Garden Produce

A Taste of Spring

I’m loving the longer days, it gives a chance to get out in the hills more. The wild garlic is back and ready for picking. If picking in the wild it’s best to take just a couple of leaves from each plant. Although the flower heads are edible I like to leave these on the plant. I’ve been making my favourite pesto again.

Wild Garlic and Walnut Pesto

  • 100g wild garlic chopped
  • 75g walnuts
  • 150 – 200ml extra virgin rapessed oil
  • salt and pepper

Place in processor with the nuts and blend together. Add the oil and blend again.

Season with salt and pepper.

Wild garlic also makes a lovely addition to a salad and I add leaves to my tofu flan. I plan to use some in my soda bread  see last blog post for the recipe. This will naturally be served with wild garlic soup.

Wild Garlic and Potato Soup                                                    

  • 1 onion chopped
  • garlic clove crushed
  • handful of wild garlic, chopped (approx 25g)
  • 100g potatoes peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp bouillon powder
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg freshly ground
  • ½ litre water (approx)

Sauté the onion and garlic in a saucepan until soft.  Add the potatoes and bouillon powder, cover with water and bring to the boil.

Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes until the potatoes are cooked. Add more liquid if needed. Add the chopped wild garlic and ground nutmeg and cook for two minutes.

Cool slightly, and blend soup using a blender. Reheat to serve. Add a swirl of soya cream to each dish.

 

wild garlic in the garden

 

 

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Autumn Harvest

The fruit keeps on coming! Following a bumper crop of cherries are a great crop of apples.

apples

I have a Bramley Apple tree in the garden, this apple is one of the most popular varieties for cooking. It cooks down quickly and is delicious on top of breakfast porridge. I also make muffins, spiced apple cake and Malvern Pudding.

Our Lizzy Malvern Pudding

Our Lizzy Malvern Pudding

Malvern Pudding is a local dish. Apples are traditionally cooked with sugar and lemon zest and topped with custard which is caramelised under the grill.

Here is my version which is completely egg and dairy free. This pudding is also gluten free.

An Abundance of Cherries

I have a morello cherry tree in my garden which has produced a bumper crop of cherries this year. I have filled bowl after bowl of deep red cherries.

Morello Cherries

Morello cherries are sour and work best when cooked. The hard work is in the pitting, I have a cherry pitter but this still takes a while.

 Lots of this year’s crop has gone into the freezer. I have made soft conserve using the cherries. This works well with rich chocolate cake such as Black Forest Gateau.

jam

Morello cherries are delicious when preserved in brandy or kirsch. Spoon the cherries into clear preserving jars and top with sugar and the brandy. As a general guide use one third sugar to two thirds alcohol to fruit. Label and place in a dark cupboard for three to four months. This makes a lovely treat accompanied with chocolate brownies and ice cream. I’ve put a couple of smaller jars away to give as Christmas presents.

cherries and sugar           cherries in jars

I have also experimented and put a jar of cherry brandy away – the main attraction for this being the cherries didn’t need to be pitted! Let’s hope it works out.

I’m also looking forward to sampling some local eating cherries this year.

Spring Greens!

I love Spring – so many shades of green! The morning light has been amazing, highlighting the many shades of green as the blossom fades!  It’s been good getting out for walks. I always enjoy collecting wild garlic and it’s been good sharing it at cookery demonstrations this Spring.

wild garlic

It works well blended with white beans to make a delicious pate.

Wild Garlic Pate                                                                                

  • 1 tin white beans e.g. butter, cannelini
  • handful of wild garlic (approx25g)
  • 1 tbsp olive/rapeseed oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend.

Season, more lemon juice could be added to taste. A small amount of water may be added to achieve a dip-like consistency.

I’m also enjoying asparagus season, it’s lovely to make use of this local ingredient while it’s here. Here’s a recipe which has gone down well at local food festivals.

Our Lizzy beans

Fried Butterbeans with asparagus

 2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tin butter beans

zest of 1 lemon

1 red chilli finely chopped

handful of sliced asparagus

salt and pepper

handful chopped parsley

2 tbsp extra virgin rapeseed oil

Put pan on the heat, add the asparagus with a small amount of water.

When the water has absorbed add some oil. Add the butter beans and fry for a few moments.

Add the garlic, chilli and lemon zest and cook for two minutes more.

Remove from heat, season to taste and sprinkle with chopped parsley to serve.

 Serve with flatbread or cous cous. Broccoli spears work well when asparagus goes out of season.

It’s been great being part of Asparafest in Evesham this year, celebrating asparagus and all things green!

Gus 2