Lockdown

My, how the world has changed since I last blogged. A mere three weeks ago, Ade and I were having dinner in the pub, without a care in the world. Now, all the pubs are closed. Nobody is allowed outside, except for the daily government-approved walk. And shopping at the supermarket is the strangest experience in the world, involving long queues and empty shelves, while shoppers try to maintain a safe two-metre distance from other shoppers, eyeing each other with suspicion.

It’s just so bizarre.

‘You’ll be alright!’ Said my brother, cheerily, on the phone when I told him about the empty shelves in my local supermarket a couple of weeks ago, ‘you grow all your own vegetables!’ I had to remind him that, unfortunately, it’s the wrong time of year for homegrown vegetables. Like most veg plots in the UK, our kitchen garden is pretty bare in March and April. All our summer crops are currently tiny seedlings, emerging slowly in the greenhouse, and we’ve eaten most of the vegetables we had in storage from last autumn.

But there are two crops that have saved the day, and I’m eternally grateful for them. The main one is our purple sprouting broccoli.

Tasty, reliable and packed-full of immunity-boosting vitamin C (which is rather reassuring during a pandemic), it’s been the star of the veg plot for the past few weeks, and a delicious accompaniment to all sorts of meals.

The other trooper is the celery. It’s actually the celery Ade planted last season, so the crown mostly consists of old, tough stalks that have been gnawed at by some hungry creature.  Ade had planned to dig it up, but I asked him not to, after I noticed some new stalks coming through. Although these taste quite bitter if eaten raw, they’re great for cooking, so I’ve been using the chopped stalks and leaves a lot in the kitchen these past couple of weeks, mostly in soups and stews.

Of course, there are other delights growing wild at the moment which can help supplement an empty larder while we try to avoid visiting the shops. Wild garlic is in season, if you’re lucky enough to have some growing near you. Sadly, we don’t, as far as I know. But it’s also the season for stinging nettles which we have in abundance! I’ve cooked with these a few times and they’re fantastic; so nutrient-rich and super-tasty.  You can check out my recipes for Nettle Pesto and Nettle Houmous if you’re interested!

So, we make the best of what we have as we try to limit our trips to the supermarket to once a fortnight. We’ve no idea how long this will continue, of course. We thank our lucky stars that we moved away from London a year and a half ago, and although we’ve both lost some work due to pandemic, we’re fortunate to be able to continue doing much of our work from home.

How are you guys coping?

 

 

 

 

9 thoughts on “Lockdown

  1. So glad to see I’m not the only one who utilises nettles. I love my nettle soup, but lovely to see something else I can make with them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wfh in London but spent the whole of yesterday on my allotment (next door to the Olympic Park) – what a treat from being cooped up indoors – purple sprouting broccoli went very well with our chicken fricassee last night. Wild garlic to come. Clare

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  3. Glad to see that you are managing during these difficult times. Our groceries are full to the brim, because so few people are shopping. Just toilet paper and hand sanitizer and anti-viral wipes are lacking, but prices are definitely rising (so I’m told, I’m not going out!) Be safe. Nettle frittata is delicious, if you have potatoes and eggs.

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  4. Clif and I are considered elderly and have been staying home for the past month. Before the pandemic, I stocked up on food and other supplies, including that precious material, toilet paper. We have been ordering online to supplement our supplies. So far, so good. Stay safe, be well. And may your garden grow abundantly this year.

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  5. Lovely to hear from you Laurie, so glad you guys are doing okay in the Hinterlands, and the rest of your family in NYC and NC. We’re living in strange times indeed. At least you’re managing to get online deliveries with relative ease; we had a bit of trouble here in the UK as everyone tried to book online supermarket deliveries and it all ground to a halt for a while, but I believe it’s easing now. Take care of yourselves.

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  6. My! That is not how I do nettle. They are about two or three feet tall now. I take an entire stalk, and then pluck off all of the green leaves, not just the few on top from several stalks. Eventually, as they mature, the lower leaves will turn yellow and fall away; so I will ignore those. Otherwise, I would not want to wast the more mature leaves. Even after they mature and bloom, I take the stalks with small adult leaves and flowers on them for tea later. They grow abundantly in the forests here, along with other greens, such as mustard, turnip, radish, dandelion, dock and miners’ lettuce. Turnip greens are the best, but mustard and nettle are the most abundant.

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  7. great to hear from other allotmenteers, especially in these surreal times. Pleased that our allotments are remaining “open for use” (at least one near to us has been officially closed to better “follow government guidelines”).
    We simply leave some stinging nettles to grow as habitat for wildlife, and, along the hedgerow to discourage unwelcome primate visitors.
    Keep up the good work, stay safe.

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