Lockdown 2, week 3

Cotoneaster and jasmine on the back fence.

The two cuttings I took some years ago and planted at the bottom of my garden have come into their own this year. The winter flowering jasmine is flowering and the cotoneaster hasn’t many berries but the leaves have tuned a pretty red, so the colours next to each other provide a cheerful view when I first look out of my window in the morning and when I am in the kitchen – especially washing up. I am going to have to keep the jasmine in check as they can take over!

Salad leaves with mushrooms!

Talking about growing things, I have been growing salad leaves on my kitchen windowsill again and they suddenly produced 3 mushrooms (toadstools?)! My best guess is that the compost included some old mushroom compost in the mix and some spores were left in it which grew in the warmth of the kitchen. I pulled them out as they didn’t help the salad leaves and did consider whether or not I should cook and eat them but decided against as I didn’t know where they came from and was not sure of their identity – would hate to poison myself!

The first walk with a friend this week it was again sort of raining – more damp and drizzle really. We walked to the leisure centre and took the circular walk round the back of it – muddy in places. Views OK and we saw a robin. Went back via Waitrose, but the queue was too long to go in for the polish she wanted.

Looking down the Avon from the bridge

The walk with the other friend we have been doing on a Wednesday but that was the only day in the week where rain was forecast so we changed it to Tuesday. Did a short road walk, then down Stink Pot Alley to the bridge over the Avon and back along the Avon and up my usual field by the horses. Hazy sun, pleasant breeze, muddy in places!

In Ancient Rome, I got to wander round some streets and alleys on the Esquiline Hill (I think). Got totally lost, paddled in some fountains and swam in a pool. All good fun! There were also some recipes to try: moretum – cheese with herbs, garlic and olive oil; Cato’s olive relish – olives, herbs, olive oil and wine vinegar; Apicius’ Melon – melon with mint, honey, wine vinegar and garum – a fish sauce. I won’t be trying any of them – 4 heads of garlic in a pedestal of cheese – no one would come near me for a week; not keen on olives and a fish sauce with melon sounds a total waste of good melon!

The dish of the week

My friend did try another new recipe though – but not a Roman one! She made Quorn chilli cottage pie. The mash on top was celeriac, carrot and fresh coriander mashed together. It was a spicy chilli too! She said making it was time consuming but worth it – so tasty. That means she will be doing it again. She is a better cook than me and more prepared to spend time on making dishes!

And so we will move on to the 4th week which should be the last of this lockdown. Not holding my breath about there not being another one after Christmas, but we have hope for the future with 3 vaccines ready to go and ‘just’ waiting for approval and for the process of vaccination to start.

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