Heirloomin

Heirloomin 1I’m a bad gardener. I know this about myself and have accepted it. But once a year, amidst mountains of bolted, fibrous rejects destined for the compost I get something really right; one vegetable or another fights through my tortuously under-watered and over-acidic wasteland of topsoil and emerges to prove that yes, I can successfully grow something. These precious few successes are what keep me coming back to break the soil every year. (more…)

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Salt-Cured Salmon With Aquavit and Dill

Gravlax 1Using salt to draw out the moisture in fish is a technique of preservation that almost every civilisation in human history has employed. The Mesopotamians did it, and passed their techniques on to the ancient Greeks and Romans (who gave us our word cure, from the Latin curare, meaning “to take care of”). First Nations people along both coasts have used salting as their primary mode of preservation along with smoking and sun-drying. It’s the same story with the Portuguese, Irish, Scots and especially the Scandinavians throughout most of their respective histories. (more…)

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Gone To Seed

Gone To Seed1Still alive I am.
At the end of a long dream.
On my journey,
fall of an Autumn day.

          Matsuo Bashō, The records of a weather-exposed skeleton (1684)

I sit in my living room, coffee in hand with the fire from the wood stove sputtering and popping behind me, toasty and content, while outside my austere little zen garden shivers and rots in the autumn frost…  It’s all gone to seed. (more…)

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Thai Chilie Sauce

Thai Chilie1Tucked up next to the house is a motley collection of Rubbermaid containers filled with dirt and bushes of chilies. Big green Jalapenos, long thin Kung Pows, bright red Tabascos and tiny yet volcanically-hot Thai Bird’s Beak chilies. The cat avoids this part of the garden, as do the deer. In fact, I’ll bet even the bee’s start sweating with all the capsicum in the air. (more…)

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