A very good article, I really enjoyed it!
In Sharon Browns article on Puskhi, I also put a little warning about something that happened to me.
Her article is about Cow parsnips, Hercaleum maximum which is also a member of the Apiaceae family, and can cause skin rashes etc. with some people.
There is another one that invaded our shores in Britain, and has now invaded yours and that is Heracleum mantegazzianum or Giant Hogweed!
This Day of the Triffids plant can grow to 15 feet tall and is very toxic; if you get the sap on you and you are sweating and in sunlight, it can cause blisters (big ones), and other things!
Although your Authorities claim it takes 24-48 hours to work, I know different; read what it did to me and a lot of other people on Sharon's article!
I enclose a link to a Michigan warning site (official) that tells you about this plant and how to tell it apart from other plants, including Hemlock.
Warning it is not for the squeamish! http://www.michigan.gov/documents/MDA_Hogweed_Brochure_2_115...
Thank you - at 15 feet tall, it is not likely to be confused with Queen Anne's Lace, but I appreciate the warning. My husband is very ultra-sensitive to skin rashes even from mowing the lawn, so I'll be sure to show him your link.
I'm glad you enjoyed this article - I still treasure the things I learned while writing it (which was August 2008, remember). For instance, it's really useful to be able to nibble on a carrot stick and casually mention "did you know carrots weren't always orange?"
Whilst doing my Apprenticeship in Horticulture for my local Parks Department, I had to do the obligatory five years at College!
I took an interest in Toxic plants, this was not some gruesome interest or anything like it, the reason was simple; I had many heated arguments with the Councils Landscape Designers, who had a Death wish policy of putting Toxic plants around Children's areas or where animals were!
Their had been some very near misses with Children, it was only the knowledge of the Gardeners/ Park keepers by there quick reaction and knowing what to inform the Emergency services about, when a child had eaten something!
Then the Council did a thing they deeply regret now; they made all their trained staff redundant and went over to cheap contractors and did away with Park keepers altogether!
I worked in Commercial Horticulture for three years to save up and with my Redundancy money went to University to study Horticulture and my second subject was Toxic plants.
Their had been more misses with Children and animals in our area, eating things they should not, but whilst I was at University, the Council cut the contractors back to a Skeleton crew.
So whilst I was away for four years my Mother sent me Press cuttings about Deaths in our area from plants and the rising number of Children and pets affected.
So I studied harder and was determined to learn more about these innocuous looking plants (not all of them are), one thing I did learn that was drummed into us was; do not rely just on a book for it might tell you it grows to this height and spread, but there are many variables to catch you out!
For instance Hemlock or water Dropwort (Oenanthe crocata); this plant although it does have a carrot like smell and the leaves do look like flat leaved parsley, in certain places, but not all.
However along canal banks it does not grow very tall at all, and also takes on the look of Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium), which is a much used herb and grows alongside or near it, so the inevitable happens and people pick it!
I do not have to tell you what happens if they mix it up with Chervil and eat it!
My aim was to help the Council not stopping them growing Toxic plants, for common laurel which is used as hedging is Toxic, just to make sure they knew the dangers and to put them in the right areas, if there is such a thing!
The worst case was not in my area but in the next one; a designer had seen a plant he wanted to put in to his design and so he took some from the wild and added to his finished project in a Creche/Nursery garden!
He thought this climber looked nice in flower and would add a nice touch to the garden, it was Solanum nigra (tomato and potato family), yes the flowers did look nice, but he did not account for the berries.
These turn from red to black and are the size of small sweets, if you put them in with 2 to 5 year old Children, the chances are they will put them in their mouths, and that is what happened!
The staff just thought the little girl was ill and called her parents, they took her home and she got worse, so they took her to the Hospital.
The Hospital was unsure of what it was and thought it was a child illness as they get that, unfortunately and sadly it was too late!
I still loved your article and you did mention hemlock, I do hope you write some more, for I will look out for you!
Yes there is something special about knowing where a plant came from or its name in your case Daucas is not Latin, it is form the ancient Greek daw-kus ka-ro-ta meaning red rooted!
Neil, city planners around here do Not research plants on toxicity; I remember when the city put in a new park not too far from here, and they put up a chain-link fence between the park & the busy street, I thought, that's smart, keeps the young kids from straying out into traffic. Then, they planted shrubs along the fenceline, I guess to cut down on traffic-noise & to hide the ugly fence; but they planted Oleanders, of all things! I grew up hearing they were Poisonous, even tho' they do have long-blooming flowers. I never planted any in our yard because of kids & pets.
Well, around where I live, in the middle of the city, no self-respecting person would be caught dead (pun intended) eating something that grew in the dirt in the wild. No, all produce must be sterilized, in a plastic wrapper and with all unappetizing parts trimmed off. I wish more people would eat chervil!
Neil, if you're so keen on my writing (and now I'm writing with an English accent!), there should be a link at the end of this article to ALL my articles to date. You've chanced upon my second most popular article of all time, so don't expect greater things...
Dear Petalpants you are a Diamond that glints in snow!
Yes we know what they do, and I have seen the consequences of what they do, and it is as frightening as Rachel Carson's book 'Silent Spring!'
Her book set a wave of horror across America and the World, do you really want your children living in a World without wildlife, and eating food dosed with Herbicides and pesticides, for I don't!
Plus I do not want to eat it, or for anyone else to suffer the effects of this stuff, and what it does to the environment!
When the Organic and Free range movement came out over here, things were expensive and there was a resistance to it, but not now!
For things have got cheaper and with the mass protest about things like Battery hens, intensive farming and the mass amount of complete chemicals and food the animals are given, the cruel way they have to live, and indeed treated. So the T.V. and public (consumer power), has waged war on the supermarkets, and rightly so!
People have the right to know where their meat or vegetables come from, our supermarkets have been forced to put a label on them, a British flag and where it came from, and exactly what it is!
Why would I want to buy vegetables form South America, think of the waste of fuel getting it here, I do not know how they have been grown, we have our own and they are better, cheaper, labelled, I know where they come from, and have taste!
As for your comment Carrie I was stunned!
Well, around where I live, in the middle of the city, no self-respecting person would be caught dead (pun intended) eating something that grew in the dirt in the wild. No, all produce must be sterilized, in a plastic wrapper and with all unappetizing parts trimmed off. I wish more people would eat chervil!
I take it by 'dirt' you mean soil? We eat wild Blackberries, mushrooms etc. that is a natural thing!
We have big allotments around here (and in the U.K everywhere), so if someone gives you a nice pound of home grown Tomato's or Potato's you know what to do with them, what to cut off and you wash them!
As for sterilized, plastic wrapped food, with the bits taken off, well you may as well eat the plastic, it would have more taste!
It is simply beyond me that you would prefer something to eat that you did not know where it came from, was not fresh, what chemicals or in the case of fruit, wax , or what was put in or on it!
As things have changed most couples have to work, that is the way it is!
