9 Sep 2012

Enjoying the summer

I'm going to gloss over the rather glaring omission of any recent blog posts... I've had a short holiday at home during which I redecorated my living room and I've been making sloe vodka and rosehip cordial after foraging walks on Hampstead Heath.  I've hardly been in the veg patch other than to pick the still prolific raspberries and beans. In short, I've been enjoying a little bit of belated summer (while it lasts).

Despite nights that are getting chillier, the warm sunshine during the day is acting like a tonic on my plants as they're suddenly doubling in size or flowering madly in an end of season rush. Thus, this morning, I opened my balcony door to see that (finally) my Sicilian White Courgette has a male and female flower open at the same time! The netting presents a challenge for the bees to get through so, small paintbrush in hand, these have been hand-pollinated.

Male courgette flower


Although the flowers are edible, this one will not be sacrified;  I'm already savouring the thought of another courgette like this earlier one:

Sicilian white courgette
~ Sicilian White, a trailing courgette. This one grew to 13 inches.  ~
This is a beautiful pale courgette which is absolutely delicious finely sliced and lightly fried in olive oil, adding a touch of finely chopped chilli and lemon zest in the last few minutes, before tossing into pasta of your choice. (I like pappardelle, the wide ribbon pasta which soaks up all the juices.) I keep it simple but I've seen recipes where pine nuts are added, or a parsley/breadcrumb topping added.  In any case, I always throw a good handful of parmesan onto it before serving, either thinly sliced or grated.

It's another beautiful sunny summer's day here in London so, toodle-loo, I'm off to tackle the weeds in the veg garden and see how big my veg patch spaghetti squash is getting today (and how many fruits it's now bearing! Yum!).

14 comments:

  1. Well done to your courgettes for surviving, mine all rotted away in the non stop rain of our summer! Your recipe sounds yummy, must give it a try, even if they have to be shop bought courgettes!

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    1. It was because of the weather that this one was grown on my balcony! It hasn't provided lots of fruit but then the one in the garden didn't really grow much at all for most of the year. My outdoor plants languished for months before they put on a growth spurt but they were kept in the mini greenhouse until they were large enough to go outdoors so were probably too prickly for garden pests!

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  2. Courgettes are like everything this year, late. Mine have only just got going, and although I'm harvesting a couple on each visit to the allotment, I don't have the glut which I usually have other years. I've never come across the variety you're growing before.

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    1. Wouldn't it be wonderful if courgettes always came in pairs! So much easier than making a choice between chutney, marrow or glut. As my beans are almost finished, I'll be very pleased to have a few late season courgettes. This variety is one I came across on the More Veg website earlier this year; there were no pictures to go with the description but it sounded nice so I bought some. The fruit does look rather alarming - a bit like Tromboncino courgettes which I think look like tree snakes. *shudder*

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  3. Mmm a holiday at home sounds like a good idea, not so sure about spending it decorating though!
    My only courgette plant got eaten by slugs...what a surprise! Flighty xx

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    1. Ah, that was a job that's needed doing for some time so to get it out of the way, although tiring, feels good! Bright, fresh and clean - ready for winter. I'm having a little experiment with some late sown courgettes to see if I can make the most of a warm autumn (if this weather persists) and will be de-potting them into the veg garden today. Let's see if I get a harvest before winter ... !

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  4. I was feeling quite guilty not having been to my veg patch lately, I feel better now having read your post.

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    1. Given the disappointment that everyone has experienced this year with their veg growing, I'm not surprised! I was feeling guilty at not doing as much work in the veg garden as I should but new growth spurts has jump started my interest!

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  5. Sounds like an ideal way to spend the last of summer, hope the weeds aren't too bad!

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    1. Now that my squashes have sprung into life, they're providing ground cover and the weeds have to compete for light! I still have quite a few to get rid of and will then plant a green manure over the winter months - I've never done that before so hope it will germinate in time!

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  6. Hi Caro! It is a comfort to read that I'm not the only one getting frustrated with the courgette flowering schedule! You would think they would know when to open boy and girl flowers... I did the unthinkable today and plucked one of the few pollinated babies when it was still tiny! But it was absolutely delicious raw, finely sliced onto my lunch! :)

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    1. Oh I entirely understand - I'm quite fond of a bit of ruthless plucking in the garden myself! Last year, my courgettes were prolific so I was able to take quite a few flowers, batter them and fling them into boiling oil! Yum!

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  7. I recognise it from Pinterest :) I think we're all scrambling to make the best of these last days of summer though...my own courgettes have only been producing for the last few weeks and I just now picked my first batch of purple podded peas.

    Years ago I took part in a mushroom foraging course at Hampstead Heath...if you haven't already done it I can highly recommend it :)

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    1. I thought everything was winding down, Tanya, and quite looking forward to putting this disastrous year behind me and clearing the beds. Then the squashes started to grow, the raspberries are still producing, cerinthe are FINALLY springing into life (about 4 months late) and my dwarf beans have produced more pods. (Just when they'd gone on the agenda to be lifted... ) Sunflowers, however, are looking very sad. I like the sound of the mushroom foraging course; I wonder if they still do it?

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Caro x

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