Yesterday’s haul – not including the cucumbers (which I am in denial about) and a large bucket of assorted plums.
The tomatoes have come into their own. The costolutu fiorentino from saved seed have done well and there is an amazing pinkish, large slicing tomato that is delicious – I should try and find out what it is called – maybe it is Amish Paste – I need to search out my labels.
Of course despite the shaky start my courgettes are now prolific and thanks to Pat I now have yellow and dark green courgettes to add to the mix.
The basil that I planted out between the strawberries in the polytunnel has done really well – I have picked off many of the flowers but left quite a few for the bees and to save for seed. I have found that picking off the top leaves and shoots (rather than ones from the side) has made the plants really vigorous this year. So I have been making, and we have been eating, a lot of pesto.
I have been making a lemony summer pasta sauce with the courgettes, that is easy and helps us plough through the mountain! Sometimes I mix the sauce in with the pasta but generally we have a pile of lovely veggies underneath with some pasta stacked on top. If you cook it long and slow it tastes gorgeous, but it can go a bit grey – you could just add the peas in at the last minute to keep their vivid greenness, or just cook it less – personally I love very slow cooked courgettes and don’t care about the colour.
Lemony Courgette Pasta Sauce: 4 courgettes or more if you want – sliced or even if bigger cut in half lengthwise and then sliced; peas if you have them; pesto; clove of garlic; chopped; finely chopped onion; zest and juice of a lemon; seasoning, olive oil and pasta of your choice.
Heat some olive oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and garlic and gently sauce. Add in the sliced courgette and lemon zest and cook slowly and gently for quite a long time. Add in the lemon juice and continue to cook. If using peas, cook briefly in boiling water and then add to the pan. Add a couple of generous spoonfuls of pesto.
Meanwhile cook the pasta. Add a couple of spoonfuls of pasta-cooking water to the veggies to loosen them slightly. Drain the pasta, toss in olive oil and either mix with sauce or pile up on top of the sauce in a bowl. Serve with Parmesan.
Home-made Pesto: basil, handful of pine nuts and grated Parmesan, couple of garlic cloves, olive oil, salt. Put it all in a food processor and blitz it together. Portion into little pots and freeze.