back to square one

Solstice – back to square one…

My carrots have done really well this year. Last summer they went dry when I harvested and stored them in the sand, so this time, I’ve left them in the ground, covered in fleece. They seem to be keeping just fine, even under this snow (pictured).

Earlier, I made the mistake of picking some without wearing gloves. What felt like frostbite later, I decided I won’t be doing that again. All I can liken the pain to was an epic game of knuckles that lasted the whole of Double English many moons ago.

I also dug up a couple of leeks, picked some curly kale, and prised a trio of reasonable parsnips out of the frozen ground. After buying a couple of pheasants at Burnham-on-Crouch Farmers Market yesterday, all seemed to be going swimmingly for Solstice tomorrow.

Except apparently Jan doesn’t like pheasant now. And of course, if Jan doesn’t like it, my dad can’t possibly like it either.

Jan’s an exceptional gardener, but she has one big, big weakness. She feeds everything. Rabbits, pigeons, foxes, squirrels, and more recently, pheasants. And then moans when all her plants get eaten.

Anyway, my mum is one of those people who can’t eat the things she sees and likes. She’ll scoff a chicken, but not a cute, furry rabbit. This means that most game is off the menu, including pheasant.

We’re getting into food politics here, which isn’t my intention. The point is, I’m back to square one on the Winter Solstice menu. My fingers are just about recovered enough to slice some veg, so I’ve tracked down a Delia Smith winter vegetable pie offering.

My sweet potato ran out a couple of weeks ago, but I reckon I can replace that with parsnip. Not sure about the celeriac yet –might double up the leek or fold in some spinach.

Pheasants safely in the freezer, panic is over. In fact, I’m quite chuffed with the turnaround. Not quite as chilled out as the Big City Defector, but close. Pastry and sauce apart, it’ll be an entirely homegrown affair, with mash potato and some kale on the side.

Oh, the sloe ice cream was a disaster. Remember the funny feeling you get in your mouth when you eat sloes? The sauce does that to you. So we’re back to square one on dessert too.

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