Am excited - possibly overly - at the sight of a couple of enormous cucumbers on the plant in a tub in my garden.
Last year I bought a little worm farm sure that I could produce extraordinary compost and fertiliser with all the peelings and things from our fabulous Borough shopping. Not quite sure why I was believing that worms in a 1 metre by 1/2 metre plastic tub would be able to eat all our veg scraps every day as well as at least one or two editions of the Guardian a week and produce worm juice to fertilise the garden. A compost heap doesn't work that fast so no matter how many little wrigglers I had - and after a month or so there were thousands - there would never be enough to transform all our scraps. So disappointed. Looking for a magic solution I guess but the worm farm certainly wasn't it. As winter set in the worms slowed down and though they did eat their way through very small amounts of finely pulped waste to make some rich soil most of our scraps still went into the garbage. My worm hopes were dashed.
When spring arrived I decided to set my wormies free and use the soil that was produced, with a little more to top it up, to grow some veg. I put a tomato plant and a cucumber plant into the box just outside the back door and watered them whenever it didn't rain. Slowly to start with, and then with ever increasing vigour, the plants grew and grew and sprouted flowers. Lots of them. A couple of weeks ago, coinciding with that lovely hot week, there were a few tiny cucumbers peeking out from under the big leaves. We watered them morning and night and, I swear, they grew half an inch a day with their girths swelling to match. Every time I looked they were bigger.
So, joy of joy, this week we have spectacularly fabulous ready to eat cucumbers as well as dozens of tomatoes that are yet to ripen.
They had given me such pleasure already watching them grow I wanted something pretty fantastic for the first meal I made with one. We were out to the theatre Saturday night so a pre performance supper was needed. I bought some buffalo mozzarella and fennel salami and, with crusty bread and lots of salad leaves from the garden I made one of the nicest salads I've had this year.
Cucumber and Buffalo Mozzarella Salad
1/2 large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
100g ball buffalo mozzarella, ripped into pieces
Generous handful of mixed salad, I had lambs tongue, rocket and nasturtium leaves
3 tbpsns olive oil
1 tbspn lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Wash the salad leaves and put them into a pretty bowl. Add the cucumber and ripped mozzarella. Put the oil and lemon into a screw top jar with the seasoning and shake to emulsify. Taste and correct the balance if necessary.
Toss the salad lightly with the dressing and serve immediately.
Sweet, crisp, creamy, delicate - just fantastic.