While in Hong Kong it only seems right to be having a meal in a noodle bar and I have to say it was very good. I really enjoyed the green that was a side, I think it was sweated down in a little oil, it reminded me of the greens that you get in the South of America, all the above ground part of the plant was used. The beef noodles were also very good.
Well before I got on this flight to Hong Kong I did not know about the great American Johnny Appleseed. I now know a bit about the eccentric folk hero who traveled around Ohio in a canoe with a bag of apple seed in the early 19th century as the new arrivals were required to plant 50 fruit trees on the land that they claimed as a sign they intended to remain. It seems that a lot of these trees were apples, the fruit was used to make cider and applejack (a crude brandy), I think this help take the edge off such a hard new life they had taken on. It seems that there are still wild apple trees from his seed on the back roads. It does sound like a perfect road trip for Tom Coward after all the apple tree planting he has undertaken over the years.
The best way to end the symposium was to sit around the pantry table and try the different fruit vodka’s that we made in the summer. The star of the tasting was the Blackcurrant, it still had that good strong smell to it that you get when you prune the plant. Next was the Raspberry, it was one that you could have sat down to on a sunny afternoon and not got up till the bottle was finished. I am very pleased that we had made these and given them time for the taste to develop. I will make a lot more of the Blackcurrant next summer.
The great thing about having dogs is that you have to get them up at first light and give them a walk. It is also a good way of being in tune with the season and we seem to be in the very early stages of spring, there is movement in the woods, the leaves of the bluebells are up and buds on some trees are getting bigger. Now is a good time to have a look at your tools, give them some oil and make sure they are ready for the new season. I was also reminded of this today when John French came to show the symposium some of the old tools he cleans and sells on. I was able to give him my trowel to repair.
I went up to London last night and had a look at the new exhibition at the Royal Academy, ‘Painting the modern garden, Monet to Matisse ‘, there was one painting I had seen in the paper that I really wanted to see for myself by John Singer Sargent called Poppies, it was as if he had come up to the fruit cage two years ago and painted all those poppies I had in there. But this was painted in 1886 so I could not take credit for it. It is a great painting and I was very happy to see it for myself.
I do think that when you travel the thing that you miss most, well I do, is good fresh vegetables. So I try to serve a lot of good vegetables from the garden when people are here for the symposium. At this time of the year salad can be harder to find out in the garden but this winter I have turned to the young beetroot leaves and also the perpetual spinach, these the young leaves also. I do have to get in lettuce but there is still a good salad out there. The group do seem to be happy with it.
I was happy to get in the post a large box of seeds from Kyle. It really is a great gift to get and does make one look forward to the season ahead. It all does seem rather wet out there at this very moment but I am going to go away next Monday for most of the month so by the time I get back I will have to be starting to think about spring and getting seed in the ground. I do still have to order some seed from the U.K but it does seem that I am getting a better choice from the U.S.