Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Summer? Not Quite...and a quick pasta recipe

After months of wetness and mild temperatures, the weather is now hot and rainless, reaching up to 80 degrees F and should remain in this sunny, soil-drying (thank goodness!) state for about a week so I am out in the garden preparing beds and sowing.

Les petits pois are in and duly protected via horticulture fleece against hungry birds 

Once the seedlings are up the rain should be back per our weather forecast which would be a boon as they love nature's comprehensive dousing way more than my lopsided watering.

That's Vinca minor in the foreground, better known as periwinkle which is a great ground cover for shade

The rhubarb which poked its head above ground several weeks ago is flourishing because of all the recent rain.

My being so busy in the garden means quick, easy meals are still prominently on our menu. I managed to pluck a few green florets from the broccoli planted last autumn...

...as most of the plants are flowering. Since it is an annual, it has to finish its growth cycle soon, that is, to set seed for the next generation.

And one of the earliest herbs is fresh, fragrant, and feathery fennel.

So fresh I am tempted to smack it

Therefore, broccoli and fennel from the garden=quick and easy corkscrew pasta dressed in said veggies and Parmesan. While the pasta is cooking, saute chopped broccoli along with minced garlic in olive oil.  Add some chopped fennel and a tablespoon or so of the pasta cooking water and simmer, covered, until tender, about five minutes. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Drain the pasta and toss with the veggies. Top with freshly grated Parmesan and few fennel sprigs.

I may be très chargée at the moment, but I spared some time to take instructions from Madame M on how to make a daisy ring.

The English daisies are fast taking over the sweet violets

Starting at the end of about a four-inch long stem of a daisy, she carefully split it all the way to the calyx.

She then tied it around my finger.

Quite pretty, not to mention fun!

Only one parsley seedling, and a sad one at that, managed to surface in a flat planted indoors most likely because the seeds were not fresh. Gratefully the rain took care of the volunteers outdoors, and there will be a nice supply anyway of this lovely herb.

After four years in its 'new' place, the fourteen-year-old Camellia which was transplanted from our Grenoble balcony is cautiously putting out its first blooms. To my worried implication that it is still not doing well as the flowering consists of just a few blossoms instead of the petal riot it once put out, The Calm One replied, it's still adjusting. I will continue to fuss over it, applying a fertiliser for acid-loving plants, mulching with peat moss, and watering deeply. But, its progress is encouraging!

Camellia japonica: formal double form and a perfect pink.

À la prochaine!


How to sow peas