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A Little Bit of Self Sufficiency Goes a Long Way…

May 8, 2011
Spring May 2011

Spring May 2011

We’re not sure how long this gorgeous weather will all last, but when we woke up & the day looked promising – yet again – we decided to have a bit of a “Good Life” day. First up was the garden. Watering. Checking on growth. Discovering that tomato plants are thriving. Potatoes are beginning to show the first leaves, pushing up through the soil. Strawberry plants beginning to flower. And these gorgeous beauties – all purple and pink and vibrant and defiant. We’re looking forward to a bumper crop of vegetables in our garden as well as a riot of colour in the tubs. So, gardening done, we headed off to The Unicorn in Chorlton. Like a lot of people, we’re really fed up with the lack of variety in high street supermarkets. We cannot stand the over-packaging. The fruit and veg that no longer looks… real. We do realise that supermarkets can be super convenient. But it’s nice to have a choice. And it’s always nice to support an independent, rather than feel that your only choice is Sainsburys or Tesco or even the Co-op.

So, for little over £30 we returned home with enough vegetables, pasta, bread, pulses etc to keep us going for a good few dinners. A trip to the Thyme Out Delicatessen garden was next on the cards. We’ve been planting this up for the last couple of weeks and it’s already looking very beautiful. In the communal borders, flowers are starting  to blossom, the rhubarb is immense, figs are growing and a variety of herbs are pushing to the surface. In our allotments, we’re seeing broad beans, Swiss chard, peas, potatoes, tomatoes – and sunflowers, thanks to the Mannings.

Emerging potato plants at Thyme Out Deli

Emerging potato plants at Thyme Out Deli

Beautiful figs at Thyme Out Deli

Beautiful figs at Thyme Out Deli

So, the challenge was set to produce a meal tonight from largely non-supermarket produce. We work long hours and so sometimes either convenience food or eating out is the order of the day. But tonight, we went for a bit more of a self-sufficent/Good Life approach…

Risotto with English asparagus, sundried tomatoes (OK, not grown on our doorstep, but from The Unicorn), locally grown mushrooms, peas,parmesan (again, apologies that we didn’t produce this but it was sourced from the West Didsbury Market), a splash of English cider and a squeeze of fresh lemons. Voila…

English asparagus

English asparagus, from Fruit in a Jute, Cheadle

Sundried tomatoes

Sundried tomatoes

Zingy, zesty fresh lemons

Zingy, zesty fresh lemons

Swiss Chard, grown at Thyme Out Deli, flash fried with garlic & olive oil

Swiss Chard, grown at Thyme Out Deli, flash fried with garlic & olive oil

Risotto simmering away...

Risotto simmering away...

So, all a bit made up – and we’re sure that the Gordon Ramsay types out there will find plenty to criticise – but, do you know what? With a chilled glass of dry white wine, it was bloody gorgeous. And, we’ve more than enough left for tomorrow. So, let’s hear it for a little bit of self-sufficiency, which really can go a long way…

Home made risotto topped with roasted asparagus & garlic

Home made risotto topped with roasted asparagus & garlic

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