A meal in the garden in the company of friends is a great blessing, one Mrs T and I shared this week in Wales. Good local food well cooked. Our friend’s granddaughter has a chef for a brother and seems to share his love for cooking – one passed down the generations!
There was talk of the brother as well, of course, of cabbages and kings. The lad takes a pride in his work, to the extent that he has persuaded his bosses to buy butcher’s meat and fresh fruit and vegetables so that he could prepare better meals at no extra cost. He is feeding young people on activity holidays.
‘And now, instead of frozen, ground down whatever and jars of sauce, they have spaghetti Bolognese with proper, lean minced beef and sauce from scratch.’
I hope you enjoy a few outdoor meals this summer, and that the cooks enjoy them as well as the diners. The next day was bread and cheese for just the two of us, halfway up a hill in Herefordshire. That was enjoyable too: we’d walked up an appetite!
Faversham’s Food Festival gathered us, including Mrs T, NAIB, and HDGB. NAIB and I were lagging behind when we spotted Turnstone Ales’s stall in Preston St. Before we knew what was happening we were testing the samples the Brewer thrust into our hands, brew by brew, till we’d tasted them all.
It was not just the name that was impressive; so were the beers. We brought some home where they can stand a while to clear their heads. We could hardly avoid shaking them up a bit as we carried them round town.
A treat to look forward to.
The picture comes from Turnstone Ales’s Facebook page:
Not yet have we heard the first cuckoo of Spring, but even so: the first local strawberries, tastier than Spanish imports; the first rose of summer, sprung in time to welcome St George, though neither white nor red factions would have worn the yellow Mermaid in their lapels, no doubt deeming it more patriotic to boast imports from Ecuador in their tribal colour; the first clamouring baby blackbirds and magpies in different neighbours’ gardens – though not in ours which is still a building site; cow parsley everywhere, even on the altar at church; the first cut of what grass remains in the Turnstone garden; so it is time to say, with the Welsh poet,
Good morning Life
And all things glad and beautiful. W.H.Davies.
Davies gives us a reminder that St David on his deathbed urged the people of Wales to be faithful to the little things; WHD is by no means the only Welsh poet to live up to this command. Dylan celebrated small town life Under Milk Wood.
One little thing leapt out at me the other morning: I walked round the corner to find that the back garden wall is a mass of purple wall-toadflax. A few years ago we were at St David’s Cathedral, where the boundary wall carries a thriving colony of a white variety of this beautiful little thing. I hope no zealous tidier-up of unconsidered trifles ever weeds them all away. The Turnstone toadflax can rest easy. Even if Mrs Turnstone does turn her hand to repointing our wall, there will always be a crack for a seed to take root and start the colony again.
A week of firsts: the first forage: wild garlic; the first preserve: wild garlic pesto with Ashmore cheese; the first harvest from the greenhouse: a dozen rocket leaves; the first local asparagus from the Goods Shed with the first sungold tomatoes!