Monday, September 27

The more you beat them the better they be

We spent a very happy hour or so yesterday morning throwing sticks at a tree. The people of Abbey Wood do not wait for their walnuts to fall, and whilst this would not have been my first choice of harvest method it is clearly traditional in these parts. As far as I can see from the healthy trees the method does little damage apart from a light leaf-prune, so my conscience is reasonably clear. The harvest method mainly goes throw--miss--collect stick, or occasionally throw--hit branch--wait--collect stick. I discovered a great talent for lodging sticks in trees, and also had a little local difficulty with a dog who took a fancy to my stick (and well he might, it was very fine). Fortunately once he'd been distracted with a green ball (so fickle) I was able to get back to my throw-miss-collect stick routine. About once every twenty-thirty throws an actual nut fell from the tree. It was enormous fun.

About half of the nuts in the bowl were actually gathered a few weeks ago as green windfalls, but the green outer shell (a bit like a conker shell but without spikes) has rotted slowly away and yesterday we stamped on them to get at the nutshells. The walnuts are 'green' in that they have not been kiln dried, and have a more delicate flavour than their shop-bought counterpart. I could probably have bought three times as many at a supermarket for about £1.50, but these were hard won and as a result taste four times as good.

Saturday, September 25

I have finished a thing!

This is miraculous. Not only this, but I have almost finished another thing as well (just 4597 ends to weave in before that's finished too).
My amazing finishyness is probably due to the fact that I have recently started going to a knitting night at the Pelton Arms in Greenwich. I am enjoying this very much not only because of the knitting, but also and especially because of the opportunity to chat with a) people over 3ft tall b) intelligent adults with whom I do not work. Come along if you're local: I highly recommend it.

Saturday, September 4

Griddled lemony courgettes

This year I am growing yellow courgettes which makes them easier to spot before they turn to marrows. I keep hoping that I am going to get a courgette glut any minute, but so far none has materialised. I'm not sure if this is because they are yellow or if it's because the evil bastard snails almost destroyed the seedlings so they too a long time to recover and subsequently went into the ground late. Who knows?

This recipe is incredibly easy, delicious and can be eaten hot or cold (or something in between). I think I fist ate it at Carluccio's but I can't honestly remember. We often have this as a side dish but it works well mixed with pasta, too.

If you don't have a griddle you can just as easily use a grill. Come to that you could probably fry them if you so desired.

Serves two.

A couple of courgettes
Half a lemon
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Slice the courgettes. I usually cut them into strips or on the slant to make longish ovals. Griddle them until they are soft and covered with thick seared stripes. I have trouble waiting and turn mine a lot so they are are usually criss-crossed. When they are done put them into a wide bowl or plate with a rim. Squeeze the lemon over them, the glug on some olive oil. Stir to coat, then season with salt and pepper.