The People’s Seat

Today we here at monsterinthecorner post a transcript of the speech that was delivered at the 24th Conference of Parties (COP24) United Nations Conferences on Climate Change, in Katowice Poland on December 3rd 2018.

The speech was delivered by renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough, and although composed by Mr. Attenborough, it marshaled the considered thinking and genuine evidence based concerns of billions of others living at this time on what we call planet earth…
It is a sobering, succinct summation of the truth every single man woman and child is destined to become very well acquainted with in the not too distant future, and that, if for no other reason, is why we now embed a copy within the monster’s archives: we reprint it here…

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Your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen.

        “‘We, the peoples of the United Nations’….
These are the opening words of the UN Charter. A charter that puts people at the centre.
A pledge to give every person in the world a voice on its future.
A promise to help protect the weakest and the strongest from war, famine and other man-made disasters.
Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale. Our greatest threat in thousands of years. Climate Change.
If we don’t take action the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.
The United Nations provides a unique platform that can unite the whole world.
And as the Paris agreement proved, together we can make real change happen.
At this crucial moment, the United Nations has invited the world’s people to have their voice heard, by giving them a seat. The People’s Seat; giving everyone the opportunity to join us here today, virtually, and speak directly to you the decision makers.
In the last two weeks, the world’s people have taken part in building this address, answering polls, sending video messages and voicing their opinions.
I am only here to represent the ‘Voice of the People’: to deliver our collective thoughts, concerns, ideas and suggestions.
This is our ‘We the peoples’ message.
The world’s people have spoken. Their message is clear. Time is running out.
They want you, the decision makers, to act now. They are behind you, along with civil society represented here today. Supporting you in making tough decisions but also willing to make sacrifices in their daily lives. To help make change happen, the UN is launching the Act Now bot. Helping people to discover simple everyday actions that they can take, because they recognize that they too must play their part.
The People have spoken.
Leaders of the world, you must lead.
The continuation of our civilisations and the natural world upon which we depend, is in your hands”.

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The Monster’s Mouth…

This is the first recipe that we post into the new Monster’s Mouth menu above, where we shall ( in the best of our own established traditions) make posting of those many and varied recipes in which we use the Monster’s annual bounty; jams, chutneys, sauces and salsas and a wholesome lot more besides to come.

Harissa:

One of the Monster’s favourite culinary condiments is the hot and spicy North African paste Harissa. We use our own red chilli peppers, garlic, tomatoes and coriander leaves to make this wonderfully pungent addition to our larder. We use it as a marinade for pork and chicken, and Mrs. Dirtdigger will often swirl a loving spoonful into beef casseroles and stews. Loosen a spoonful with some quality virgin olive oil and it more than serves as a bread dip, a hot salad dressing, or as a drizzle for vegetables to be roasted. It adds heat and punch to rice dishes and couscous and it works wonderfully and surprisingly well with hard-boiled eggs while transforming mackerel, salmon and tuna when used sparingly as a cooking rub or as a flavour dress for open sandwiches. We make a couple of small jars each year while our fresh ingredients allow and this hot aromatic accompaniment to our cooking reminds us of the heady summer days on our allotment and sees us through the darker days of the year.

harissa ingredients
The Monster’s harissa ingredients: garlic,peppers,tomatoes and coriander leaves

Ingredients
• 8-10 medium-hot red chilli peppers Cayenne/Serrano/Fireflame 
• 1 heaped tablespoon of purée tomato
• 1 good-sized bulb (whole bulb) or 8 cloves of garlic, cloves peeled and crushed
• 1heaped tablespoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted, ground,
• 1 heaped tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted, ground
• 80-100 ml (6-8 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
• Splash red wine vinegar
• 1 cup freshly chopped coriander leaves
• Sea salt, and freshly ground black and red pepper for taste
• Pinch of caster sugar (optional), if needed

Method
• Preheat oven to 200c/gas mark 7.
• Place the chilli peppers on a small tray and roast for 18- 20 minutes. The skins will blacken and begin to come away from the flesh.
• Removing from the oven place the roasted chillies in a bowl and seal completely with cling film. Allow to cool. When peppers have cooled peel off the skins and remove the seeds leaving just the roasted pepper flesh.
• Put peppers into a mortar and using a pestle work to a paste (a food processor can be used). Now add the purée tomato , garlic and ground spices and grind/pound to a paste. Add the freshly chopped coriander leaves and season for taste.
• Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and red wine vinegar splash.
• Add a full fingers pinch of sugar if you feel the flavour needs a lift.
• Put into sterilized jars, and store in a refrigerator. It should store for up to 4 months.

