Sunday, 11 June 2017

Managing fine without us


It can come as a bit of a surprise, sometimes, to find out that life goes on without you. Since the arrival of our daughter a couple of months back, the allotment has basically been sacked off; after getting home from work I'm far keener to see Zosia than I am to look at vegetables. I had assumed that the place would be hoaching with weeds and those crops we had planted would be bearing the scars of their neglect. A couple of brief recent visits showed neither of these assumptions to in fact be the case.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Restaurant Review: Harissa Kitchen, Sandyford, Newcastle upon Tyne


A few words of praise here then for a place we've frequented a bunch of times since it opened last year, and always enjoyed. And, as if that recommendation wasn't enough to have you high-tailing it over to Sandyford by itself, it's also somewhere you can go to eat out and enjoy a clean conscience. You see, all profits from Harissa Kitchen are ploughed back into the parent charity (or Community Interest Company, to be more precise) Food Nation, who do lots of very worthy and worthwhile things around food education.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

How to get things to grow #1: How we sow


The allotment chat on this blog functions pretty much as a diary of what we've grown, rather than how we've grown it. However, we've been doing this for a bunch of years now, and have over that time accumulated enough frustration and fortune to learn a few lessons in growing veg which I thought might be useful to share. I'm not claiming any pro-level knowledge here, but, particularly if you're just considering growing a few things for the first time I reckon I've got a few easy tips that might ease your path and hopefully avoid the type of early-career horticultural disaster that might put you off before you've properly gotten started. All of this is stuff we've learned from running a couple of decent sized allotments, but the principles apply even if you're just wanting to sow a few pots of herbs.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Just me and the pigeons


After having wondered out loud last week whether impending parenthood might make keeping the allotment going a bit of mission, this week brought the answer: it'll be fine! In less than a couple of hours of doing some actual work I managed to dig over and weed two full patches, rake up and dispose of a bunch of the straw that had sat, along with the manure it came with, on top of the soil all winter and even harvest some of the bits of last year's veg we had missed/deliberately left in the ground for just such an occasion.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Tabula Rasa


I took a quick stroll up to the allotment today, mostly just to check it was still there, what with it having been a good few weeks since I last made the 10 minute hike up, and there having been some meaningful gusts of wind of late. Apart from a couple of upturned compost bins and a bit of damage to a fence that will need replacing at some point anyhow, things were basically in order, which is great.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Restaurant Review: Rogano, Glasgow


What is a restaurant for, anyway? I mean, obviously it's somewhere that you expect to leave less hungry than you arrived, but other than that: what? Somewhere to spend time with people you know while prying - politely, of course - on people you don't? Somewhere to be looked after a bit, to experience the polished performance that is the result of so much unseen rehearsal?  And perhaps somewhere to escape from the mundane thrum of the everyday by dabbling in a little bit of fantasy, a moreish slice of romantic nostalgia? All of these are what I think the restaurant Rogano, just off Glasgow's Buchanan Street is designed to do, and why the idea of eating there appealed to me so much. It didn't quite work out.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Restaurant review: The Ubiquitous Chip, Ashton Lane, Glasgow


Glasgow might not be the most obvious destination for an anniversary getaway (nine years!), but being the trend-bucking radicals that we are, that's where we just had ours. It was all very lovely and everything and I'll maybe write a post about some of the jolly capers we got up to, but just for the time being let's have a review of one of its finer restaurants shall we? Alright!

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Restaurant Review: Baba Yaga, Benwell, Newcastle upon Tyne


I have a half-arsed theory about why, despite there being getting on for a million Poles living in these isles (Polish is now, having overtaken Indian, the most common non-UK nation of birth for people living in Blighty) our streets are heaving with skleps, but you see scarcely any Polish restaurants about. Polish cooking is, according to my limited but not insignificant experience, best suited to the home; its canonical dishes are full of comfort and slow-cooked warmth. If one of the attractions of eating out is getting to try stuff you wouldn't bother to do yourself, there's not much sense in going out for the same food your babcia taught you to make.

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