This recipe comes courtesy of Ruby Taylor, artist/ maker & teacher of Native Hands – a wonderful programme of ‘wild’ crafts, including basketry, pottery and fire making. Ruby’s courses are held mostly outdoors in woodland and have evolved out of a love of making things in nature using natural materials. Find out more on her website/ blog.
Cleavers grow abundantly in gardens/allotments and any marginal area. Also known as goose grass and sticky willie, it’s the one that you can throw at your friend’s back & it’ll stick there without them feeling a thing. Cleavers and nettles make one of the best spring tonics (great for the lymphatic system & full of nutrition). This is one of my very favourite things to make as spring arrives. I’ll be having a glass of this every morning for the next month or so. Cheers, all!
Gather a small handful of the young leaves of each plant & crush in a pestle & mortar with half a glass of water added. Strain & keep the juice, Repeat the crushing & straining, to get a glassful of juice. Drink straight away while it’s vibrant green.
Images credits: Leonora Enking & Ruby Taylor
Purple sprouting broccoli is a welcome spring crop, and is worth the long growing season if you have the space. It is nothing like its broccoli or calabrese cousins and is often considered the equal of asparagus; prices in the shops may help you make the decision to find the room to include this brilliant brassica.
If, like me you are waiting keenly for the first pick of home grown purple sprouting broccoli, or if you’re already reaping an early harvest, then you’ll love this fresh, simple recipe.
- Purple sprouting broccoli
- Sesame Oil
- Soy Sauce or Tamari
- Toasted Sesame Seeds to garnish
- Rinse the broccoli and cut off any hard stems
- Heat the sesame oil in a wok and add the broccoli once the oil is hot – it should sizzle
- Cover the pan allowing steam to cook the broccoli
- Just before the broccoli is cooked (still with a ‘bite’), add soy sauce
- Serve immediately with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds
There are a few hardy vegetables still out there to be harvested, and one of my favourites is the humble leek. It adds a wonderfully distinctive flavour to meals, yet stands through winter for year round use, unlike its rather more tender cousin, the onion. This recipe provides some much welcome comfort food in the winter.
- 1 red onion
- 2 white potatoes, in thin slices
- 2 large leeks, cut into 1 inch slices
- 250g cooked chick peas (or a standard tin, drained)
- 1 heaped dessertspoon cumin seeds
- 1 heaped dessertspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 inch piece of ginger
- 2 inch piece of cinnamon stick
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder
- 8 curry leaves
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 100g creamed coconut (dissolve in ½ pint hot water)
- Grind up cumin seeds, coriander seeds and fennel seeds using a pestle & mortar or grinder.
- Heat the oil in a large pan and add onion, garlic and ginger, frying until soft.
- Add the ground spice mix plus cinnamon, turmeric, chilli, curry leaves and salt then add the potatoes, leeks and chick peas and fry together for a few minutes.
- Pour on the dissolved creamed coconut and vinegar (ensuring there is enough liquid to cover the veg – add more if not)
- Simmer for 20 minutes or until the potato is cooked through
- Serve with rice
Adapted from the World Food Café’s Kandi Leek & Potato Curry recipe.
Rosehips are a wonderfully colourful and cheery sight in the local hedgerows, but they also make excellent jams, jellies and cordials, reputedly high in Vitamin C. Take advantage of this year’s bumper crop and make some tasty jelly to cheer up your frosty mornings.
All rosehips are edible, but make sure you only pick berries from plants you can identify as roses.
500ml water (approx)
3 apples (for pectin)
Juice of a lemon
1.5 cups of sugar
- Rinse fruit and top and tail, removing any bad berries.
- Boil rosehips in enough water to just cover the fruit. Add apples and boil all until soft and mushy.
- Pour mixture into a muslin bag and strain overnight.
- Return juice to a wide bottomed pan, add lemon juice and bring to the boil.
- Add sugar and boil until setting point is reached (jelly ‘wrinkles’ when placed on a cold saucer).
- Bottle into sterilized jars and keep in the fridge once opened.
A great homemade Christmas gift!
A quick and easy recipe for using up any last autumn gluts from the garden. Ready to eat in 3 months – the perfect homemade gift.
- 3lb Marrow/ overgrown courgettes (skin & de-seed if tough)
- 1lb Onions
- 1lb Tomatoes (use green ones if that’s all you have left)
- 1lb Crunchy veg (such as cabbage, runner beans, chard stems)
- 6 good sized Garlic cloves
- 1oz Root Ginger
- 1oz Mustard seed
- 1.5 pints Vinegar (use any: white, cider, spiced – I used cider vinegar)
- Spices to taste (paprika, ginger, cayenne)
- 2tsp Salt
- 2oz Sugar
- Chop all veg into small pieces (think Branston pickle sized chunks) and place in a large flat-bottomed pan
- Add vinegar, sugar, salt & spices and bring to the boil.
- Simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally (don’t let it stick!)
- Pour into hot, sterile jars & seal
Although we have had more than our average sun quota this year, sadly its not lasted long enough to take full advantage for sun-drying our harvests. So here is a simple recipe to make the most out of your cherry tomato glut and provide a mouth watering taste of summer in the deepest winter months.
It does take some time to oven dry your produce, so make sure you choose a time when you will be around for 2-3 hours. Perhaps use this time to look through some lovely organic seed catalogues and daydream about next year’s plans.
You will need:
Cherry tomatoes – de-stalked, washed, dried and any dodgy ones removed
Olive Oil – for brushing
Salt & herbs for seasoning
- Turn on oven to a low heat (around 120C / GM 1 or lower).
