Category Archives: Recipes

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.

Roasted winter veggies with satay sauce.

This is my favourite winter recipe – so hearty and delicious – it never fails to impress. It’s a great way to use up veggies, and the satay sauce is just divine.

Ingredients:

Usually whatever is in the fridge that needs to be used up.

A mix of root vegetables – beetroot, potatoes, parsnips, carrots
Garlic, onion, leeks, celery, zucchini, red pepper
Broccoli
A couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary / thyme
Pinch of salt and olive oil

Satay Sauce

½ tablespoon peanut oil
1 small onion (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon sweet soy sauce
2 tablespoons peanut butter (crunchy)
1 can coconut milk

Method:

Cooking time is approx. 40 mins.  Heat the oven to 180 degrees.

Chop the root veggies and add garlic, onions, a dash of olive oil, salt, fresh herbs – pop in the oven.  While these are cooking cut up the rest of the vegetables.

 

Veggies 1

After 10 minutes add the rest of the vegetables except broccoli (if you are using). Broccoli – I always add this about 10-15 minutes from the end so not to over cook.

While the vegetables are cooking make the satay sauce.

Satay sauce

The satay sauce is a community recipe posted by Ashy on nigella.com.  Because I like a bit of spice I swap out the chilly flakes for fresh chillies (those fiery little green ones if you like it hot!).   And if you want a gluten-free option just swap the soy sauce for tamari (add a couple of extra teaspoons depending on taste).

Method:

Heat the oil in a wok and fry the garlic, onion and chilli over a moderate heat until onion is soft.  Add the sugar and stir until slightly caramelised.  Add the soy sauce and peanut butter and stir through.  Add a little coconut milk at a time until you achieve your desired consistency.

Once the veggies are cooked pour over the satay sauce.  Enjoy!

 

Special thanks to Lisa Barber for the headline photo.

Chocolate Beetroot cake

I worked with award winning photographer Lisa Barber to make and photograph the cake.  We tried the gluten free option and it was so delicious.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Ingredients
3 medium beetroot, cooked, skinned and coarsly grated
250g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp salt
300g sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 tsp vanilla
250ml vegetable oil
50g cocoa powder

For gluten free option:
Substitute gluten free flour mix.  Add 1tsp baking powder, 1tsp bicarbonate soda, 1/2 cup pureed apple, 1tsp cider vinegar.

Cake3

Method
Preheat oven to 180C; grease 13×9 inch pan.

Sift flour, baking soda & salt together in a bowl.
Beat sugar, eggs, vanilla & oil until smooth.  Add beetroot & cocoa power and beat until combined well.
Add flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Pour batter into pan, smooth top.  Bake in middle of oven for around 35 mins (it may take longer, depending on oven type).

Cake2

Lisa Barber, is an award-winning food and portrait photographer.  She has photographed some of the world’s most famous chefs, and shot the images for Brighton-based Terre a Terre’s cookbook, and David Everitt-Mathias’ cookbooks Divine Chocolate, Essence, Dessert & Beyond Essence. She has an organic allotment in South London.  For more information visit her website.

Recipe was supplied by Jenni.

Pumpkin Spice Biscuits

Pumpkins are so versatile – sweet or savory dishes aplenty.  Here is a delicious biscuit recipe – perfect alternative to sweets for Halloween!

Ingredients

4oz butter
6oz sugar
1 large egg
250ml pumpkin pulp (boil 1 inch cubes until tender and strain well)
1 tsp grated citrus peel
1 tsp ground cinnamon
8oz plain flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F/180C, oil or line a large baking sheet.

Beat butter, sugar & egg together then add pumpkin, peel & spices, and beat.
Add flour, salt & baking soda to the pumpkin mix and blend.

Drop tablespoon sized batter onto baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and firm to touch (around 20-25mins).

 

Pumpkin spiced biscuits (2)

 

 

What to do with all those nasturtiums…

It’s been such a mild autumn, lots of us have still got nasturtium plants hanging around! If you’re stuck for what to do with them and you like capers, here’s an idea…

Nasturtiums

(Photo courtesy of Inkberry Blue)

Poor Man’s Capers

Soak fresh, nasturtium green seeds  in cold salted water for two days (half a tablespoon of salt to one pint of water).

Drain and soak in cold water for another day, then drain well and put in a glass jar.

Bring (pickling or white wine) vinegar to boiling point and use to cover the seeds. (Probably best to let it cool first!) Close the jar tightly and leave for a couple of days before eating – they’re nicest after about 2 weeks. Store for up to six months.

Variations on the above include adding the following to the vinegar: garlic, celery seeds, lemon zest, pickling spice and peppercorns.