Jan 29, 2011


My January is a subdued month.  Every morning starts with coffee, currently a dark, almost muddy Middle Eastern one.  The spit-spit of the hob before the flame takes is my favourite sound of the day.  Outside it might be raining, but more frequently it is just grey.  Occasionally a bright day follows a frosty night, but the sun never rises above eye level.   Evening meals are unremarkable, breakfast and lunch I can't even remember.  Pasta.  Stew.  Variations on root vegetables.  Repeat.  I should eat more spicy things.  A strong curry might lift the mood?  It's not a bad time, it's just January. 

The garden is dormant, and surprisingly flat with all the shrub cleared.  The only contrast is the four Brussels sprouts  lurking at the back of the vegetable patch.  Like triffids, but less threatening.  These particular sprouts started almost a year ago, they've been growing patiently through a hot summer, long autumn and sharply cold winter.  They survived frost, snow, and repeated assaults by the slug resistance movement.  And they just keep going.  I should have staked them, but didn't; my triffids are therefore leaning a bit. 

One night this week I slip into the garden with a knife and torch, and decapitate a plant.  They never formed the little balls we commonly encounter as sprouts, opting instead to produce little bouquets of leaves.  It may have been too warm for them.  Anyway, I harvest these leaves, along with the less traumatised leaves on top.  They spend three minutes in a pan with a drop of water, frying, wilting and steaming in roughly equal proportions.  The tiniest hint of nutmeg and a bit of lime lightens them slightly.  They accompany a dark, Guinness-rich stew. 


Jeanne @ CookSister! said...

I know how you feel. About January, February, and even March. Love the image of Brussels sprouts as triffids :)