Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Marsh Orchid

This year, my neighbour Jeannie has been processing the rhubarb, which survives to this day in the historic formal garden at Balintore Castle, into wonderful edible products. My 50% share of the goods in exchange for permitting access to the patch is more than equitable. The castle restoration is so time-consuming at the moment, that I have no spare time for cooking or even picking the rhubarb, so it is a win-win scenario.

I like to stomp upon the nettles that grow around the rhubarb at least a couple of times a year - otherwise the nettles take all the light. My stomping negligence in the last few years means that the patch is not as healthy as it once used to be.

Anyhow, Jeannie's rhubarb crumble is the most delicious I have ever tasted. I tried to coax out the culinary secrets: one apparently is using a recent gift of an Indian dessert spice mix in combination with a dark sugar. I did not know that rhubarb chutney is a thing, but here is the photographic evidence that it does exist:

Jeannie's rhubarb chutney

From today's first encounter, I can report that rhubarb chutney is gorgeous. It is quite an unexpected taste, as one is so used to rhubarb in a sweet context, but in the presence of onions, cider, raisins and spices there is a alchemical transformation.

Jeannie pointed out that there are some Marsh Orchids in the formal garden. It is certainly marshy as the drainage failed a long time ago. Indeed, my longstanding and rather feeble positive spin on what is essentially a marsh with a huge crop of nettles, is that at least I have some rare orchids. However, I am not a plant expert and had never looked into what type of orchids they are or if indeed that were actually orchids.

Marsh Orchid #1
Marsh Orchid #2

I took the opportunity today to photograph the flowers, and stomp even more vigorously on the nettles. You can see that the rhubarb patch looks rather decimated after harvesting, but by letting the light in, I am hoping for more cropping and increased patch vigour.

rhubarb patch after harvesting and nettle stomping

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that is a HUGE rhubarb plant! Mine is so tiny, I have rhubarb envy right now!