Spring is finally here and the world in the Northern hemisphere has burst into bloom.
I have been taking of advantage of the sunshine to revisit some of Liverpool’s lovely parks and gardens.
On Monday I visited ‘Calderstones’ park where there was an abundance of spring flowers.
While sitting enjoying a coffee in one of the lovely secluded gardens my friend Jacqui read an inscription at the foot of a small obelisk in the centre, that I had not noticed before (not having visited this park very often since I was a child).
The inscription was a dedication to a rescue dog called Jet.
Spring flowers at Calderstones park, Liverpool
Jet was a black German Shepherd, born in the Mossley Hill area of Liverpool in 1942.
At the age of nine months old, Jett was loaned to the ‘War Dogs’ school in Gloucester where he was trained in ‘anti sabotage’ work.
Following eighteen months working on airfields carrying out ‘anti sabotage’ duties he was returned to the school to train as a ‘rescue dog’.
Along with his corporal he was deployed to London during the Blitz and they were called out every night during until the air raids stopped.
This was the first time that an army man and dog team had every been used in Civil Defence rescue duties.
Jet’s amazing ‘nose’ helped him to rescue more than 100 people even searching through the rubble of the remains of factories containing dangerous chemicals and poisonous smoke.
His bravery and persistence were legendary and he persisted after many searches through the remains of a hotel in Chelsea until he found an elderly lady alive and trapped on a ledge.
In 1945 Jet was awarded ‘The Dickin Medal’ – the animal equivalent of the ‘Victoria Cross’ (the highest British Military Honour)
In 1947 when the war was over, he returned to Liverpool, but the work still continued and he saved a number of people from a pit explosion in Cumbria for which he received the R.S.P.C.A. ‘Medallion of Valour’
The memorial garden in ‘Calderstones’ is close to where Jet was buried after he died in 1949.
The memorial garden and memorial to Jet at Calderstones park, Liverpool
The warmer weather also tempted me into a little ‘al fresco’ eating, and as I do not have one at home, the parks are my garden, so a quiche is the ideal thing to make and take.
This is a quiche Lorraine, but as it was a ‘last minute’ idea to eat in the park, I resorted to shop bought pastry (seethe bottom of ‘Blackberry season et Tarte aux Mures’ in ‘tartes’ section for my perfect pastry recipe)
Home-made short crust / frozen flaky pastry
150 g smoked lardons or streaky bacon cut into thin strips
1 small shallot finely chopped
½ pint / 300 ml single cream
2 large free range eggs lightly beaten
1 teaspoon of English mustard
2oz / 50 g grated parmesan cheese
‘dry fry’ the lardons/bacon until crisp and remove from pan and set aside
Gently sauté the shallot in the bacon fat until transparent taking care not to brown and set aside with the bacon
Line a flan dish with the pastry and cook ‘blind’ for 10 minutes (prick the bottom with a fork to prevent it from rising)
Mix the egg, cream and mustard in a mixing jug
Put the cooled bacon and shallot into the pastry case and add the egg/milk mixture
Sprinkle with the parmesan and bake in a moderate oven 180/gas mark 4 for around 35 minutes until pastry is cooked, top is golden and filling just firm
Leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving warm, but equally delicious cold for a picnic.
Serve with a mixed green salad and or tomato