Something from the garden, to nourish the body, the soul, our senses.
It's still a summer's day out there, but the garden is telling me otherwise. The mangoes have all been picked, spent tomato plants are waiting to be added to the compost and there's one cucumber left hanging on the teepee trellis. All signalling season change.
This summer has been the first time I've enjoyed its hot days. Our fourth summer in Australia, except it feels strange to me to write that, because what I really want to say is it's our fourth summer at home. I don't think of it as 'us' and 'a country called Australia' anymore. It's just home.
I dreaded the summer months every year, and while it still isn't my favourite season, there's definitely something about warm days living by the beach. Being able to decide at a moment's notice to pack our swimmers and head down for a swim isn't something we can do in the winter, so we're making sure time at the beach features as much as possible from now on before the water temperature dips.
Back to the garden... When the clouds are dense enough to shield me from those still-scorching rays, I must pull out summer crops and start sowing seeds ready for autumn. Things tick along for so long, in the garden as it does in life, before you need to take stock and plan ahead.
Now's the time for digging in fresh compost, checking soil pH, working out what will follow in the empty beds, buying seed and taking cuttings from tired herbs. The list is a long one and I've been putting it off, but I just need to start.
Not everything of course comes to an end as the heat subsides. My herbs are thriving – even with the garden looking as it does right now, it helps to know that I can still make a meal out of the bushes of basil. Or from the sage and parsley, as I've done with these patties.
As long as I have the mince, I know I can always rustle these up quite quickly and serve them for the boys' dinner alongside some sweet potato wedges – there's usually leftover sourdough in the bread bin I can whiz into crumbs and I always have lemon, parmesan and garlic to hand.
The garden beckons... The kitchen beckons too. I think we'll have roast chicken smeared in mint and tarragon tonight. I love my herbs.
What about you? Are you inspired to grow your own, or would you like to grow more? Watch this by the lady who inspired me in the first place.*
Herby pork and parmesan patties
1kg proper free-range pork mince
zest of 1 or 2 lemons
handful of sage leaves
handful of parsley leaves
2 garlic cloves
roughly 75g breadcrumbs
coconut oil, for frying
Blitz the parmesan, lemon zest, herbs, garlic, egg and breadcrumbs in a food processor with some salt and pepper. Tip into a large bowl along with the mince. Using your hands, mix it altogether, then shape into patties. Leave in the fridge until you're ready, or cook straight away: heat a little coconut oil in a pan and cook the patties for 5-10 mins on each side, until golden and cooked through. (I very rarely cook with less than a kilo of meat at a time; if I'm cooking I always make plenty so there's enough for Graeme's lunch the following day... and additional dinners for when I'm feeling a tad lazy.)
* This is an affiliate link which means I receive a payment if you enrol on Nicola's online course through my blog. I did this course and paid for it myself and because I loved it so much, I'm happy to recommend it to you. I'm happy to be upfront about this because I work hard doing what I do here!