Some years ago my mother returned from a holiday and announced that she had eaten a 'memorable' meal in a restaurant where she had been staying. When we asked her what she had eaten she said that she couldn't remember!
I have eaten many restaurant meals - some of which may have been 'memorable', but very few of them can I now recall. One of them, however, has stayed with me for a few years and I have tried to recreate it at home without much success. It is more of a dish than a meal and perhaps because it is simple and humble food cooked to perfection that I remember it so well. In a small Greek restaurant in Melbourne I ate a plate of perfect broad beans which were served as an entree. They were cooked simply and served with lashings of olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper and dill and they tasted divine. As mentioned, I have tried to recreate this at home, but have not been able to match the flavour of those beans. Then it occurred to me that if I grew my own I might have more luck.
I planted my packet of seeds
and within days the tiny plants had appeared.
and my mouth started to water in anticipation of my memorable meal.
Then the flowers appeared
and a ladybird
and then, at last, broad beans. It was time for my memorable meal.
I picked, I spent hours painstakingly peeling off the tough outer layer on the beans,
I cooked, I used only the best organic olive oil, the juice from the lemons on my own tree, freshly grated pepper, the flakes of the best sea salt and a dusting of dill leaves. They were to be eaten with tender chops from a lamb which had been grown on the farm of a friend in the wheatbelt. The scene was set for a memorable meal..........
The night air was pierced by an almighty scream. I had lavished so much attention on the broad beans that I had forgotten to watch the chops and they were pouring out enough smoke to activate the smoke alarm. Instead of sitting down to my memorable meal I was rushing about opening all the doors and windows and poking the alarm with a broom handle.
I did eventually get to enjoy my broad beans which had been months in the making but, sadly, they were not memorable. However, I am not giving up. Tomorrow I am going to pick only the smallest and most tender beans. They will be too small for their outer layer to have formed and again I will cook and oil and juice and dust with dill. They will be eaten without chops and smoke alarms, and they will be memorable. In fact, I am hoping they will make me smile.