Mediterranean abundance: the Horn of Plenty
Summer in the mediterranean promises a glut of luscious fruit, fish and vegetables. It’s no wonder the ‘The Mediterranean Diet’ evolved in an area of such rich, natural surroundings.
And generosity is inherent in mediterranean hospitality.
How much would you like?
At the market mangos are in season next month. Why not take a kilo of almonds now – freshly picked, and still in their soft, green velvety husks? Or a carrier bag full of lychees? Plums, apricots, nectarines and peaches - reminiscent of the heavy, golden sunlight ooze with sweet and sticky juices.
(TIP: Can be devoured in quantity over the kitchen sink to save on wiping up.)
Then there’s the watermelon, inspiration for a hundred crisp, cool salads – if you can carry it home!
No one’s counting
Breakfast can be a mini banquet but make sure to leave room for lunch. (Remember, you can siesta later.) This is the time to make the most of the mediterranean tradition of mezze.
Our family loves to visit the falafel stand by the sea where we can pile up our pitta breads with as many freshly cut vegetables and sauces as we want, to complement the delicious deep-fried chickpea balls.
Sometimes we prefer to sit on the restaurant terrace. Before our main dish arrives the salads start coming, and soon the table will be crowded with 15-20 plates - a delight for all the senses. We didn’t order any of these – they’re on the house, but my daughter notices that her favourite shredded cabbage has not been included this time. It is brought, together with another basket of warm pitta and an extra dish of houmus, broad beans and virgin olive oil (my husband’s favourite) at no extra cost.
And more of The Good Life…
at the shared table. Dinner is usually a celebration of family ritual coming from the innate confidence in cooking that most mediterraneans enjoy.
If you are fortunate enough to be a guest you will be offered plates of nourishing, colourful food. It’s hard to say ‘No.’ There is little packaging and complicated processed recipés. Maybe this is why the food is so good?
We can all learn to be satisfied with the fruits of the earth. Even if we don’t have a pomegranate tree at the bottom of the garden, grape vines swinging in our faces or a handful of fresh dates to make the most regal of desserts it is picking the simple, good produce around us that inspires great dishes.
Don’t you think?