What you see above may well not look especially exciting. It is, after all, just a plate of salad leaves drizled with some (particularly good) extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and a little sea salt. But it was one of the most delicious things I've eaten in the past week. The key reason for this, is that it was just four minutes that elapsed between picking the leaves from my garden and eating them. Fresh as a daisy just tastes so much better.
I have to be totally honest here and confess that I have not grown these lovely leaves from seed. I've been wanting to grow a little more in the way of fruit and veg in my garden for a while, but the small city shoebox that I inhabit does not offer a huge amount in terms of garden. I am restricted to pots and (as the garden is so small) it all has to look nice. I can't hide the veg in a quiet corner. All is very much on display.
It was the lovely Wendy from A Wee Bit of Cooking who inspired me to finally get going on planting some edible plants. She has a envy-inducing vegetable patch and was kind enough to send me some tips and information regarding what grows well in pots. I read it all carefully. As I have little space inside for nurturing seedlings, I decided it would be best to plant established plants and go from there. I'm starting with tomatoes, strawberries, various salad leaves and lots of herbs.
Sage and Thyme
I wouldn't give up my London garden for anything in the world. Having outdoor space when living in such a gritty capital a luxury that keeps me sane. Whilst I love the hustle and bustle that metropolis has to offer, there is nothing better than arriving home on a warm evening and taking a glass of wine into the garden. I love breathing in the fragrant, floral air, watching the plants grow a little each day and even the daily battle with slugs and snails. It is a true retreat.
I thought I'd share a few photos from my garden. If I can fight off the aforementioned slugs and snails, I hope to be enjoying tomatoes and strawberries later in the season...
I couldn't resist this pretty lavender tree - the smell is just gorgeous. I've seen quite a few recipes using lavender and have tried lavender ice-cream. I'm not yet convinced, I have to say!
These sweet peas are a total mystery to me. They usually flower in the height of summer. Mine have never stopped flowering! They had flowers all through the winter months and are still going.
Geranium and trailing lobelia
And finally (for it would be remiss of me to leave you with no food), here is my favourite seasonal delight: asparagus. I spent the weekend with my parents at home on the Isle of Wight and today we picked up a huge bunch of asparagus from a farm shop. This particular asparagus is grown on the shoreline, amongst the seaweed apparently. It was superb. Served simply with melted butter, some Parmesan shavings and plenty of black pepper; it was a real treat. Even more so because we served it along with some hard-boiled quail's eggs. Delicious. Summer is truly on the way...