Thursday, July 15, 2010

shadow, mint, blackfly


Posted by Picasa The photographer's shadow.

Tea made with the leaves of fresh mint seems to me to as pure and delicate drink as you could wish for. It is, I believe, a middle eastern custom. I first tried it in aTurkish restaurant some time ago, and wondered then at its simplicity.  But I didn't pursue the idea any further.Today (day before yesterday in fact) when Mr and Mrs Barrett Bonden arrive on a visit, I offer them as it is mid-afternoon, a cup of tea. Mrs Bonden says a glass of water, is all she would like at the moment, but Mr Bonden, enquires after  peppermint tea. "No peppermint tea," but say on the moment's inspiration, "but how about mint tea, made with fresh mint?" Nothing, as it turns out could be simpler. In the garden I cut a handful of mint and, rinse it and put it in a warmed pot. Into the pot go the leaves, followed by boiling water. Three minutes to infuse and the pale green "tea" is ready. It smell like a herb garden and its taste, gentle and unpresumptious, lingers like a thought.

A phobia overcome. I have always hated blackfly, nasty squidgy aphids, which are especially attracted to broad beans. In the past they have always spoilt the beans for me and I have discarded those which have been affected. But this year, because for some reason, perhaps a shortage of bees in the locality, the bean flowers are not pollinated, with the result that I have the worst crop that I can remember in about 40 years of growing them. The few pods which have appeared are covered in fly. Wearing my gardening gloves, I do what every sensible gardener has always done, I wipe the fly off, and for good measure, wash the pods under the hose. No sign of the blackfly remains and the beans are not affected  by the little bastards, which are only interested in  the sap in the outside of the pods.

4 comments:

Barrett Bonden said...

I am delighted with the second para. It proves that our visit to Ch. Plutarch was not a continuous Bacchic debauch, as might be inferred from the most recent comment I have just posted to Lucy's blog.

CC said...

Marvelous photo and I'm going to try your mint tea recipe...... but alas, I'll have to
buy the mint from my green grocer. No garden except for my window sill up here as an Irish neighbor says, at the top o the house. :-)

Lucy said...

We have a very healthy pot of mint on the terrace, and as there is always more than one can ever use with potatoes, peas, salad or cucumber raitha, the tea sound like a lovely idea. The bacchanalia sounded good too , though, or at least being able to resort to an English pub...

Blackfly often rather put me off nasturtia too.

Dave said...

My afternoon tea always included spearmint, wildflower honey, and one or two bags of black tea. From spring through late fall I pick it fresh from a patch right across the road from my house. Peppermint is good, too, but spearmint is what I have, so that's what I use. Sometimes I add a sprig of lemonbalm as well.