There’s nothing like the start of a new year to start on a brand new project. I’m a girl that loves to have a project in hand, it fires me up and gets me going, like a brand new notebook with perfect white pages ready to be filled in your best handwriting.
But, rather than a notebook for this project, I decided to do this in a blog. Why? Because by late July when you’ve started to wane on the project that felt so exciting to begin with, it would be so easy to shove that notebook into a drawer and forget about it. Nobody has seen it, nobody cares, it was a silly idea anyway. But when you have a blog, and you start to get followers (hopefully), it urges you on. It adds just a little bit of conscientious pressure to keep you going. But also, it’s an opportunity to share your thoughts, ideas and a little project with like-minded people who might find it useful in some small way, and I find that a very satisfying thing. Blogging is quite addictive.
So, what is my new project? It’s to document a years worth of cooking, baking and preserving from my allotment produce.
Back in 2008 my new project was an allotment plot. My partner and I dug it from end to end, a full 10 poles (or 250 square metres in modern language) of bumpy ant hills, bindweed and couch grass. We have spent the last 7 years, digging, weeding, sowing, planting, harvesting and of course cooking. The gardening aspect can be so all-consuming that it’s often easy to forget that ultimately, an allotment plot is about the end result, i.e. what lands on your kitchen worktop ready for the oven (after much mud scrubbing) or what you serve fresh and raw onto your plate. While it is hard graft, the taste of something pulled fresh from the ground and the satisfaction of knowing you grew it, is worth every pulled muscle, nettle sting and dirt embedded fingernail.
So this blog is about the kitchen experience of an allotment grower over the course of a year, and my personal project is to be more organised in using my homegrown produce to it’s full potential, rather than just bringing home a load of veg with no ideas of what to do with it. I also want to experiment more with new recipes, while still taking comfort in the old familiar ones here and there, but maybe with an added twist. I’ll document what I do with gluts (while trying to avoid having gluts in the first place) and produce that looks far from perfect, and ultimately to avoid any waste, even if my waste ends up on a compost heap. And finally, to make more use of an ever growing and heaving bookshelf of frankly underused cookery books.
In the pages listed across the red band, you can see what produce I currently have to hand, what books and references I’m using, and a page showing a few pictures of our allotment with links to my allotment blog if you want more advice on growing crops. Welcome to you, if you have joined me from there, and welcome to my new adventure.