This week, has been peculiarly British, celebrating 60 years of reigning of our Queen, in near 60 hours of continuous rain. The roses which form the background of my potager-garden have been de-petaled by the fat rain-drops, and even the urban fox that lives under next doors shed seems to be avoiding the wet.
A mid week supper this week comprised of Risi e Bisi otherwise known as fresh Pea Risotto: the peas shelled not less than two minutes from being picked, and as sweet as candy. If you can find Carnaroli rice, use this instead of Arborio – it’s much better, and costs virtually the same. Once the rice is cooked and creamy, I add an extra splash of Sauvignon Blanc - I like the vegetal flavour of the wine in the dish - and then stir through the raw peas. They cook in seconds from the heat (as do frozen ones if they’re what you have to hand).
This lack of sun has been unkind – but the cabbages, cauliflowers and kales enjoy their feet damp, and promise me a bumper late summer harvest, ditto the nasturtiums whose leaves tumble carelessly in the borders, yet whose flowers remain elusive.
The gooseberries are however now swollen, and with the last of the elderflower make a most fantastic cake. Take two Victoria sponges, drizzled heavily with elderflower cordial and sandwich with gooseberry compote, made from two fistfuls of gooseberries, a dash of water, and a shake of sugar. Beat more cream than you dare with another good shake of sugar, and spoon a thick layer of cream between the sandwiches; cream as deep as cake. Who cares if the sun isn’t shining?