly as blackberries do, and there’s no question of taking any home, or even them lasting long enough on the bush to be photographed for posterity – to see one is to eat one, and then to start hunting around for the next.

The discovery that there were snacks on this walk considerably cheered up the other half at the time. But I suspect that it may also have defeated the object of the whole exercise. I wonder just how thinly spread the raspberries would have to be for the walk to be calorifically neutral…

*Dry as a bone, since you ask.