smells and squeaks

The garden is full of scents! A honeysuckle that we planted in the outdoor kitchen is in full bloom, and the scent of it wafts about, making kitchen work positively dreamy.

The stinky and the sweet: fresh garlic and the honeysuckle by the kitchen.

As I worked on lunch, Ali wandered over with a flower from the white peony. It’s got a scent that reminds me of lily of the valley, but the scent of it in say, a talcum powder.

Can you spot the spider? Who could blame it for choosing such a sweet smelling home.

I was working on getting some lunch together — bubble and squeak and rarebits. My dad was a great fan of bubble and squeak — I think he liked to say it as much as he liked to eat it. There’s a nice article in the Guardian that breaks it down into a simple formula (equal parts potato and cabbage by volume not by weight, fry well). I thought it would make a good lunch for Kaya as well.

At the table, Kaya happily submitted to eating a few bites of the bubble and squeak that I had pureed for him, before making a lunge for my rarebit. I broke off a piece and gave it to him, and he tore away at it with his new front teeth. He demolished about half of it, eating it as fast as I could give it to him. It was a minimalist sort of rarebit (no beer, for instance), but as he liked it so much, I thought I would share the recipe. It’s a nice thing to make to go alongside a soup or a vegetable dish.

Bare bones rarebit:
1 1/4 c. milk
1 bay leaf
2 T butter
2T flour
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 t mustard
Worcestershire sauce
2 slices bread (you may have enough sauce for more than two, depending on the size of the bread)

Put the bay leaf in the milk with a few grinds of pepper and heat to boiling then shut off and let them get to know one another. In the mean time, melt the butter in another pot and add the flour to form a roux. Let it cook for a couple of minutes. Then add the milk in three installments, stirring well to keep things from getting lumpy. Cook the resulting sauce for another two minutes before removing from the heat. Add the cheese and stir vigorously to melt it. Then stir in your mustard and add a bit of Worcestershire sauce as well if you like.
Heat the broiler and toast the tops of your bread under it before spreading a thick layer of cheesy sauce on them. Set them under the broiler, but not too close, and let the sauce get hot and brown.
Keep out of reach of babies, or else make a helping for any babies present.

Hands off my rarebit!

And while I am on the topic of food that Kaya loves, I have to also make special mention of a wonderful recipe I found at one of my favorite blogs, From the Bartolini Kitchens. It’s for polpettine (diminutive meatballs), a new staple in my kitchen. We had them the other night, and Kaya was jumping up and down in his seat for more (even Baki, the world’s pickiest eater, tucked in happily). What’s so interesting to me about this is that the blog is dedicated to sharing family recipes, many of them tied to wonderful memories and stories. Wouldn’t it be nice if one day Kaya learned to make polpettine so that he could bring back his memories of eating them under the garlic braids in the garden kitchen.

9 thoughts on “smells and squeaks

  1. Honeysuckle and peonies are my two favorite flowers! I am so glad that you have them in your garden. My grandparents have a large garden in their backyard. Mostly vegetables because my grandfather didn’t see flowers as being very useful. But my grandmother always fought for her lilies and her roses. After she passed, my grandfather maintained them because the smell reminded him of her.

    1. That is so lovely. It’s funny how a lot of gardeners seem to fall into vegetable or the flower camp. I am definitely more of a veg person; my husband loves flowers, especially scented ones.

  2. how fantastic, I love The Bartolini as well! His food is great and so accessible.. even in Turkey, you have such an adorable child and I have never made the REAL Rarebit before so i am grateful for the recipe.. your garden must be divine at this time of year.. celi

    1. This is the time of year that we enjoy the most, knowing that soon it will be too hot to do anything. I was actually heartened to read that you were taking advantage of the cooler weather to do heavy work before it gets too hot because at least then we are not the only ones. Still, I bet you keep pretty busy even on the hottest day!

  3. That Kaya is one cute little boy! How can you refuse him anything?
    I, too, love honeysuckle and my peonies are just beginning to open. I wish they were closer to the house so that the rooms could benefit from the scent.

    Thank you so much for your kind mention of my blog and Mom’s soup. She’d be thrilled to learn that your Li’l Ones enjoy it as much as hers did. As for what they will remember, I’ve no doubt that they’ll remember many things from their youth. My Aunt, my Zia, has remarked that she is surprised at how many of these stories I recall. Your children are no different and will enjoy recalling these things every bit as much as I do. Rest assured. 🙂

    1. When I was little, and my aunt showed me that you could get a taste of nectar from honeysuckle flowers, I remember thinking that there couldn’t possibly be any better flower in the world. They are such generous things, flowers.

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