First Day of Spring – Spring Gathering
Twit twit twit
20th of March is the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
Paintings, Sculptures, photography
Twit twit twit
20th of March is the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
You belong in the Years of the Dog if you were born in the year: 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018 and next one will be in 2030.
Lucky numbers are: 3,4 & 9
Lucky flowers: Rose (you can’t never go wrong with this delicately scented blossom), oncidium, cymbidium, orchids.
Lucky colours are green, red and purple.
Our fruit bowl is getting more adventures. Early this new year, we have custard apple, passion fruit, mangoes, kiwi, several types of citrus fruits such as lemon, lime orange, grapefruit and nectarine.
We also have persimmon, which is apparently also called Sharon fruit. Its scientific name is Diospyros Kaki. This fruit is often seedless and sweet. It can be eaten as a whole fruit; there is no need to peel it (but you can of course, if you wanted to.)
Sharon fruit can be eaten fresh, or cooked (in a pie) and even preserved.
Its orange colouring shouts richness in beta carotene and it is actually is a good source.
Adidas is the name given to chicken feet. Obviously as a homage to the great trainers brand.
The raw chicken feet photo was taken by Peter during one of our shopping at the wet market of Pritil in Tondo, Manila, Philippines.
To be truthful, I have not really tasted chicken feet before but Peter had. He said it was taste but rather rubbery. I’ll take his word for it. 🙂
Method of Preparation:
Passion fruit is sweet with a tinge of sourness. It is very seedy. The seeds are soft and edible.
The scientific name for passion fruit is Passiflora edulis. It comes from a vine rather than a tree.
It is native to South America.
Did you know?
To tell whether the fruit is ripe is to look at the skin. When the outer skin has shriveled then it is ripe. The shriveled the skin the riper it is.
I often see in Korean dramas that they eat their barbecued thin pork or beef slices wrapped in the same leaves as above. Of course they also use the standard lettuce leaf.
Anyway, Peter and I fancied a bit of change for the new year so we decided to create our on table-top barbecue dinner a la Korean. and also a delicious warming hotpot.
But first off, we went shopping for the ingredients. We went to Seoul Plaza in Golders Green, North London. I happened to see these leaves amidst the ready made Korean side dishes. It was about £1.99 for a packet of 20 leaves.
We did our barbecue and duly wrapped pieces of meat with kimchi, radish and sauces into a perilla leaf. It tasted really good. The leaf has an aromatic minty scent with a herby taste. I actually preferred it to the crisp iceberg lettuce. Peter also love the perilla leaves. I think we would use more of it in the future.
Perilla apparently is a member of the mint family. It grows from seed and very easy to cultivate. But where can you get the seeds?!!! If you are from the UK and know where to get them in London, please kindly let us know!!!
I used to be obsessed with this board game when I was a little girl.
For whatever reason my mother used to discourage us playing sungka. She was really adamant that we should not play it. I think I heard her say that it was a game of the dead or something. She made it sound like there was something sinister about it.
But I’ve always had a mind of my own, and the more I was told ‘NO’ the more I had to do it; it was like a red rag to a bull to me, a fascination of the forbidden. 🙂 I was a tad naughty! LOL
Probably that was the reason I loved playing sungka. I used to ask a neighbour, Lagring, who was a year or two younger than me to play sungka. We did not bother with the wooden board; at my instigation we would just dig little holes similar to those in the wooden board on the ground under our mango tree. We would then gather little stones and away we play for what seems like hours. 🙂
My mother always knew what I was up to as I would come home with dirty hands and even dirtier finger nails. And of course those little holes which suddenly appeared all over our backyard! 🙂
In the end, knowing that I would not really listen, she just gave up on her embargo against sungka. Funnily enough as soon as the ban was lifted I moved on to another obsession, Jack’s Stone! 🙂
By the way the photo above was taken at late president Ferdinand Marcos childhood residence in Batac, Ilocos Norte. It seemed President Marcos used to play sungka as well. 🙂
Click here to see a quick tutorial.
I actually want one for Christmas, thank goodness they are easily available here.
Our good friend and close neighbour Mick regularly supplies us with fresh vegetables grown on his allotment located across the road from us.
