Ah, October. How did you swing around again so fast?
… the 10th month in the Gregorian calendar (which we use today) but was the eighth month in the Roman calendar, hence the "oct" part of its name.
… the month in which we celebrate St Crispin's Day (patron saint of shoemakers)
… is the month in which daylight saving time ends in the UK and we revert to Greenwich Mean Time
… has the opal and the tourmaline as its birthstones
… begins in the starsign Libra and ends in Scoprio
… is the birthday month of (among others) Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu; actresses Susan Sarandon, Sigourney Weaver and Carrie Fisher; actors Chevy Chase, Roger Moore and John Lithgow; and musicians Sting, Paul Simon and Simon le Bon.
It's also the month when anybody in the Northern hemisphere with a vegetable garden loses the will to live when faced with another batch of runner beans. You've steamed them, boiled them, made runner bean stir-fry, put them in casseroles and salads, and made runner bean soup with them. And still, they come.
I'll tell you now what – make runner bean and feta gratin with them. It takes almost no time or effort, and it's tasty enough to tempt even fussy eaters (the crispy cheesy crust makes them forget that they are eating greens, heh heh). Think of it as my gift to everyone with an over-abundance of runner beans!
RUNNER BEAN AND FETA GRATIN (serves 2-3)
about 2 cups runner beans, washed and chopped into 1 inch lengths
100 ml cream (I used double cream)
100g feta cheese
about 1/2 a cup of breadcrumbs
Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
Steam or microwave the beans until just tender. Place them in a shallow oven-proof dish. Pour the cream over the beans and season with salt and pepper. Top with crumbled feta and breadcrumbs and bake for about 20 minutes until the cream has thickened and the breadcrumbs form a golden crust.