Right, theres a sort-of-not-quite-random selection of stuff served up below.
H'ors d'oeuvres - tadpole
Beginning with my frog pool.
V. excited today to see a newt in the pool. And in my head, I'm saying "excited" in a Welsh accent. "Ex-XCI-ted". Why should that be?
Here it is:
and again, slinking out of view, avec 3 (frog) tadpoles.
But heres my dilemma. Ex-xcit-ted to have not only tadpoles but also a newt. But, did you know that newts feed off little frog-tadpoles? how could they? i'm more than happy for them to eat any quantity of slugs and snails (oops, that originally typed out as sluts and mails). I hope they will. But I don't want it eating my little baby froglets. They are most definately NOT supposed to be a feast for newts.
I discovered, googling away (i don't know much about pond-life) (is it a bit like park life?) that newts are a protected species within Britin. So, I couldn't/shouldn't euthanase them even if I wanted to. Which I don't. I like lizardy things. I may just have to let nature battle it out. I'm hoping the tadpoles are big enough already to look indigestible. Or fast enough to wiggle out of the way.
I always liked newts - and I now know that they are The Original Sci-fi Species. Also sometimes called tritons, they can regenerate not only limbs but also eyes, heart, spinal cord, intestines.... they change colour, shed skin, exude defensive toxins, they metamorphose and go through an "eft" phase, the males are distinguishable by fringed toes and are prone to dropping spermatophones..... Sounds like something from Star Trek to me.
I also discovered more than I needed to know about Newt Gingrich. Who, for what reason/s, would call a child "Newt"? Wouldn't you just steer away from Newton as a potential name, for fear of "Newt"? Up there with fear of mullet, I'd have thought.
LG is also excited by the newt-discovery, and has proposed a series of little pools in the garden: one for frogs, one for newts, one for toads - the idea being that they can battle it out and feast off one another, providing her with war-gaming entertainment.
Nature red in tooth and teenager. She defines the word "belligerent".
Main course - cornus.
I have started cycling again.
The downside is that I'm remembering muscles I'd forgotten. And not in a good way. Achey thighs, hips, bum.
The upside (one of many) is that I'm following a slightly different route through Greenwich Park from my walking route and so passing my special cornus tree, whose spring progress I always watch and enjoy.
I was just in time to catch it in full bloom this week, and tho I did post pictures last year, I had to post some more here because its so wonderful.
So, this is a feast for the spring-hungry (nice phrase from Steve Reed) but in a hopefully-nicely potted form so its easily digestible (but with a little added protein) in case you're really not ever so interested in green and veggie stuff.
Dessert. Aniseed cake.
Dark and dense - a bit like gingerbread, except sort of liquoricey rather than gingery.
Not in an over-the-top liquorice allsort sort of way. In a subtle but yummy EAT IT sort of way.
From the Guardian Weekend, April 2006.
I'm not a frequent cake baker. But this is worth it.
(its eggless, just in case the thought of frogspawn puts you off)
Dark Aniseed cake.
350ml boiling water
175g pitted prunes
225g black treacle
75g dark ale
175g unsalted butter
175g dark muscovado sugar
450g spelt flour
2 eye of newt
4 tsp baking powder
4 tsp aniseed or fennel seeds
250g icing sugar
3Tbsp orange juice
zest of 1 orange.
Preheated oven 180c/350f/gas 4. 20cm-ish cake tin, lined.
Soak prunes 5 mins in the boiling water, before pureeing with the treacle and ale.
Cream butter and sugar - slowly beat in prune mixture.
Add sieved flour, with baking powder and seeds and beat evenly.
Bake 50 mins or till skewer comes out clean. (needed longer when I did it. could be due to crap oven). Cool in tin. Use icing sugar and orangey bits to make icing. Use newt eyes as you see fit.
Bake it, have it and eat it.
Eat it and make another one.
Good spoon and bowl licking too.
except maybe not if you don't like treacle or liquorice.
I hope the newt isn't repeating on you.
Apparently they can carry salmonella.
well, yes. An eclectic menu.
Ok, so maybe it was Random.
I just tried to find some continuity.
Its my way.
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1 year ago