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Harissa, one of the Monster’s favourites

Missing… inaction…

Missing in action!!!

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compliments of @janpaulkelly instagram

With the allotment site closed for the Christmas-New Year period we’ve not been out to tramp the monster’s measure in almost two weeks now, but then as past years’ experience could show, had we had the opportunity to venture out for a visit, we’d most likely have been hampered in our desire to undertake any serious allotment and gardening activity, it being the depths of winter.
And yet a little qualification; for we did say past years’ experiences, and most likely when this year’s early winter experience is proving anything but likely.

It was the mildest December in many decades with the daily temperatures 5 degrees above average for the whole month, and night-time temperatures not once falling below 3 degrees, never mind freezing. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and St. Stephen’s Day saw the mercury hover @13 degrees with slack southerly air and little or no rain. In truth it must be said that the early winter of 2018-2019 was/is a very benign affair, and being so means we have seen snowdrops in bloom and daffodil snouts four to five inches above their trenches before mid winter’s day, and when taken in tandem with the fabulously good summer of last year, followed by a milder than usual autumn, one could be forgiven for speculating that winter is missing-in-action.

But we here with the monster know better than to rush to rash speculations; and we need point no further back than to January February and March of last year to highlight the dangers with hastily drawn assumptions on a winter’s demise, early or otherwise. Mother Nature’s box of meteorological wonder is filled with magic yet for all of their allure none of her tricks has learned to tell the time, yet.
So, the fabulous year that was is now past, cast to history’s compost heap, and with that we prepare to begin the whole process again. We are hatching our plans, and we are preparing our templates. We begin filling the new sowing diary just as soon as we begin sowing (on 1st of February), and we still have one or two basic husbandry and upkeep tasks with the plot and bed perimeters to be pottering about with as the weather will allow. The celebratory actions and inaction just like the Mince Pies and Christmas pudding will have to be exercised and worked-off. The New Year –as every New Year does– presents its own challenges and propositions and we’ll greet them as we meet them and hopefully we will learn something from the encounters.
We still have jars of jam and sauces aplenty; we still have a store of Karmen and Stuttgarter onions, we still have rhubarb chopped and frozen and rather surprisingly we still have a bulb or two of garlic yet. Christmas has come and gone as has the year that was 2018. We may be missing our dirt-digging activities, but winter(?),

winter is not missing; it’s just not wearing its more familiar seasonal apparel, as yet.

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A very slack Dublin Bay on a very mild St Stephen’s Day

Bringing It All Back Home…

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Tinkerbell & Giggler…Jack O’s 2018

As an exercise we had been keeping track of all we had harvested as we harvested this year.  So, as we head into mid November and luckily are still using some of our own fresh tomatoes and lettuce this late in the season, we thought we’d share our running tally for the year thus far…

It makes for an interesting read: it not only helps you appreciate what can be accomplished and achieved from a small patch of earth once you have a plan and a little time to commit to it, it also deepens appreciation for all involved in the growing of fresh food produce on a large scale for an ever increasing population’s insatiable appetite…

It is always fun, but it is never easy.

Tomatoes over 80 lbs
Blackcurrants 20lbs
Gooseberries 15lbs
Blackberries 14lbs
Cucumbers and courgettes, a glut of both while they lasted
Rhubarb, although it struggled with the excessive heat and drought, we still have a little frozen stock for the coming months.
Broadbeans 20lbs
Californian Wonder Bell Peppers 20
Cayenne and Fireflame Peppers 30
French Mangetout Beans 10 lbs
Potatoes >30lb
Beetroot >20 lbs
Red Gourmet Shallots >10 lbs
Red Baron Onions >20lbs
Stuttgarter Onions >40lbs
Garlic 20 bulbs
Pumpkins 8 medium Jack O Lantern pumpkins,
All lettuce, radishes, green leaf salad and kale throughout the summer,
Parsnips and Swedes only beginning to mature and harvest now, but a crop of both in the ground to see us through till Christmas,
All our herb requirements throughout the year; basil, dill, parsley, tarragon, sage, rosemary with pots now dried and stored…

And with over 70 jars of Jams, Chutneys, Salsas and Sauces stored away…

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Setting the Samhain scene…Halloween 2018
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Autumn Harvest Table Spread…compliments of Mrs. Dirtdigger aka @janpaulkelly instagram