Friday, 3 January 2014

New year herbs - Wahaca Serrano Chilies

So this year I intend to grow more of our seasonings.  We've grown vegetables, and succeeded well with beans and leeks especially, but last year slugs annihilated everything, and it was extremely disheartening.  This year I'm lowering the sights to just concentrating on herbs and seasonings, and hoping that means we get many more exciting things grown and cooked.

Technically the month by month book says it is too early to plant things.  But wanting to start the new year at pace I thought we'd better start with something that will stay inside and preferably was free if it didn't work.  So a brief divergence:

I regularly get to work in the Southbank +Southbank Centre which is a fantastic vibrant place, with an impromptu skatepark, inside out art gallery, British Film Institute +BFI, outdoor book market , a pedestrian bridge much better than more famous millennium bridge with fantastic views from it (especially at night) as well as the fanstastic Queen's walk along the Thames.

There is a great restaurant there called Wahaca made of shipping containers.  I had briefly a shed made of a shipping container, it was the best shed ever, but it wasn't popular in the street so had to go - anyhow that was my first reason for going in, loved it, and have been going in for lunch or dinner very regularly for a while.  The service is always quick, they do very good Mexican food and beer, and the menu rotates regularly with new experimental dishes.  They also serve guacamole with giant pork scratchings instead of tortilla chips - so well worth a mention here as well.  The scratchings are amazing, 'popped' uniformly in cooking.  Probably mass produced but a great use of otherwise possibly wasted.  The guacamole is reliably good, and I loved the first scratching, but you need a stomach of iron to eat the whole basket on your own, but well worth a shared order for the table.  +wahacatv also give you these with every meal.

A match book?  No much better....

Serrano Chili seeds.

Frankly I was extremely dubious, but thought it was lovely and have been quietly amazing them in the man drawer at home.  So it was time to see if they would work.

With some able help from my 2.5 year old daughter, we planted up 12 sticks in a little propagator and I'm delighted to declare, that yes, they do indeed work!  We had our first germination this week

So very much looking forward to potting out, and generating some chilies to use.  Unfortunately my wife is allergic to them, so I may be looking for an outside home opportunity for volunteers to use the results.

Thinking of that, that pigs head needs doing.  There was a good chili based one, but that won't do, maybe juniper.  How big does a juniper tree grow anyway?

Not long before it's actually the right time to put things in the propagator and then plant out.  Worth having a think if you have small space on a window sill where something might like to grow.

Happy new year all.

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