17 October 2008

A memorable meal

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.

They grew

and grew

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.


Marjie said...

Oh you do make me smile!I will have to ask Anna if she knows the secret to memorble broad beans. They grow and eat them too. Lovely pics!

spyra said...

Lovely pictures indeed. It sounds like you had a memorable meal after all-- but probably not what you were looking forward to. I wish you better luck with the beans in the future, but I hope (at least) the growing experience has been as enjoyable for you as it has been for me! :)