Category Archives: Recipes

Jenni’s Autumn Chutney

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.

Spicey Chutney

Ingredients:

  • 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

Method:

  1. Chop all veg into small pieces (think Branston pickle sized chunks) and place in a large flat-bottomed pan
  2. Add vinegar, sugar, salt & spices and bring to the boil.
  3. Simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally (don’t let it stick!)
  4. Pour into hot, sterile jars & seal

Prepping the veg

Cheat ‘Sun-ripened’ tomatoes

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.

Ripe cherry toms

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

Method:

  • 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/

 

Tomatoes before

  • 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.

 

Tomatoes after

Ema’s Chilli, garlic and ginger sauce

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.

 Ingredients

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

Method

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. 

Chilli

What to do with courgette gluts? Sweet and savory recipes

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.

Ingredients
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

Method

  1. Roughly chop courgettes – there is no need to cook, salt or drain them.
  2. Place all ingredients into bowl and whizz together using a hand blender (or put into a blender) – keep the mixture slightly textured
  3. Test and adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Cook up your favourite pasta – I used linguine
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

courgette-choc-chip-muffins.jpg

Ingredients
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

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/ Gas 4. Grease muffin tins/ line with cases
  2. Combine flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda & salt together.
  3. In a separate container, mix egg, oil, milk, lemon juice & vanilla extract together. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just combined
  4. 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.
  5. Put mixture in muffin cases and place in oven.
  6. Cook for 20-25 minutes; cool; eat

 

Recipes supplied by BHOGG member Jenni.

Love Lavender: Shortbread recipe

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.

Ingredients

2-3 T of lavender flowers – freshly cut, chopped
300g Butter
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.

Method

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!

a_bikkies2.jpg

Warm Allotment Salad

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!

Ingredients

Potatoes
Broad Beans
Peas
Lettuce
Radishes
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!)

Method

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!

 

Salad June

 

Winter Greens Trial update and fabulous traditional Japanese Fuyuna recipe

The Winter Greens have provided the most amazing source of fresh veg over the dismal winter months. Visiting the poly tunnel has been like venturing into a tiny oasis even on the worst of the wintery days.

I have picked every week since the first harvest until at the peak I was almost unable to use all the crops as they reached maturity. As the weather has warmed and dried out the poly more, the plants have started to go to seed, but this has not prevented us from harvesting the tenderest parts of the huge plants and continuing to enjoy fresh, invigorating greens.

My Japanese friend Kyoko (who also provided me with some of the seeds for the plants) has given me a recipe from her mum for one of the Winter Greens – Fuyuna. Delicious!

Kyoko’s Mother’s Traditional Japanese Fuyuna Recipe

You will need:

Fuyuna
Oil
Abura-age (thin deep fried Tofu, you can buy those frozen in packs of 3-4 sheets in Japanese shop)
Carrots
Mentuyu (concentrated udon and soba noodle soup-made from fish broth and soya sauce and sugar)

Method:

  1. Wash fuyuna and cut them 3-4cm length.
  2. Rinse 2 sheets of Abura-age with boiling water in order to to rinse away the oil, cut them as little finger size.
  3. Cut carrots a little thinner than abura-age.
  4. You can add pork or chicken as your choice.
  5. Stir fry Carrots first then add Fuyuna. When those veggies are half cooked then add Abura-age.
  6. Add Mentuyu to half cover veggies. If the Mentsuyu is too salty then add some water.
  7. Put the lid on, cook it till carrots cooked – I quite like not too soft!
  8. Before serving it, cool it down a bit in order for the taste to go into the veggies.

Preventing food waste recipe: Healthy mango and banana “ice-cream” smoothie

Do you ever have some bananas that become too brown for anyone to eat?   Pop them in the freezer to use in smoothies.  They add a lovely creamy texture and the sweetness of the bananas make for a delicious drink.  I have many different smoothie recipes but this one is a firm favourite of my 6 year old – “it tastes like ice-cream!”

Over ripe bananas
Freeze to use in smoothies

Ingredients – makes enough for 4 people

2-3 frozen bananas (allow 1/2 banana per person depending on size)
1-2 C frozen mango
1T chia seeds
200 ml of milk / dairy alternative (add more if you are not using Kefir)
200ml Kefir (optional)

Add milk/Kefir to the blender and chia seeds – leave for 5-10minutes for chia seeds to expand.  Take frozen bananas from the freezer to soften slightly (note you do not want them to defrost).  Peel and chop bananas, add along with frozen mango to the chia mixture and blend.

Texture should be quite thick, like soft ice-cream and we eat it with spoons.  Once they defrost the become liquid, like normal smoothies.

Banana and mango smoothie
Dust with cacao and enjoy!

 

 

 

Fermenting vegetables with Kate Harrison

Why ferment vegetables?

I began my journey with fermenting because I wanted another way to preserve the glut of vegetables coming from my plot in the late Summer and early Autumn. I’d already been making jams, pickles and chutneys, and I wanted to try something new.

Fermenting vegetables is also known as ‘lacto-fermentation’, because it uses lactobacillus bacteria. These bacteria are an example of the ‘good bacteria’ we hear so much about; they are good for your digestion and your gut health. They also help to preserve the good nutrients in your vegetables, such as Vitamin C, and break down some of the carbohydrates and proteins in food, making them easier to digest and absorb. Lactobacillus bacteria thrive in wet and salty conditions – the brine of your fermentation. They produce lactic acid, which is what gives all lacto-fermented foods that tangy sour fresh taste I find so delicious.

How to ferment vegetables?

