It’s that time of year when we can’t keep up with what we’ve grown.
I am taking courgettes to work with me. If you knock at our door, you have to be prepared to take a bag full of runner beans.
We send our youngest to the fruit cage every evening to pick raspberries for pudding and she has to come back for another mixing bowl.
The strawberries are over now, but for two weeks the strongest smell in the garden was coming from the fruit cage: sun-warmed, ever-more-sweet strawberries nestled in their bed of hot hay.
Dinner is simple in summer. It will be pasta, stirfry, salad, omelette or pizza.
So long as we have a few ingredients (olive oil, garlic, parmesan, pancetta, pasta) we can just add whatever is bursting out of the allotment.
My favourite creation is ‘hummus’ with peas or broadbeans: just add garlic, olive oil, parmesan, lemon juice and mint and blitz in the food processor.
It might look revolting to some, but to me it is ambrosia. It is also good to know that if I ever lose my teeth, I can still enjoy my two favourite garden indulgences: pea hummus and simmered damsons.
Stevie has made batches of strawberry, raspberry and blackcurrant jam and they are heavenly. He is the best jam-maker in the world. Homemade jam has a tart freshness that feels healthy. It is, right?
We still have lots to come. Damsons, peaches, grapes, apples and pears are ripening.
Redcurrants and whitecurrants can stay where they are for now.
But one thing needed rescuing this morning. We have one apricot. Not one apricot tree, but one apricot. The tree was newly planted this winter. Stevie and I have watched our one precious fruit ripening and made a pact to share this one treasured fruit when the moment comes.
I will just now share with you a text message conversation this morning at 7am. Stevie was boarding his train to London and I was just opening the curtains in the living room when I peered out to the apricot tree.
Me: Your apricot has fallen off!!
Stevie: What!??!?? [pause for typing] Any slug fang marks? [pause for typing] I need to see the evidence for full forensic analysis.
Me: GAH!!! Ants are coming out of it!!
Stevie: Can you wash them off and we’ll taste it this evening.
Me: I just did. Delicious.
Stevie: All of it??!?!?
Stevie: I should think so!
Oh, but that (half) apricot! It was worthy of a French apricot. The main reason we go on holiday to France is for the tomatoes and the soft fruit. Because we are that greedy. Well now we have some délices in our garden. Maybe next year we’ll get one apricot each?