Saturday, 12 April 2014

Muck and Brass

Presided over by a curious allotment frog, a tonne of manure has been delivered to the fruit garden. And we spent a few sunny hours carting it in, and spreading it about. It should have been done in the winter time so that all that rain could have driven the goodness down into the soil, but better now than not at all. Muck spreading has been part of soil improving for 8000 years with soil analysis from sites in Dorset and Derbyshire showing evidence of manure used to improve crops.  If it's good enough for the ancients it's good enough for Mother's gooseberries.

All thanks to Wickes for the generous donation of their handy trolley, keeping the wheels of the fruit liqueur (cottage) industry going. All the fruit bushes are good heart, and it looks as if it is going to be another good year with berries already starting to set on the gooseberries and currants.
In Cumbria it is blossom season for the world's best damsons. The Lyth Valley is famous for it's damson trees whose sweet fragrant fruit are listed in the Slow Food movement's Ark of Taste  as a part of important cultural/food heritage. In April the orchards turn the valley sides white with blossom. This weekend is Damson Day when people turn out to stroll among the trees and sample all things damson. If you are there, go and drink it in.

In Walthamstow it's time for the  E17 Designers spring fair, which is described in Time Out as better than Oxford Street. Possibly faint praise given the behemoth nightmare juggernaut of horror that is Oxford St (or is that just me?), but even so it's a great spot for local crafters and makers and Mother's Ruin has a tiny gin stall there too. So come by to The Asian Centre on Orford Rd E17 on Sunday 12th afternoon and say hello.

Finally, in honour of the mighty damson, a cocktail. It is a bit complicated but deliciously worth it.

The Public Purse
(created by The Violet Hour )

per person
1 oz damson gin
1oz gin
3/4 oz lime juice
1/8 oz creme de violette
1/2 oz simple syrup
2 drops bitters
1 oz egg white
Orange zest to garnish

Shake all together without ice for 30-60 seconds, then shake with ice for 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled glass, garnish with the peel. Raise your glass to prunus domesticus