Now the green blade riseth

It’s been a dull summer in Scotland – not much sunshine, lots of rain, sometimes even a bit cold. But I have pledged never to moan about Scottish weather (‘moderate but changeable’ according to Visit Scotland – now there’s a euphemism!) after my stint in Zanzibar. Dull/cool/wet are easier to cope with than hot, steamy, mosquito-ridden. And somehow or other, despite the drabness of it all, things are still growing in people’s gardens. Here are pictures of two gifts that have come my way recently.

This first is an armful of sage from my friend Margaret’s back door – it grows wantonly and she never uses it in cooking, so it was about to be Sage drying 1dug out and dumped. I am drying it on a contraption normally used for drying my knickers … ideal, actually. Sage dries well and I use it through the winter in lots of things, especially Italian-based recipes.

The second photo was taken last weekend. After church I was invited to go to the home of a lady I’d only just met, and help myself to her redcurrant harvest. I’m glad I did – it was absolutely rampant. I put the fruit in the freezer when I got home and will make jelly as soon as I remember to buy a large sieve. Tomorrow, hopefully. Redcurrants have a lovely tart, fresh flavour and their jelly is gorgeous either on scones or with a nice piece of lamb.

Redcurrants 1

I’m wondering whether there’s a redcurrant version of Creme de Cassis – has anyone come across such a thing? A Kir, Royale ou normale, is a wonderful thing. I could invent a nice Scottish aperitif – although as with most of my brilliant ideas, somebody probably already has.

And finally, here’s a picture of my own back door, with its neatly-edged path courtesy of Mary the Mower. I lashed out £15 recently at Aldi’s to buy the bay tree IMG_7959– a great bargain, I believe – and so far I haven’t managed to kill it. This morning, not before time, I transferred it into a much bigger pot so it’s looking a bit more comfortable. Every time I spend 70p at Tesco on a toty wee packet of bay leaves that are dull and dry and last no time at all, I tell myself I must buy a bay tree. And now I have. So if my arithmetic’s correct, I’ll be in pocket after 21 harvests … that’s a hell of a lot of bay leaves. Maybe it wasn’t such a bargain after all. But it does look nice.

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