I am the person who always says 'Yes, please!' whenever anyone offers produce. I am the only person I know still accepting zucchinis. The other day a friend gave me a giant one that had got away when she left the house for two days. I gave it to The Man to carry (it was quite large), and he put it down on the table while we chatted. 'You are taking that home with you, aren't you?' asked my friend's husband, clearly worried we were having second thoughts. 'Just resting my arms,' muttered The Man.
My family love zucchini. This afternoon I was grating a large chunk of The Monster into the pan where I was sauteeing onion for a bolognaise sauce. 'Aaaargh,' shrieked Rosy, 'You'll ruin it! I won't eat any dinner!'
'Can I have cereal?' asks Posy, peering into the pan.
An hour later, Rosy is polishing off her second serving, telling me how delicious dinner was, and I don't have the heart to remind her of its monstrous beginnings.
Last night I went along to a gathering of like-minded souls, Tanya's Living Better Group, where we discussed using herbs in the garden, and preserving the harvest. Tanya is the Queen of Preserving, and I came away even more determined not to waste anything I am given, or growing, but to squirrel it all away for the future, or use it now instead of going to the supermarket.
So this afternoon I took out the bag of blackcurrants that someone gave me a week ago, and looked at them long and hard until inspiration struck. It had to be something that didn't involve Running Out to the Shops, so that narrowed the options. I decided on apple and blackcurrant crumble. My solution for any fruit with annoying pips and stones is to simmer it down in its own juice, mashing it down a bit, then pushing it through a sieve. This doesn't give you a lot of actual food, but it makes a lovely 'essence' of the fruit. Rosy mashed enthusiastically for me. In retrospect, white shorts for mashing blackcurrants probably wasn't a great fashion choice, but hey, when you're twelve, you're learning every day. Anyway, mixed with the stewed apples and some vanilla, under the crumble topping that I always keep stashed in the freezer for quick desserts, it was a dish that just tasted of purple. So yummy, and although we didn't have any cream or icecream, The Girl made her creamy, smooth custard that the little girls call 'chubby custard' for some unknown reason. Free food is good, free purple food? So much better.
Now I have a bag of laurel berries to make into jam. I have had laurel berry jam before, and I like its almost marzipan flavour, but I have a feeling there is something poisonous about laurel berries. Maybe you shouldn't eat them raw? I think I ought to do some research before I cook them. Free purple food is excellent, free purple food that doesn't kill you, even better.
And I have a plan for the zucchinis. I dried some to make zucchini chips because someone on pinterest said they were delicious. Those people on pinterest are terrible liars. However, Tanya dries them to add to winter stews, which sounds better, and I thought I could grind them into a powder and add zucchini powder to stews as a kind of thickener. It may work. I just won't tell the children.
Tired, but determinedly cheerful mother of four. One grown up son (The Boy), one grown up daughter (The Girl), two girls at home, Rosy (17) and Posy (13). Trying to buy a little less, make a little more, live a little lighter, not mess up the children too much.. and now extra frugal adventures with Partner Paul..