This year has been a bit slow for growing vegetables, the lack of sun has not helped at all. I have now got a lot of carrots, some broad beans, we’ve had a couple of crops of mange tout peas as well. I headed up to Tagsa Community Gardens to get some chard to cook with the beans, and ended up coming away with a couple of delicious courgettes.
I made this recipe from ‘Dear Francesca‘, a book of Italian recipes, along with stories of the family that runs Valvona and Crolla. They used double these quantities; this made a good meal for the two of us.
- 2-3 courgettes
- 3 tbsp good olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- a sprig of fresh rosemary
- 180g spaghetti or similar pasta
- salt and pepper
- Put a large pan of salted water on to boil, and then cook the pasta. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the courgettes.
- Clean the courgettes, trip off the top and tail, and grate with a coarse grater
- Warm the olive oil, and add the garlic, fry it gently until it just starts to colour brown, and then add the courgettes. Turn the heat up a little and stir, cooking until the courgettes are beginning to brown a little at the edges. Add the rosemary and season with salt, and then cover, and turn the heat off.
- Drain the cooked pasta, and add to the frying pan with the courgettes, toss and mix everything together, and serve with black pepper.
I started with this recipe from Rose Elliot’s ‘Pasta Pasta’, aiming to work out the proportions per person, allowing me to cook for one person or six. I am planning on trying a squeeze of lemon juice next time, or some pine nuts. Not sure.
INGREDIENTS per person:
- 100g farfalle pasta
- 50g grated carrot
- 50g chopped sundried tomatoes
- a sprig of thyme
- 50g grated hard goat’s cheese
- salt and pepper
- A drizzle of good olive oil
- Put on a pan of salted water and bring to the boil. Prepare the carrots, tomatoes and cheese while the water heats
- Boil the pasta for around 8 minutes. For the last minute of cooking, add the grated carrot. Stir and drain, and return to the pan
- Add the olive oil, thyme, grated cheese and sundried tomatoes, season and stir to mix.
This is a quick recipe involving some of the new peas and young herbs from the garden. It was quick and delicious. I had some spaghettini, which is like spaghetti but thinner and faster to cook, you could use spaghetti which is thicker, or capellini which is finer. I was cooking for myself only, so I scaled the recipe appropriately. You can scale it up as required.
- Around 75g mangetout
- around 75g pasta
- around 20g butter
- 4 tbsp chopped herbs, a mixture of parsley, basil and chives, or chive flowers
- 1 small clove of garlic, crushed
- salt and pepper
- parmesan to taste
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil.
- Meanwhile prepare the peas; remove any stringy bits and cut to your preferred size, and put into a steamer, ready to cook.
- Mix the crushed garlic, a grate of salt, butter and herbs together in a small warm bowl.
- Put the spaghettini in the sauce pan, put the peas over the top in the steamer, and cook until the spaghettini is just about cooked. Drain the pasta when it is ready, and return to the hot pan.
- Mix the butter and herbs into the pasta, then mix in the peas
- Serve with a dredging of grated parmesan and black pepper to taste.
I’m working my way through a large supply of cooking chorizo. For some reason, I bought in bulk a while back and now I am trying to find good recipes. Tonight, something quick, with the celery sticks in the bottom of the fridge, plus the spring onions, mange tout peas and parsley from the garden, and a handful of paella rice.
I took inspiration from Nigel Slater’s book, The Kitchen Diaries, but I had to work out the quantities myself.
- 120g chorizo, cut into 1cm chunks
- 6 spring onions, chopped
- 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
- Around 4 tbsp olive oil
- Around 150g paella rice
- 500ml vegetable or chicken stock
- around 50g chopped parsley
- 2 portions of mange tout peas
- Black pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan, and fry the onion, celery and chorizo until the onion and celery is beginning to brown, and the oil is orange with the spices from the chorizo
- Add the paella rice, and stir and cook it into the fried mixture to pick up the flavours
- Add the stock, bring to a simmer, stir and cook until the rice is tender, around 15 minutes. Add the peas and parsley around three minutes before the end.
