Wednesday, 31 May 2017

May 2017 - Garden peak time in London and Slovenia

This is the look Millie gives me when I leave the house without her.
Quietly worried but pulling herself together.

Frankly, May is a bit of haze.
I ate a lot and there were so many sick people around me including myself.
I never ever ever get sick of dim sum.

I have been a bit garden mad.
England in May is glorious and I was going to make the most of it.
This is my rice being washed.

Apparently rice water is so good for not just your skin 
( many Koreans now wash their face with the rice from the washed leftover -
 may sound weird but if you buy SKII then this is the cheaper version.)

Anyway, I save it for my plants and feed them this as a treat.

My husband is Taurus. 
God help me.
I just got 2 Cartmel Sticky toffee puddings instead of cake.
It seems unless the cake is excellent most people dread eating ceremonial food these days.

As my friends and I are hardened Londoners, 
we need to eat elsewhere to feel a buzz.
To go to the latest restaurant to see the same people we have bumped into for the past 20 
or so odd years just doesn't do anything for me.

So we went to Hisa Franko in Slovenia for a few days.
It was a perfect time to really chat without rushing off and getting some fresh air.
I love cheese popsicles.
These were made out of a local cheese but they are so easy to make but so festive and lift the mood.

What is impressive about the chef is that she was self taught.
Other than that she does what most chefs do now which is to use all local ingredients.

But the most interesting discovery was the Slovenian wines.
They were superb.
And on a side note, incredibly affordable.
If in doubt, just pick a Slovenian white next time you see it on the wine list.

We also found this cheesy, herbed friend dough balls 
but I forget the name.

Slovenia is as a friend put it - low rent Switzerland.
It was part of former Yugoslavia and now is in the E.U.
But we flew into Trieste in Italy.
Their espalier game was strong.

My friends and I were walking along discovering the local area but instead of backtracking we crossed this ditch. For us this was very Bear Gryllis.
I also saw 3 snakes in the 3 days I was there.

But the country is extraordinary even though small.
The river was that turqouise in real life.
#nofilter as they say

The restaurant which is also the hotel we stayed in had their own kitchen and flower cutting garden.
They had peonies on every dining table.

I got a new breed of roses called Olivia Austin named after 
David Austin's granddaughter.
They bloom like mad but that could be my rice water.

For those of you who didn't watch the nightly BBC Chelsea Flower Show coverage, 
Monty wore such a funny tie.
Twitter was lighting up about it.

Many of the show gardens at Chelsea are donated and replanted in public parks 
but I wonder what park would have this quarry garden? 
Health and safety issues all over it.

I am going to be ordering from Blom bulbs to have more tulips next spring.

I am trying to achieve this clematis and rose look but am so far off.

Chelsea has also inspired me to go strawberries but my husband had to rein me in.

PS If you ever drop you phone in water, do not keep it in rice for 3 days like  I did.
Go to a store and fix it ASAP.
They might be able to salvage it with a special drying solution.

I know officially Mercury Retrograde was over weeks ago but I think the effects are still lingering.

Hope you are well and can you believe it is June tomorrow??? x


  1. While you trot off to Slovenia and Italy, we'll be going to Cincinnati! And we are excited about it! Oh, and I am also married to a Taurus, but being a Virgo it really is quite a match.

    1. I would be happy to go to Cinncinnati - it holds a special place for me bc i loved the show - wkrp - remember that old one? Being married to a taurus as a gemini is something else though - we are polar opposites!

  2. Monty Don is a character as many gardeners are and I adore his series on French gardens...I don't tweet but can imagine the twitters.
    your new David Austin rose looks lovely...we purchased 3 new Claire Austin Roses for the Humble Bungalow Garden this Spring...they are white and fragrant and already they are leafy and green.

    1. I love Monty Don despite his tie! I have watched all his series too. I was going to buy the Claire Austin as a rose tree but they only had it as a bare root and I am not ready for that quite yet! Your garden is looking great right now too xx

  3. I was inspired to watch the Chef's Table series after your post on the restaurant in Sweden, and I was particularly fascinated by the Hisa Franko episode. After your comment on the wine, I am wishing more time had been spent on her husband (or that they did a separate series on sommeliers). Thanks for the trip to Slovenia!

    1. The range of white wine was on a par with France or Italy - mind you Slovenia and the restaurant itself was 3 miles from the italian border. I normally don't do white wine but I made up for it there. I hope you get to try the cheeses as well - so affordable and so tasty!



      Here is a good and tasty one - I like cheese paprika variation but doesn't do as well with wine ;)

  5. OK that makes two bloggers I follow who are in Slovenia this year. I predict a groundswell!

    1. It is probably the size of greater San Francisco!

  6. Monty's tie is very stockbroker circa 1985 in Wall Street. Odd choice for a gardener, but perhaps he doesn't wear ties terribly often and hasn't updated?
    Loved following the trip to Slovakia. I had no idea they did wine there too. I am so impressed with what you manage to grow on your balcony too. Strawberries would be easy though, as they love a pot?
    Curious what the rice water does to the plants though- preserve their leaves longer?!? xx

    1. Monty mentioned the tie on the last night - he is so sweet. S has said that the balcony now has reached its weight limit!!! the husks in the water has lots of vitamins and some active ingredient that helps with aging. SK2 is so expensive considering rice water is cheap xx

  7. Such a fun float around lots of interesting places post. I miss yum cha (Dim sum in Britain) and all Asian food in general living in Washington. I like Korean skincare and it's very good and fairly cheap. Korean ladies really know how to look after their skin and in our suburb in Australia very large sun hats or visors are de rigueur to maintain their porcelain visage. Perhaps the quarry garden could be installed in the Paris Palais Royale as it would complement the small columns scattered within the "quadrangle".

    1. I still call it yum cha in my head hehe. But here they don't roll carts around as much like in Oz. I think Korean make up and skin care is department store quality at chemist prices ( well some of them) Yes you are right - the columns could be the stoic spartan version set off nicely in the Palais - good eye Yvonne!

  8. Hello CSW, I would go for the strawberries--it is the easiest way to get started in fruit culture, and no fruit compares to home grown (you just made the point of the restaurant having its own gardens for the freshest and tastiest supply).

    1. British strawberries are one of the rare local fruit so next year I just might and I do love their aroma too. Although you get spoiled in Taiwan Jim I am sure with fruit.

  9. Cheese popsicles are genius. I sooo hate snakes. I'd have stayed in after seeing them! The flowers are beautiful. I say, go for the strawberries. xo

    1. So easy so festive so tasty. I hate snakes too - i nearly stepped on one - screamed my lungs out! xx

  10. Slovenia looks lovely - except for the snakes.

    Laughing about your Taurus comment - I share my birthday with my sister (not twins) and mother-in-law in late April. My 3 closest friends are born on 6, 13 and 17 May. Bulls everywhere 🐂
    Leigh 😊

    1. It was lovely - except as snakes go - they were all tiny but black...

      One of my closest friends is a Taurus and she is tough as - I feel for you Leigh!

  11. Hope you are well and safe. Such senseless tragedy Saturday night.

  12. Golly, you have been busy! I love your passion for adventure combined with food, surely a recipe for a memorable meal to be certain. Those herb friend dough balls look terrific, yum. Obviously, I need to get myself some lunch.

    I need to try your rice trick with the few roses I have. Adore DA roses but lost my beloved Abraham Darby when I tried to relocate it last year, sigh.

  13. Cheese popsicles are genius. I sooo hate snakes. I'd have stayed in after seeing them! The flowers are beautiful. I say, go for the strawberries.
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