What to cook this week?
Sat, 10 August, 2019
Do you grow veg? Do you have an allotment or a patch in your garden, or else a friend or neighbour who does? If you do, you’ll know what it’s like to eat beans, beans, beans every day. And then courgettes. And massively overgrown spinach that grows quicker than you can pick it.
It’s certainly a blessing to be able to grow your own veg (provided somebody else does the actual digging, weeding and other dirty stuff, ha!) but it’s also the curse of Same Veg Every Day. True, you can freeze some but it’s a chore as most things need to be blanched. You can pickle, can, preserve (courgette jam perhaps?) or give out which I think is the nicest way of dealing with the bumper crop. But you’ll still eat most of it so this week it’s not as much What To Cook but how to cook things that grow in abundance.
Courgette is the most common and grows like mad in the UK, regardless of the weather. Jam is perhaps a step too far (though you never know) but you can bake a perfectly decent cake out of it. You can serve them as a side to, let’s say, herby lamb chops, sautéed with magic breadcrumbs. Or you can make courgette fritters – and that’s breakfast, dinner and lunch out of the vegetable.
Spinach grown in the garden is so much better than anything shop bought – first off, it won’t shrink from a kilo to a spoonful when cooked. The simplest, buttered spinach is great with a quick cast iron steak. The more effortful, spinach and mozzarella balls are so good that totally worth the effort. And you can always meal prep vegetarian lasagne and freeze in portions. The latter two dishes are fine with even the most overgrown leaves.
Beans – I’ve discovered runners last year and as a result The Weather Man planted a whole row of them this year, oblivious to their growth rate and prolificacy. So we do eat them every day, give away left right and centre and it looks like they’ll fill some of our freezer. Shame you can’t make a cake out of those. Serve garlicky runner beans with slow roasted haddock, cook green beans with tomatoes or make Persian rice with broad beans.
Seasonal fruit next week – and if you can’t wait, here’s the most gorgeous raspberry cake. Happy picking!