I’m embracing the philosophy of make do and mend with fervour. This has had its benefits – I’ve learned to make bread, for example, and I now take great delight in being almost entirely self-sufficient in this. It’s just the flour, salt, yeast and oil I need to shop for.
It’s also led me on a few exotic forays into the outer fringes of normality. Recently, my veggie wages – or wedges, for short – included a kohlrabi. When I encountered this in the veg bag, I merely assumed Roswell had mislaid one of their more outlandish alien heads. But no, it was this curiously undercelebrated creature – as big as your head, and possibly hairier, with lovely purple leafy locks. When chopped you find it has a texture somewhere between an apple and a radish. It also has the eye-watering and logic-defying quality of tasting more turnipy than turnip. In short, it’s a bit weird. The fact that this is apparently Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall‘s favourite vegetable should have served as a warning to me.
I tried to offload it to various friends, but none of them fell for it, clever people. And so it is, in these days of waste-not-want-not, that I tried my hand at kohlrabi soup. It’s surprisingly tasty, although the carrots, potatoes, spices and stock probably help a bit there. Thanks to its massiveness, I’ll be lunching on it for days to come, and don’t mind one tiny bit having to wear goggles to eat it.
The other day, a similar spirit moved me to dye a wool jacket I’ve not worn for years. I mostly stopped wearing it after I managed to spill curry sauce rather spectacularly across the front of it, turning the green fabric the unusual and hard-to-achieve shade of neon khaki. This woolly disaster was to become a cool, new, up-cycled navy blue jacket. Blithely ignoring all the warnings on the label that you just can’t dye wool, I dyed wool. And, as it turns out, it’s not true that you can’t dye it. You can. You just can’t necessarily be sure it’ll turn out the same colour as shown on the box. In this way, I believe I’ve created an entirely new hue. I call it dishwater, after you’ve done the frying pan and it’s dense enough to bend light. And the curry stain – well, it’s still there, of course.