Is it a monster?

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.


8 thoughts on “Is it a monster?

  1. Great harvest . . . I wonder what it would taste like to cook the veggies you need to and then add them all together into a blender/food processor for a soup? Your entire composition transformed into a smooth yummy soup. Or would it be. Happy Autumn! ;>)

    • Thank you, Carol. That does sound like a great idea. I might hold back on some of the mint though! I think “random vegetable” soup is quite popular at this time of year with everyone who grows their own veg! I’m still missing my food processor at the minute while we finish work on the house with most of our stuff in storage. We’re hoping to be reunited with our possessions in a few weeks now! In the meantime, besides lots of chutney, I’m slow roasting chunks of courgette in olive oil and freezing them this way, to pop into soups and stews during the winter. Happy Autumn to you too! x

  2. Dear Sara, What bounty you continue to have from your garden. I, too should be proud of so many lovely courgettes, particularly as I have never grown a vegetable in my life!

    I think that Carol’s suggestion is excellent and I also love Ratatouille as a side dish to accompany a variety of other things. If all else fails, left at the garden gate with a notice for people to help themselves would, I am sure, see the courgettes vanish in an instant.

    • Dear Edith, I certainly can’t fault their productivity! And I love the taste of courgettes in all their guises, even if my husband is less convinced…

      We have several portions of ratatouille in the freezer, to be enjoyed when the harvests are over – I’ll miss this glut of courgettes once it’s over! I have been taking paper bags full of courgettes to colleagues at work which is my equivalent of the roadside offering. Left by the garden gate (such as it is at the moment) would probably see all the courgettes snaffled in a moment by the cows who are herded past for milking each day. They try and eat everything they pass…

  3. Hi, your idea of roasting courgette in olive oil and then freezing them sounds good and i will have to try that…to do without our posssesions is hard but we appreciate them all the more when we get them back and of course we will appreciate the courgette in our winter soups…

    • Hi Mike, the roasted courgettes certainly taste good before freezing, hopefully they’ll retain some of their flavour on thawing to liven up some winter dishes.
      I’m all about appreciating the things we’ve been without for the best part of two years – I hope I never forget to be thankful. For the harvests too.

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