Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

31 July 2010

The Garden and the Roast Dinner

Last year was The Year of the Garden
This year is The Year of the Roast
I thought it was about time I gave an update on both.

Almost exactly a year ago, amidst great fanfare, I put six plants in the garden bed.

I did a few other small bits and pieces but basically more plants were needed and that budget item never seemed to rise to the surface again.  The days turned to weeks.  The weeks turned to months.  And then it was Christmas.  And then it was the LONG, HOT, DRY summer.  Not a time to be establishing plants.  Then the rain came down.  Too wet to be outside.  Then the cold weather came.  Too cold to be outside. 
And all of a sudden a year had gone by!  However all six plants are still alive, with a few vincas on the edge and some winter weeds for good measure.

  100% of plants still alive after a whole year has to count for for some sort of gardening success. 
As for the pots of herbs...well, they didn't survive the LONG, HOT, DRY summer.

Feeling inspired last weekend with a free afternoon, a sunny winter's dayand  the promise of evening showers, it was off to the nursery to buy the next instalment of plants.

More daisies, more geraniums (can't believe I actually paid good money for geraniums...but I did get three different varieties and they look just lovely), lavender, rosemary and some new herbs.  And two strawberry plants chosen by the boys.

So the pots of herbs are reorganised and the garden bed is more fully planted out.  There's not much to see as yet.  The new plants are all pretty small.  Come back in spring for a peek when things are a bit more established.

As for The Year of the Roast, that has been humming along quite well.  I feel like I have the confidence to prepare and serve a roast dinner now however I have become convinced that it is not actually worth the bother my preferred style of cooking.  I like roasts - the veg and the meat.  But I'd be just as happy with roast lamb served with steamed veg and a baked potato.  And I quite like roast veg served alongside steak or chops.  But doing both together means getting started on dinner preparations at 4pm or earlier and that just doesn't fit in with our life here at the moment.  Or the fact that for almost all my entire adult cooking life, my cooking motto has been IF IT CAN'T BE COOKED AND ON THE TABLE IN UNDER 30 MINUTES IT WON'T BE HAPPENING IN THIS HOUSE.  So while I have worked out that I CAN do it, I don't think I'll be putting on too many roast dinners in the future. 
Interestingly, as I was reaching this conclusion just this week, I decided on one last tilt at the old roast dinner with a roast chicken - I've roasted chickens many times in the past and hey, roast chicken is the "bread and butter" of the roasts - but after the event I declared that I would never roast a chicken ever again.  Well, not while I live here anyway.  The end result was fine.  But I was reminded that I really don't like handling whole raw chickens with all that loose, flappy chicken skin where their necks used to be and having to deal with the stray feathers.  It turns my stomach just thinking about it.  (Sooky sooky la la, I know.)  And you see, we have a shop around the corner from us that cooks decent sized chickens over a wood fire.  They are the same size as home roasted ones, delicious, carve beautifully and come in at about the same price as roasting one at home.  It's a no brainer.

Really, to my mind, the best sort of roast dinner is the one that someone else cooks.  So it seems that The Year of the Roast has become The Six Months of the Roast.  And now I may just need a new project - but no, sweet Helen, it won't be quilting!


Wendy said...

I really miss roasts in Japan. It is not that I cannot cook them, it is that it is hard to buy meat that is not chopped into tiny pieces. I'll have to try roasting bits of a chook. When you cannot buy it around the corner, it is worth it!

Meredith said...

Hi Wendy!
When I first read your comment I thought I might like to live in Japan. We eat a lot of stirfry here and getting meat cup up into tiny pieces sounds very attractive. But yes, you are right, it is good to have options. Maybe you can invent a roasted chicken pieces dish. Let us know how it goes.

Helen said...

*sigh* I live in hope that one day Miss Meredith will have a "Year of Quilting!" Maybe just 6 months??! I hear you on the flabby bits of a raw chicken, yucko! I have to get Daz to cut up just a chicken breast! Those poor dry herbs, I remember sitting at your table looking out at them flourishing. The daisies have done well. We were reminiscing tonight the only things we have to look forward to down south now and your family, my sister's family and Textile Traders! X

Meredith said...

Oh Helen. Thank you sweet friend. I feel all honoured and teary as I read your comment. Well, hopefully we will be seeing you in your new place in the middle of next year!

The new herbs are looking very happy a week down the track so I hope to have a new photo of flourishing herbs soon - and also a source of herbs for cooking too!!

Ads for the quilting, well, you got me blogging and facebooking and thinking about colour and visual impressions...and I occasionally have yearnings to try cross stitch, but I don't think I will ever quilt. Too long term for me. And takes up too much space.

Take care good friend. Mxx