The Cut and Thrust

I’ve just been having a hacking time in the garden again. All the rain over the last few months has given everything in the garden an urge to spread its wings, which, in turn, urged me to have a cut-back.

I had an arsenal of tools to aid me: long-handled loppers, secateurs, tree saw and hedge-trimmer. I got a bit carried away and ended up with a huge pile of debris. The worst bit about cutting back in the garden is the clearing up, all those clippings and branches to gather up and deposit.

One of the plants I gave a bit of a tidy  was the vine. Now don’t get excited- this isn’t a juicy grape bearing variety. It’s very decorative but the grapes are small, full of seeds and never usually get sweet enough to eat. Though they have made quite a good chutney in the past. The last couple of years sadly there haven’t been many grapes, the photo was taken a few years ago when there was an abundance but the very cold winter of 2010/11 has  upset it and then all the rain this year hasn’t helped. However the leaves are good and these are excellent for harvesting and storing to make koupebia.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned the community garden in my village and the glut of potatoes and onions this has now moved on apace and we are into the marrow, courgette overwhelm.

We have several varieties of courgette growing including these rather dear little round courgettes. The trouble is if they don’t get picked when small, they grow at a rapid rate a day and end up pumpkin size!! I have large and small in the kitchen and today I thought I would stuff one. In Cyprus most vegetables are candidates for stuffing and collectively are called Yemista. The stuffing mixture I’m using will be minced lamb with onions, herbs, seasoning and tomatoes. As it happens we are also starting to get a good harvest of tomatoes and I’ll use a few of these to make a delicious filling for the courgette.

The filling ingredients are fried in a little oil and  cooked first then the centre of the courgette is cleaned out and the filling added. These will then be placed in a deep dish with a little water covering the bottom and placed in a moderately hot oven for about an hour. Deelicious.

I’ll have to think of a few more butternut squash recipes as well as we have a few of those in the pipeline. Aren’t we lucky by Jove!

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