This weekend my house has been filled with a pungent aroma I never imagined I would smell in all my 37 years with my husband. The aroma is that of garlic, something he totally hates the smell and taste of and thus something I never use, although I love the flavour. I’ve known him walk out of restaurants and dinner parties because of it, and it’s one of the main reason he doesn’t like going out for meals. So you can imagine my surprise, nay, shock at him asking me to buy several bulbs of it when I did the weekly shop Friday.
Had he blown his mind, lost his marbles, decided to be adventurous after all this time? None of these things. We grow a lot of our own vegetables and Dave had read in a gardening magazine that a spray made from garlic will get rid of black and green fly, something our broad beans, one of our favourite veg and the only one we freeze, are suddenly plagued with. He decided to give it a go.
Now, there is a lot of sense in this idea as it is well known around the Mediterranean that garlic keeps away the mosquitoes and probably why a lot of it is used in continental cuisine. Indeed, it is probably this fact that led to the ancient practice of hanging bulbs of garlic around your neck, in windows and doorways to keep away evil spirits and vampires. I haven’ t seen any vampires whilst abroad so it obviously must work!
The recipe for this spray consisted of mashing a whole garlic bulb in a pint of water. I told him not to put all the water in the food processor, just a few drops and top up after, but no, he put the whole pint in the machine and switched on. The garlic and water overflowed the bowl, spilled over the work surface, sprayed the walls, dripped down to the floor, and even into the dishwasher. Great! And guess who was left to clean up? Yup, me!
Dave’s second attempt proved more successful and the mixture is now fermenting in the garden shed ready to be mixed into a gallon of water next weekend and the plants sprayed.
The house smelled of it all weekend but he didn’t dare moan. In fact, he commented that it wasn’t as bad as he thought it would be, and thankfully Saturday was a pleasant day and I could leave the doors and windows open. This brought me a rather enjoyable after effect as, sitting in the garden enjoying the sunshine as I read my book, the fountain bubbling in the pond, wafts of garlicky smells drifted across the lawn from the kitchen, bringing back lovely memories of holidays abroad, and if I shut my eyes I could imagine I was back in Greece again for a few minutes.
I’ll let you know if this stinky concoction works but what I am left wondering is if the beans will be infused with the flavour of garlic – something I’ve dared not mention to him. The taste will tell!