- Line a large baking tray with baking paper or parchment and place a wire rack over this.
- Slice your prepared tomatoes in half and lay out cut side facing up on the wire rack. For added ease, I highly recommend this fabulous 1-minute tutorial on how to cut multiple tomatoes: https://www.wimp.com/a-simple-technique-for-cutting-cherry-tomatoes-in-half/
- Brush the tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and herbs of your choice. Basil or Marjoram are good with tomatoes.
- Pop in the oven checking on the tomatoes’ progress periodically to make sure they are cooking evenly; they will probably fall through the wire rack, but don’t worry about that.
- Continue to cook until they are squishy but not juicy (or you can decide for yourself the perfect consistency you want from a sun-dried tom).
- Either use these in pasta dishes immediately, or you can further preserve them by either freezing or bottling. I have frozen mine in one-meal quantities for easy use. Try searching on line if you want to preserve them in oil – this will take a bit more effort.
This recipe comes from Ema at De Tout Coeur, Limosin, France – home to relaxing retreats and delicious home cooking. Makes about 2-3 jam jars. You can scale the recipe.
1 pound green/red chilli peppers de-stemmed and roughly chopped (use any combination of green/red chillies you like)
1/2 pound garlic cloves peeled
2 oz ginger root peeled
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
Using a food blender or processor to blend all the ingredients together until they are a smooth paste.
Pour the blended ingredients into a saucepan, bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a low/medium. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until the chilli sauce is thickened and reduced in volume.
Take the cooked chilli sauce off the heat and pour carefully into clean, sterilized bottles or jars with a funnel. Seal with an airtight lid and leave to cool. The sauce is ready to use immediately. Once opened store in the fridge.
Ross’s Easy Peasy Courgette Pesto
Courgette glut? Fed up of the sight of them? Use this recipe to hide the offending veg and make a super fast, super tasty, super fresh meal. This recipe makes enough pesto for 6 people.
6 courgettes, ideally around 12 cms long. Don’t use the oversize ones, as they may be too bitter for this recipe.
3 tbs olive oil
1 large clove garlic
handful of fresh basil
1 tbs pine nuts (or use cooked chickpeas as an alternative)
salt & pepper to taste
chilli flakes for dressing
- Roughly chop courgettes – there is no need to cook, salt or drain them.
- Place all ingredients into bowl and whizz together using a hand blender (or put into a blender) – keep the mixture slightly textured
- Test and adjust seasoning to taste.
- Cook up your favourite pasta – I used linguine
- Serve the pasta with a little olive oil mixed through; spoon the pesto on top, garnish with basil and sprinkle with chilli flakes and / or cheese.
- Add a tomato salad and warm crusty ciabatta to make into a main meal.
Courgette & Chocolate Chip Muffins
Adapted from Allrecipes UK
This is a great recipe for using up all those pesky courgettes coming into season now. The ones I used were a drier variety, which meant I needed to add a bit more water to get the right consistency. I also reduced the oil and sugar to make a less sweet muffin.
200g plain flour
100g caster sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
100ml vegetable oil
80ml soya milk
1 tbs lemon juice
200g grated courgette (excess moisture squeezed out)
100g bar of dairy free chilli chocolate (cut into chunks) or choc chips
- Preheat the oven to 180 C/ Gas 4. Grease muffin tins/ line with cases
- Combine flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda & salt together.
- In a separate container, mix egg, oil, milk, lemon juice & vanilla extract together. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just combined
- Fold in grated courgette & chocolate chips. Consistency should be dropping off spoon, but not runny. Add extra milk or water if mixture is too dry.
- Put mixture in muffin cases and place in oven.
- Cook for 20-25 minutes; cool; eat
Recipes supplied by BHOGG member Jenni.
Lavender is renowned for its healing properties and is one of the most popular essential oils in aromatherapy. French chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, who coined the term ‘aromatherapie’ did so after noticing that lavender oil relieved the pain from a serious burn, and a subsequent accelerated the rate of healing. Lavender is also often recommended to help with insomnia.
Lavender comes from the same family as rosemary, and can be used in culinary dishes as well. This is one of my personal favourites – it is easy to make and so tasty.
2-3 T of lavender flowers – freshly cut, chopped
1C icing sugar
3C plain flower (you can swap for gluten-free alternative)
Note: you can use any part of the plant but I like the flowers for the bright flash of purple they add.
Cream butter, sugar and lavender
Mix in flour
Form mixture into a long sausage, wrap in plastic and put the fridge for 20 minutes (this part is really important for good results!).
Once the dough has chilled, cut into 1cm thick slices, place on lightly greased baking tray
Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes 160 (fan) 180 (regular), the shortbread should have a little colour for maximum flavour. Put the kettle on!
Here’s a simple, easy and tasty recipe with all of June’s wonderful produce in mind! Thanks to Bhogg Chairperson Jenni for the recipe. I can’t wait to try it out!
Any other seasonal veg
Smoked Peppered Mackerel OR Goat’s Cheese OR smoked tofu /tempeh
Quantities will depend on how many servings you want (and how much produce you have!)
Chop lettuce and radishes into a large salad bowl. Prepare strips of mackerel /cheese /tofu (you can heat these if you prefer).
Shuck peas and broad beans and place in a steamer. Boil the potatoes until they are just off being fully cooked, then place the steamer over the top to finish. Add the potatoes, beans and peas to the bed of lettuce, mix carefully and place your choice of mackerel, cheese or tofu on the salad.
Add olive oil and lemon juice, salt & pepper to taste. Serve with crusty bread and a glass of something chilled!