Friday, 9 December 2011

Here comes Christmas!

Have just heard from Rachel John (our extreme knitter in the Autumn Issue p34) that Stella McCartney commissioned this amazing knitted Christmas tree from her for Les Sapins de Noel des Createurs in Paris. See these links:

Monday, 14 November 2011

Grape expectations

Phew....finally I’ve managed to get out into the garden and plant the vine layerings I did this Spring. Layering means making a portion of the plant produce roots while still attached to the mother plant. I managed to get another eight plants from my two ‘grown-up’ vines this year. 

Back in April I chose several shoots/branches that were about the thickness of a pencil and ‘wounded’ the part of the stems that were going to be covered with compost. Use a knife or pruning shears to scrape down through the bark to expose the cambium layer which is where the new roots will start. Then I pushed the stems (wound side down) onto a pot full of compost, covered with more compost and placed some heavy rocks and stones on top to hold the stems in place. I left these undisturbed for 6 months just making sure the compost was damp at all times. By about October I noticed some rootlets poking out from the underside of the pots and cut the layerings off the ‘mother plant’.

Last year’s layerings are now well established and looking very fit and healthy - I’m working on ultimately getting a mini vineyard out of them all, so here’s to Chateau Cinq VallĂ©es!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Al fresco dining

Well I guess yesterday saw the end of our ’Indian’ summer. Autumn’s chill is in the air and we had what was probably the last al fresco meal of the year. A friend had just dropped off a Mont d’or Napiot (an exquisite washed-rind cow’s milk cheese from the Jura Mountains in France) from William’s Kitchen. Now is the peak time to consume this soft, rich and creamy cheese. With a delicious loaf from Hobbs House, some honeycomb and the last of our tomatoes we had a banquet fit for a king!

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.
Remove the lid from the cheese box. Make several slits in the top of the cheese with a sharp knife and push rosemary leaves and slivers of garlic deep into its oozing creamy body.
Drizzle with olive oil and season with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Place on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 8-10 minutes, until melted. Mmmmmm delish!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Autumn 2011 Issue out now !

Going to extremes
Rachel John goes large with her knitting
All that glistens
Gorgeous jewellery with green credentials
Very Sloe Gin
Delicious sloe gin recipe from foraged fruit
A mellow fruit for autumn.
Apples - make mouthwatering jellies
Up in Andy's attic
How one man is braving the recession to follow his dream

Read it all here