Well I'm feeling a bit chuffed with myself. At this time of the year there's loads of stuff to harvest from the garden. Baskets of juicy, red cherry tomatoes, beans crawling up the balcony, basil and salad greens galore, figs dropping to the ground. And I'm sure if those sneaky goats hadn't smashed their way through the fence and munched my corn and eggplant and capsicum I'd have even more.
Step 1 - Roast Potatoes
Surreptitiously turn the oven on. Nothing makes Monkey Man crankier than the knowledge that I'm using the oven in hot weather. Remember while you are peeling and chopping your 'taters - you can never have too many - keep peeling. My kids have finally come 'round to roast potatoes after I started calling them chips and making sure that they are super crunchy. Trick is to steam or boil them first, then pop them in the oven with oil and some rosemary and butter.
Step 2 - Clean Up
Order Monkey Man to clear his pile of papers from the dining room table. To ensure success, this order needs to be repeated at five minute intervals 'til serving time.
Step 3 - Oven Baked Figs
Place the figs in a small oven proof dish, splash with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a spoonful of honey. Bake 'til soft - about 15 minutes.
Step 4 - Green Bean & Snow Pea Salad
(Recipe adapted from Stephanie Alexander's Kitchen Garden Companion). Bring a big saucepan of water to the boil. Cook up your beans (7 minutes). Scoop them out and wack in some snow peas. Cook 'til bright green and not too limp (1 minute). Scoop out and allow to cool. Make a dressing with chopped herbs (chives, parsley) and a tablespoon of olive oil. Soak a teaspoon of capers in water for 5 minutes. Drain and add to the salad. Assemble on a platter with olives, the capers and crumbled goat's cheese.
Step 5 - Cherry Tomato & Bocconcini Salad
Make a dressing with olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Pop your cherry tomatoes in a bowl with the dressing. Add some torn basil and use your hands to mix it all through. On a platter, make a layer of salad greens. Pop the tomatoes on top. Tear some bocconcini balls and scatter about the platter.
Step 6 - Lay the Table
Instruct little monkeys to set the table using the good glasses and cutlery
Step 7 - Assembly
all the bits - chopped bread on a board, a bowl of roasted nuts and
seeds, the figs, plop the potatoes in a nice bowl and lay them all out on the
Step 8 - Atmosphere
Light a candle and dig in.