So, gardening. Creation and cultivation of life. I can’t bear that sort of responsibility amidst our daily frivolity. Oh, and given that even the supermarket parsley plant is doomed from the moment I choose it, I’ve resigned myself to the knowledge that I’m simply no good at it. My friend Sonia tended to lettuces in Cornwall, nursing them through bruising winds for weekly salads, but I assumed that was just what you did in Cornwall. (I’m slightly scared of the country. The natural silence, the lack of cars, the visible stars. The light pollution I’m used to fills city skies with a comforting gray or a lollipop orange. I fear the dark).
I’ve been following the progress of chef Alex Mackay’s tomatoes with a sort of envy. Every now and then a twitpic will appear of a stripey or purple variety of tomato and I turn green. Especially when he tells us they taste so good that they don’t ‘even need any salt’ but just a ‘brush…[of] Provencal oil and very thinly sliced basil.’
Have a look here and here and here judge for yourself.
So very wholesome. I like to admire from afar.
To me, an edible garden is ever so alien, but the absolute ideal. Decorative and full of food. When I popped to my parents last weekend I was astounded by what they’d produced and began to nurture a hope that latent gardening genes will reveal themselves when I grow up. There were…
I came away from berry-nibbling and with an armful of fat courgette (overgrew as my parents went on holiday and forgot about it). It would waddle if it walked. I have vowed to start small and really look after that parsley plant next time. Baby steps.
Here’s a recipe for the fat courgette. The base of which is similar to the classic Chinese dish ‘Ants climbing trees’.
Marinated minced beef with fat courgette
500g minced beef or pork
Half a fat courgette - diced into large chunks
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
2 tablespoons Light Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Sesame Oil
3 bulbous spring onions - finely chopped
3 fat garlic cloves - finely chopped
Knob of ginger - finely chopped
1 dried birds-eye chilli (optional)
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
2 tablespoons Light soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
275mls chicken stock
1 teaspoon sugar
Marinate the beef for at least 15 minutes. It won’t hurt to leave it to settle longer.
Heat oil in a wok or a pan over high heat. Add the mince, and brown all over, stirring every now and then.
Take out the beef and put to one side.
Add some more oil over a medium high heat and add the spring onions, garlic, ginger and crumble in the chilli if using. Fry until smelling irresistibly fragrant.
Add back the beef, then add the sauce ingredients. Bring to boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Add the fat courgette pieces, cover and cook for 5 minutes more.
Serve with just cooked long grain rice.