So if you send your Children to Child minders or Nurseries, the staff cannot be expected to watch them every second, even parents cannot do that! The staff are also not trained to know about plants, and most Doctors are not either! If you asked most Doctors about Yew (Taxus baccata), poisoning they would not have a clue! Yew has Thirteen Alkaloid poisons in it and only twelve are known to man, so by the time a Toxicology report came back it would be far too late!
Yet they plant them around seats in parks, where there are Children, Adults and Animals!
It is called Risk Management in that I mean; if a plant is known to be a risk then do not plant it in areas where it could be Dangerous, use another species which is not Dangerous, for instance Yew is dangerous to Humans and livestock, so you would not plant it around a field of cattle as it will kill them!
Oak trees are nice, but there Acorns kill Horses and Ponies, whereas Pigs love Acorns, so you separate them or let the Pigs eat all the Acorns first, then put the ponies back as they do in the New Forest!
Petalpants and Carrie, I do not know if you eat meat, but personally I would rather drive ten minutes down the road, to a farm that keeps Free range organic Pigs, they live in woodland, doing what Pigs should do!
They have never been locked up in boxes for twelve weeks before being taken away for meat, they are free and Natural, and they taste wonderful, because they live a Natural good life!
If you try to play God with Nature, you will lose.
I send you a picture of my local river, it is a five minute walk from my house; it is on the main South Circular Road, one of London's Busiest Roads, constant traffic!
Yet we have Kingfishers and lots of fish, which means it is clean, and yes Carrie we have 'dirt' there with wild berries growing!
Neil, yes, I eat meat, but only certain kinds. I don't eat pork much at all, but if there was a place here, like you have there I might. I eat more chicken, turkey, & some beef. I read a book years ago about our meat & its processing, I think the author's last name was Robbins? I became a mostly-vegetarian for years after reading it! Then when we had kids I felt they needed some meat in their diet, & slowly we got back into having meat almost every day. But I still don't eat veal or lamb.
As for the city landscapers, they just are not knowledgeable about many of the shrubs they plant.
I saw on the news this morning the city is starting a xeriscape garden downtown by the museum; I'm curious about what they are planning, so maybe I will go there this weekend & check it out.
Oh, Neil, I like your river pic; glad you have a place to fish! We like to eat fish, also shrimp (my fav!) We also like to go fishing in the bay; best flounder we ever ate was one that we caught That day and cooked and ate That day---so fresh! We also have fish markets here, although they're kind of higher priced than the grocery store, but the fish are fresh. Nueces River & Lake Mathis are not too far from here where people go freshwater-fishing; but you have better luck if you have a fishing boat, which we don't. About the only way I would go fishing now would be at night, because of the heat this Summer!
This year I have successfully converted my family to home-grown tomatoes and lettuce, but I grow them in containers. Our house is at the bottom of a big hill and gets all the run-off from whatever chemicals are being used on the lawns on the street. (We're the only ones with flowers.)
People in this country are AWARE of free-range meat, cruelty-free, organic, etc., food, but I think the problems are multiple.
1. Some people in this country live SO FAR AWAY from even the most basic food stores. My daughter-in-law lives 20 min. from the food store (a big chain). She has no choice of other places to shop unless she drives another half hour. Don't even ask about a health food store near them! They live in Utah.
2. Prices on the good stuff have not come down enough to be able to compete with the huge mass-marketers of food, like Wal-Mart, Sam's Club and so on.
3. A whole bunch of non-readers in this country (people who don't have time to read, people who are so busy coping with English as a second language that reading English for pleasure is quite beyond them, people whose treading skills are not at that level or who can't read at all (our schools can't hold a candle to yours, I'm afraid), people who just DON'T read unless they don't have to,) these folks may not be aware of the situations you describe, and ...
4. It's really hard for us all to agree on something too the point where people will change what they sell. Even when we have a landslide election, that means it's maybe 55% of the people agreeing, or even 51%! Even 55% of people are still going to buy paper plates and hot dogs and accept a plastic bag from the store clerk. I include these last three because noone in the UK would do those things unconsciously the way most of us do. We don't use paper plates and we don't eat hot dogs and I'm working on the plastic bags!
I feel like I started out making sense and I stopped at some point... but cheers!
Dear Petalpants, you are a pure finest English Rose growing amongst a garden full of thorny unknowing weeds!
We do not fish on our river as there was an agreement between everyone to leave it for the Kingfishers as they are so rare, and we had six breeding pairs this year!
However our Island is very small and you are never more than 60 miles from the sea, so we go down to Hastings (51 miles), where we go fishing in the English Channel. There is a lot of Mackerel and you can catch six at a time on Mackerel lures!
We leave a friend of ours who is normally sea sick on the beach to collect driftwood, whilst we go out on a boat, it costs about £8.00p (13.4224 USD), for the day! You use a bit of the Mackerel you have caught on the way out as bait for other things as you go out further, there are untold species of fish you then catch, but you must never be greedy, only take what you need, put everything else back!
On the way back you catch even more Mackerel, which we keep as it is really good for you. Then the moment we get to the shore my friend usually has a wood fire going on the beach, so you simply cook some of these wonderful fish over the wood fire, fresh and delicious with a cold beer!
As the boats get back about 2:00 p.m (5:a.m. start), you then go Flounder (Dab's), Plaice, Dover sole and Lemon sole fishing off the beach, it is great to catch some of them as well!
Although the best place to catch Flounders is on the River Thames, our big river that flows through London is one of the cleanliest metropolitan rivers in Europe (we even have Salmon in it), as it is tidal for a long way, it is still salty for miles past London! There is a pub near us on the river, and when you catch some Flounders outside the pub (for a small price), they will cook them for you, whilst you enjoy a fine English Beer, what more could anyone want!
I must admit to being a fly fisherman (Trout and Salmon), we have a lot of reservoirs in London and you can go Trot fishing for a very reasonable cost, you are only allowed to take four fish, but as they are quite big (4-12 pounds each), it is not a bad day out!
My greatest friend owns a large stretch of the River Test in Hampshire, this is World renowned as one of the greatest chalk stream game fish rivers anywhere!
So I go to see him (64 miles away), and can fish for wild Brown Trout for nothing, I tie my own flies and was taught at a very early age so it is pure joy to me!
I think you might have got the "Bambi syndrome" as we call it, watching too many Disney films about cartoon animals that are not real! In the real World it is nature for Man to hunt and eat meat since we learnt how to do it may thousands of years ago.
For instance the worst destroyer of the Environment in the U.K is Man, the second is Deer, surprised?
As we are not supposed to eat wild Deer (E.E.C. rules), without it being meat checked, 175,000 died in Scotland due to starvation this year, what a terrible waste of food. Deer (Venison) is wild, beautiful and organic, it only has 9% fat against 38% for Beef, it is also cheaper and tastes better!
Petalpants it has not stopped raining, I knew it wouldn't because of St. Swithins day; my Tree ferns are loving it, one I thought I had lost has come back to life and gone mad, so I enclose a picture I took from my kitchen door of it!
