We are in the middle of a mini-heatwave. The air in Heliopolis yesterday felt like a fan oven. Today, the temperature in New Cairo hit 39C (100F) in the shade, and I can only imagine what it must be like for farmers working in the fields, or commuters travelling downtown.
On top of all that, Cairo has been named by the World Health Organisation as the second most polluted major city in the world, after New Delhi.
In the circumstances, the Jasmine Garden is now, more than ever, our retreat from stifling heat, dust and pollutants.
We have just extracted the first batch of honey this year: deep golden to light brown, with a distinctive and quite mellow flavour, it brings a wonderful warmth to the throat and a pleasing taste to the tongue. Nothing thin, bland or self effacing about this honey: it is as full-bodied as it is full of Egyptian sunshine.
It arrived just in the nick of time: I have been floored by a very nasty bout of flu, unable even to get out into the garden – imagine! Emergency supplies of lemon juice, from our tree, and honey, kindly donated by our bees, have helped to pick me up. Read more
The winter weather may be unpredictable, but I’m relieved to say this isn’t stopping our raised beds from producing bountifully right now. Chief among the produce are salad crops: Truth is, the peas and green beans almost entirely failed to germinate in the autumn.
So we can add a lot of colour to our salad bowl – and sink our (veggie) teeth into a good crunch! Read more