Nine months after our ritualistic March garlic planting, the early December harvest produced an abundant garlic stash. Leaf browning from the tips and the softening of the stem is nature’s way of telling us it’s garlic harvesting time. After lifting the bulbs from the soil and gently shaking them to remove the precious excess, the air drying or curing process begins which intensifies the flavour and pungency.
After a couple of weeks when the outer skin had dried to a papery texture, they are cleaned and will wait patiently in the coolness of the pantry ready to serve the household with their medicinal antiseptic and antibiotic properties and their defining culinary flavour. Turning some of these treasured bulbs into preserved garlic provides a creamy rich and mellow preserve that's a must for the kitchen gardener and culinary explorer.
Beetroot, that bold vegetable for the inner foodie that lurks within self-assured cooks, has endured an uninspiring reputation for centuries. That is, until recently.
A legacy from the Romans, it fared well in the cold English soil, but harnessing beetroot's boisterous earthy flavour was mastered by but a few. Teamed occasionally with game for the gourmands, it remained the unappreciated awkward and bossy beet for everyday folk. Like a defiant child, it left obstinate self-made trails of reddish-brown reminders of its undisciplined wanderings. Chopping boards and wooden utensils, tablecloths and clothing stamped forever more with even the lightest touch. Stained clothes, the branding of an wayward knife and fork.
Armed with a colour somewhere between dragon’s blood and carmine and a deep earthy flavour reminiscent of the well-rotted mature and rich compost it relishes, the common beet can reward the courageous or overpower the daunted. And daunted we were for centuries.
Behind the closed office door, his eyes scan the room; noting the industry magazines are not fanned in front of the maiden hair fern and the reception desk is untidy. It’s Sally’s third week and Bill’s idiosyncrasies still elude her. In the quiet, he mulls over the day’s inspections, client proposals and paper work that needs completing to close another deal.Read More
Chockie, with his cool Aussie surfer-boy dreadlocks, was the darling of the flock. Shy and always the last to be tempted by a Lucerne or chaff treats, he was the gentleman of the troop. Frank consistently produces award winning fleeces at the Strathalbyn and Mount Barker Shows while Cheeky, the defiant one, stamps his feet to express his disapproval. Woody parades the paddocks with a regal air as he flaunts his distinctive white crown and Sammy, well he’s the allusive one. Always alert, always sizing the situation with his piercing mysterious eyes.
All special in their own way, but Chockie was my favourite. His magnificent fleece, radiated in the sun: two parts luscious caramel and one part dark chocolate. His temperament - gentle, reserved but engaging. He now resides in the heavenly paddocks after passing away peacefully in my arms last year. His legacies, two fleeces, are destined for special projects.