Appetite 69 – July/August 2022

Tastes of summer

Editor savours the vegetables of her labours and looks forward to a big foodie week out

I am in my element, dear reader, having just been down to my spectacular (if I say it myself) veg patch to harvest today’s lunch of yellow courgette, pak choi, French radish, and mange tout, which I’ve stir-fried with garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt and served with home-grown tomatoes and lots of dill, mint and tarragon (because when you’re eating from the garden, anything goes).

I know, I sound like a reglar Monty Don, don’t I? Clearly this is a fiction, because unlike the great man’s Instagram-perfect gardens (he has many, all a little pompously named, such as The Jewel Garden if you blooming please…) our veg patch is full of weeds and very hungry caterpillars, which are currently making quite the meal of my brassicas (if you will excuse the expression).

It is lovely though, heading out to harvest lunch. Even if you’ve only got a few pots of herbs on your windowsill, food tastes better when some of it is fresh-picked, its flavours fully intact. That’s why it’s always so nice to see chefs opting to grow their own veg and herbs and even rear their own livestock. I think growers and cooks tend to have a similar mindset; a shared pleasure in taking our time to nurture a raw ingredient into something to be savoured.

Meanwhile, over in the big city, the busiest food week of the year is about to land in the shape of NE1 Newcastle Restaurant Week. I love the way the city bursts into life during this twice-yearly event, which lights up January and brings the sunshine in August.

How lovely it is to go out and celebrate the vast diversity of food traditions and innovations being served up in the NE1 postcode, and to do it in the company of others all enjoying the same joyous festival of food. The restaurants are always busy during these weeks, and the atmosphere is vibrant, bringing the city fully to life in the shared pleasure of eating out.

I love it and will be using it as an excuse to enjoy lots of new places as well as some old favourites. I hope to see you there, and in the meantime, do enjoy the bounty your garden or windowbox provides.

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