I also got some pictures of my Jack Russell when she was young; as my wife uses this thing called Windows on her computer, which is a horrible thing, she is going to take a scan of one of the picture for you. Then i can put it on a 'Real' computer my Apple Mac!
We have had one and a half inches of rain since last night, do you want any?
Kindest Regards from a very wet England.
Dear Carrie, I am most sorry if i have upset anyone, especially you!
You are indeed a very clever person and talented writer, with a passion (like me), for what you do, and for that I admire you!
I have only ever been to the U.S.A. once, when I was serving in the British Army in Canada, we were given two weeks local leave, so we hired a car and went into America! I have never had American "Home cooked food," so we basically eat in Diners, and were quite shocked to the massive portion sizes they gave us!
So therefore I hope you will forgive my ignorance on American matters.
I did not know about the literacy problem over there; to me that must be horrific, if you cannot read a book or indeed write.
Looking back I suppose I was lucky; my Grandma and my Mother taught me to read and write before I went to primary school (5 -11 year olds), so it was natural to me.
Then I won a scholarship to Dulwich College, this is a Public school (you have to pay a lot), but my parents did not, and I excelled at Rugby and of course the fine Academic life!
Unfortunately I was injured in the Army, so they got me a job in the thing I love Horticulture; this was difficult with a smashed arm, but "Who Dares Wins," and I got higher in my profession than most people could ever imagine!
Then whilst doing my Degree I worked for a famous conservation project; I surveyed over one thousand acres of salt marsh, on my own, and found a grass that was thought to be extinct in the U.K.!
I lived in a caravan on a salt marsh and saw someone once a week, when they brought food supplies and petrol for the little generator, for six months!
My only companions were Geese, Ducks and Peregrine Falcons, and I loved it!
When I was given my Degree in Winchester Cathedral, to my shock I was awarded an Honorary Ph.D., it means nothing to me,
neither does winning at the Chelsea flower show, or being in charge of the Queens House etc at Greenwich.
So you may ask what do I care about, so I will tell you; our family lost Seven men in the First World War, Eleven in the Second World War, then my Brother was lost in Northern Ireland, as well as a lot of my comrades, as a War Veteran myself, I became a caseworker for Veterans!
Veterans are treated like something nasty you stood on in the street, over here. For example if you are 25% disabled you get £23.11p a week which is 38.6634 USD to live on!
So I fight for their rights, against a mass of pure red tape!
As I was injured again, I could no longer do the physical work in Horticulture, so I now design gardens for people, to what they want, but with no Toxic plants if Children or Animals are involved.
Our little Island you could fit in a corner of one of your states, it is only 874 miles long and not that wide!
Our diversity is incredible, for we have everything from Cornwall to Wales, Ireland and Scotland, and the bits in between!
Please Carrie do not take me wrong, for it seems we do have problems like yours, and it is a terrible shame.
There are two things I shall always remember.
"Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall, he will end by destroying the world." (Albert Schweitzer)
Then this, which sums it up!
"Only when the last tree has died and
the last river has been poisoned, and
the last fish has been caught, will we
realise we cannot eat money!’
So with my Kindest Regards I send you a picture of one the oldest plants known to Man, in my Garden!
It is simply called the Dawn of time, if it can survive for 150+ million years, what right have we got to destroy it?
Neil, I think it is great that your community got together and decided to "save the kingfishers"; it is really important what you are doing! And, I know what you're thinking ...that I have the Bambi syndrome? but the fact is, I have seen and been around Real deer --- wild deer in the hill country of TX, while camping in tents; also behind my Dad's former house (by the woods); and up close enough to really look at how beautiful and fragile-looking they are! They aren't a mean animal. You see, I would rather take a photo of one, than take a shot at one. I know some people do hunt & kill & eat venison; my aunt farther up in TX has land with lots of deer, & I ate venison at her house a few times when I was growing up. But as I grew up I guess I got different views. My two older teenage sons love to hunt, & one of them has deer antlers on his wall! I Do think that if you kill a deer, you should eat it, not kill it just for the trophy---antlers! Here in America you can eat the deer you shoot; why do they have to check the meat over there? And Yes, I do want some of your Rain--- we are still dry, but the city hasn't started water-restrictions yet...Is there a ST.Swithins' Day dance that you can do, like a rain dance?! '''''''' ''''''' ''''' ''''''''' (Digital Rain!)
I have a tree fern also, but it looks awful now; it keeps getting new baby fronds, but as they grow they turn brown a little at a time; I water it almost every day, and get the whole thing wet! It isn't very big anyway as I just bought it in the Spring. Is that 'Dawn of Time' a type of fern?---looks like it; sure is an old species; I think it is lovely! I'll be lookin' out for the pic. of your dog; that's funny...your wife has Windows, & you have a Real comp., the Apple Mac! Ha---well, our family has an HP with Windows...it may be horrible to you, but it's the only thing I know!---and my teens mostly showed me how to do stuff on it; they learned at school when young, and my husband learned on his own, then later took classes which his work-place provided. Me, I've learned how to do basics, but still need to learn how to attach a photo, etc.
I admire you for doing all that work with Veterans; you're right when you say they aren't treated well after they have spent years defending their country, many injured or handicapped. I knew guys who had gone to Vietnam and never were the same after returning. I didn't know you had been injured; I'm sorry to hear that, and I'm glad you are helping other vets.
So you design Gardens for people? That must be a very fullfilling job, since you enjoy plants so much. Do you hand-draw them or do you use digital-gardening dvd's, which I've heard of before?
That 6 month conservation project you mentioned? Wow, that sounds amazing! You should be proud of receiving honors for that! You will also have to mention what you entered in that Chelsea Flower Show to win...? And, what about being in charge of the Queens house? What did you do there? Just curious...Were you the head-gardener or what??
Don't forget to do a rain dance for me, or sing an English rain song...or just blow that rain clear across the ocean! =)
Carrie: I can see what you mean about planting your veggies in a container because of where you live. I feel it is fairly safe in our area, and we hardly ever use pesticides, but we don't really know what the neighbors use on their lawns... and it would probably only affect us if it flooded, as it is Flat where we live here.
Paperplates?...guilty, guilty, but we don't use them often. It's just that 6 people are currently living in our house, & I'm the only one who does dishes around here...so when we have pizza delivered, I'm not doing dishes! When, (someday!!) it's back to only 2 of us, then we can use dinnerware all the time!
Plastic bags--- oh, I do get these at the grocery store, but they do not have paper sacks! I do have about 5 cloth bags, but it is never enough. And I do reuse the plastic bags for things. Some stores if you just buy 1 or 2 items, they'll ask if you want a bag & I just say no.
Oh my gosh, Carrie...don't get me started on the 'other language' thing! I get so tired of everything here being half-English & half-Spanish. Cereal boxes in the store, phone recordings, brochures, etc., etc., on & on...My kids are all great readers, but I worked with them & read to them when they were babies & preschoolers, & on into school. The school district has classes for the young kids here, to learn English if they come from a Spanish-speaking home. They even have adult classes Free at our library to learn English. But if everything they see & hear has Spanish in with the English, why would they go to the trouble to try & learn English?! It makes no sense. So...since it makes no sense, I am so glad we have gardening to take the edge off!!! =)
Dear Petalpants, so lovely to hear from you, it enlightens my day!
