Saturday, April 16, 2011

Our Cottage Garden - Angelica and Rhubarb Fool.

Have spent the week struggling to divide my time between work and gardening. Not that gardening isn't work - just that it isn't paid work, or even potentially paid work. But our large cottage garden is just at that point in the year where it all suddenly starts to get away from us- and since were away last week, it's doubly urgent to try to get on top of the ground elder (hollow laugh) before it gets on top of everything else.
It's the time of year when the angelica starts to grow with a vengeance. It's also the time of year when I promise myself that I will candy some stems before they get too 'woody' - but so far, I haven't done it. Maybe this will be the year. I'm a bit haphazard in my country pursuits. I love making things, but the need to earn a living does rather get in the way of my attempts to float about the garden with sunhat and trug, looking elegant and gathering my own produce in the manner of those illustrated magazine articles or television programmes that make country life seem so enticing.
You can see the fresh green leaves in among the tulips and hyacinths, and a fair mixture of weeds, in the picture. A friend from England gave me an angelica plant a few years ago, and now it self seeds at the bottom of the garden. I let it grow where it wants, just pulling up the odd plant when it gets too prolific. It smells wonderful, good enough to eat, and forms a very beautiful plant - tall and stately with enormous seed heads which I cut and use in flower displays. Last summer, when we had our village 'open gardens' event, it was the big talking point among the steady stream of visitors - hardly anyone knew what it was, which makes me think it might not be very common up here in Scotland. It certainly likes our garden though.
The big clump of rhubarb alongside the angelica is also growing at a rate of knots. I made a luscious rhubarb fool yesterday, cooking the rhubarb in the slow cooker with brown sugar and some chunks of crystallised ginger, draining off most of the juice and making it into extra syrup, with a bit more sugar, (Nigella suggests adding this to champagne. I may give it a go with Prosecco since we don't quite run to champagne yet) and then folding the fruit and ginger through a mixture of whipped cream and Greek yoghurt. You have to chill it, preferably overnight. Not exactly low calorie, but delicious!
Whenever my late mum served up something from the garden, even if it was only one vegetable in a whole meal, my dear late dad, who loved his garden, loved to grow fruit and vegetables of all kinds, would heave a sigh of satisfaction and say 'Everything home grown then?'
This lunch time, my husband ate a mouthful of rhubarb fool.
'Mmm,' he said. 'Everything home grown then?'


Rosie said...

Hey, award winning writer, how are you? Your garden sounds wonderful. Your post reminded me of my parents too. They grew absolutely everything. Mine is a little disorganised but the bees and butterflies love it. I miss it.

Catherine Czerkawska said...

Hi Rosie! I'm fine, what about you? (But waiting to hear about manuscripts sent out by agent which is driving me mad!) Garden is lovely but chaotic. Drives Alan mad - he's got such severe arthritis now that he can't manage it. Yes, ours is full of birds, bees and butterflies - and disorganised too!

Rosie said...

I'll send you a proper email tomorrow.