Everybody needs a hobby â€“ for me itâ€™s a close tie between magazining and singing. For John, triathlons. For Tabitha, designing dog Halloween costumes and selling them on Etsy. As it turns out, Jonâ€™s Boss has a hobby too â€“ albeit a somewhat accidental one â€“ a talent for growing enormous vegetables.
Hereâ€™s a picture of the zucchini that Jon staggered home under the weight of yesterday.
The banana is for scale. Seriously. Itâ€™s that big. Tell me thatâ€™s not the kind of vegetable designed to put fear into the hearts of fete contestants in any British village.
â€œItâ€™s got to be a marrow,â€ I said, disbelieving. But itâ€™s not. That Glennys had managed to cycle into work with it in the basket of her bike is nothing short of a miracle.
Itâ€™s impossible to look at this kind of seasonal harvest without feeling lurking metaphors. We plant, we wait, we reap. Sometimes we get enough zucchini to feed a whole Physics department, sometimes, nothing. Thatâ€™s the thing about Autumn symbolism, however fruitful it seems, the flip side always brings a touch of melancholy.
Maybe thatâ€™s why a carrot growing a nose, or a suggestively shaped parsnip delight us so â€“ now, more than ever, we need the humor.
Penne with zucchini and mint in a lemon cream sauce (serves 2)2 handfuls of linguini (or whatever your box says is enough for 2, plus a little extra) 1 cup of zucchini diced into cubes â€“ thatâ€™s about 2 regular sized zucchini 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint 1 lemon 1 clove garlic Â½ cup cream Â½ cup freshly grated Parmesan Salt and pepper, olive oil Â
- Bring a huge pan of water to the boil, salt liberally and drop in the pasta. Set the timer for 1 minute less than the box recommends to make sure the pasta stays al dente
- Heat a tbsp of olive oil in a sautÃ© pan, and toss in the diced zucchini, seasoning as you go with salt and pepper. Cook on a high heat until the zucchini starts to brown and soften
- Grate in about 1 tsp of lemon zest and the clove of garlic, then squeeze in a couple of tbsp of lemon juice
- Turn the heat to low and add the cream. Season â€“ especially with pepper
- Drain the pasta â€“ not too well â€“ some water helps the texture of the sauce â€“ and add to the zucchini pan. Add the parmesan and mint and toss to combine
- Serve with extra cheese and plenty of freshly ground black pepper