Broad beans and artichokes

As I write, it’s 9.10pm and Renee Flemming is singing a lament for the Brazilian football team after their 7-1 World Cup catastrophe. Much of the evening has been spent podding broad beans, which have now fattened out nicely after their unpromising start back in January. On the late afternoon / early evening stroll around the allotment, wonder what to do with the space they will leave after they have given up their final harvest. A long thin strip, not so easy to fill.


The long view

Removed the netting from both strawberries and raspberries. The former have given their best, and it’s time for the birds to have their fill. The latter are strangled with knot weed and are probably for the chop. The blueberries show the first hint of colour change, that greenish grey moving to the slightest faint purple. Blackcurrants will be ready within the week and a new glut will ensue. Thinking that a cassis could be interesting, or perhaps it’s time to get over the jam-making defeatism. There’s always ice cream – memories of my Mother’s blackcurrant ice from the 1980s, ‘churned’ with a fork and solid as a brick, a taste memory that lingers.


Sunflower the colour of a Boden top


The violas now amass with lion’s faces


Tomatoes fattening

One bean has reached the top of its stake and a few tiny lavender-sugar coloured flowers have bloomed.


First flowers on the climbing beans

Chop down four artichoke heads, though unsure what to do with them. They are hinting at blooming into full-blown thistles. When home, soak them in a sink-full of salted water weighed down with a saucepan lid to clear off any bugs.


The broad bean and artichoke harvest

We have a first baby courgette! Romanesco wins the race. The others have been thinking of fruiting for some weeks yet abort their crop. Now, a few tiny custard yellow pattypans and a white courgette. The pattypan incidentally now sports a new tiger-striped ‘do’ on its leaves.


Romanesco courgette


Tiny baby pattypan

As sit for a few moments, the blackbird pecks the strawberries, looking up every few seconds as if to check no-one is watching his theft.

Earlier today, poached last week’s apricots in peach cordial and lemon verbena, and froze those greens from yesterday. Chocolate-almond cookies from Nigel Slater, a procrastination from work.


Poaching apricots with peach cordial, lemon verbena and bay

For dinner, bucatini tossed in fresh garlicky tomato sauce and yellow-green beans, topped with dollop of pesto. This, with a chilled Spanish cerveza. Perfect.

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