It’s been a good growing year this year: we had a wet and coolish early summer but this had the advantage of getting lots of moisture into our light chalky soil, and it was followed up by lots of sunny days in August and September. We’ve had lettuce and other greens from June, tomatoes and cucumber in the greenhouse and ripe courgettes in the plot since early July, onions harvested and hung at the end of July. More recently, we’ve been harvesting our apples and pears. I sowed rocket and green beans again towards the end of August, beginning of September and both have produced a harvest in October. We’ve also had several sowings of beetroot and the leeks we sowed in March. Above our final harvest: onions, chard, leeks, rocket, beans, tomatoes, pears and some very pretty flowers.
So our harvest supper this year was:
Elspeth’s Anglo-French onion soup – French-style onion soup with our onions sweated down in butter for an hour to give a caramelised mess, Marmite added, along with stock and a splash of French dry white wine, finished off in the oven with French bread spread with Dijon mustard and Cheddar cheese.
Madeleine’s garden lasagne – more slow cooking, this time of lots of chard and rocket leaves with onion, garlic and tomatoes forming the filling between the lasagne sheets, then topped with a creamy béchamel sauce and cheese.
Mark’s veggie ‘fish-cakes’ – having been asked to ‘do something with leeks’, Mark has been experimenting for the last week (the rest of us tend to just chuck ingredients together in familiar patterns) with a fishless, leek-based ‘fish-cake’. His creation involved a mixture made of mashed potatoes and leeks (there must have been butter and cream in there too), dipped in egg and herbs including home grown chili, and lightly fried: a great success!
A rocket and tomato salad with a dressing made with the remains of the basil, and a tiny red onion.
Jenny’s three fruit crumble – a crumble that included elements from our mini-orchard: some of the apples and pears and some plums from my garden. Jenny had a bit of a challenge: many of the apples were blighted, the pears still hadn’t ripened and the plums were over-ripe. She gamely produced a delicious crumble with extra fruit and a hint of ginger. She has staked her claim to the soup next year: Wensleydale and Pear (assuming the pears ripen at the right time), which sounds fantastic. Two crumbles, along with custard and cream, were rather heavy to transport across town.
It was another great convivial evening, just the way to celebrate the end of the growing season and the start of longer nights and cooler days. The Ed Furey cup was on the table to reinforce the community spirit!