Monday, 12 June 2006


In case you are interested I did manage to successfully capture the sweet aroma of elderflower in water and add it to rhubarb. Elderflower is not a flavour that can be said to go well with rhubarb.

Summer appears to be here, it kind of snuck up on me whilst I was out celebrating the arival of spring.

I spent most of Saturday in Oxford working and getting supplies of food for the next few days, in fact the supplies only lasted a day and a half, I forget that food lasts so short a time when living outside. A pasta with a few big fat English tomatoes cooked with olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper and a barbecued duck breast under the shade of the trees really got my weekend back on track after the heat and hecticness of town. The flavour of fresh local tomatoes is fantastic, well worth waiting for them to come into season.

Having run out of water it was necessary to walk the half mile or so to the stream to get some more. It being hot and summer I went bare foot, treading gingerly to avoid sharp stones and thorns, barefoot huhn? Well one needs to take this devolution thing seriously. I found myself lulled by the beauty of the surroundings and the warm weather into taking the scenic route home and taking a swing over the hill I lived on for a while last summer, the hill on which I woke at dawn on the solstice last year to find myself being watched by a fawn. Leaving the shade of the trees the heat hit washed over me and I was once again struck by the splendour of the view from up there. Stretching out before me like a proverbial patchwork quilt lay Oxfordshire, snaking through the middle of fields, woodlands and sleepy villages runs the every busy motorway taking busy people to and from London, not me though. I'm content to sit and watch the modern world rushing to and fro on business and pleasure whilst surrounded by the best of the countryside.

The top of the chalk hill is covered in short grass that has never been cultivated, grazed occasionally but that is all. Occasional seed heads stick above the level of the level of the grass softly swaying in the breeze. The whole area is interspersed with mounds, ant's nests I assume, and the occasional rabbit burrow. Thousands of yellow flowers cover the hill top giving the place a warm golden glow. Sitting amongst them, having adjusted a couple of time so as not to be sitting on a thistle I looked out towards Oxford and felt glad that for today at least I was not taking part in the hectic rush along the motorway, well not apart from the trip into Oxford and back. The air smelt somewhat familiar, like the mountains in Greece; the heady scent of Oregano. Focusing more closely on the ground around me I spotted a large number of small purple flower buds covered in tiny pinky purple flowers. Without thinking I picked and ate one, it tasted of Oregano, so did the next. I think I shall make a Greek Salad sometime soon. In the mean time the next tomato sauce I make I shall pick and add some of this wild Oregano (if that is what it is). It might well even be a good idea to pick some and dry some for the winter.
Eating seasonal produce is excellent, or at least it is at the moment; ever week it seems that there is some new long awaited delight in the market, not only that but as if by magic the food on offer really goes with the season, strange that. On Saturday the market brought forth broad beans, I have never been very fond of broad beans, when I was young my parents and I used to have issues regarding them and I still treat them with suspicion. I bought some anyway. It turned out to be a bit premature as the beans were tiny in their protective pods of duvet softness but they brought with the promise of things to come.


jason palmer said...

I am going to plant some veggie seeds in a secret part of my local wood, well, if nettles can grow wild so can vegetables :)

Hugh Sawyer said...

Yeah, set the veggies free man. Don't lock them into domestic servitude let them roam free in the fields and forests.

Peace and tie-die.