I agree totally with you about "Trophy Hunting," I do not like it, and most British people do not do it. It is people from abroad who come over and then want to take a head with antlers home, although they do not eat the meat, which to me is senseless!
Unfortunately there are so many Deer; the damage they do to forestry and land is immense, in the old days each estate "culled them," only the old and the weak, so it left the good ones for a healthy stock.
Then the European Union stepped in and said we were not allowed to eat a wild thing, if it was not meat inspected by a Veterinary surgeon or someone trained, like cattle have to be. If you are out in the wilds of Scotland you may not see a Deer for days, so to pay a Veterinary surgeon for a weeks trip would cost a fortune, if you could find one that would go!
You can consume them for your own use, but not allowed to sell them for anyone else to eat!
The E.U. are always doing stupid things, they say are Potato's are too big so we are not allowed to grow that variety, or the latest one is that the Bananas we import are not straight enough, as this bureaucratic stupid thing cost Billions a year to run and is not even based in Britain (Belgium and France), people do not take a lot of notice of it anymore!
Another stupid thing they do is; our farmers are highly productive, so much so that they have introduced something called "set aside," which means they pay them not to grow anything at ll and to leave the land fallow, as it would upset the cost of food if they did, make it cheaper!
As for tree ferns if you water them in the crown; the hole in the middle of the base at the top, the leaves come out of the edges of it, at least three time a day in hot weather, they survive, it also saves on water as they do not like water on their leaves if it is sunny.
They do not like sun and prefer shade or dappled sunlight, as they are an under canopy plant. They do not have roots that go in the soil as we know them, most of the roots are in the base, so if you keep the crown soaked, it keeps the roots wet and cool!
I do have a Windows laptop, but I hate it and the reason is simple; every time I turn it on it wants to update something or do a virus check, or indeed something else, it is not secure and no Windows machine is, then when you do get it working and want to turn it off, you may as well go down the pub and come back until it has done that!
Whereas an Apple Mac does not have any of these problems and does what you tell it, when you tell it.
Also Apple Mac's make most of your movies and nearly all music is done on them; I was born in Yorkshire but come from a Scottish family, so I have my bagpipe music playing on it, whilst I write to you.
I was shot in a war zone, which wrecked my left elbow, at the time they did not have the technology they do now, so they could do nothing about it. It is only eight years ago that they replaced it with a metal elbow, which did not work.
My belief was always to help the veterans as I am one of them, but I am not as bad as some people I have to see.
My Father was in Korea alongside the Americans, he is now blind, diabetic and has leukemia, yet gets nothing at all, which to me is a National disgrace.
I am considered to be 50% disabled, but it does not stop me doing what I believe in, as it needs someone with a "voice,' to shout out for these people.
IMy wife and I were made "Friends of the Burma Star," this is for the people who fought the Japanese in Burma (including Americans, Gurkhas etc.), some of them were Japanese prisoners of War, not a nice thing.
So we have an American friend (member), who married an English woman during the War, he was a prisoner of the Japanese, but upon his release he decided to stay in England.
Unfortunately his wife is no longer with us. He lives very close to us, about two minutes walk, so if he is well enough I meet him in the pub for a drink, and then he comes round for Sunday dinner.
My wife cuts his hair for him when he needs it. He enjoys the company and a English Roast dinner with an apple pie and real custard.
He is not the only one as my wife and I are both trained chefs (yes we do get on in the kitchen), so there is always a stream of people coming round with problems, or for lunch or dinner!
As for the Chelsea Flower Show; I was picked at college along with five other people to design and build a garden for the show, so we did it for the Worlds most famous flower show, to our utter shock we won a Silver medal!
When I left the parks department I worked for a famous Nursery in London, they were given the job of making a Chelsea garden (contractors), for a designer. Unfortunately she was very temperamental to say the least, and although we built it exactly to her drawings she was never happy about anything. Eventually over too much Champagne she had drunk, she stormed out in a wild tantrum.
So I rebuilt it as it looked hideous, and she got a Silver Gilt medal although she never thanked me.
The following year my company decided to go it alone, after my success in the following year, I got the job of building a garden for Chelsea. So I did and I won a Gold medal, my firm was very happy and so was I, for it was mine!
No I do not use computers to design, I draw everything by hand and paint it in, with watercolours.
I saw a job advertised that was a bit vague in its wording, so I applied for it. After four interviews and a lot of paperwork, I got it.
I was to be the Head Gardener for ; the National Maritime Museum, the Queens House, the Old Royal Observatory and the Royal Arsenal at Woolwich.
Although a nice title, I hated it! I could not get on with what I was taught and love, I hated having to wear a suit on certain days with a badge with my title on. I am a Soldier a cook and a gardener, not something to be paraded in front of press conferences, or taken out for lunches by sycophants.
When I got married we could not live on the money as it was truly awful, so I went elsewhere.
I am cooking for my Mother and Father today and our American friend is also coming so that should be nice.
My Mother says you are welcome to the Rain and she will wish for you to have some.
As for paper plates I have never eaten off one, although I would like to try a "Hot Dog," as I have never had one.
The worst Pizza I have ever tried was in Italy, when I was motorcycle racing, so I make our own. Pizza dough is easy to make and you can put what you want on it.
Anyway a picture of my Jack Russell (not with us anymore), as a female she is shorter than a male, but was terrific animal.
Neil, oh, your little doggie, she's so Cute! Was she all white? It looks like it from the pic. This weekend I was looking at several photos of our 'past dogs' we used to have; they all had their distinct personalities & I loved them all (even tho they weren't 'working dogs'! Ha!!)--- the last 3 dogs were Dalmatians, very loyal; they all liked to chase squirrels, and cats that strayed in the yard! Before them, we had an Afghan Hound; I took him to Obedience School when he was a puppy, & the teacher kinda laughed because my dog was all happy, & she said "Afghans are some of the hardest dogs to train!"--- I worked with him every day, & went to class every week for 8 wks. At the end, they had a 'show' with all the dogs & their trainers, and do you know my dog won 2nd place!? My husband & my first dog was a half- Llasa Apso & some other terrier-mix, long before we had any kids. He went everywhere with us. And, no matter what you say, Neil, our dogs all loved us even when we didn't have food!!!Ha! Now we have a dog (my 19 yr. old son's dog actually) that looks like a dingo or something; he is a big puppy, about 7 months old. We also found a terrier puppy at the dog pound in July (we weren't Looking to acquire one!); we were searching for my daughter's lost Yorkie, with no success...but we kept seeing this tiny shaggy pup, & decided to bring him home; he has made himself at home, & seems quite happy! (Neither of these dogs Work either, except to chase a cat out of the yard.Ha!)
