forward thinking: garlic & gooseberries


Gooseberry ripening.  (30 May 2020)

There are two impending harvests that loom on the horizon: our Germidor soft-necked and Giant Garlic, and also the gooseberries.

The garlic bed is sorely needed as a growing space, and we stopped watering that patch a week ago.  Even if the bulbs are small, they will have had a good growing season having been planted in the autumn.  Small and mighty’s just fine with us.

And the gooseberries are slowing turning from green and hard looking to a more welcoming rosy tone.  Hhhhmmnn…

Gooseberries beckon crumbles, tart pies, and jams.  As for the garlic, maybe we should do some herbed oils…


Garlic patch, late May 2020.

Peter Lawrence’s The Allotment Cookbook recommends making herbed oils to extend the harvest of early summer herbs, including rosemary and thyme – both favourites in our kitchen.

Each of the two oils (rosemary and thyme) also calls for fresh garlic – so no better time than just after our garlic harvest to make some flavoured oils.

We can make extras to share with Michelob and the rest of the gang – maybe to gift as Christmas presents or somesuch?  Anyway, must add two large tins of olive oil to the list for our next big shop.

Lawrence’s recipe for two bottles of herbed oil: take “a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme, washed; 2 cloves garlic, peeled; a few strands of unwaxed orange zest; 1 litre extra-virgin olive oil; a few strands of unwaxed lemon zest.” … [Use sprigs that have been air dried for a few days]  “Poke a few sprigs of rosemary, a garlic clove and the strands of orange zest into a sterlised bottled, then fill with half the olive oil” [eg fill this bottle with 500 ml of the 1 litre of olive oil called for in his recipe].  “In the other bottle pack the thyme sprigs, a garlic clove and a few strands of lemon zest and fill with the remaining oil.  Seal tightly.  Store in a cool place.  After a week the oils will be ready to use.  (Peter Lawrence’s The Allotment Cookbook, p.32)

We could also do some pre-prepared garlic butter, and add other herbs into this such as finely chopped chives, garlic chives, parsley etc.  That way we’d be half-way there to making fresh and super-tasty garlic bread whenever the whim takes us.  And we could also add the savory garlic butter to a base of onions when preparing soups and other sauces – or fish!

And then, of course, there’s the classic spaghetti aglio e olio, which essentially is pan fried garlic (taking care not to burn it!), over cooked spaghetti, sprinkled with bread crumbs to help adherence, then liberally sprinkled with finely grated parmesan.  You can add sprinkles of hot chili pepper (not to my tastes), or chopped flat leafed parsley (to which I can only say yes, yes, yes!). Having my beloved late Uncle John make this – a proud Canadian paisano – was always a very special treat and a delicious memory. 

Yum, yum and Yum!


Potted winter savory on the strawberry stairs. (30 May 2020)


Milan Purple Top Turnip in growing trough (beside potted lemon tree). (30 May 2020)


Pea bed doing perfectly. (30 May 2020)


Thai Basil re-potted to top terrace (30 May 2020)


About smallPaws

A tumbleweed from Canada who's been living in London for twenty or so years.
This entry was posted in diary, harvests & feasts, recipe. Bookmark the permalink.

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