It's that point in time on the veg gardening calendar when we need to pull certain plants out that are ending their season and plant the new varieties that are suited to the warm season. Out with the garlic, onion, spinach and shallots and in with beans, beans and more beans. It's 'bean' my aim to capitalise on summer's warmth to grow as many beans as possible, not to eat in summer though, why bother when there are ripe tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini in season? I grow the beans in summer, let them dry out in their pods and harvest them in autumn and store them in large jars for my weekly bean cook up. It's the old approach of harnessing the life of summer and utilising that energy to get you through the lean times of winter. At the end of a massive day in the veg garden, I looked at the first round harvest of garlic and onion, it hung in bunches dishevelled bunches on the old clothes line, swaying in the breeze, with the hollow tapping sound of onion stalk hitting onion stalk and I thought to myself, tonight I should cook something to celebrate this little harvest. I've been purging some snails (Que: vegetarian enemy) for a rabbit and snail paella that I like to cook, but I decided to celebrate what the garden had on offer. A little bit of my new home cured bacon would make a nice addition, along with some parsley and white wine. The snails were washed, rinsed and farewell'd with the obligatory comments from the kids..."ooohhh yuck...you're not going to eat snails again dad!"
The little snails boiled for about half an hour, then were transferred to simmer another half hour in the white-wine-garlic broth-sauce-thing. A little increase of heat, some cornflour, a knob of butter and grate of peccorino and the job seemed done.
Not many people eat these. In fact I know I'm in the minority. But I have convinced some people to try it, even my eldest daughter did, at one time, eat a snail. But tonight she declined the offer. I had no problems with that.