Well folks, it looks like this lockdown is going to continue for the foreseeable future now. I think we will just have to accept that life has changed, and try to get on with the situation, grim as that may seem.
What new pastimes have you taken up (or revived) since lockdown? I’ve been trying to make sourdough bread, but with mixed results as you can see here. So much so that my husband has tracked down some dried yeast on the internet so that he can start using our bread maker again! Yeast seems to be out of stock everywhere, but as I have just managed to get some strong bread flour, perhaps the next loaf will be better. They have all tasted good actually but are very dense!
But onto the real, professional baking: Home delivery services are springing up all the time as companies adapt their modus operandi to survive these new restrictions. One example of this is a fabulous bakery based in Surbiton that hitherto has supplied the top London hotels and restaurants rather than the public. Well, you’ll be pleased to hear that Frankonia is now doing home deliveries and our Twickenham area is included, so now’s the time to dig out those elasticated waist trousers and treat yourselves to some really top-notch produce from around £20 a box. There’s a list of delivery postcodes on the website. You can always share a delivery with a neighbour! As they say, ‘You’re worth it!’
Of course, quite a few of our shops are still open, and trading within the social distancing guidelines. Paul Cooper the greengrocer, Brown’s Artisan Butchers, Sandys here in Twickers to name a few, and lots more in our area. And if you can’t visit them personally, many will take a phone or email order for collection or home delivery. We are very lucky to have so many lovely, independent retailers and we must remember to continue to support them when we get back to ‘normal’ whenever – and whatever – that ends up being!
At home we’ve been busy planting seeds, and luckily the rocket from last year seems to have shot up recently (pardon the pun – actually it’s Paul Cooper’s line!). We invested in some cold frames to bring on the seedlings, as we don’t have a greenhouse. These cold frames are inexpensive and companies like Thompson & Morgan are offering some excellent deals, often including vegetable seeds too, so do check them out. Local garden centres and shops such as Percy Chapman here in Twickenham will deliver heavy items like compost, so if you are housebound all is not lost! And do remember to share your spare seedlings with friends and neighbours locally. Our road has a really supportive facebook group and I know other roads have WhatsApp and similar ways of communicating among themselves.
Did you know that the British Radish season starts in April, making radish the first open field salad veg of the British growing year? They are in the shops and at the farmers’ market now. I love radishes, and hopefully we will soon be harvested some of our own from the garden, but I thought you might like to try this delicious recipe from Love Radish. And of course, you can always incorporate a radish or two into coleslaw or any salad for that matter, and they will add their unique peppery element. I often just eat radishes the French way – with some butter and salt, or made into a sandwich filling.
And with the weather improving here’s a lovely, easy, salad recipe from the Love Radish website, where you can find lots more to inspire you!
Xanthe Clay’s Radish and Pea Salad
Serves 2 – 3 Preparation Time: 10 mins
1 teacupful of fresh peas
10 radishes, thinly sliced
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp crème fraiche
A punnet of cress
Lightly cook the peas in boiling water, then drain and cool under the tap.
Scatter them over a plate with the thinly sliced radishes and spring onion.
Thin the crème fraiche to single cream consistency with a little milk and trickle it over the salad.
Snip over the cress and season with freshly ground black pepper and serve.