The weather is strangely unsettled this week; one minute bright sunshine in a blue sky populated with puffs of cloud, the next minute these clouds nest together and darken as a wind skips through the trees; a few minutes later torrential rain thunders down, bouncing off the paths and road. Within moments the rain abates and the sun peeks back out, and soon the puddles are dry again and the clouds drifting across the horizon once more like floating islands.
I take a walk down to the greenhouse, and come back with one of the smallest butternut squashes and a handful of oregano, to roast for tea. I also pick a shiny green pepper from the one plant whose fruit doesn’t immediately darken to purple. I can’t resist picking a bunch of mint leaves from the swathes of plants which have colonised one of the old herbaceous borders at the side of the neglected main garden towards the house. Placed on the draining board with an errant tomato that has escaped the basketload awaiting despatch, I think my pickings make a rather pleasing collection.
But what’s that in the background? Ah, the ubiquitous courgettes that have been lurking all over the kitchen in pairs and groups all summer. Each time I pass the courgette plants I try not to look, knowing that another fruit will have sprung up that wasn’t there yesterday. Now there is indeed a stripy green truncheon poking onto the path from the closest plant. Is it a monster? Not this time, not yet, so I snap it off; all too aware that ignoring it now will only result in another giant marrow by tomorrow evening.
Yet despite joining the universal groans “Oh not another one! How can I cook them this time?”, I must confess that I am secretly pleased with these prolific monsters of plants; when I noticed that they had begun to produce flowers, and subsequently fruits, not only at the tips of their by-now-four-foot-long stalks, but also from new stems coming from the base, I was proud. Quietly. They are fine plants, bearing wonderful fruits, taking very little care and rewarding us with with their green stripy splendour. I admit that three plants was rather excessive for the two of us, but … they are magnificent. And of course we’ll do it all again next year. Perhaps just the two plants though…
Now, what to cook tonight to lessen the ever-growing pile?
The butternut squash, cut in half and roasted with thick slices of courgette, all drizzled with olive oil and garnished with oregano, made a very tasty accompaniment to some mackerel fillets.