Sunday 16 February 2014

Sunshine and Jerusalem Artichokes (sunchokes/sunroots)

The sun is casting rainbows in all the corners of the kitchen through the glass prism hanging from the window. I wonder how it does that. Cast them in all directions I mean, not the spectrum bit. Maybe they're being reflected off other surfaces that have been lit up by the bright, bright, sunshine. 

After all the grey days, the little rainbows feel like good omens.  Almost Noah-like. Even though they are only pretend ones, not woven full circle from raindrops and sun. 

The sunshine gives me the energy to do some of the jobs that have been taking much longer than they should.  Like sorting out my little turned back into a spare bedroom while I work on the kitchen table. H teases me when I call it a studio. She has visions of vast loft spaces. But the Oxford dictionary says that a studio is:
 "a room where an artist, photographer, sculptor, etc. works."  
It doesn't mention anything about the size of the room. 

Gentle order is gradually returning to the house (I did say gradually.) I'm beginning to get excited again about the prospect of moving. A is on half term holiday. He's handed his notice in at school and will officially finish teaching at Easter. They've made him promise to stay on as long as he can, until the summer if possible. 

It's a bit scary. Potentially, new house and new business venture. Although he'll probably still mark exam papers and help with assessing them. And there's private tuition and maybe supply teaching if we need the money. But we hope to do something more creative...not that teaching isn't creative. We would like to be more self-suffient. 

Who knew he would actually take the plunge when we were dreaming and planning back here

In-between the sorting out. I've been sneaking reads of this magazine that A bought me.  Planning to make the Marimekko dress. Not the fabric choice in the magazine though. He bought it for me after I'd had another mini accident. 

We'd braved the wind and rain and wrapped up for a vintage sale on Sunday morning a week ago. I was happily rooting round boxes with old framed pictures. Touching everything as usual. I bought something, can't remember  now what it was, but as I was walking away I noticed that blood was running down my hand from my thumb.I hadn't felt a thing. I bound a tissue round thinking it would stop in a moment. But it didn't. I must have cut it on a broken frame. A kind man gave me lots of plasters and told me he thought it needed a stitch as the cut was deep and wide. 

I didn't want to go to hospital on Sunday afternoon and assured A that  with three plasters and lots of paper handkerchiefs it would soon stop bleeding. I agreed that we finish vintage shopping, that I would hold my hand up carefully and keep it still whilst we did a little bit of produce shopping by which time I was sure it would have stopped.

It didn't. So I promised A that if we didn't go to the hospital I would sit down and not use my hand all Sunday afternoon. Not even knitting.  

The magazine was his way of making sure that I could keep my fidgety fingers still. Finger bound with very tight dressing, sitting still, drooling over the projects, I learned how to make a Nordic blue vegetable and blue cheese tart, embroider a scandinavian bag, make solid perfume and now have patterns for a dress, knitted wrist warmers and seven quilts... 

...good medicine...

Winter sunshine food:

Roasted vegetables including jerusalem artichokes with a radish and Jerusalem Artichoke salad.

Jerusalem artichokes, that aren't actually artichokes at all and don't even hale from Jerusalem are a root vegetable related to sunflowers that are in season in the UK from about late October until March.They are very high in protein so great for a vegan diet but they do have a rather unsociable side effect as this little film of Alys Fowler explains. It also tells us the solution (You may need to give it a little time to load but it's worth the wait...oh and excuse and ignore any adverts that may come first...)

Not the prettiest of vegetables but very versatile and apparently easy to grow.They are lovely peeled and then roasted alone but especially with other vegetables like squash or sweet potato, garlic and onions; served raw, sliced finely for a crunchy addition to salads, or made into a gratin with a creamy,cheesy garlic and herb sauce, and crumb topping like  Alys recipe in the video. 

...and I've just discovered that they are called sunchokes or sunroot...perfect...

joining amanda today

top three images via making magazine


  1. Oh my goodness, I am the first to hospital for anything. Good job you were not out with me! Love the bag picture, the flowers, but most of all I wouldn't have been able to resist those eggs! Packing up house, on my I have done that so many times, how I hate it. But I love the sorting and would relish more time doing that!

    1. I love the bag too, and plan to have a go at making one sometime soon.

  2. I cannot assess any cut (squeamish and worrywart) My husband does all the diagnosing. I hope you are healing and giving that injury lots of antibiotic creams!!

    1. I used lots of antisceptic and really good dressings and bound it tightly, after a couple of days it knitted, no more bleeding when I changed the dressing and now it's fine thanks Karen.

  3. oof. sorry about your thumb! and i think i say it every week but i love all your food photos and food pairing - yum!

  4. I do hope your hand is feeling better Debby. I must say I had to smile when I read about you applying plasters and then realized you were referring to what I call a band aid. :)

    I am so excited for you to be on the verge of a new adventure. Your husband turning in his notice must of been scary, but thrilling too. I am looking forward to seeing with this path takes you, someplace wonderful I bet!

    1. It's much better now thank you Tracey. I can knit properly again! hurray.

      We call band aid, plasters or elastoplast. I'd forgotten about that. I love those little differences in language like how you call autumn, fall. Love it.

      Like you say it's scary and exciting at the same time. I wonder where we'll be this time next year. But I suppose life is always like that. You never know what's around the corner.

  5. So sorry to hear about your little accident. I hope your thumb is on the mend.
    I have a patch of sunchokes growing (actually taking over) a corner of my garden, but I never really knew what to do with them. Thanks for the tips and ideas.

  6. Almost completely healed now thank you Emily. Your welcome. I hope that we have enough space to grow some next year. They seem to be so easy.