what a change in weather from last week! we've had some rain but the frosts subsided and its just begining to feel like spring. just in time cause it was starting to get me down! (see last post) for paddy's day this year i spent the afternoon in the garden, a long awaited treat. i planted seed potatoes as many people did for paddy's day, (it seems to be a tradition here in ireland.) i opted for three floury types: coleen's (a first early crop), record (main crop) and golden wonder (a late main crop). i wanted to try and introduce a bit of crop roation to my current garden's second year. so i planted them where i planted roots and onions last spring.
the idea of crop rotation is an old one. the basis is: different plant families take different nutrients from the soil as they grow. in turn they release new nutrients to the soil that benifit other plants. in a lot of vegetable gardens this determines alot of the seasons planting scheme. after some research there turns out to be some debate on what rotations people use. im following a four year rotation plan:
LEGUMES > BRASSICAS > ROOTS & ONIONS > POTATOES
do you use a different roation in your garden than the above one?
after planting spuds i was able to clear bolting kale plants, weed the flower beds and sow my first bit of lettuce, radish and beetroots. i popped in some garlic sets for good measure and much needed slug protection. in the lettuce area of the garden i was hoping to create an artistic planting effect by alternating plants with different colours and textures: frilly red mustards next to a row of little gem lettuce heads, followed by red beetroot and a row of pea shoots. its an exciting prospect to add a bit of colour and intrest to the veg plot. we'll see if it turns out as planned! fingers crossed.
im hooked on purple sprouting broccoli (PSB) at the moment! and its a good thing as its the only thing left to eat out there! i like to use it in the same way as asparagus. breakfast is my favourite meal to cook PSB, and the king of PSB meals has to be dressed with homemade hollandaise and a pretty poached egg. oh my! what could be better. a sprinkling of chives on top? your right! i've got a few chive plants with new shoots for the recipe too.
Growing Purple Sprouting Brocolli (PSB):
Purple Sprouting Brocolli is a wonderful addtion to the garden for many reasons but the foremost is that it sprouts out during the 'hungry gap'. when there is little to be spoken for in the garden, a must have!
last year i started my PSB and other brassicas indoors in late march. they can also be sown direct March to May. when they reached 4 or five inches tall and had e few good leaves i hardened tham off for a week outside before planting them in their designated position. before i set them in the ground i added a good handful of manure to the planting hole. then set them in with the soil level just below the first leaves. PSB harvest times vary from January to March, depending on variety and when you plant them, just when you need something in the garden!
if you have any other tips or ways of growing PSB, please share and comment!
if you've never made hollandaise before, join the club! this was my first attempt at the sumptuous sauce. i've made mayo before so i figured it would be a cinch. its a bit trickier i found out but still simple. hollandaise is an emlusified egg and butter sauce where the egg yolks are cooked gently before the wisking in melted butter, adding the butter slowly helps the egg yolk absorb the butter which wants to seperate naturally from the water based yolk. hollandaise should be used quite soon after preparing, and kept warm so that it doesn't solidify. if it gets too hot it could curdle, so mind the sauce!
Charred Purple Sprouting with Hollandaise and Poached Eggs
since this blog was created on Julia Child's Birthday, i naturally turned to her for a classic hollandaise sauce recipe. while writing this post one of my favourite blogs Spoon Fork Bacon posted a mouth watering take on eggs benidict with homemade hollandaise and corned beef hash! i liked their method of cooking the hollandaise so i adopted their technique in the recipe below. isn't this how new cooking traditions begin? thanks Julia and thanks Spoon Fork Bacon.
8- 10 purple sprouting broccolli (PSB) shoots
chopped chives (for garnish)
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
salt and pepper
2 oz (50g) melted butter, warm but not hot
- for the hollandaise: bring a pot with two inches of water to a gentle simmer
- in a heat proof bowl wisk the egg yolk, lemon juice, salt and pepper until doubled in volume
- slowly add the melted butter drop by drop.
- the mixture will thicken and absorb the butter as you wisk.
- set over a bowl of warm water to keep the sauce liquid while you cook the egg and brocolli
- heat a large pan with a small bit of oil on medium high heat until just smoking
- add the PSB and char on both well on all sides. once coloured to your liking, add a bit of water and cover to cook the brocolli until just tender
- place the brocolli on the plate topped with a Perfect Poached Egg
- spoon over the hollandaise sauce and sprinkle with chives and salt and pepper (if the sauce has thickened: place it in a bowl of warm water to liquify)