Shallots drying out

I always thought I’d make a good girl. Not bad at picking out dresses, pretty handy in the kitchen. You know, I think I’d be quite a catch for some lucky guy.

The great unknown, though, is the hair. Being as my hairline is receding rather quickly and I don’t live in the Sixties, a thick head of long wavy hair is something singularly missing from that old devil gazing adorably at me in the mirror in the mornings. This means that I am denied the opportunity to improve the hairstyling skills that would seal my claims for womanhood.

Happily the allotment, as well as providing hours of relaxation and food for the table, has somewhat unexpectedly come to the resuce in my bid to try out alternative gender roles.

As you can see from the pic above, the shallots (Longue de Bretagne) are starting to ripen and I’ve harvested the first lot. Much as I love the pungent devils though, I’m not going to eat quite that many at once, and one of the attractions of growing shallots is that they store so well and last for ages.

One of the most stylish ways to store them is to plait them and hang them up, thus turning a prosaic task – the storing of vegetables – into a work of art. And also giving Drooling a chance to demonstrate, through the medium of alliums, the ability to plait hair in a fashing that would truly merit the title “lady”. If I can do it with shallots, surely, then hair would be no problem?

So off we went. A quick tour of the internet suggested that plaiting the shallots before they dry is best – otherwise they become too brittle and less pliable. They can then dry out while tastefully dangling from the beams in your farmhouse kitchen. After that the instructions got a little vaguer and I found precious few useful diagrams or instructions. Still, how hard can it be for a wannabe woman?

Three shallots together. Cross the stem of the left over into the middle. Then the stem of the right, then repeat. Add in another three shallots and watch the plait start to take shape. Just tuck that shallot back in there….left stem over into the middle…might need a bit of string to keep that row nice and tidy…add another row of shallots…the rustic look is good, no need to make it too neat…bit more string…just need the scissors to snip off that little piece sticking out there…whooaah, what happened to that row? One more row to go…and there we are! Just tie that off at the top and see how it looks hanging up…

Imagine you saw a beautiful woman with hair plaited like this: Irresistible, no?

What do you mean? It’s all the rage this season! Haven’t you seen the plaits on the Paris catwalks – “tousled and unkempt” is the look of 2009. Philistines!

Still, probably best I don’t have to do this on a regular basis.

On the ipod while imagining what it would be like to have one of these dangling down the back of my neck: Blur / Boys and Girls