Sunday, March 27

Tarragon and garlic chive vinegar

Every year the tarragon plant on my balcony bursts forth with renewed vigour after surviving another winter - and every year I fail to make the most of its glorious flavour.

With the garlic chives also shooting out many new leaves I decided I should make the most of their spring freshness and whip up some herb vinegar. 'Whip up' is perhaps a little optimistic, since it takes about a month or so to mature, but it's certainly very simple.

You need 'some' chopped fresh herbs (recommended amount is four tablespoons) to go with each 500ml of wine or cider vinegar.

Mix the two and put in a bottle or jar. Leave in a cool, dark place for 4-6 weeks, then strain. Use in salad dressings, on roast veg etc etc, or put it in a bottle with a posh label and a bit of ribbon and give it as a gift!

See I told you it was simple!

Saturday, March 26

The Curse and I are not natural demonstrators; he likes to make his feelings known to the TV and I am an expert letter writer, perhaps to the point of being slightly obsessive about it. But sometimes we feel the need to stand up and be counted in our own modest way.

Writing letters and grumbling at the TV is all very well but it's no substitute for getting out there and hearing the beating of the drums, seeing the placards waving and feeling a great deal less isolated in our frustration.

Friday, March 25

Dulwich Park and Picture Gallery

I had planned to work at home today on my freelance project, but the glorious sunshine made that unlikely, so the Curse and I took advantage of the weather and set out for a trip to England's oldest public art gallery, Dulwich Picture Gallery.

It took two buses to get to Dulwich Libary, from where we enjoyed a stroll through the park and past the boating lake and the Barbara Hepworth sculpture to the gallery. The sunshine, spring flowers and bird song were the stars today!

Now I'm keeping my fingers crossed for dull weather over Saturday and Sunday, since I'm going to be tied to the desk for most of it! Sorry folks....

Wednesday, March 23

Spiced stewed rhubarb

Hurrah for the rhubarb season!

I do like a bit of stewed rhubarb, particularly on my muesli after it has been chilled in the fridge (the rhubarb, not the muesli).

Here's how I normally cook it:

Chop your rhubarb into short pieces, put in a pan with a little bit of fruit juice, a piece of cinnamon stick, a star anise, and some sugar or honey to taste (probably more than you expect to need, rhubarb can be quite tart). This time I also included a tablespoon of syrup from a jar of stem ginger.

Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for about 20 minutes until the rhubarb is falling apart. Cool, then chill overnight.

Serve on your muesli/porridge and/or with greek yoghurt.

Saturday, March 12

Southwold crime statistics

During our recent trip to Southwold, the Curse and I enjoyed browsing the local papers. The Southwold Organ is a local publication of the 'parish newsletter' variety, which is available around the pubs, shops and businesses of the town.

A report of a recent town council meeting started with crime statistics. PCSO Wallace reported that there had been three recorded crimes since the last town council meeting.

One was a case of criminal damage to a property, one was theft from a business premises.

The third was described as 'a case of burglary at Southwold Primary School, where cornflakes and ice-cream cones had been stolen then consumed in the grounds of the school.'

Sunday, March 6

A few days in Suffolk

Cold but sunny, lovely sounds and smells, reed buntings and egrets, fish and chips.

Clearing the head, recharging the batteries, tiring out the legs and letting the mind wander.

Muddy boots and wrapping up warm. Every pub with a real fire and real ales.