Lettuce & Peas

I accept that it’s the done thing to suggest that you’re not afraid of hard work, but we are.

We both hate DIY with a passion. I have no idea how it came to be considered a leisure activity, and even less idea how we all conspired to believe that we have to live in show homes. I say this as a person who even wants the insides of her cupboards to be stylish. I have been suckered in more than most.

In reality, it’s just an advanced way of creating more work for ourselves. Is it middle class guilt? Probably. We come from parents who worked on their feet, on shop floors and building sites. We – desk cats, both of us – are self-conscious about how soft we’ve become. We feel like we ought to justify it somehow, lest we appear lazy.

Well, the last three weekends, we have made amends. Our small back garden, which came into our hands neat and tidy – if populated by plastic flowers and and array of gnomes – had come to resemble a post-apocalyptic landscape over the few years we’ve owned it. In an initial burst of enthusiasm, we dug up the twee pond and fake well, and dismantled the range of ugly brick beds.

But then…well, we did nothing, other than to add more crap to it, and watch it get covered in bindweed. For four years. Herbert would nip outside and mow the sorry-looking grass once a year, and I would do my best to distract anyone who tried to look at it.

But no longer. It has been reformed, with the help of a truckload of old scaffolding planks and a terrifying number of plants. We have a deck, so that you no longer rick your ankle when you try to step outside the back door! We have a washing line! We have THREE trees (and apple, a greengage and a fig, all of which lost their fruit in transit), and a herb bed! We have garden seating! It is no longer frightening to be there!

And every part of this new wonderland was put into place in a spirit of resentful, self-pitying fury. Because it was horrible: dirty, back-breaking, spider-infested, hot and seemingly endless. I, for one, will be sticking to the desk job, and ensuring that I earn enough money to pay someone else to do the hard work in future.

Despite this, I managed to put a chicken in the oven last Saturday while H toiled on, and we ate on the deck  it with good bread, home-made mayonnaise and my summer favourite, lettuce and peas. I’d like to say it made it all worthwhile, but particular sentiment might yet require a few more weeks of hindsight.


Lettuce & Peas 

Over a low heat, fry a small, finely chopped onion in 1 tbsp olive oil.

Add 1 cup frozen peas (or fresh ones if they’re really fresh, i.e. you grew them), and then 1/2 a shredded lettuce (something like a butterhead or soft lettuce works best).

When the peas & lettuce begin to soften, add 1 cup chicken stock or Marigold bouillon. Bring to a simmer, and cook until the peas are ready. Season, and either add 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint or basil, or a drizzle of basil oil.


Basil Oil

(This is great for using up tired-looking basil. Be warned – it doesn’t keep for long).

Blitz 1 cup basil leaves with 1/2 cup olive oil (or more if you want a thinner consistency).

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9 Responses to Lettuce & Peas

  1. Muddling Along 15/07/2011 at 10:56 #

    The lesson I’ve learnt from life is that i hate that sort of stuff so earning enough so I can pay someone else to do it has to be the way forward (I’ve found a man who cuts our lawn – I come home on a Friday to a beautiful garden and no guilt or worry about having to cut it at the weekend)

    • Betty Herbert 15/07/2011 at 12:18 #

      Whereas I’m just revising my standards downwards, frankly ;-)

  2. Lynne 15/07/2011 at 15:05 #

    OH and I both come from families that simply will NOT pay anyone to do something. So if he or I can’t do it, it just stays undone. Me, I’ve outgrown this attitude and will pay anyone to decorate, garden, roof, mend brickwork etc. But OH won’t,and won’t let me either. So you would not BELIEVE the amount of stuff that I just can’t bear to look at :(

  3. Betty Herbert 15/07/2011 at 15:12 #

    I can completely sympathise. Although after seeing the terrible hash we make of any given DIY task, our friends & family are now less disapproving of our buying in help than they used to be!

  4. Tony Faulkner 15/07/2011 at 15:57 #

    The whole purpose of civilization is to acquire enough wealth or power to ensure that other people do the things you don’t like doing yourself. At least, that’s what I think.

  5. inawelshgarden 16/07/2011 at 07:50 #

    I still have high hopes of you and H being converted to the joys of gardening – reading your post though,well,I have to admit that having given it some thought, I don’t particularly like the heavy duty aspects of gardening either,and Mr Inawelshgarden does mow the lawn but only in a resigned kind of a way,when it’s getting a bit out of hand. It sounds like you’ve done the horrid,back-breaking bits now anyway – the good news is that you can now enjoy the best bit – sitting in your garden in the sunshine, drinking fine wine : ) If I’m honest,that’s my favourite bit of gardening – yes, I love sowing,planting and harvesting – but the best bit for me is having this alive,natural outdoor space to enjoy,to sit in,and chill.Especially fab after being stuck indoors working. The relaxation/life-enhancing factor of that is key for me. So I am wishing you and H lots of relaxing times in your fab ‘new’ garden. More posts about it please,and piccies!

    • Betty Herbert 18/07/2011 at 15:25 #

      Ah yes, I think he’s beginning to see the point of it now it’s done. If only the sun would come out (& stay out for more than three minutes), we might be able to enjoy it…

  6. beccy 10/08/2011 at 17:57 #

    The back-breaking bits are the best bit! There’s nothing like that feeling that you’ve really, REALLY earned that cold cider at the end of the day….now, what I can’t stand is poncing around with weeding…..

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