Visits to the allotment are becoming rarer and shorter as winter gets into full swing. I made a flying visit on Monday but only managed about half an hour before my fingers turned numb and it started raining, upon which I beat a hasty retreat.
However, the jobs are mainly done. The perpetual spinach has continued to grow so I took a final picking of beautiful, bright green young leaves, before a further drop in temperature turns them to slime. I say "a final picking" but am wondering just how "perpetual" it is. When I dug out the roots of last year's crop in the spring the roots were immense. Would they have re-grown if I had left them? I might just experiment this year and leave them in a bit longer (with a sowing of new plants as back-up).
The spinach leaves I picked are tender enough to use for salad but I only seem to want warm food at the moment. They served us well in a high-speed beef and noodle stir fry on Monday night. It had to be quick: I was at Zumba until half-past seven so Monday night suppers are speedy affairs.
Rick Stein had a lovely series last year which featured lots of dishes from places like
Thailand and . I watched enough of them to realise that there is a Holy Trinity of flavours (fish sauce, lime juice and sugar) which will lift dishes such as this into something fabulous. Rick Stein raved about palm sugar but I never got around to buying this, and in any case we already have about 10 different kinds of sugars, honey, syrups and so on at any one time. This time I skipped the sugar altogether and opted for a spoonful of Jolly Jon's Soon-to-be-World-Famous Chilli Jam which combines a hit of chilli with the required sweetness. Fantastic and just what was needed on a cold December night. Malaysia
So, the spinach is picked, we have white and one red cabbage remaining in the ground which can look after themselves, and there is nothing that needs to be done to the sprouts except leave them to be improved by the frosts and then pick them for Christmas. It might just about be time to hang up the gardening gloves until New Year.