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05 July 2010


I am not sure why this summer seems so vivid,
with each day somehow more beautiful than the last.
I only know that is the way it feels. The days
are moving as if each hour is two, and every
detail – a salad, a bunch of sweet peas or box
of tiny broad beans – is somehow more rich than it
would normally be. It is as if the colours,
sounds and scents of summer have been turned up a notch.

Tiny broad beans so tender you could eat them pod
and all; sweet little peas (they love a drop of good
steady rain) and lettuces that have benefited
from the cooler mornings and evenings. I made a
bean sauce this week with a base of crisp purple
and white spring onions, broad beans and tarragon. I
gave it a backbone of cubed unsmoked bacon and
bound it with a little cream. I skinned the larger beans
but left the real babies in their paper-thin skins.

The early peaches are at last arriving from
France and Italy. I wait all spring for these fruits
with their rose-scented juice. It is rare to find them
perfectly ripe in the shops, so I make sure I
buy them a couple of days before I need them.
The old trick of putting them in a paper bag
with a ripe banana to speed up their ripening
works well, but they do very nicely just left out
for a day or two. But there is no need to squeeze
and prod. An unripe peach has virtually no smell;
a ripe one will tell you it is ready to eat.

From Nigel Slater's column in the Observer, 4 July 2010. The opening paragraph was perfectly dodecasyllabic (breaking into 12 syllable lines) so 'sort of' was removed from line 13 and 'I find' from line 25 to maintain the pattern. Submitted by Gabriel Smy.