November. One minute the leaves are still firmly attached to the trees the next they are lying, in great drifts, on the ground waiting to be kicked into the air in a moment of joyful abandonment. This sudden denuding of the trees can only mean one thing…Winter has arrived!
The fennel that grows outside the front window is adorned with strands of cobwebs. We had no idea the spiders enjoyed this herb so much until a light frost caused the silky threads to glisten and sparkle in the early morning sun.
I always leave the dried seedheads in place over winter; I love the structure of them especially when they are silhouetted against the sky.
My sister shares my passion for fennel and included them in this stained glass window she painted for my shed. Can you see them? They are black outlines in the middle section. The shed was an exhibit at the RHS flowershow Tatton in 2015; it’s now in my garden and I smile every time I see that artistic window.
The physalis, that grow along the wall beneath the roses, come into their own at this time of year. The leafy green foliage cannot stand the frost but its loss is my gain. Withered leaves reveal a heart warming display of tiny chinese lanterns.
I pick armfuls of blooming physalis stems and bring them into the house. Paired with wiggly branches cut from a twisted hazel they make a fantastic winter display.
The arrival of the cold weather is bittersweet. On the one hand it marks the end of the summer crops; the squashes, beans and summer annuals are no more; on the other hand, the cold snap brings a mouth watering sweetness to the hardier vegetables like parsnips and kale.
Our kale has been flourishing on the allotment for months now and all members of the Broccoli family enjoy eating it. But lately though there have been murmurings of discontent and I fear that another helping of this leafy green vegetable may just tip the younger Broccolis over the edge. So it’s time to suprise them with something new. Kale crisps.
Kale crisps are unbelievably easy to make.
They taste truly scrumptious.
And are very good for you too.
How to make kale crisps
Pick a big bunch of kale leaves and give them a rinse.
Strip the leafy bits off the tough central rib (put the tough rib on the compost heap).
Make sure the kale is completely dry (a salad spinner works a treat) and spread out on a baking tray.
Spray with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and bake in the oven at 150 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Turn them over half way through to crisp them up.
Leave to cool them serve them up. Kale crisps are deliciously moorish so be sure to make plenty.