Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Invasion of the Courgettes

Gronda! Gronda!
At present there is a glorious 'climbing' courgette plant sat on my patio, doing exactly what it says on the tin, climbing upwards towards the sun, spilling huge green leaves and popping fragrant yellow flowers of joy. It is quite a sight to behold and now that we have steady supply of lolloping green truncheons, nothing could be better. Cos I do love a courgette. Yet the speed at which the plant is growing is starting to alarm me. We are not talking 'Jack and the Beanstalk' progress here but the way things are going, I'd say that the plant will soon be over-taking the height of our garden fence. "Hooray! More courgettes!" you might cheer but the other thing that is worrying me is that I am sure, nay certain, that the plant is moving about the place. Terracotta pot and all.

Lots of people ascribe to the notion that plants are sentient beings, Prince Charlie boy being one of them, and if this is the case with our courgette plant, if it has become self-aware then fine. I dig that man - pulls on a drag but does not inhale - that's just groovy baby. There is no reason to dismiss that notion that plants are conscious creatures. Just as much there is no reason to dismiss Gwyneth Paltrow for reasoning that water has feelings*. I just hope that it has a soul whose intentions are good because oh Lord, imagine if it ever felt misunderstood? 

Imagine for instance, if the plant started to suffer from delusions of grandeur, knowing the value of the bounty it provides? Imagine if every time I went to pluck a ripe beauty, having to deal with an uppity Prima Donna that roared and shook until you placated it with a bow and a low whispering of "Gronda, Gronda!"**

Imagine during duty of care, when watering and feeding, taking a stinging slap from a spiky branch and all because you got carried away with snipping some of those lovely blooms the day before, have stuffed them with cheese and gently fried for tea. "Stop un-sexing me, you are effectively slashing BOTH sets of my genitals off, you bastard!" would be the unspoken word.

Imagine if this life force was all down to some extra-terrestrial intervention, malevolent and dark. The idea of a 'Day of the Courgette' is quite terrifying if you think about it. But not quite as terrifying as the thought of being beamed up and whisked off for experimentation by a gang of evil, alien squash-related scientists. I really couldn't face the anal probing. Not with them bulbous fingers anyway.

Perhaps the courgette plant isn't moving. Perhaps it's all in my mind. I haven't been getting much sleep lately and as a result, have been mainlining caffeine by injecting espresso into my eyeballs in the morning before going to check on the plant. That might have something to do with it. But today I am going to nip into Wilkinson's to buy some chalk and when I get home, I am going to trace the outline of the pot. Just to make sure that I am imagining things and not going crazy. I shall let you know the outcome.

In the meantime, here is a quick recipe for a courgette, mangetout, lemon and mint salad, very healthy!

*No, actually, there are lots of reasons.
** Only people of a certain age will get the 'Gronda, Gronda!' joke.

Courgette, mangetout, lemon and mint salad - serves 6 

The majority of recipes for courgette call for them to be cooked but I rather like them raw, especially when they've had time to ripen and become slightly creamy. Paired up with some mangetout, also raw, this salad has great texture and smacks of summer with its citrus and mint flavour. For this salad, I used purple mangetout that I got from Wholegood, an organic fruit and vegetable wholesaler that will also supply weekly boxes to your door, and you may want to blanch your mangetout briefly. But I prefer the crunch and I hate to lose the purple with purple veg. You could also add courgette flowers stuffed with ricotta and mint, briefly flash-fried in the pan but they don't seem to go down well with the kids

ingredients

2 big, fat, portentous courgettes, sliced into ribbons using a peeler or mandolin (watch those fingers)

250gms mangetout, topped and rinsed

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 large bunch of mint, leaves roughly torn

2 tsps of rapeseed oil (I used Mellow Yellow from Farringtons)

Salt and pepper

Method

Take a bowl and place your courgette ribbons, mangetout and mint and mix thoroughly to combine. Using a small glass or jam jar, pour in the oil and juice and mix to emulsify and then season well. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix and then present on a pretty platter. Scatter over the lemon zest and drizzle some more oil across if necessary. Enjoy in the garden, in the presence of your courgette plant. If you have one.

That's a whopper!
Purple Mange Tut
A bowl of salad
A platter of salad
Close up

4 comments:

Alicia Foodycat said...

Very pretty! We stopped growing courgettes after 2 years where they didn't have sex. We'd have all female flowers, then all male, but never together so no babies.

Mollie at Yumbles said...

This looks gorgeous and so summery!

G said...

Adventure Game! Loved that show.

yung@foodyoo.com said...

This looks great. Probably I would add some yogurt or cheese into the dressing sauce, should be good. :)