I have serious issues with the Swede’s approach to summer. This morning, in the paper, they had a bunch of recipes under the theme Nordic Autumn. It’s not even September and in Sweden the papers are beginning to write about autumn. How depressing is that?
My host nation’s collective idea of summer runs from around the 25th June to the 31st July. Before that is spring, after that is autumn, pretty much. On my return from work last night, I felt the need to address this problem.
Luckily for me, my four months of hard toil in the vegetable patch has finally yielded some results. It was time for my first real harvest; and a dinner of fresh summer vegetables on a sunny, warm (if you count 15C as warm) SUMMER evening.
Now when I say harvest, I don’t want you get too excited. A combination of lack of knowledge, a colder than average summer and an ill-placed, shade-giving oak tree has resulted in half my carrots and beetroots suffering stunted growth and my onions, Brussels and spring onions not even showing. Then there are the slugs they saw off my salad and radishes (and half my peas) before I even knew they were there.
In short, what remains of my valiant attempt to provide for my family adds up to about one and half dinners. Two if you’re not very hungry. Except for my broad beans; I’ve got loads of those.
But, you know what, none of that matters. I wouldn’t care if I had only had one carrot. The joy of preparing, planting, nurturing, waiting and anticipating, it turns out, is almost as much fun as eating. Almost. There is something magically satisfying about pulling up vegetables; the little tug of resistance they give before they yield, emerging still warm from the soil that has nourished them. I never knew pulling up a carrot could be so much fun.
We had carrots, radish, beetroot, peas and broad beans. The carrots and radish as nature intended; the beetroot thinly sliced and lightly boiled; the peas and beans tossed with olive oil and lemon juice. With it we had feta cheese, crusty bread and a glass of rose wine: simple, delicious, fresh. Outside, under the heat lamps on a wonderful, fresh, Swedish summer evening.
I’ll have no more talk of autumn thank you.