Saturday, August 02, 2008

A Matter Of Time

Well, once again I’m rather shattered but, I didn’t get here without a fight. In the course of the past week I’ve managed to get a bit more work done in the garden. Yet another water feature is now part of our garden-scape, this time a small pre-formed pond close to the greenhouse, as home to one or two marginal plants, a water lily and hopefully, in the course of time, a multiplicity of fauna. The digging out proved remarkably easy, until I hit the clay layer, but thinking back a couple of years I wouldn’t have even been able to contemplate this kind of endeavour. I have to admit that, what would have been a couple of hours effort (before returning to other tasks) in pre-illness days, had to be spread over days rather than hours!

Our main, and deepest pond, framed with reeds, water spearmint and flag iris, is also home to a few water lilies and a selection of variegated goldfish. There’s certainly no paucity of frogs in the garden, despite the havoc wreaked on the tadpole population by the fish. To one side of the garden we have a heavily planted circular patio pond as well as other sunken water containers scattered around.

Today was heavy weeding day, closely supervised by small flotillas of tortoiseshell butterflies on adjacent buddleias but, just over one hour of effort presented my body with all the warning signals that I needed to rest.

After a little rest, I was able to get on with preparations for Sunday lunch; what I’d do without the heavy duty wok is a bit of a mystery to me now; I always prepare my casserole dishes, curries, saffron rice, stir fries etc in this utensil.

My casseroles frequently start with the same ingredients but it’s amazing the difference a random sprinkling of a few different spices and herbs make to the end result. Today’s effort began with a generous sprinkling of ground black pepper and Tabasco sauce onto the freshly diced chicken breasts, left to stand whilst I prepared a couple of onions, yellow, red and green peppers, and sliced a couple of handfuls of closed cup mushrooms.

The olive oil in the wok was generously infused with paprika, coriander, cumin, turmeric and a sprinkling of mixed herbs. Firstly I browned the onions before throwing in the diced chicken then, after a few minutes stirring added the sliced peppers a short while before I added the mushrooms. A tin of plum tomatoes was next to go in, more freshly ground black pepper added at this stage. Having ensured that I’d sufficiently pulped the tomatoes, I left the lidded wok to simmer for few more minutes before adding a jar of creamy mushroom sauce.

The resulting concoction has now been decanted into a couple of casserole dishes and, par-boiling of my special herbed and spiced potatoes, which I’ll roast tomorrow, is all that remains for me to do. My beloved always sees to the accompanying greens!

I hadn’t intended to write about my cooking, just as I didn’t know I was going to write about the garden; it quite simply felt that a blog posting was overdue and, the keyboard took over!

I rejoice and give thanks for this day the Lord has made.

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