23 July 2011

the courgette diaries

I feel as if my days are being measured out in courgettes.  The number of days since we last picked them.   How much it has rained since we last picked them.  The number that we pick. Whether there are any that hid last time and have turned into giants.  How many we have managed to foist on neighbours and friends.  That's not to say that I don't appreciate the wonderful harvest, the warmth of the mornings before the showers might arraive, the exuberance of growth.   And so we have been eating well.   Courgette and lemon risotto - made in the ususal risotto style though with olive oil rather than butter, courgettes chopped up smallish, with the rind of two lemons and juice added.  Scallops with samphire and char-grilled courgettes, a surprising salt/sweet combination.  Chocolate courgette cake using this recipe (sans ganache, reduce the sugar, add a spoonful of golden syrup and some chocolate gratings for a richer flavour) - delicate, moist, huge.  The ubiquitous frittata.

Everything else is forging ahead.  Charlotte potatoes, cucumbers from a plant I bought at a fete in Waltham Abbey, beans going wild, tomatoes waiting for some sun to ripen them, beetroot burgeoning, leeks settled into their deep holes, tiny parsley and coriander plantlets surviving benevolent neglect, asparagus beetle caterpillars munching.  Until I slayed them, thinking as I did so that if reincarnation ever comes my way, let's hope it is not as an asparagus beetle.

In the garden, I have been tantalised by the figs.  They are hugely swollen by last week's rain, but the tree has grown so tall that they are quite out of reach, and the rangy branches far to flexible to have a ladder set up against them.  I have been tempted to climb out on the kitchen roof to get a little closer, but have managed to restrain my appetite.  So morning finds us reaching up with inverted washing line props and brooms, trying to bend the fruits down within reach before the birds get them - not that I begrudge them, it's just that the tree is so fickle that it's rare for us to have a decent crop.

Such is the pedestrian pace this summer.  Some lovely outings though:

:: a visit to London Fields Lido on a warmish afternoon with a friend.  We'd first talked about going in the  winter when the steam rises off the water, but I guess we were just too wimpish in the end, unlike these swimmers.  Our visit this time took me back to the summer after our GCEs when a little gang of us would go the now disappeared Victoria Park Lido.  Something to do with the way the walls keep the sound in, and the way you see both trees and clouds when you dawdle along in the gently heated water on your back.  Later on in the week a swim in the sea, so cool that it made my fingers hurt till the next day.  For a full review of the Lido and more London swimming see Jenny's blog (thanks to Knit Nurse for the link).

London Fields

:: serving tea and cakes for the third year running at the brilliant Mile End Dog Show with its waggiest tails and smiliest dogs

:: a visit to the Piccadilly Pop Up Community Centre, a work by artist Christoph Buchel, to do a reccy for 30th July when East End WI will be looking after the Community Canteen and running a stall outside.   Quite how much work has gone into making this place just like a local community centre is amazing and getting involved by serving tea and baking is almost equally exciting and thought provoking.  It has to be experienced.

:: meeting the next recipient of I am Tower of Hamlets... when it was handed over, and filling the gap with a real echeveria

:: thinking I'd finished my Shetland blanket, then deciding that I needed to make it a little bit bigger

Botany Bay
There's more.  But as I started writing this four days ago and still have more to say, I better press the publish and be damned button.


Rattling On said...

You are lucky so much grows, it's hard work here squeezing a bit of produce from both the garden and greenhouse. Dull yet again here today...

knit nurse said...

A wonderful bounty of courgettes! I had hoped I would be picking my own this year, having planted a couple in my neighbour's garden. But the first one I put in seems to be on a go-slow just to spite me, and the second one turned out to be a squash plant, even though it definitely came out of the courgette packet! Oh well, at least I hope to get squashes..

Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax! said...

A very productive summer . . . and long-days memories.

Joanna said...

I love the idea of measuring out your days in courgettes! We're a bit further north than you (and were late getting them in) so I can see I'm going to have to bribe the neighbours to pick them while we're away on holiday - last year I said 'help yourselves' and still came back to ones that were bigger than marrows!

Liz said...

Everything in the garden looks well and truly rosy. Can recommend courgette fritters if you fancy a change. (I usually serve them with lime yoghurt).


Annie said...

Such abundance!

If I saute courgettes as a vegetable dish I always cook more than I need and keep some back. Refrigerate overnight, and chop into any green salad, to which we often add gherkins.

Not enough garden here to grow veggies, and a waiting list as long as one's arm for the allotments that we campagined to have reopened ... they accidently left us off the list ... grr!

Jessica said...

I know what you mean about 'courgette time'. Will have to try your lemon and courgette risotto recipe - have got some preserved lemons I made a while ago that I reckon would work in it pretty well. And plenty of courgettes of course!