Ireland is finally entering a proper spring, with daylight stretching across the hours and the hillsides erupting with daffodils. We have to use the last of our beetroot and celeriac that lasted us through the winter, so when I take the bus to Dublin for my day job, I’m bringing plastic containers of borscht or whatever dish I made the night before.
We are also getting the first salads and herbs of the year, although the chickens like them as much as we do. We are also seeing the first of Ireland’s spring crop of nettles and dandelions, and when we have a spare hour or two, in the evenings or on weekends, The Girl helps me gather them – nettles for soup and beer, dandelions for fritters and wine. We also found the first edible mushrooms of the year, which also became my lunch the next day.
The hawthorn trees’ confused tangles are sprouting green shoots, perfect for salads. The blackthorns are usually difficult to pick out in the hedgerow amid all the other trees, but now – for a couple of spectacular weeks – a confetti of small white flowers marks them clearly amid the largely bare trees around them. The Girl and I need to travel a few miles down the canal this weekend and mark each blossoming tree – how far it is from a landmark and in which direction – in order to remember their location and gather their sloes this autumn.
Top photo: Bluebell woods.
Bottom photo: Borscht with celeriac, carrot, dill, sour cream and chorizo sausage.