It’s a bit late to point out that you don’t want to be faced with a vast harvest of runner beans if you hate the sight of them, despair at pushing them through those tiny boxes of razor blades designed to lacerate your thumbs and would rather eat a fast food flabby burger, than push one sliver of boiled to buggery bean between your protesting lips. Since you read this blog you are obviously intelligent and will have spent the summer nurturing only that which you wish to consume. In the past I invested a great deal of toil in producing potatoes, only to be informed by my family that they were going carbohydrate free, were counting calories or didn’t care for them. I’m here to tell you that when stored potatoes start to rot, they smell utterly and entirely awful.
Courgettes / zucchini in the hot box
I grow courgettes for the sole purpose of putting raw crunch into a salad. I dip the vegetable sticks into garlic mayonnaise to save me from too much that is good for me. I keep lettuce in pots, bounded about with copper tape to keep the bastard snails at bay. The different types of lollo rosso, frisee, oak leaf etcetera, can be bought in one packet of mixed seed and make a fetching garden in the cold frame. Attila kept licking his chops at the artichokes, so I put him off by cooking a pan full of buds and making a hollandaise sauce. By the time that he had ripped his dinner apart and eaten his share, he was exhausted and speechless, which must be a first. The plants are now free to bloom in all their purple perfection and are no longer threatened by some hunger crazed foodie with access to a step ladder.
Wall trained redcurrants
The red currants make great jelly and I use the forced rhubarb for crumbles and mixed with cream for fools. Gooseberries are versatile in both sweet and savoury recipes. Blackberries are good for fragrant sorbet and sauce for game such as pheasant, venison and duck.
One of my most successful ventures is raspberry sherbet.
175g caster sugar
500ml low fat fromage frais or cream cheese (I like full fat mascarpone)
Heat the sugar and water, stirring until it boils. Cool, then chill. Puree the raspberries, then sieve to remove the seeds. Mix the puree with the cold sugar syrup. Add the fromage frais or cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Put the mixture into a freezer proof container and freeze for two hours. Whisk to break up the ice crystals. Freeze for two more hours and then whisk again. Freeze until ready to serve, or you can no longer resist. Once I had tasted this ambrosia, this nectar of the Gods, I was no longer prepared to waste raspberries on jam or other such silliness. If I love you truly, I may share some with you but don’t count on it.
Grapes, variety unknown
Feathery plumes of asparagus adorn the garden for texture amongst the flowers and they make great additions to arrangements in vases. I never remember to cut the spears in spring, so my special kettle for cooking them does not receive a home grown workout very often. Apples and plums weigh down the branches of their trees but won’t be ripe for a few more months. This is the most bounteous, burgeoning time of year. Whatever the sky throws at me, I look out at the garden and feel replete with delight. Wishing you a plate full of the same.