Your gardening plans done with watercolors sound very pretty; love watercolor paintings! My husband & I used to go to local art shows & buy paintings we liked, so our house does not have wall paintings that 'match' the decor or whatever; we have a big Ocean oil painting next to a Western 'saloon'/cowboy, sunset pictures, a big Sunflower one my Mom did; we just have up what we want to look at--- forget the interior decorator! Maybe sometime you can get your wife to use her 'crazy Windows' & scan one of your garden plans on here as a sample???
I don't understand why your potatoes can't be Big? Why do they want you to eat small ones?! (Actually, I like small 'new' potatoes, and large 'baking' ones also). And, I don't think I've ever seen Any straight bananas here!---they are always curved...don't they taste the same anyway? That's weird!
That's great that you & your wife are both chefs, esp. since you get along in the kitchen. My husband, John, & I are able to cook together also, although I usually do it most days.(We are not school-trained chefs, but learned from our Moms; my Mother was an excellent cook). He is also a great outdoor barbeque-er! Using mesquite wood to grill chicken or fajitas, even shrimp & corn-on-the-cob...makes my mouth water thinking about it! I hope you had a wonderful dinner with your parents; you should visit with them as much as possible because you just never know when they will be gone...Mine are both in Heaven now, & John just has his Mother, although she has Althzimers?? disease. I miss my parents alot, so enjoy yours! Tell your Mother I'm so glad she said I could have some of your Rain!...I'm waiting...! That's really nice that you invite your friend over for dinner, too; I'm sure he enjoys the company, and the custard! (I haven't had homemade custard in years! Sounds so delicious...)
My Tree Fern--- I have been watering it in the middle, but I really don't see a hole; it's just fuzzy there; maybe it's too young to have a hole?? Anyway, I drench it there every day; guess I will try to do it twice a day & see if it helps...I was afraid it might get Root Rot if I watered it too much.?? I do have it in shade, under our Live Oak tree. I didn't know it didn't have regular roots; the plant seems to lean over alot; I thought maybe it broke or something! It is in a large clay pot right now.
I have Plumeria blooming now; they smell terrific! I sort of have a collection, although most are yellow or lt.pink blooms. I also have alot of Bromeliads, many given to me by a friend, and they keep making 'pups' & so I have alot. They bloom best after a rain, but one had a new flower on it Sunday, so I brought it in to enjoy, & will return it outside in about a week. Those plants have tiny thorns on the leaf-edges that stick in you & itch and hurt till you get them out! They do well under the Oak tree, but some will take morning sun.
I have never made pizza dough before; so do you pat yours or throw it up in the air ?! Oh my gosh! You have never had a hot dog before?! Man oh man, in the Winter we do like to sometimes make chili-cheese hotdogs!---chases the chill away...we make them a few times in the summer even tho it's hot outside, because it's quick & no one complains! But you will have to eat one sometime; we buy the turkey-ones since they are lower fat, but different parts of the country make them different; some places put sauerkraut on them, which I don't like. It's sort of like Hamburgers...ours down South are made different! Better! Ha!! Alot of people up North don't put lettuce & tomatoes & pickles in the burger...weird...(If anyone in New York or up North is reading this, I really don't mean to be rude, but ya'll don't know how to make a real Hamburger! Come to Texas for a Real hamburger!!) Do they even have Hamburgers & Hotdogs there in England? I had a friend in high school that was a foreign-exchange student from Iceland, & we learned alot about each other's countries---her favorite American food was a hamburger; she'd never eaten one before. Well, take care & Happy Gardening~ =)
Petalpants my dog had Tan and lemon ears, on the back of them!
I do paint with watercolours as most people prefer that; a lot of people use computers to design and print a design, but the Mona Lisa would not look the same, scanned in and printed on cheap paper.
As we are supposed to compete with all the Countries in the European Union (E.E.C.), the French and the Belgium's complained that our potato's were too big, so much so that they could not sell theirs.
We call our big potato's "Jacket Potato's," we simply bake them for about an hour or two (depends on the size), slice them down the middle and fill them with what you like!
So that is why they tried to stop us selling ours, as no one would buy the imported ones!
No I do not throw my pizza dough in the air, that is a restaurant thing to show off. I knead it with my hands and then roll it to shape and then do the edges with my fingers, that was the way I was taught by an old lady in Italy!
She also taught me how to make pasta so I make that and bread as well. My Nieces say I make the best pizza there is, better than any take way or shop, although one of them is in for a rather big shock if I can arrange it!
The oldest one who thinks she is very clever (14), has turned vegetarian! She has done no research into it, just listened to her friends at her posh school. So she was telling me about how proud she was as she eats no meat products at all, or anything involved in cruelty. So whilst her two sisters had a nice pizza she had a tomato and onion one!
Of course the look of horror on her face was a picture "there's no cheese," so I pointed out she could not eat cheese as it had rennet in it, which is the lining of a cows stomach to make it.
Upon trying a bit of vegetarian cheese she felt sick!
Upon thinking fish was the answer to her problems, that was announced to the family; I don't think so, so my Mother recorded a program on the T.V. about a fishing trawler, so she was shown that, no more fish eating!
I thought to really get my own back on what she had put the family through with her leaflets and veggie cooking books, constant e-mails and lecturing. I would send her a video of a Mandrake root screaming as it was pulled out the ground. I commented that as she did not like cruelty to anything she cannot eat vegetables or seeds either!
She is very stubborn and will not listen, not even to the Doctor who has told her about the error of her ways!
So maybe there is an answer; when I worked at the London Dungeon for three months as a Research assistant, (Uni. Holiday job), I learnt a lot of things about the Victorians, who did not muck about with people.
One of the things that had been left over from the past was street whipping posts, these were on most street corners and if someone was (male or female), was considered to be lazy and idle, or fussy with their food, they were stripped naked to the waist and chained to one for the day
The public could then come and pelt the offender with rotten fruit and vegetables etc., then at dusk the offenders sentence was read out and they were horse whipped depending on their crime.
I am fully aware nothing like that would ever be allowed today (here), but it did have a mass impact on the young at the time, for it was a great shame to be punished like that, in front of your family and friends!
It might stop; car theft, graffiti, muggings, burglaries, fussy eaters and all the rest the youngsters do!
However not so long ago a group of English Football supporters got drunk in the Isle of Man, it is ours but has it's own Parliament and laws. Instead of just fining them, the Judge sentenced them to be publicly "Birched," they never caused any trouble again!
I am not some brutal mad man, it is just that everyone is sick of the crime in all the large Cities/Towns. The old do not go out as they are scared and there seems to be a knifing every time you listen to the news.
The biggest controversy at the moment is a mother who killed her 3 year old son! She has shown no remorse, pleaded guilty, yet the Judges are so soft over here they gave her Five years for that! Which means she will be out in three years with good behaviour. They are so worried what might happen to her when she is released, that they have promised her surgery a new name and identity and a new house etc.
As you can imagine this has caused an outrage; they cannot look after a Soldier just back from abroad and injured, yet they can do this for a child killer, it is disgusting, I know what I would do with her!
No I have never had a Hotdog, yes they do have them over here and they are boiled, but hey serve them in a long white bread bun, with boiled onions on the top and this really hot chili, or this disgusting yellow mustard!