Before trying my first fermentation, I went to a workshop run by Darren Ollerton of Alchemy Flow. In this workshop I discovered it was so easy, that I started my first ferment the next day. Darren is a fantastic educator and a great advocate for fermentation, and I recommend his website, his delicious products and his workshop. However, you do not need special training to make simple ferments like sauerkraut described below. It’s also much quicker than standing over a pan of bubbling chutney for hours on end – and the end result is sugar-free and more nutritious. Once you’ve tried this, you too will realise how simple it is, and you’ll start experimenting too!

Making sauerkraut

In its most basic form, sauerkraut is simply white cabbage, lacto-fermented with salt. Look for salt that has no added iodine, as it can interfere with the fermentation process. The lactobacillus bacteria is naturally present on the leaves of all vegetables – you are simply creating the salty conditions which encourage this good bacteria to grow, and which inhibits the growth of bad bacteria.

Use 2 to 3 tablespoons of salt for one medium cabbage (about 2 kg). This is not a precise art, and you can taste it to check it’s not horribly salty. I always like to add some caraway seeds to enhance the taste, about one tablespoon per medium cabbage. Once you understand the basic principle, you can start to add other spices and ingredients such as layering it with chard leaves or beetroot tops, adding garlic or spring onion.

Finely shred the cabbage, and put it in a container with lots of space to get your hands in. I use a clean washing up bowl.

Sprinkle the salt onto the cabbage, and stir and massage it in with your hands. Leave it for a while – between 20 minutes to an hour. You’ll find the salt is drawing the liquid out of the cabbage, creating a brine. Keep massaging the cabbage and moving it around, so all the cabbage has contact with the salty solution.

Sprinkle the caraway seeds onto the cabbage and stir and massage again to mix thoroughly.

Get a large jar, or a couple of medium sized ones, and firmly pack the cabbage into the jar. If the jar is big enough, you can get your hand in to really push the cabbage down, packing it tightly so there are very few gaps. You could also use a spoon or a pestle to do this.  The cabbage should be sitting in its salty brine. If you don’t have enough brine, you can always add a 5% salt solution to top it up.

Weight the cabbage down so all is submerged. I use a smaller jar filled with water as a weighting device. You can also use a clean plastic bag filled with 5% brine (in case it leaks), packed into the neck of the jar.

Cover with a clean tea towel or muslin and leave at room temperature for several days. How long is up to you, and the temperature in the room. It could be ready in four days, or you could leave it for two weeks or more. The longer you leave it, the sourer it becomes – so taste it occasionally to check.  Refrigerating the ferment slows the process down dramatically, so once you have the taste you like, keep it in the fridge.

Enjoy it as a pickle on the side of your plate, as an accompaniment to sausage and mash, in soups or sandwiches – experiment!

Once you understand the technique, you can try other things –  red cabbage sauerkraut, fermented runner beans and kimchi.

Troubleshooting

I promise you, making sauerkraut is easy! Here’s a few things to remember to prevent problems:

  • Keep hands, utensils and jars clean. No need for sterile jars, but wash with hot soapy water and rinse well
  • Not too much salt – this inhibits the fermentation process and tastes rubbish. If your mix tastes too salty, you could add a bit of water before starting the fermentation
  • Not too little salt – this will mean the cabbage will rot instead of fermenting. You’ll know by the smell, and the mould. If your cabbage looks mouldy, or you have any doubts about it, throw it away and start again. Rinse before adding to your compost bin, to remove the salt.
  • Be aware that fermentation creates a gas, carbon dioxide. This gas needs to escape during fermentation, so do not put a tight lid on your jar, or it may explode. It’s OK to use a lid once you’ve put your ferment in the fridge.

Find out more

Sauerkraut is just the beginning! Look online and you’ll find recipes for all sorts of vegetable ferments. You can also learn about kefir (fermented milk) and kombucha (fermented tea).

If you want to read more, in my opinion Sandor Katz is the best author on the topic: “Wild Fermentation” is the classic.

Kate Harrison is a BHOGG member and has gardened on the Weald allotment for 17 years. She is a member of the FareShare Sussex steering committee and is passionate about reducing food waste and helping more people eat healthy and nutritious food.

 

Winter Greens Trial update

After the mayhem of Christmas & New Year, it was a pleasure to be able to escape to the allotment for a few hours last weekend. And even more pleasurable to witness what awaited me in the poly tunnel: a ready-to-harvest crop of wintergreens.

Ready for harvest

Despite the inclement weather, the transplanted seedlings have grown into strong, healthy plants that are now large enough to be picked. I took the ‘cut and come again’ approach as you would with lettuce at this stage. I am hopeful that this will encourage new growth and extend the picking season. I suspect that at some point I will uproot whole plants if they continue expanding at current rates.

The only plants not ready for harvest were the spinach. The first lot of seedlings only produced a couple of plants and these are very slow growing in comparison to the brassica varieties. Perhaps they will still do well a bit later on.

I only harvested from the plants with the largest leaves, but could have taken a couple from each for a larger haul. With the Mizuna I took a small clump. The harvest (clockwise from top left) is: Mizuna, Pak Choi, Fuyuna and Choy Sum (flower heads).

First harvest

I only wanted to lightly cook the greens, and as there wasn’t enough to make a main dish, I fried them in a hot wok in a little seasame oil, sprinkling tamari over them in the final moments of cooking. I then added them to a bowl of hot, spicy celery and potato soup (because its still winter and its too cold for salad!).

Stir fry

Any type of vegetable soup will work – perhaps make the most of the opportunity to showcase your fresh winter greens by using up some of those left over root veggies you have: potatoes, carrots, celeriac, parsnips. You can also add a little cheese after serving; we used vegan blue ‘cheese’, which complimented the soup perfectly. Alternatively, the greens would be a perfect addition to a stir-fry or as a steamed vegetable accompaniment.