Itching Up To Get In Your Kitch-eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen!
March 25, 2014
That Was The Food Week That Was!
3 Signs You Are Getting Old
December 12, 2013
The top three signs you are getting old…
1. You like watching the Antiques Roadshow and the theme tune is no longer the death-knell that meant school tomorrow.
2. You think some pubs are too loud and you oft hear yourself mutter the immortal phrase ‘I can’t hear myself think in here’.
3. Those garden centres you were dragged around as a kid? You bloody love them now.
Now don’t get me wrong. It is not as if I have a top five best presenters ever list (there have only ever been four - 'Roadshowers' don't count Angela Rippon or Bruce Parker). It is not like Angelina and I debate the reason’s why Arthur Negus is so much better than Fiona Bruce (Arthur always wins, naturally).
But the evidence against my losing of youth is plain to see. Here then is an admission…
My name is Leo. I am thirty-something years old. I am officially old.
Evidence A: Last weekend, Marsala Rama had another excellent meal in The Ship in Wandsworth Town - but it is Xmas Party season and the clientele (of which there must have been 50+) decided to have a great game of ‘who could shout the loudest whilst eating and holding a normal conversation’. They all won. We lost and sat in silence, except for muttering ‘said phrase’.
Evidence B: I subscribe to two garden magazines – it was three but Gardener’s World is for people who like bedding plants - idiots. I spend copious amounts of time in my ramshackle of a greenhouse, sowing seeds knowing that within one week the mice will have eaten all my pea shoots, or I will have forgot to water them and they will be pea crisps.
The biggest evidence has to be Evidence C: I have a Pinterest account where the only things on there are allotments. Allotment, after allotment, after perfect allotment.
I am addicted to allotment porn. Perfect lines of salad crops and cabbages. Perfect angles of bean teepees heaving under the sheer weight of St George Runner Beans. Forlorn looking sheds apologetically nestled in amongst the overgrown artichokes and sunflowers. Each plot trying to out-do the next one as best they can.
I love allotments so much so that I have slowly (cunningly) turned a part of our garden into my own little allotment. Success stories (raised beds churning out tonnes of spinach, kale, cavalo nero, celery) have been offset by disasters (mice ate all the beetroot, cabbage whites ate all the brocolli, our dogs destroyed all the seed beds, blight all the potatoes etc).
But it doesn't matter - that is all part of the 'fun' because the allotment is the eternal giver of hope. No matter what happens, you can literally rip it up and start again – at any time of the year, whatever state the plot is in. If you can resist your own inertia of 'I can't be arsed' then, within a few weeks, the work on the plot starts to reap dividends.
Right now for example is usually the time of year where I will sit down and plan what will be grown for the coming year – out will go veggies we don’t like (what’s the point?), in will come a few new fads (cucuamelons, anyone?) as well cheffy items such as more edible flowers (last year’s nasturtiums and violets made the best salads ever). What's more, you only use what to eat right now - perfect seasonal fruit and vegetables.
If seasonality and provenance is your thing, what better way to guarantee you ingredients? We are lucky in that at Marsala Rama HQ we have some land to do this; but it could be pots on your windowsill, pots on your patio, flower beds turned into veggie beds, hanging baskets.
So there. I said it. Gardening is the new rock n roll, I am old and I am proud of my addiction.
PS: Antique’s Roadshow is on at the slightly early time of 5.30pm Sunday night, BBC1.