I wake up early from a dream where I have grown some lovely, fat, red, ‘Marmande’ tomatoes. I know it’s a dream because I can’t grow them on Dartmoor. But this quirky tomato induced fantasy has left me with a yearning for all things colourful. As I toss seed packets and brochures off the duvet I wonder if I might be suffering from an overdose of subliminal stimuli and I conclude that I really should not fall asleep whilst studying the vegetable section of the harlequin coloured Edwin Tucker and sons (Ashburton, Devon) seed catalogue.
And yes, it is that time of year again, when choosing, sowing and nurturing seeds (with their fabulously coloured packets) borders on the manically obsessive. And yes, I am a patient gardener. Well, I was until I had the TOMATO DREAM. Now I want the passion and joy of colour and I want it now!
But the day is grey and the wind cold-blooded and sharp; too cold to garden. I hit the jumper drawer and settle for something the colour of pale antique rose poppies and decide that if want colour and passion on this bleak March day then I am going to have to cook it!
I settle on a chicken dish bursting with Moroccan warmth and passion, using Rose Harissa paste, coriander and honey. The colour will be lustrous and jewel-like and the flavour as tempting as anything in the Arabian Nights.
Settle down and just soak up that COLOUR!