Hamburgers we do have, but they are mainly shop bought things, or from Muck Donald's as we call it, and as most people claim they are disgusting, I have never eaten one, nor will I!
Beef-burgers we make ourself as Beef is excellent here and reasonably cheap, as we make our own bread buns, it is nice to have one as a change.
We have a B.B.Q. but most of the time it sits under its plastic cover as it rains!
The thing that gets used constantly is my American food smoker that my Mother bought me and got sent over, this is the second one I have had! The British have loved smoked food for centuries, smoking used to be a means of preserving things, but now people just like the taste. Tell your Husband I have 26 different woods to smoke with or mix!
I do smoked Salmon, Trout and Mackerel and if the Lads have been out sea fishing, I do some fish they want done.
The favourite is smoked Gammon Hams especially at X-Mass, my smoker does six (10 pound), ones, and everyone loves them. I also do smoked bacon, Chickens, Home made sausages, Cheese, Garlic etc. and of course spare ribs!
Sweet corn is popular over here and is cheap, there is a pick your own farm near us, so we get some and cook it.
We do not eat Turkey as it is not a traditional Christmas thing. We always have Goose as that is our Christmas dish, and the Goose fat that comes off is the best in the World for cooking with!
I send you another picture of my Dog!
Neil, this new photo of your dog (who loved you unconditionally I'm sure, not just for food!) is better than the first--- her fur is wirey, rough-coated, isn't it? I bet she had quite a personality, which is why you loved her so much (not just because she caught rats while you were at the thunderbox!) Ha!! We watched a dog show on t.v. last weekend, & I immediately recognized when they announced "Parson's Terrier", & even tho I rooted for him, he didn't win; sorry...
Your big potatoes--- I believe what I read several years ago about the government and also large corporations, whether here or in England: "It's always about the money." Whether importing or exporting, selling products that may be unhealthy or unsafe, they will continue to do it because they want profit---money! I think our drug companies work together with t.v. stations, doctors, & others to sell consumers more drugs. Five or six years ago, we rarely had drug commercials on t.v., and now they are on all the time! If you didn't have a certain disorder, you may Think you do, after you watch their little ad. One of my teens told me the other day that he thought he needed some pills to help him go to sleep at nite!--- I told him to go get some physical exercise, and to quit drinking sodas with caffeine at night-time. (I know he saw an ad, as he named 1 or 2 brands that have ads on t.v.!)
I like your name, 'Jacket Potatoes', and think I'll use that term when we bake some of those big ones; we esp. like them in the winter, topped with chili, cheese, avocado,sour cream, chives...whatever you want on them.
Pizza dough: Maybe I'll try to make it from scratch; I've made bread before. If I can just pat, & not toss it I'll probably do fine---my tossing would probably end up on the floor! I Do like to watch chefs toss the dough; I secretly hope they'll miss sometimes, because it would be funny if they did. =) I need to find a recipe, one that doesn't take too long to do.
We have a 14 year-old nephew who came to live with us two yrs. ago; I'm glad he isn't pickey about food, although he always has to 'add' some condiment to his food, even if someone says it won't taste good with it. So is your niece still a veggie-only teen? (I've heard about mandrakes before, like becoming invasive in certain areas, but what happens when you pull it out? It screams? Is it because of its' plant tissue, or what? That's funny, but plants don't have nerves, so they wouldn't feel pain...of course your niece may not know that!) And what is in Veggie cheese, that made her feel sick? Guess I never ate any of it. One thing I've learned about teenagers: they go through phases, from one thing to another, mostly because of what their friends say or do, & it's Temporary, thank goodness!
You worked in a Dungeon?! Sounds dark and gloomy, and hideous... I suppose whipping posts did serve a purpose back then, not only because it hurt, but esp. the shame of it. I agree that the prisoner gets too much good treatment, & the victim little. I've been noticing some prisoners come out of prison, & publish books that they wrote while in there. Of course, they have to have nice t.v.'s & such in their room, or else they say it's inhumane treatment! Locally, we finally did see justice to one 19-yr.old guy who has done so much Graffiti in our city---for the first time, he got 8 years in jail for it, so maybe young people will think twice before they go deface statues, businesses, homes, even cedar fences---last week I went to the mailbox & it had graffiti all over it; if they only realized it is gov't. property! And, it makes our city look ugly... Seems that the people over here who kill their children always just get "Insanity"; that really gets me, the poor little kids never had a chance.
Barbeque wood: Where do you get such a variety of wood? Is it from your place, or do you buy it? We can buy Hickory & others, but we usually use what's from our yard---& it's free! We save old, dry branches from our Live Oak tree, & we have alot of Mesquite wood because our old Mesquite tree finally blew down 2 yrs. ago, & we saved much of the wood. Alot of locals like meat & fish grilled with Mesquite wood---great flavor! (My stomach just growled, Ha!)
We almost always have Turkey with all the fixins' at Thanksgiving; but Christmas we vary it, maybe a ham, roast, or brisket, depends on our mood & also what we find on sale, since it's right after Christmas! Sounds like you have a Large smoker...too bad you can't use it more, with all that RAIN ya'll get. =) Hey, would it help if we switched t.v. Weather Reporters with each other, then Ours would predict "Rain again!" ?? ...Take Care~
Petealpants you are perfectly right about Governments making money, but in our case it is not just our own Government, it is lots of them spread all over Europe, all attempting to make money for their country!
That is when the trouble starts; for if one country is making money on a good product, the rest get together and try to ban it, that is why it is called the European union, except it does not work.
For instance as I stated we have great Beef, which means that more people buy ours than imported rubbish. However if our farmers make too much money, they are penalized (fined) ,and a certain amount of money is taken off them and given to the farmers in the other countries where the Beef is rubbish!
I know it sounds stupid but that are the rules; people get annoyed with the E.U. as we have fantastic Pork, Lamb, Chickens and yes Turkeys! We also have the best fish in Europe, so the other countries are always having a battle with our Navy as they fish in our waters where they are not allowed!
As for "Jacket potato's," it is cold here in the Autumn, Winter and sometimes Spring, so they are a staple diet. Like you we put any filling in them we so fancy, chili is popular and so is curry, although a lot of people like Tuna with Mayonnaise and sweet-corn! I like Ham, cheese and onion. It is what we call "comfort food," by that I mean if you come home on a freezing cold wet night, there is nothing better than a jacket spud with a filling, it is like a warm cuddle in the middle of a storm!
We do have lots of comfort foods here in the winter like; soups, casseroles and stews with dumplings and of course the all time favourite Lancashire hotpot.
This wonderful dish was traditionally made with Lamb and only the cheapest cuts of meat were used. The cotton mill workers (whole family, children as well), went to work early in the morning and did not return to late at night.
As they did not have any cooking facilities in their cottages, they used to make this the night before.
It is so simple and tasty; simple butter the bottom of a casserole dish (pot wit a lid, that goes in the oven), then add slices of potato flat on the bottom, then add meat slices or chunks, you can use Beef, but only the cheap meat as it tastes better.
