Food fast and slow
The best part of growing my own food is the simplicity and variety it offers with different vegetables for dinner each night. If we are in a hurry I might pick some Little Gem squash and simply chop them up for a raw salad with basil. If we have a lot of time I may make a white beetroot salad that needs to be marinated for a few hours. The fact that the kitchen garden is adjacent to the house is probably the key to success, as it becomes so simple to just nip down and see what is on offer or what needs doing.
This week we had so many firsts from the garden! My first broccoli was perfect, and I was so happy that I planted a sea of broccoli plants. We boiled the florets for a minute or so and ate them with steamed carrots, while the broccoli stalks came into their own as oven roast vegetables with pork. Here I added the kale at the last minute so it wouldn't be over cooked.
The Little Gem squash has been a trooper! It needs a lot of water in this heat, but has given reliable large crops since it started to flower. The most perfect fruits are round and dark green, but I use the elongated ones that grown underneath its big leaves just as happily.
As there is such an abundance of them I pick them while small and sweet. Last week I made a squash and goats cheese bake which was lovely! As usual the recipe is simple: chop and mix, add a table spoon of oil and some salt and pepper. As the vegetables are so fresh I do as little to them as possible in terms of seasoning as I find it best to let their own flavour shine
The carrots are ready, and what joy they are! It is a constant surprise what works in the garden and what doesn't, as although the carrots have the best taste ever this year, they have not come up as abundantly as last year when we had a cool and rainy summer. I companion plant the carrots with onions and Marigolds to keep the dreaded carrot flies away.
In fact, I companion plant everything with Marigolds and each bed is lined with these beauties. My friend Helena gave me the seeds for the marigold last year, and it is the same variety that she has grown for years and years in her garden. That is why I let them go to seed, so I can continue with the same tradition.
We have really enjoyed the broad beans Express in the weeks up to now, and presently we are waiting for the Solberga variety to ripen. One more week I think, and then they will have filled out beautifully!
Another thing that is growing fiercely is the Glass Gem sweetcorn! It is already almost two meters high, and a veritable jungle! However, not a cob in sight yet.
But, then again my purple peas Blauwschokker are now ready to eat. They are not sweet as such and better cooked than raw. It is also possible to dry them, but we never get that far... I love the colour and must remember to plant twice as much next year as they are an old variety and not as big a cropper as some of the modern ones.
Last but not least, the chicken have been enjoying their summer vacation and have really been producing eggs galore all summer. They are so funny and sociable, and come running as soon as they hear visitors coming to the chicken coop!
The eggs we get taste just heavenly, and have a much more yellow yolk than anything shop bought ever! All summer long we have been making home made mayonnaise, and no meal seems complete without it. A little bit of happiness on a spoon!