South Park Self

I'm waitin' for the harvest of the seeds I sow

There's a particular kind of terminally vague student interacting with whom inserts unnecessary homicidal impulses into my working life. Girl child, wanders through door, encounters my standard bedside-manner query "What seems to be the problem, then?". (Usually followed by "Let's have a look", as I peruse their transcript. I'm totally an abstract sort of doctor). Says she wants to do {X broad admin process}, looks at me expectantly with deer-in-headlights gaze. I carefully explain she needs to do Y and Z procedures. Oh, she says, when I did that there was a problem with P. Gritting my teeth, I suggest she speaks to person Q who habitually sorts out P quite usefully. Oh, she says, she already spoke to person Q who couldn't help because U and V. Restraining my Administrative Laser Glare of Stupidity Vaporising only by an extreme effort, I say tersely, "Right, so actually the problem you want me to help with is U and V, why didn't you say so up front and save us both ten minutes of wasted explanation?" To which she has no response. So I vaporise her. Because really. First thing on a Monday morning and me insufficiently fortified with Earl Grey. What did she expect?

We braaied last night, it being now officially Summer and open to such shenanigans. I made an extra-specially lovely and entirely new salad using fresh broad beans, which I've never actually cooked before. A few months back the Evil Landlord had a burst of Germanic creativity and energy, and made me new veggie boxes for the back courtyard, in place of the old ones, which finally disintegrated after producing about five years' worth of unlikely quantities of baby tomatoes and what have you. It being the depths of winter when the new boxes were ready, I planted beans in a vaguely enquiring sort of way, just to see what happened. They didn't do much for a few months, and then the weather warmed up a bit and suddenly!, jungle. Viz:


Broad beans are the most pleasingly Cthulhoid of creatures, they grow out huge and knobbly and vaguely tentacular, and when you open the pod all the little beans are nested beautifully in a sort of luxurious foam bed. Also, they are prolific like whoa and dammit, possibly at least partly as a result of the sunny hotbox of that back courtyard. This is the haul from yesterday, with a pepper grinder for scale. There's another batch of babies on the vine, maybe half as many, but still lots.


Surprisingly Wonderful Broad Bean Salad

So, you need a bunch of fresh broad beans, the above wasn't quite enough for five people. Once you've excavated the beans callously from their beds, fling 'em into boiling salted water for two minutes, or until the skins just start to split. Skin them. The skins come off really easily, leaving a soft, green, nutty bean behind. Restrain yourself and guests from eating too many just as is. I had no idea fresh broad beans were so good.

Grab a handful of mint and chop finely. Fry up four or five rashers of streaky bacon until crispy, and chop finely. Mix mint and bacon in with beans, carefully, the beans break easily. Grab a double handful of cos or butter lettuce and tear into small chunks. Toss with bean mix.

Construct dressing using Dijon mustard, brown sugar, olive oil and white wine vinegar in your favourite proportions, seasoned with salt and pepper. Toss with salad.

Inhale. The recipe (which I actually pretty much followed, for once) says to serve with pita bread, which is probably worth a try sometime for a light meal in itself.

I am definitely planting broad beans as soon as seasonal wossnames permit. A+, would grow, harvest and enthusiastically consume again.

Subject line from "Poor Boy", also on the Byrne/Eno compilation album. I spent a happy half hour playing some of the songs randomly on the piano yesterday, which solidified my sense that they have surprisingly few actual chords in them given how textured and interesting the sound is. Then I read the blurb on the website again, and remembered, oh yes, the root of the album is explicitly in gospel, which explains a great deal. Vocals dominate, chords are simple, lyrics feature a sort of earthy, emotional reality in vivid images. Still my favourite album of the moment.
My Dad used to grow broad beans in our back garden. Mum would cook them and I, under protest, would eat them - had to, house rules. Since I became the One In Charge of Providing Things Edible, broad beans have never passed my front door.

Brussels Sprouts only get the one outing, for Christmas, for other family members who like them. I refuse to even try the disgusting things. Even when they're cooked properly. Once we were out for Sunday lunch with friends. She did Brussels Sprouts, overcooked. I was polite and ate them. Yuk! Oh the joys of being a Brit!
The only time I have ever wanted to eat Brussels sprouts was when I was pregnant...I craved them...thankfully they weren't in season--being much nice in the lunatic fantasies of a hormonal pregnant person than in actuality.
I am saddened by the lack of brussel sprout appreciation. A brussel sprout is a lovesome thing, god wot. Steam them and then flash-fry with bacon and lemon juice and garlic. Or roast in the oven with cheese. Tiny cabbages are people too!
I envy your set and forget broad beans, they look delicious.

I am now the plant parent of three vegetable garden's worth of neurotic vegetables. I put them in the midst of the biggest wind storm this city has even seen. According to the bedraggle of hippies I consulted at the local permaculture hippy collective (after they tutted and massage my soil, consulted my images and stroked their beards...they were woman) the plants are suffering from stress. This has required gardening with teaspoons around the stem areas to provide more nutrients but not upset the poor dears; making them little plant blankets out of lucerne; building snail traps and rushing home from work early on hot days to water them individually with the teapot (long spout no water on the leaves). All this is in complete opposition to my usual gardening philosophy which requires thriving on neglect.

Better be some damn good vegetable...or at least enough for 1 salad for 5!