June 19 2013 Latest news:
Friday, August 17, 2012
LAST Christmas, my cousin bought a ham so large – literally the size of a small armchair – that it meant her family was still eating “ham-sagne” well into February.
When it came to cooking the brute, her ingenuity knew no bounds – there was ham meatloaf, ham hash, ham curry; I even have a suspicion she tried to incorporate it into a crumble, writes Georgina Wroe.
Now I know how she felt. My ongoing culinary abundance, however, comes in the torpedo shape of courgettes.
I shouldn’t complain. The good news is, after four months of toil on the allotment, we are now self-sufficient in Cucurbita pepo.
The fridge has been full for a week and still they are everywhere – under tables, propping up bookshelves. In truth, I could lag a small loft with them.
What to do with the godforsaken gourds?
Yes; you can boil them, steam them and griddle them. You can grate them and hide them in other foods (although even I draw the line at muffins). You can stir fry them, douse them in cheese sauce, white sauce, and even drown them in vinaigrette.
But what you can’t do is stop them coming.
The tyranny of the squash. Ignore them and, overnight, they’ll swell to the size of a small airship.
Offices up and down the country are stacked high with carrier bags with the desperate plea: “Unwanted courgettes. Please help yourself”.
It seems churlish to complain. A fortnight ago the only vegetables the allotment had produced were a handful of pea-sized potatoes and a sprig of mint.
But it’s the lack of consistency I object to. Tesco online manages to deliver a regular, varied supply of vegetables – why can’t the vegetable plot?
We have the Genovese globe-trotter Christopher Columbus to thank for courgettes.
Before that they were a staple only in ancient pre-Columbian lands (along with beans and maize).
I know I should be making more of my glorious glut, but I can’t help thinking constructing a life-size replica of Shrek might be putting them to better use.
Talking of squashes, the growth of Dave – our giant marrow – continues with the pace of a GB cyclist in the velodrome. He has now swollen to 2ft in length, with the circumference of Anthony Ogogo’s biceps.
If there were a Veg Olympics 2012, I might fail to qualify in other categories, but would surely scoop the gold for gourds.
Clematis armandii is a great favourite of mine but, it has its drawbacks. First of all, it is not the hardiest member of its tribe, and being evergreen, once its foliage becomes frost damaged this becomes a permanent feature.