It would be very remiss of me not to write an entry celebrating the joys of the late summer garden: bountiful, buxom tomatoes; fleshy, aromatic peaches; firm Lebanese cucumbers; decadently sweet corn; plump, petite zucchinis; and deliciously sleek eggplants. Oh, how the adjectives just roll off the tongue – perfect little morsels with which to seduce one's Valentine!
But as the vines start to wilt and brown, I'm going into a bit of a tailspin of loss and lament, feeling a pressing need to capture all this lusciousness before it’s gone.
We've grown more than enough to share with our neighbours, family and friends this year, which is a testament to my husband's bourgeoning gardening skills. Each morning for the past six weeks, he has bought in an offering of fruit and vegetables in Aunty Gracie's baking tin.
We, in turn, have been given a lot of produce, including a bag of multi-coloured string beans recently. My mother passed them on from her sister - 'Cook them,' she said, 'or they will go to waste'.
So what to do with the beans? I turned to my Greek forebears, who knew very well how to make use of absolutely everything that shot from the earth, and wouldn't dream of wasting anything.
The ensuing pot of fasolakia (simply, 'beans') is a traditional peasant dish. It represents everything I love in a meal:
1. In it are ingredients that were either grown by us, or given to us from other people’s gardens (even down to the home-grown and dried oregano).
2. Once you put all the ingredients into the pot, it just bubbles away, with nothing more to do apart from an odd lazy stir.
3. It's wonderfully good for you, and so you should go right ahead and accompany it with a thick wedge of bread drizzled with olive oil and a hunk of creamy feta, as well as a crisp bit of something alcoholic.
Now, that is my idea of a luscious late summer celebration. Bon appetit!