A few years ago when I was looking after my neighbours’ garden while they were on holiday, I looked at the amount of runner beans and courgettes piling up in the kitchen, combined with my own produce, and had one of those Eureka moments. Even after offering them to other neighbours and friends, I still had at least three pounds in weight of each, and I’d begun to panic.
The Damascian moment came after I’d hurriedly Googled ‘courgette recipes’ – and found over 300, and realised that the problem wasn’t the courgettes, but my lack of creativity with them. Since then I’ve cut out and copied down many and varied recipes for things I grow in the garden or might receive in a veg box. I’ve even filed them so if I have a sudden deluge of beetroot, cabbage or pumpkins I’ll know what to do.
So this year when I had the best broad bean crop ever, I could eat them everyday in June (honestly) with only repeating recipes a few times. Best discovery? Making a mash out of the huge floury beans, mixed with lemon juice and mint or basil, with a little olive oil.
And Jack Monroe’s recipe for marrow gratin was a very pleasant surprise too.
(I even have quite a large chocolate file, just in case I have a surfeit one day…).
I now have another problem, but one I love: I now run out of courgettes – and even meal times – long before I run out of recipes, and I’m a better, more innovative cook as a result.
What I’ve learnt out of all this isn’t that I should be better at filing, but that the best solution lies in not seeing problems but being creative with what you have.