Category Archives: Health and fitness

Regrow your supermarket spring onions / salad onions

The latest crop from a shop-bought packet of spring onions that I planted last year, still providing me with lots of lovely flavour.

I’ve been regrowing shop-bought spring onions / salad onions for about 10 years.   If you buy a pack that has those spindly little white roots still attached (most of them have them) you can place them in water and regrow them.

It occurred to me today that at this particular time, this can be done very easily even if you are self-isolating, to make your spring onions go further.  Kids would probably love to do it. Best of all, after you cut your first crop, they will grow back!  You should get several crops in a single season.  They will be dormant in winter but will come back in spring.

Note that these will not grow into the same solid spring onion that you originally purchased, but they will produce giant, hollow chives, which are utterly delicious in salads, mashed into spud, or fine-chopped and sprinkled over stews and casseroles.  You can see mine in the photo to the left.  I first planted them last year and they are still going strong in their pot this year.

I don’t actually have any shop-bought spring onions at the moment, or I would photograph the process, but it’s dead simple and here’s how I’ve been doing it for years:

Buy spring onions that have their little white hair-like roots still attached, such as the ones in the picture on the right (which I’ve borrowed from the Ocado website).  If they have been cut off, this won’t work.

As soon as you have your spring onions home, cut off the last 3-4cm (a bit over an inch) that have the roots still attached.  Place these in glass or jar of cold water (a glass or jar is better than a cup so that you can watch what’s happening).  You only need enough water to cover the roots and a bit of the stem.

In a couple of days new, healthy white roots will appear and start growing.  When the new roots reach a good size (I find that anything over 3-4cms / an inch long works) you can plant them out into your garden or into pots (or the bottoms of used plastic bottles, with holes made in the bottom for drainage).

When you plant them, make sure that whilst the roots are under the surface, a bit of green remains, sticking up.  Water well, and keep moist, but don’t drown.  In only a couple of weeks they will begin to grow and when they reach a good height you can cut them and eat them.   Best of all, they will regrow!  The photograph at the top of the page shows the ones I planted last year and am still eating today (quite literally – they are going to be sprinkled over tonight’s home-made curry to give it a bit of zing in the absence of any coriander).


Giving it a whirl and going with the flow: Zumba and Tai Chi at Neuadd Dyfi

I had seen the advert for Zumba and Tai Chi at Neuadd Dyfi “especially for older active participants”on the Neuadd’s website whilst booking online for an event in October.   As I am both older and active, that seemed to hit the spot.  Unpacking removals boxes, DIY and gardening only get one so far after a life that was nowhere near as sedentary as the one that I am now leading, so I decided to take the plunge and see what Zumba and Tai Chi are all about.  I phoned the number on the advert last week to see what I needed to do to join a class, and was reassured by Sandy, who runs both classes, that all would be well on the day.

The main conference hall at Neuadd Dyfi. Photograph from the Neuadd Dyfi website.

Fortunately in one of the packing boxes I found a pair of leggings that I had used when I used to run in my local park in London, and a pair of trainers.  I had my £6.00 ready to pay (which covers both the Zumba and the Tai Chi),  took a deep breath and headed on in.  Sandy had warned me that the front doors would be closed so I duly entered by the side door.  The place smelled pleasantly as though it had been recently cleaned, and it has a slightly Tardis quality to it – it seemed substantially bigger on the inside than it did on the outside.  Having arrived very early, I was just wandering down the main corridor when a lady in gym gear emerged from an office, and this was Sandy.  We walked down to the room where the Zumba was to take place, a bright, light room, with tall ceilings and a real sense of space.  A complicated-looking sound system was tucked into a corner.  Des George, the Chairman, walked in and I was lucky enough to be given a guided tour.   There are three main spaces along the length of the building, including a big stage, a meeting room, a kitchen and even a small garden area.  They have a new central heating system and are although they are planning on cosmetic improvements to bits of the interior it looks great.  I’ll write much more about the Neuadd Dyfi in the future, but for the time being suffice to say that I was truly impressed and have now signed up to the email newsletter to see what will be on in the future.  People began to turn up, and Sandy introduced me as a newbie, and it was super to be so warmly welcomed.

I’m not really a joining classes or group activity type of person, and I’ve never done group exercise before, so I was by no means sure what to expect, but I loved it.  There were 10 of us for the half hour Zumba Gold class.  Zumba, if you are new to the concept, is a Latin American exercise phenomenon based on dance and Latino music.  I had never seen it, never mind tried it, so it was a real voyage of discovery, and such fun.   I’m not terribly well co-ordinated but my feet eventually got the message, and I was able to follow along without much difficulty, although my arms seemed to be unwilling to join in.   The classes are aimed at an older clientèle (the “gold” in the title of the class), and is low-impact.  There were various levels of aptitude and fitness there, but we all threw ourselves into it with gusto, helped on by some great music and Sandy’s clear lead.  It was impossible not to have a good time.  At the end of the class it was great to chat with the others, a really friendly bunch, and it turns out that most of them only signed up this year, having decided to do it together, all members of the Aberdovey golf club.  The classes themselves have been going for the best part of a decade.   I hadn’t realized that there is another, hour-long class on Friday, so I’ll be going to that too.

After the bounce and verve of the Zumba, Tai Chi was something completely different.  I knew nothing about it, and much of the lesson was about introducing me not merely to the moves, but to the history and the concepts.  It’s not easy because it’s a matter of retraining the brain to relax into moves rather than powering into them.  Luckily the one other class member, lovely Jane, was happy to demonstrate along with Sandy, and I slowly caught on to the idea that movements flow from one to another, that the upper body follows the hips and legs, and that the discipline lies in learning to move slowly, with control, but to relax the upper limbs completely and allow the lower limbs to relax as soon as they are no longer required for support.  It seems contradictory at first, but it really is a matter of learning to take command of one’s body whilst at the same time letting go.  I have done yoga, but this is far more about a combination of slow movement and discipline combining to build up a sequence that is completely seamless and all-absorbing.  It is going to take me a while to be proficient enough to stop thinking about each individual move, and to quite literally go with the flow, but it is a terrific feeling and will be worth the work.  God knows what it would cost to have a nearly one-on-one session with someone of Sandy’s calibre in London, and this is a terrific opportunity.

For full details about the Zumba and Tai Chi classes that Sandy runs see:
To see more about the Neuadd Dyfi and what they have to offer (which is a lot!) visit their website at