Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Eating Opportunities

It might have done wonders for Novak Djokovic's tennis, but a gluten-free diet has done little for my sporting prowess. It has, however, led to the discovery that pancakes made with gluten-free flour are excellent. My harshest critics - the kids and their friends - agree, so it must be true.

It's a similar story with crumble. A former passionate consumer of oaty crumbles, I am now a gluten-free crumble topping devotee. Even if I didn't have coeliac disease (I do), I would love gluten-free crumble. It is not challenging to make, I just change the flour in an oat-free crumble recipe. It is more akin to shortbread than crumble and is, quite simply, the dog's doodahs. 

I’m not saying it will improve your tennis. To be honest, I don’t even know if Novak Djokovic eats crumble and I am certainly in no position to comment on whether he is partial to a rhubarb one. But since the rhubarb season is upon us, we are blessed with an additional excuse (were it needed) to enjoy a bowl of crumble.

This year I won’t be picking any of the rhubarb I brought with me to Norfolk as it needs to recover from the rigours of the move. Happily though, I have access to my old kitchen garden in Essex and have been filling my boots with rhubarb and asparagus.

Our asparagus bed was planted with four varieties to prolong the cropping season and it is wonderfully productive. Some people are put off by the length of time it takes to establish an asparagus bed. For me though, if I hope to live somewhere for more than three or four years, in goes the asparagus. 

We have no asparagus here in Norfolk, so I will plant a new bed with one-year-old crowns this month. Then will come the long, but worthwhile wait for a harvest. This means not cutting any spears the following Spring, which is more than anyone burdened with a serious deficit in the self-control department can stand. So, for a strong hybrid, I will naughtily sneak one or two precious spears while no one is looking and then resume my saintly gardener stance and join the rest of the family in waiting patiently for the crowns to establish. 

The following year, I should be able to harvest succulent spears for about six weeks and the year after that, I - and anyone else who comes near the farm - will get down to some serious asparagus-devouring until late June.

A more immediate eating opportunity (I hope), will be the arrival of our new chickens' first eggs. Every cluck sends me scurrying into the garden lest it should herald that all-important inaugural egg.  

No pressure, girls.


  1. Mightily impressed with the asparagus nurturing, the rhubarb, however, is easy and even I have managed to have years of lovely crumbles!

    All coeliac tips greatly appreciated as my nephew, Sam is a very sensitive coeliac, who has to often watch his sisters eat cake, while he, yet again has ice cream.

    Granny has recently come up with a fantastic Lemon Drizzle Cake gluten free recipe which am happy to share if anyone wants it!!

  2. Phworr Hampshire old boot, I would LOVE that recipe please. Has your nephew tried Nigella's flourless chocolate lime cake?( - it has nuts in, so beware if they're a problem.... otherwise, it's a winner.

    Don't be impressed by asparagus - plant some, keep it weed free + see how easy it is!

    1. Definitely seriously considering asparagus now.... especially as in the recent couple of months we have started letting our 3 minilop rabbits have the entire back garden as their playground. I have now been googling 'Plants rabbits don't eat' and I think asparagus falls into that category!!
      Reworking the garden now, hostas and cabbages to the Front, Foxgloves and Primroses to the back!!
      Will send you the recipe and in turn, have a go at the nigella cake. Thanks!

  3. Wow! One must be dedicated to grow asparagus. I love asparagus but we can't grow it here. I'll just have to settle for the grocery store asparagus. I enjoyed your post.
    All the best! :-)

  4. So pleased you enjoyed the post, Beth. It's a shame you can't grow asparagus... at least you have beautiful daylilies in flower!

  5. Thank you so much for visiting my blog! How lovely to discover a fellow procrastinator and sufferer of 'imperfect timing' :-) We haven't grown veg for some years and have never grown asparagus but I do love it in fact we had some for dinner last night. We used to grow rhubarb and have eaten many delicious crumbles in the past although I am not much of a pudding person any more so haven't had it recently. Of course if it would improve my (non existent!) tennis skills...

  6. How lovely to hear from you, ShySongbird! Thank you for visiting my blog. It's great to hear that you are making the most of the asparagus season.

    Is there a chance that the lack of crumble-eating in your life might be at the heart of your tennis skills issues...?

  7. We have never grown Asparagus before. It sounds like we will have to wait a long time to enjoy it as we have grown it from seed. I sounds like it will be worth waiting for after reading about yours. Marion