Mick has had his allotment for over fifty years, planting vegetables and even fruit trees.
One of my favourite vegetables he grows for harvesting each autumn time are beetroots. Mick grows a popular type called ‘Boltardty AGM’. Boltardy seeds can be sown at various times during the growing year and in most types of soil. It does not have excessive ‘bolting, a gardening term, which means premature sprouting of stalks flowering stem(s). Excessive bolting can divert resources & nutriment from the beetroot and reduce it’s quality.
All Photos By PH Morton
After harvesting, Mick then produces jars of delicious slightly sweet pickled beetroot for his family and us. We save a jar for Christmas time. Beetroot is perfect to accompany Christmas meals. This year, Mick invited me to harvest some of his beetroot. He then showed us how to make his ‘signature’ pickled beetroot. I took various photos from harvesting to our jars filled with delicious picked beetroot. Under Mick’s tutelage and help, Jean & I enjoyed producing our own jars of this delicious vegetable. Making pickled beetroot is quite simple & straightforward. 🙂
If using home grown beetroots from garden or allotment etc., a good time to harvest is from 50 to 70 days after planting. Avoid letting the beetroot get too big. A hand or tennis ball size is ideal. Do not let the stalks/stems bolt or grow above 6 inches (15cms). Dig around the beetroot and pick up avoiding breaking the stalk/greens from the beetroot.
Thoroughly clean & wash the dirt off and trim the stalks/stems short. Again do not pull out the stems, as water can get into the beetroot and damage it when boiling prior to pickling.
Harvested fresh beetroot can be stored in a refrigerator for about seven days.
Depending how many beetroots you are pickling, you will require:-
Place the beetroots in a suitable sized saucepan(s) and cover with water.
Boil for two hours.
Carefully strain off the water and either allow air cooling or running cold water over the beetroots then dry.
Completely remove remaining stalks/roots etc.
The boiled soft skin of the beetroot does not need to be peeled with a knife as can be easily removed by hand.
Cut or slice the beetroot to whatever size you prefer.
Pour in small amount sugar, then add a small measure of the pickling vinegar, enough to cover the first layer of the slices of beetroot into the bottom of the jar. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of sugar (to taste) then add another layer, pour pickling vinegar, then another layer, sugar, pickling vinegar until it reaches the top of the jar.
Close the jar, gently shake it then turn it upside down and leave for about 30 minutes. This will allow the vinegar and sugar to seep through the beetroot. Top up with the pickling vinegar if needed to completely cover the sliced beetroot in the jar.
If you want you can label the jar with day & month of pickling.
Home made pickled beetroot can be kept for 6 weeks to 3 months, refrigerated.
In practice, it can be longer.
But if you store them beyond 3 months and you’re worried, check for signs of spoilage (rising bubbles, cloudy liquid, unnatural colour) and don’t eat or taste.
It was a strange day today. At around 3oClock in the afternoon, the sky turned dirty yellow or has that sepia tone and then red. The atmosphere was just like the film or television science fiction which came to life.
Apparently this phenomenon was due to Hurricane Ophelia, which sadly battered the Republic of Ireland leaving at least three people dead
The MetOffice has said that the red colouring of the sky is due to the dust being pulled by the strong gust of wind from the Sahara desert in Africa.
The photo, by the way, was taken by Peter from our back garden here in North London. The sky was red and Peter just managed to take a small sunspot & flare coming off sun’s limb at 3 o’clock position (on the sun).
It’s beautiful but rather disconcerting as it reminded me of apocalyptic films often seen of films and television.
This Kakiemon elephant is on display at the British Museum.
This is apparently made between 1660-1690 in the Kakiemon style. Kakiemon is the first to create the enamel porcelain. What is interesting about this sculpture is that the artist has never seen an elephant.
You might have noticed that the elephant trunk in the photo is pointing downward. There is a superstition in the east that pointing downward is for good luck. In the west, it is the opposite. It should be upward. Another case of east and west not meeting. LOL
What do we know about elephants?
Asian (Indian) Elephants which smaller in stature, smaller ears and only the male have tusks.
African Elephants are larger with larger ears. Both male and female have tusks. They are also less hairy than the Asian elephants.