Top the meat with sliced onions and sliced carrots, or whatever you have got.
Add another layer of flat potato's, then more meat and vegetables, and do the same all the way to the top, making sure the top layer is a lot of potato's. Then add some stock, a stock cube in water will do, with some herbs added.
Do not overfill it, three quarters will do, then put in a slow (low) oven for four to five hours, then remove the lid and heat the oven up. The potato's will go brown on the top, totally wonderful with a bit of greens on a cold night.
In the old days the mill workers used to leave their pots in the bakery on the way to work, when the baker had finished with his bread, he put all the pots in his still hot ovens. They stayed there all day till they were collected at night, where they fed all the families very cheaply. Another useless bit of our history, but still as nice today as it was then.
If you lived on the other side of the Pennines (Hills), where I came from, you have Yorkshire pudding, this is now a National dish! It is a batter pudding cooked in Beef dripping, then served with Beef gravy inside it! It was always served before you had your Beef and vegetables. The reason was simple, Beef was expensive so you eat the Yorkshire pudding first which filled you up, then you did not need so much Beef, strange but true! Nowadays people have it with their dinners, which to a purist is not right!
Of course you must have mustard with Roast Beef, or Horseradish. Colmans English mustard is the only mustard left that is still made from the same stock of mustard plants for centuries. You can buy it in a glass jar, but the proper way is to buy the powder in a metal yellow tin. you put one teaspoon full of powder in a little bowl and add a bit of milk, stir well and leave for ten minutes exactly. Then you serve it, it is very hot, but goes well with beef and a glass of good red wine!
We do have spicy brown sauce here it is called H.P. and has a picture of the Houses of Parliament on it.
They also sell French mustard, but if any Englishman was caught eating that, he would be sent to the Tower of London and be executed for high treason!
I will send you my recipe of pizza dough, it is just that I was taught to make it by eye, so I will have to measure the ingredients and then send it to you!
Yes I did work in the London Dungeon, it is now a tourist site, and no it is not hideous it is part of our History.
Torture was never legal in Britain, it was something that was done by the Aristocracy (the rich) , on the poor for religious or criminal grounds, for sport , or fun!
King Henry VIII was of course famous for it, chopping his wife's heads off and other things. The most notably law being in that he went to an ale house in Smithfield market; whilst there he had something to eat, it was so bad he thought the chef was trying to poison him. So he had him boiled alive next morning in the market, the law still stands, if you serve a bad meal you can be boiled alive!
Sounds a bit like like your Hot dogs off a Hot dog stand, they are boiled alive as well.
The food smoker gets used weekly as the rain cannot affect it, it has it own little house to live in, and a thermal jacket, my mother bought for it. Even in the winter it is used, and yes "Jacket potato's" are wonderful done it, once it has cooled down a bit!
Could you please tell your husband (if he is interested), I have to buy some wood, as some of it is not available here.
Mesquite, Hickory and Pecan are wonderful, but I have to buy them, because they do not grow that well over here.
However I get a lot of English Oak, Beech, Walnut and fruit trees wood totally free. I know a lot of Arborsist's and if they cut down something and it has ring shake or star shake, then it is of no use for timber.
So all the bits they give to me, in return for a ham at Christmas, told you I was busy then!
I love Apple wood and there is plenty of it, as it smokes cheese beautifully.
Plum is also nice and I use that as well.
We have Brisket (I love it), so I put that in the smoker and leave it over night, although the smoker takes four gallons of water per hour and lots of wood. The Neighbours are quite used to seeing me out with a torch in the night, stacking it all up and adding water! It does cold and hot smoking, so if I am cold smoking, I use old whisky barrels that have been chipped, the taste is stunning! Old whisky barrels are really cheap, as once they start to leak they are no good anymore, about 50 years!
They are made from Oak and always burnt in with sweet sherry, so you can imagine the smell and taste on the food!
Just thought you may be interested, in what I do, for something I could not do without!
I do believe your Thanksgiving is like our Harvest festival, where we celebrate that all is safely gathered in, food wise!
People do eat Turkeys here for Christmas and Easter, but to me they are dry and tasteless, so we have Goose or Duck.
Sometimes it is difficult to speak on a letter as the stuff I talk about is not relevant to you, or your country.
I also do not know what you eat and what is available, although when I went to America everything was available, maybe the wrong places!
Luckily I have been all over the World, and as usual, I refused to stay in Tourist areas, and eat and learnt by the locals.
My dream was to see Mount Everest, this I did and it was awesome. No I did not climb it, just saw it.
I am off up my cottage at the weekend, it was named in the Domesday book in 1086 A.D., as the garden needs doing, more work! Never mind at least they would not put me on a whipping post for being idle!
So I am most sorry to bore you with our history and cooking, I am just as interested in yours.
My mother gave me a picture of my dog when she had retired and was allowed in the house much to my disgust, so here it is!
She also sends her Regards from One Tree Hill.
If there is anything we can ever do for you or your family, please lets us know, keep in contact!
My Kindest Regards from a wet and then sunny England.
Neil: It Rained last night! I just know it was Rain from England! (You & your Mom blew it over here with your Wishes, & I sent ya'll a little sunshine!") It didn't rain and leave puddles for this morning, but the air is clean & fresh-smelling, and the Grass blades and Leaves on our Plants & Trees are whistling a Gratitude-song!---Yes, if you listen closely, there's a quiet melody...
Love the last photo of your dog! She looks like she wants to play; she's happy---"No more work, and I get in the house...Yes!!"
Sounds like your Smoker gets the royal treatment, --- its own little house, snug thermal jacket, gets 'tended to' at night, wow...our BBQ pit sits outside in the elements, and yes, it does rust, and after so many years it gets replaced! You must have a big fancy smoker. We used to have a small one & John really liked it, & smoked different meats on it; it finally just fell apart... We need to buy another one. My aunt & uncle, who have a sheep farm, have a 'Smoke House', as they cook lots of mutton & venison from their land. I have heard of using applewood, but we never tried it; haven't heard of using other fruit wood...I guess different kinds go with different kinds of meat, fowl, or fish. I have never even thought of using whiskey barrels for smoking or grilling. I bet the flavor is wonderful...mmnnm! They sell half-whiskey barrels at the plant nursery & lumberyard to use for flower planters, but they aren't cheap!
Is French mustard like 'Grey Poupon'? I like the idea of your mustard in a little tin, and you just mix it up when you want some; I wonder if they sell it at a food-specialty store here? I don't know what you call 'Hot' over there, but we sometimes use hot peppers like Jalapenos here in S.TX. & some are muy caliente (very hot)! My husband can eat them fairly hot; I like only medium-heat ones. Sometimes you can stuff them with meat or cheese, too.
