Thursday, April 26, 2007


There are certain things that I like cooking - mayonnaise, sour dough bread, handmade pasta - that I think appeal to me simply because few other people do them from scratch. At the moment I have a pig's head simmering on the stove to make brawn. All these things are straightforward and easy, and only time consuming if you are not already at home.

I am a bit like that about the things I grow as well - I like the straightforward things that no-one else bothers with doing. The flowers that I get the most pleasure from growing are sweet peas - and I suspect that a lot of that is because I sow the seeds in the autumn, overwinter them and am then planting out great plants in 2 litre pots in April, rather than the rather weedy plants available in the garden centre.

By popular demand (Claire) I have a limited number of pots for sale tomorrow at the van- they are 2 plants to a 2 litre pot, £3.50 or 3 pots for £9.

First come first served.

My ideal May meal - fresh eggs from our chickens, home made mayonnaise, salad from the garden and (perhaps) some asparagus from my patch with a bunch of the first sweet peas on the table.


Victoria May Plum said...

Sounds yummy Jane, and fresh - just perfect for May. My favourite garden flowers are sweetpeas, they appear so dainty and delicate, but are really tough little cookies deep down.

I seem to have grown hundreds of them from seed on my kitchen windowsill! in fact I don't know where to plant them all now.
Victoria x

Ashleigh said...

Sweetpeas are wonderful! I have planted mine to roam over my compost heap (wire gauze) and up a windbreak. I must remember your tip about overwintering them! Do you put them in a polytunnel? I wonder if a plastic enclosure on my balcony might work.

Heather said...

I can't summon up much enthusiasm for that pigs head simmering in the kitchen - not sure what brawn is but it sounds jellified and horrible to the veggie in me!

The egg salad, pasta bread and sweetpeas however sound delightful so you've redeemed yourself

Tea time in your house could be cute (without the pig thing)


Marie said...

Hi Jane

I love the aroma of sweet peas and I think that they a lovely in a vase. I had an attempt at growing them here in Canada some years ago and they did well, climbing up the bamboo canes. They were on the verge of flowering when they got a kind of bloom on the leaves - maybe a mildew? Anyway, I watched as one by one, they withered and died without ever flowering. I wondered whether the climate here in summer is just too hot for them.

Marie x

Nonnie said...

Given that I'm reading this so close to lunch time, you've now made me feel very hungry! Your ideal spring meal sounds delicious. As for sweetpeas, they are one of my favourites.

carolyn said...

My Grandmother used to make brawn using a pigs head. Can't quite cope with it myself.

Alice said...

Dear Jane,
As a loyal and appreciative reader of your blog may I make the tiniest of complaints? It is the trade description thing...
I saw the title Sweetpeas and started reading in entirely the wrong frame of mind to deal with simmering pig's head. It will take a while before I can untangle the two!
Have a great weekend and enjoy the ears and whiskers or whatever it is that makes simmering a pig's head worthwhile.

Jane said...

Ashleigh - I do keep them in the tunnel - they don't mind the cold at all but have to get wet. If you don't have a tunnel or greenhouse a sheet of perspex on bricks works fine.

Heather - we eat meat but I'm quite particular about where it comes from and very keen on using every possible bit of the animal, it seems a bit of an insult not to - hence the pig heads which came courtesy of Peter and Liz Candy who rear some organic pigs outdoors on their farm near to us - otherwise they just get wasted as people are squeamish. If I had typed about making stock I suspect no-one would have thought "eergggghhh" - perhaps a bit too Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall for a Friday lunchtime. I had thought about doing a post on the whole process - pig to plate so to speak - glad I didn't now!

Marie - I suspect that your sweetpeas got mildew - probably due to a lack of water - they are very thirsty plants.

Alice - sorry to have put you off your lunch! There are sweetpeas in there - honest.