I must cut down on buying vegetables, otherwise eternally dreaded food wasting might come to pass.
I have not gone mad. I am not on a strict keto diet either. Nor have I contracted a rare digestive disorder that allows me to consume only meat and pasta. I have vegetables coming out of my ears – and from my garden!
It’s reap what you’ve sown or planted now, no purchase necessary. Amateur gardeners with vegetable plots the size of a hankie will truly and deeply understand me.
This summer, the best for years, is perfect for growing. Unless you live in Kent or Sussex.
The Weather Man goes out into the garden every morning to water everything (while we’re still allowed here) and comes back in bearing crops. Green and yellow beans, broad beans, carrots, wonderful little beetroots with feather crowns of leaves, not-so-new anymore potatoes, too few tomatoes and far too many cucumbers. Soon there will also be broccoli and sweetcorn. The cucumber plants this year are clearly in a nationwide fertility competition and I’m not going to mention courgettes lest they take it for encouragement.
What to do with the bumper crop of everything? Quit complaining and appreciate it, that’s what. We might not be able to grow peppers or aubergines in the UK but there are plenty gorgeous dishes to be made with the local and seasonal.
I hold off cooking beetroot gratin till the days get cooler but the leaves are the perk of growing garden beets, as nice and versatile as spinach. Cook them the same way you’d prepare chard or make this great beet leaf tart. And have the beetroots raw, in a herby salad.
Garden broccoli are also good for a salad, not just broccoli cheese. French beans are insanely lovely with Parmesan cream or in the company of tomatoes. Still, runner bean shouldn’t be spurned either but turned into garlicky runner beans. Broad beans were lovely on bruschetta earlier in the season but now you must double-pod and crush them into a delicious side dish.
My potatoes have been made into numerous salads and now it’s time to smash and roast them. Sweetcorn is excellent creamed or on a cheesy tart, but you can also use it in a summer salad with chicken and feta.
Tomatoes and courgettes merit posts of their own, coming soon. This week I’ll end with a dessert coming from my raspberry canes: almond cake with raspberries. It’s flourless, dairy and gluten free, yet wonderfully airy and soft. Happy picking!