The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Eat your greens


Crispy fried potatoes, calabrese and celery

Crispy fried potatoes, calabrese and celery

“If you eat your greens your hair will curl,” my mother would say.
“But I’ve already got curly hair.”

As a child I longed for straight long blonde hair, like my friend Twink. I also didn’t like greens. If I’d had my way it would have been toast or Wall’s Chocolate Carnival ice cream for every meal.

Until I started growing my own veg I didn’t really enjoy eating them. Salad, broccoli, frozen peas and the occasional carrot were vegetables at the more appealing end of the ‘horrid veg” spectrum. One of the few favours that my ex husband did me was to announce when we were invited out to eat:
“Fiona doesn’t eat cabbage.”

But it was our home grown cabbage seduced me back from the veg hating brink. Curiously since I’ve been eating it my hair has gradually become straight!

Celery is one of the vegetables that I have been unable to grow, so far. This is a great disappointment as celery is packed with healing benefits that just start with lowering blood pressure. Danny suffers from high blood pressure but isn’t keen on raw celery. He likes braised celery but wouldn’t want to eat it twice a week. I pack our spaghetti bolognaise sauce with finely sliced celery and bung it into a lot of stews and casseroles but was looking for more ways of introducing it regularly into our diet.

So I was delighted when Anne Mary served Brussels sprouts with chopped cooked celery the other day. The combination was excellent. Last night I mixed calabrese with chopped celery and boiled them for just five minutes. The result was superb mix of flavours. As most of the nutrients are not knocked out of celery when cooked, we will be combining celery with other veg on a regular basis from now on.

On Suzanne Mc Minn’s blog Chickens in the Road, I discovered that you can grow celery by planting the crown. See here for details. I’d forgotten all about this until I started writing this post and am going to try this in the solar tunnel! If anybody out there has any tips for growing celery from seed, I would be delighted if you would share them.

P.S. I will be writing about the crispy potatoes on the left of the plate in a couple of days. Just a little olive oil, garlic and an hour can transform left over spuds into these golden crunchy orbs of deliciousness.

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  1. Amalee Issa


    Get Danny drinking a white wine glass of beetroot juice daily (Sainsburys). His BP may fall within a week and may decrease considerably if he keeps it up. But ensure he reads the label first – beetroot juice turns urine red for a very small (3%-ish) number of people… can be alarming if unexpected.

  2. First time I had even HEARD of a halogen oven – and I consider myslef a bit of a foodie – I went back to your original post – sounds interesting – but do you really make constant use of it? I am very, very disappointed with my (supposedly) high-end range cooker – nothing but problems! Lovely to read your blog. thanks. Lucy

  3. I did manage to get celery from seed doing well, what didn’t work was getting it to be tall and straight. I should have paid attention to all the plots around me; all the experienced gardners had planted their celery with a top and bottom less milk carton over every plant. I thought it had to do with our cold wet spring (SK., Canada) but apparently it makes it grow tall and straight. We ended up with a dozen spindly plants. Which we ate, but in soup, pureed to nothingness. Milk cartons for me next year!

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