We have just come back from a two-week holiday in Madeira. It was very warm, relaxing and enjoyable. It is lovely to get away but I think it is even better to come home. We always look forward to getting back to the pets, including these three, who we missed a lot. The big lad is Merlin (what else could he be called?), the black kitten is Wobble and the tortoiseshell is Wibble.
The other lovely thing to come back to is the garden. It is amazing how much things grow in two weeks. The borlotti beans have really begun to shine with masses of beautiful speckled pods hidden amongst the pale leaves.
The chard is a good size ( at last, it seemed to be forever germinating). The runner beans are still coming, thanks to mum and dad picking them regularly whilst we were away. A few tomatoes have begun to ripen, they seem very slow this year, but in contrast the damsons have begun to fall from the tree – that is the earliest we can ever remember that happening. The patty pan squash are beginning to be prolific and the cucumber is bearing some fruit too. The chillies are taking over and I may go into the greenhouse one day and never be able to get out again!
I spent an enjoyable half hour last night picking and shelling the borlotti, preparing some of the red, gold and white chard (this is the first time we have grown it and we will definitely grow it again) and discovering the treasures that can be unearthed in the potato patch. The latter include some gorgeous purple potatoes that my dear blogger friend Choclette sent me about two years ago. They are a heritage breed originally from Peru and whilst they really do make a marvellous mash they were also very delicious as part of last night’s tea along with some Anyas which self set from last year’s plants.
I added some sausages from the local butcher and Bob’s your uncle a delicious dinner that celebrates a much missed garden.
This is a dish which is very adaptable, if you don’t have potatoes use some pasta, if you don’t have chard then use cabbage, or green beans or runner beans. I cooked the borlotti in water with a sprig of rosemary and a clove of garlic (still in its paper) for about ten minutes until tender. I cooked the sausages in a casserole dish so that the juices gather and crust at the bottom of the dish. I boiled the potatoes until tender. I diced the chard stems into 1 cm chunks and cooked with a large knob of butter with a squeeze of lemon juice and salt and pepper until nearly tender, then threw in the sliced leaves for a few minutes more cooking until nicely wilted. I added about five sage leaves, roughly chopped, to the sausages, then tipped in the beans, potatoes and chard (with all the lovely buttery juices) and cooked until everything is hot and covered in the juices. I then served with crusty bread and a vinaigrette. Lovely!