Working motherhood, then, and the ability of a 9 month old to come back from lovely afternoons with a doting aunt and fix you with a gimlet eye denoting utter contempt for your decision to be absent from the day’s entertainment and simultaneously shower said aunt with much affection before refusing to acknowledge your very existence in the intervening period between arrival and bedtime. I never expected to face such strong feelings so early, and I don’t think I am reading too much into it, but suffice to say that even three afternoons a week can see the guilt ladled onto your already heaped plate, seasoned with a hefty dose of frustration that you’re only doing your best and it’s never ever going to be enough for this small chunk of humanity. And I do mean chunk.
This blog too has become sadly neglected since I started working a bit and for that I apologise. However, I’m going to try to post at least weekly (haven’t I said that before?) to at least attempt to retain a reader or two.
In the garden, the allotment has shot into abundance verging on glut given all this weather we’ve been having. We’re still picking kale and cavolo nero, digging up potatoes and now the courgettes and green beans are begging to be picked. I thought I’d pass on ways to deal with the oncoming flood, although I’ll be damned if I’m going to pickle.
Green beans are just lovely freshly picked, but what to do with them other than simply boiled. Quite often it’s all in the pairing and I treat them much as I would broad beans, enjoying as they do all manner of dairy and porcine companionship. Particularly good is any cheese crumbled over still-warm beans and left to soften.
I’ve also taken to braising them slowly: Boil them briefly until just cooked, then drain and add to olive oil with garlic, perhaps an anchovy or two melted into it and a little water and lid on for perhaps 10 minutes until the beans are khaki and truly soft. I like to add a little white wine to the oil, or throw in some herbs or a squeeze of lemon at the end.
The greens I still adore sauteed with similar flavourings, perhaps a touch of dried chilli for good measure. I have some chorizo in the fridge and – with this rain seemingly set in for the week – it would sit perfectly in a Portuguese-style stew with potatoes and greens and some excellent bread on the side.
The courgettes and their concomitant flowers I shall come back to. I have some buffalo mozzarella in the fridge and tomorrow night’s dinner shall be some combination of them, probably with a pasta base. I shall keep you posted.