Posts Tagged: grow your own


24
Aug 09

The best things in life

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As the saying goes, the best things in life are free – and nowhere is this more true that in the vegetable growing department.

A while ago I wrote about my tomato plants and how the first tomato had sprouted. The three plants I had on my balcony continued to grow and grow until the branches were bowing, so laden were they with fruit.

When it came to eating them, they were the sweetest, juiciest tomatoes I’d ever eaten on these shores – the skin slightly thicker from their outdoor growing, the flesh more intense and deep. I’d been given a handful of green beans my friends had grown on their allotment and a deliciously simple salad was born. To make this a standout you’d need to really source the best beans and tomatoes you could find – with so few ingredients the ones you do use must be heroes.

It would be silly to call this a recipe – merely a combination of delicious things – and as such the quantities are as haphazard as its coming together. A perfect summer accompaniment to a roast lunch or barbecue.

Tomato, shallot and green bean salad

Ingredients

  • A handful of tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
  • A handful of green beans
  • 2 small shallots or 1 banana, sliced into rings
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil


Method

Trim the beans and blanch in salted boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Refresh in iced water.

Drain and shake off the excess water before combining with the tomatoes and shallots in a bowl.

A splash of olive oil and a drizzle of good balsamic are all you will need, along with a good sprinkling of sea salt and black pepper.


17
Jun 09

The joys of a green balcony

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I am lucky enough to have a particularly green-fingered mother, a dab hand in the garden, who manages to live for the greater part of the year off her allotment. I’m slightly green myself, with envy at the wonderful produce that comes off it, the tiny courgettes with their flowers, onions, potatoes, beans, beetroot, carrots, herbs, asparagus. They taste like vegetables should – fresh and deeply flavourful.

I live in London, which as you can imagine, creates something of a problem when it comes to having a garden. Fortunately, having moved recently, we opted for a flat with a balcony, just big enough to house a barbecue, a table and a few chairs, and more importantly some plants. Well ok, the barbecue might have taken priority…

We’re only growing a few things – tomatoes, herbs and salad but there is something distinctly satisfying with tending these things as they attempt to grow in Blighty.

But while the rain pours down outside, we’ll be eating a wonderfully simple lunch – some toasted sourdough, smoked anchovies and some salad leaves from our box, dressed with good balsamic, some very good olive oil and a sprinkle of grated parmesan – a little dose of sunshine.

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