Cock Of The Walk

The Scrabble controversy featured on 29th May continues apace.  A multinational petition has been embarked upon on Facebook.  Old stagers are leaving in droves.  The UK’s Daily Mail has even taken up the cause.  Mattel don’t seem to be able to sell their advertising space, because the only ads that do currently feature are those inviting players to ‘play without interruption’ by buying ad-free packages.  How cynical can you get?

For some time now Jackie has been feeding not only the garden’s bird population, but also a fattening bushy tailed rodent. Squirrel baffle Consequently she has placed a squirrel baffle on the feeder post.  The idea is that he shins up the post, bangs his head on the concave perspex dome, drops down again, staggers to his feet, shakes his head like a silent movie character, and shoots across the garden to his refuge in a distant silver birch.  This morning he did seem somewhat confused as he sat on the doorstep scratching his head and eyeing his chomping rivals with the longing expression of a Tiny Tim gazing into a butcher’s shop window at Christmastime; his empty paws then going through the motions of clutching at the food.

MacPenny's garden

MacPenny’s garden nursery in Bransgore has a much longer history than that of Aviemore which I featured yesterday.  The small outlet bought from Marcia Ashley-Corbett by Douglas Lowndes in 1934 has been developed and stayed in his family ever since. MacPenny's garden 3 The exhausted gravel pit added in 1951 has become a magnificent eight acre mature garden, dubbed by Jackie ‘a garden down a hole’.  With eight acres and a team of staff you can do so much more than in Aviemore, and the Lowndes have.  The rhododendron and Azelia season was a good time to visit. MacPenny's garden 2 Numerous other plants abounded and many trees towered above us on our trip today.  Shade-loving varieties were in their element. Petals and leaves Rustic footpaths and steps made out of logs take visitors through what is another National Gardens Scheme attraction, this one open all the year round. Aquilegia No doubt the prolific plant nursery that hosts this feature has a reciprocal arrangement with the reclaimed gravel pit.  MagnoliaThe stock looked good enough to have possibly supplied Aviemore.Hosta leavesFir's new growth

MacPenny's gardenerA couple of gardeners working in the lower level shrubberies, pruning and resetting edging, told us that during the winter we would have been up to our waists in water.  The area still looked magnificent, with more, in the shape of normally marginal yellow irises, to come.  The soaking they must have had was clearly beneficial.

On our departure those leaving the car park were treated to a strutting performance by the resident faverolles cockerel as he led his harem across the gravel, past the potted plants, to the safety of a scratching area.Cockerel and hens

He made sure his hens had a clear passage as he signalled to all visitors to keep their distance.  He must have known what we were having for dinner.

Jackie produced chicken jalfrezi and a milder curried chicken with savoury rice followed by sticky toffee pudding for our evening meal.  I finished the Chateauneuf du Pape.

Published by derrickjknight

I am a septuagenarian enjoying rambling physically and photographing what I see, and rambling in my head as memories are triggered. I also ramble through a lifetime's photographs

6 thoughts on “Cock Of The Walk

  1. I can’t tell you how jealous I am of all you curries. Perhaps Jackie would let me know how she makes her Jalfrezi – I have never made a good curry personally.

    1. My recipe is different from Jackie’s but between us we can send you one, Alex. I have a Balti cook book that Jessica bought me years ago. Once you learn the method, as I’m sure you know, you can adapt. Essentially it’s for left-over roast chicken (or any other meat), so it takes less time than some. We’ll have a go tomorrow.

  2. Jackie’s method: Jar of sauce (Sharwood, Patak, Grossman) as a base. (To save time). Look up ingredients on jar and double up if she likes them. 3 Large onions. 6 cloves garlic. 2 dollops of tomato puree. 1 teaspoon of turmeric. Tinned broad beans. 2 packs Sainsbury’s chicken breasts (thinks you must cook it fresh for flavour – not left over – I think she’s right). 3/4 chopped up chillis depending on strength (or to taste). First fry chicken with butter and oil. Then add onions.and garlic. Fry them then add all powdered spices. If you like add tin chopped tomatoes. Then sauce from jar. Turn down and leave to bubble for about 20 minutes. Last couple of minutes add chopped red bell pepper. Garnish with fresh coriander. Serves 4/6.

    Derrick’s method: At least 1lb. cooked chicken; 1 tsp mustard oil; quantity of veg oil or ghee; 2 large chopped onions; 6 chopped garlic cloves (garlic paste from ethnic shops is very useful – a tablespoon should do); 2 dollops tomato puree; 3/4 peeled, chopped tomatoes; 1 tsp ground turmeric; 1tsp cumin; 1tsp cumin; bit of chilli powder according to taste; same chopped up chillis as Jackie; a little garam masala; a splosh of red wine vinegar; stock from bones of roast chicken, or cube if using packs of fresh from supermarket. Any veg you like, e.g. broad beans or cauliflower (I’ve even used carrots). Red bell pepper. 1. Heat mustard oil about 1 minute or until it begins to smoke. Add veg oil or ghee, reduce heat then add onion and garlic. Fry until golden. 2. Add tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, vinegar, spices and chopped chillis. Stir until fragrant. 3. Add stock, depending on how you like your gravy. When simmering stir in veg and pepper. Continue simmering until chicken heated through and veg and pepper tender.

    I think from this you can see who cooks regularly and who has the time to faff about.

  3. The second cumin in my version should be coriander. For both these spices I prefer to grind the seeds, but if the powder is fresh enough ready ground is fine.

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