I will look forward to your pizza dough recipe, whenever you get time to write it. That would be a new conquest for me ---Ha! The Lancashire hotpot sounds delicious; it seems to me like a cut-up roast, with sliced veggies (that I usually put in a pot roast whole), only you layer it like a Lasagne! Sounds yummy; I'm going to remember to do it this way next time. Do you usually sear the meat some beforehand or not? I love the history behind it; it's so interesting! Do you know I was grown, in my 20's, before I found out Yorkshire Pudding was Not a dessert pudding?! I saw it in my big cookbook my Mom had bought me when I got married, & decided one day to make real pudding for dessert...oh my gosh!...what? Beef drippings?! Still haven't tried it, although I should sometime, just to see if I like it. I like to try new things, well, if it isn't Too weird!...like when I ate a little boiled squid that time, at a friend's house, after my husband tricked me by saying,"You first!" Then he Didn't eat his rubbery thing! Yuck-- I thought I'd never get thru chewing that thing, & then have to smile at our host, "Great...no, I'm full, Thanks!"
You are really fortunate that you have been able to travel around. And yes, I agree that the Local restaurants are always better than chain ones, & usually it's the same with hotels, but not always...We had a stay at one hotel one time that we laugh at now, because it was horrible, but the next day, travelling home, one of our sons (very young then) asked,"Aren't we going to stay at a Hell-tell?!" (That's what it was alright!)
You will have to tell me about the cottage ---listed in the Domesday Book? What is that book? Anyway, have fun Gardening there! Does your wife garden with you sometimes? Tell her hello, and tell your Mother Thanks for sending us the English Rain!...It is even cloudy now & it's 10:30 a.m., so maybe we'll get a little more. =)
Petalpants here is my pizza recipe which works for me, I have measured it out for you!
12 oz strong plain white flour, sieved.
1 level teaspoon of salt.
2 teaspoons of caster (fine sugar or confectioners),sugar.
2 oz of butter.
1 packet (sachet), of dried fast acting yeast. We get it in 7g packs but I do not know what that is in imperial, although I use it.
2 tablespoons of olive oil.
6-7 fl ounces of warm (not hot) water.
Then place the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl and mix (use your hands), rub in the butter, add the yeast. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the oil and some of the water, not all of it, as all flour is different. Then mix with your hands until you get a dough. Add more water or flour if you need it, or you have made a mistake, till the dough is loose.
Take it out of the bowl and put it onto a floured board or work surface, cover it with a tea towel (cloth) for 5 minutes.
Then knead the dough for 10 minutes, you can put it in an electric thing, but that takes 5 minutes and beats the air out of it!
Let the dough and you relax for 5 minutes, roll the dough into six balls 3.5 to 4.5 oz each and lightly give it a brush of olive oil!
Then if you have time cover it with cling film and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes, it does not matter if you don't, it just makes it easier to handle if it is cold.
Then heat the oven to 475 f or gas mark seven with a baking tray in it, or several as you have a large family.
Leave the oven to heat up for at least 10 minutes, or until it is hot.
Then lightly dust the balls with flour, and the board/ work surface and roll them out. Each ball will make a 12 inch pizza, that is a thin crust if you want them thicker don't make them so big! If you want a pretty crust around the edge use you thumb and your finger to do it.
Then Petalpants (I don't know your name), the World is your Oyster. You add your own tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, herbs and toppings and then put them on a hot baking tray. They take about 5-10 minutes depending on your oven, although I find it is easier to cook two at a time unless you have a big oven. Have a look and when they are slightly brown they are done.
Remember never to put the tomato sauce right to the edge as it spreads, I normally leave about an inch around the edge depending on the topping.
It sounds complicated but it is dead easy, and very cheap to make. Please don't forget it makes six, twelve inch pizzas, so that is quite a lot. I do hope this is helpful.
No if you are making a Lancashire Hot Pot you never sear the meat. The reason is simple, you always use the cheapest cuts of meat. The more a piece of meat on an Animal has to work the better tasting it is, but it takes longer to cook, so by doing it so slowly; all the flavours of the meat go into the potato's\gravy, and the meat becomes tender!
For instance a piece of fillet steak is very tender but tastes of nothing as it does not work, yet a bit of rump steak that does some work tastes of something.
Squid is wonderful if it is cooked right, as most things are. People get put off food due to someone not cooking it right, which is a shame.
I never eat in local restaurants when I was traveling that much, I stayed and eat in peoples houses all over the World that is how I learnt!
I am surprised at John, for food smokers are cheap and you can build your own. In most garden centers they have a brick barbeque kit and also a food smoker kit, bricks don't rust! You have plenty of wood as well, some of it the best there is for smoking. A brick one is easy to make, if I can do it with one arm, anyone can!
Over here the E.U. made it illegal to smoke food and so we are supposed to eat smoke flavored food, the Scottish, Welsh and Irish put two fingers up at the E.U., whereas England accepted it, so it is technically illegal to sell smoked food. No one has taken any notice of the E.U. and food smoking has blossomed over here since. Although it is an ancient thing!
The Domesday book was ordered by the then King, it took years to do, as they had to survey all the land in the U.K. and write down every dwelling (house), and other things as well. It was and still is a magnificent piece of work. Imagine doing the whole of Texas with no transport and having to measure and map it, with every wall, fence and house in it, and that was in 1086!
I bought my cottage from some of the money i received for getting injured. The thatched roof had fallen in and taken the middle floor out! So it was being sold cheaply; as a class one listed building, everything had to be built exactly the same way as it was made in 1403, the original one burnt down!
I lived in a tent for nearly two years, as we rebuilt it, now it is mine and I love it. My hideaway, where I can go Trout fishing on the mill pond and shooting, a pint of English Ale served by the wenches, just pure heaven.
My Mother sends her most kindest regards and best wishes to you and your family, and she is most pleased that we have some sun and you had some rain.
French mustard is a grain mustard and is quite frankly disgusting, yes it is grey sometimes. I do not want to be taken to the Tower of London, tortured, and then beheaded for eating such a stuff. Especially from a Country that has been our enemy for Thousands of years. The Allied forces have given them their Country back in Two World Wars, and they still hate us.
The French women shot at the American and British troops on D-Day (1944), as we were chasing away their German lovers!
My wife does help in the garden when she feels like it, so I took this picture at this years Chelsea Flower Show of a bronze figure, it was called "The Lazy Gardener," which suits her very well!
My finest Regards from a sunny London.
Thanks for the pizza- dough recipe, Neil; I hand-wrote it just now, since I don't know how to computer-print Just the recipe without printing all of this whole garden-thread! Further info I have sent to your DMail. =)
Petelpants, I have not received a D-mail at all from you, I am a member so I do not understand it!
I am most sorry you have had to write the recipe out by hand, at least it was not that long.
You should simply cut and paste it into a Word document and then tell it to print.
It will not affect what I have written, for if you need to go back to it again, then restart your machine or close off your browser, and everything comes up as normal.
I have tried looking you on D-mail but for some reason it has not found you, how strange, as my Mother requires a favour , if it is possible!
Finest Regards from a now hot England!
p.s. if you click on this link it will tell you about Colmans mustard and you can buy it online. http://www.colmansmustardshop.com/the_mustard_shop.htm