It has been a sad winter in the chicken coop. My dear old Wyandotte Winnie died and a couple of months later my little red hen Hettie dropped dead too. These hens were quite elderly and, while I love River Cottage, I ain’t no Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and I have to bring in hired assassins if a hen needs killing. However, hope does spring eternal and I now have four young hens housed in the dog run until they get a little bigger and can be introduced to the older girls. They are brown shavers. My aim is to have continuous egg production throughout the year. The others all went off the lay over winter. I want egg production units! These plain but oh so charming girls are, I hope, the answer. As if in fright the others are all producing again!
It is also asparagus time. Alas the crop is poor. The crowns in the bed are over 20 years old and it is time for new ones. The potatoes are sprouting and the weeds are flourishing. I am so keen to get out there. I had my foot reconstructed 5 weeks ago and my gardening has been curtailed. I have my King’s seed catalogue at my side and oh so many plans.
Mother's violets in my garden
In memory of my mother Ruth Forrest who died on 26 August, the Durvillea girls’ Nana.
Mother’s Sweet and Sour Pork (a trip back to 1970′s)
1 1/2 lb lean pork cut in strips
2 tablespoons fat
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup green pepper strips
1 med. can pineapple chunks
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
Brown pork in the hot fat, add water, cover & simmer until tender – about 1 hour. Drain pineapple, reserving syrup, combine sugar, cornflour & pineapple syrup (3/4 to 1 cup), vinegar, soy sauce and salt. Cook over low heat until thick, stirring constantly. Pour over hot cooked pork and leave to stand 10 minutes or longer, add pineapple, green pepper & onion. Cook 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with rice or noodles.