Saturday, 13 November 2010

Shooting sprouts and kale

There's only one thing to do on the allotment at this time of year. Dig. Very vigorous digging, just to keep warm. But this week the digging was interrupted by photographer Paul Debois. Paul has decided to shoot all the women allotmenteers he has worked with as a follow on to his gorgeous series of gardeners hand portraits (worth looking to see if you can guess which hands belong to which celebrity gardener, it's quite fascinating). But for this project, he is photographing me, Tamsin and Kate (from Gardeners' World magazine) on the work allotment. How flattering and potentially glamorous!
But I don't recommend a photoshoot on an allotment in November. It's been hard to get the right day, weather and light, and when these did converge, it was, naturally, freezing cold. So we waited for a red bus to shoot past on the flyover behind to set the Londonscene and tried to smile in the wind. Chapped lips and flyaway hair aside, the end result looks great - a sort of more down-to-earth Charlie's Angels, if you wanted to be complimentary - and, consummate modelling professionals that we clearly are, you can't really tell that we were frozen to the bone. I will post a link to the photo if and when Paul adds it to his website.
Meanwhile I have to report that the Tuscan Kale is looking truly magnificent, but the sprouts have a long way to go before they reach any sort of respectable size.


  1. Cavalo di Nero (or whatever it's called) looks great on a frosty morning. Mine's a bit leathery, but I read a Giorgio Locatelli piece where he says to never eat it unless you've boiled the live out of it for an hour. I tried that, and it actually tastes loads better, more tender and rick with iron!

  2. What a build up! What a description! And what do we get? Brassicas!

    Enjoy the glamour when it comes.


  3. Dear IG. I can recommend the Tuscan ribollita soup (there's a good Jamie Oliver recipe online). Strip leafy parts off your cavolo and add to general minestrone-type mix and cook - and cook. Serve with a dash of good olive oil and fresh parmesan. It's utterly wholesome and wonderful winter food. Don't forget the obligatory glass of red to go with it.
    Dear Esther - I would hate for such a glamorous allotment moment to go to my head. I felt it was important to bring myself right back down to earth again...

  4. Beuatiful pic of Cavalo Nero, though I too hate the taste... Maybe I just need to boil it within an inch of its life?! Photo shoot sounds like my idea of hell, but look forward to seeing the results.