THERE are many things a man needs to sustain him in life and one is rhubarb. There may well be items of greater importance, such as bread and butter, faith, humility and hot tea, but rhubarb is among the essentials. Anyone who has worked an allotment, or owned a back garden where dolly tubs rust quietly under elder trees and gutters sag from shed roofs, knows the one element that links them all is the rhubarb bed. A vegetable patch without rhubarb is like a hot-pot without potatoes. So this is my quest to grow rhubarb in Spain . . . Continue reading Ruibarbo, ruibarbo
OLIVE HARVEST, DAY 1: Not so much a baptism of fire, more an anointment with oil. If that sounds a shade biblical, the route from Jerusalem to Bethany passed over the Mount of Olives – where Jesus preached to his disciples – so olives have been an important crop since biblical times, at least. The only route to pass my olive patch is the track that joins Orgiva to the settlement of El Morreon. No disciples, but three herds of goats and a school bus twice daily . . . Continue reading Amounts of olives
CARROT World is a ruthless place. An unacceptably-high proportion of carrots are considered to be misshapen and are rejected by the shops. They are loaded into cattle trucks and taken to an unknown fate in the east. Only carrots that pass the supermarket suitability test are offered to the public – this is an extremely narrow and subjective view on carrot quality. It’s like saying that only long, thin people with perfect shoulders and fake tans should populate the Earth. That’s been tried and it doesn’t work. But the rule is applied to carrots . . . Continue reading It’s hard being a carrot
FEW aromas arrest the senses more effectively than food cooking over an open fire. The smell of bacon and eggs wafting across a Highland campsite as the sun rises above the mountains; chicken sizzling on a seaside barbecue; goulash bubbling in a blackened pot as embers spark and crackle on a Hungarian hillside. This is food in the wild, as our ancestors cooked it; and it is food that has had its flavours enhanced by fire, smoke, dry wood and the elements . . . Continue reading The migas touch
DESPITE being one of life’s essentials, the world cannot agree on the correct spelling of chilli. I’m not talking about the south American country, as homophone experts will have realised; I’m talking about the fiery and indispensable ingredient of Vindaloo and Madras curry, Tabasco sauce, and the Mexican dish that ends with those delightful words con carne. The chilli is to a certain branch of world cuisine what the potato is to Lancashire hotpot and paprika to goulash. No chilli, no curry – so far as I’m concerned . . . Continue reading Getting chilli . . . or chili
ANOTHER experiment. Sun-dried tomatoes. I’ve always wanted to have a crack at this, so with a glut of tomatoes and an abundance of hot June sunshine, the opportunity arises . . . Continue reading Hung out to dry . . .
IT’S time to stand up for gherkins. For too many years this splendid vegetable – or fruit, to be precise – has been maligned in the British press. Legions of journalists have used the gherkin as a stop-gap measure to fill newspaper columns in times of adversity. The hour has come to redress the balance and embrace the gherkin; it’s time to gaze out across a vast desert of prejudice and cry out from the crucifix: “Yes, I’m Spartacus. And I also love gherkins . . .” Continue reading I’m Spartacus . . .