03 June 2018

Sunday miscellany

First to the local farmers market for bread, cheese, and giant mushrooms, and on the way back I suddenly realised "the lumpy hedge" was actually topiary - a bassett hound, perhaps?
 Elsewhere, there had been some sort of incident involving a seat belt ... it remains a puzzle ...
 I've been reading Paul Wood's book on London street trees and thought this one looked familiar - sure enough, it's right round the corner, a purple crab apple on Marquis Road -
Now, though, the ivy has grown over the wall and all but blocks the path.
 Unusual plants in a florist shop -
 and in a garden -
 ... the garden of St Pauls, Stoke Newington, where I went to hear what the Grandes Dames of Food had to say about British food since the 1950s - Jill Norman was Elizabeth David's editor at Penguin Books; Claudia Roden is known for her book on Middle Eastern cookery, which came out in the late '60s; Elisabeth Luard has written about Spanish, and other, food since living there with her family.
Back in the 50s, when Penguin was publishing various cookbooks in print runs of 20,000 or 30,000, it wasn't thought that these were suitable to be in hardback. People didn't like to be seen eating, and it was almost taboo to talk about food. The cookbooks had short recipes - people who used them already knew how to cook and didn't need detailed instructions. Now, though, people seem to have forgotten that food is about pleasure, rather than innovation or careful eating - and a cuisine of "too much flavour" has developed.

One of the audience questions was about gadgets - which of the latest gadgets did they value? The lemon zester; the potato peeler; and the whizzy-stick blender.

With food on my mind I popped in to the nearby farmers market, which had some rather specialist stalls, including one selling only Scotch eggs - including a vegetarian variety ...
 Along the street, yellow watermelon! -
 And in the second-hand bookshop, a copy of a Nigel Slater book had some recipes for tinned sardines (I'm trying to eat more fish), including Sardine Butter, which can be spread on toast ... but then, what can't be spread on toast? -
 Clissold Park had a sprinkling of picnics etc -
 And then it was dinner in the garden at Rathcoole Gardens - an unfinished back garden - with the folding doors being put into place, a big step forward -
This garden, which is in a sorry state at the moment, will eventually look somewhat like this one, seen in an estate agent's window -
Raised beds and climbers up the walls, and comfortable seating, ready for gracious outdoor living ... but not just yet ...

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