Leslie's Blog

Tomatoes

We have 83 tomato plants, nearly all in our polytunnel. After a dismal show in July and early August, they have suddenly produced a kilo a day. I chose nine different varieties, nearly all Italian because they do the best: Cuor di Bue (Beef Heart) is the size of a small melon, the biggest tomato I’ve ever seen, Tigerella and Green Zebra are prettily striped.

Spice, girls

I have just finished writing A Book for Cooks (published by Merrell this autumn). This is a list of my 101 favourite cookery books (I collect them.) The final book I chose is the newest, Laura Santtini’s Flash Cooking (Quadrille ) which has thoroughly engrossed me.

Flowery Meadows

This year we decided to plant a pictorial meadow - pictorial because, though it looks similar to a wild flower meadow, the flowers are not all wild. We were just in time. I see that our Classic Mix from Pictorial Meadows (www.pictorialmeadows.co.uk) now has a waiting list following a TV showing.

Wild About Garlic

The chives and wild garlic are up and so is the sorrel (buckler leaved, like little medieval shields). Apparently, sorrel is so short-lived that you will never find it in a supermarket. But I have a row of it, which constantly renews itself. So, how about sorrel soup? It is a delicious, lemony affair which needs careful treatment if it is not going to go a sludge colour.

Terracotta Pots

Where would we be without Ebay? This weekend we collected 30 large, antique terracotta plant pots from Essex. It took me about 10 minutes to find the source - an old nursery belonging to the grandfather of the seller - and another 10 minutes to buy the pots (at a reduction because of the quantity.) Then about an hour to collect them from the nursery.

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