Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Christmas Table at Chez Mum & Dad

With one thing and another I didn't get around to taking pictures of all the veg on the plate. It probably would have been a bit too steamy anyway. I peeled and roasted the potatoes at my place on Christmas morning. Two ovens are better than one.

I did get a picture of the winter salad and smoked salmon starter with a full complement of winter salad veg picked fresh the evening before.

A picture of Mom & Pop's lovely Christmas dinner table.
We had one of those fancy Kelly Bronze Turkeys. They taste so good you can really tell the difference. That's why we have turkey fro Christmas . This is our second year of free range organic turkey and I was so surprised at the difference I now make every effort to buy free range these days.

I should add that I, like most hand wringing Guardian reading lefties, was also shocked into compliance by Hugh Fernley-Wittingstall's and Jamie Oliver's TV shows at the beginning of this year. I'll throw up some links to their sites (lest we forget) and also one to the Jimmy's Farm site (another TV hero) where we got our Kelly Bronze Turkey. Jimmy's Farm is well worth the trip but check the weather beforehand and always take wellies just in case!

We have a (Maris) Piper down

Those that did not make the Christmas cut.

Carrots. I'm not sure I could grow a carrot that would last into darkest December. If I could I suspect that neither I nor anyone else would be able to eat it. Face it. Carrots come from supermarkets for Christmas.

I've still got some larger beetroot in the ground but they didn't make the Boxing day table. I tried to hide the taste with a white wine vinegar and fennel seed marinade but that just made it taste like pickled beetroot. Don't get me started.

The Green Tomato chutney tastes great but I forgot to bring that to Boxing day lunch because I'm not very bright. Trust me it's lovely.

I still miss the sweetcorn but it's just not a Christmas thing in this Hemisphere.

Mint, coriander, chives, tarragon and Margoram (Oregano) will be around this time next year once i get a couple of cold frames up for them. (OK maybe not corriander) As will rocket and the Italian salad spinich leaves.

pics to follow.

Grow your own christmas

I have to say it's difficult to have everything you need for a Christmas dinner ready or still around in December.

Parsnips and sprouts are a nail on certainty as they can stick around all year.

Leeks are your buddy.
Cabbage you might sweat on, depends on what you grow and where you grow it. This is June 08 sown Cavello Nero ( Kale) Still growing in December and high enough off the ground not to be bothered by birds.

Very small leaves are great in a wineter salad. Larger leaves are perfect for soups. These are true "fire and forget" crops. I love 'em. £2.50 a bag in Tesco. Nonsense!

Spuds have to be a bit more canny with. You have to make sure that the heads have died off before the first frosts arrive or they are likely to rot underground. However, you still have to plant them late enough to not have rotted naturally by the time December comes around. We planted these in Mid August.

You also have to remember that the shorter growing season and colder conditions will make this potato crop smaller so this a not a value crop, it's an indulgence.

I've always beleived that it's fine to be extravgant from time to time, but one should never be wasteful. (Nigella Lawson)

Finally the herbs. This is from one of the tables.

I've still got Mizuno (right) growning like a champ. This was sown in September and has been cut and come againat least three times since then. The rocket (Left) is hardy enough to suffer the frosts but it needs proper cover if it is to continue to grow in this harsh weather. Cob salad? (lambs lettice, those tiny green specks at the back) Don't bother. It will survive an English winter but sure as heck won't grow in one.

The herbs are looking good. Sadly the Mint, Chives and Tarragon have long since checked out for the winter, but both the parsleys the Sage and the Common Thyme are doing just fine in my sheltered sun trap herb patch. Not that there is any sun to trap at present.The Rosemary is just outstanding...
and how much do you love my Bay Tree? I know. I'm good for bay leaves!