- Season with black pepper, and serve.
I came back and ate the leftovers. It was really tasty.
The weather is very dank at the moment, rain every day, overcast and cold, hardly like midsummer at all. I made this tonight, using vacuum-packed chestnuts, carrots and celery from the garden, and some cooking chorizo from the freezer.
The recipe is from the Moro cookbook, full of interesting recipes that are generally easy to cook and taste wonderful.
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 1 stick of celery, finely sliced
- 120g mild cooking chorizo, chopped into 1cm cubes
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 2 small dried red chillies, crushed
- half a tin of chopped tomatoes
- around 500g cooked peeled chestnuts
- 20 saffron threads, infused in 4 tbsp boiling water
- 1 litre boiling water
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, and fry the onion, carrot, celery and chorizo for around 20 minutes, stirring, until the vegetables are caramelised.
- Add the garlic, thyme, cumin and chillies, and stir in well
- Add the tomatoes, stir again and then a couple of minutes later, add the chestnuts, water and saffron water and simmer for around 10 minutes
- Remove from the heat and mash the chestnuts. I used a soup wand, leaving the soup slightly rough and chunky. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I think you could add a glass of dry sherry to this, I’ll try this tomorrow. It freezes well too.
The vegetable garden is growing really well in spite of the high winds trashing the potatoes and the beans. This afternoon I started thinning out the root vegetables and removing some random kale plants that had self-seeded in amongst the leeks. I used about 500g of thinnings and leaves to make this soup.
- A mixture of vegetables. I had some mizuna greens, orache, Russian kale, carrots, mange tout, and some small beetroot tops. All washed and chopped small
- A small onion, finely chopped.
- Celery salt
- Marigold stock
- 2 tbsp Green pesto sauce
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- Around 1/5 litres of boiling water
- A handful of soup pasta, such as quadretti or stelline
- Freshly grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
- Heat the oil on a low flame, and gently fry the onion until it is soft.
- Add the vegetables in the order in which they will cook, slowest to fastest. I added the carrots, then the beetroot tops, mizuna and kale, then poured over the boiling water, and seasoned with celery salt, black pepper, and some marigold stock powder.
- Once the kale is beginning to cook, then add the orache and peas, and the soup pasta. Check for taste and simmer until the pasta is just about done.
- Stir the pesto into the soup, and serve sprinkled heavily with grated parmesan or pecorino.
The pea season is coming. The mange tout are already ready, and some of the peas are podding up nicely. I did a massive pick-through of the peas at Tagsa Horticulture, and made this curry based on one in ‘Curry Easy’ by Madhur Jaffrey.
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
- 1/2 small onion, chopped finely
- half a can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 punnets of chestnut mushrooms, around 400 to 500g, chopped into chunks.
- 300g peas, could be frozen, or mange tout, freshly picked and halved
- Combine the dry spices in a bowl and add around 1 1/2 tbsp water to make a paste
- Pour the oil into a medium pan, and heat to medium hot. Add the onion and start to stir and fry, until the onion is becoming a little browned at the edges.
- Add the spice paste, cook for a minute and then add the tomato, mixing and stirring.
- After about five minutes, when the tomato is hot and beginning to cook down, add 450ml boiling water and the salt. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes
- Add the chunks of mushroom, bring back to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Add the peas, bring back to a simmer and cook for a further 5 minutes.
This was best served warm, rather than hot, with a flat bread such as a nan.
Somewhere along the line, I ordered some chorizo for cooking with, in a huge pack, and then froze it. This weekend, I started trying out recipes that use chorizo. I bought the pork loin from MacLean’s shop in Benbecula, and the spices are mostly purchased online from Seasoned Pioneers. I got the recipe from the Moro cookbook. Most of the other ingredients I found in the co-op. Irritatingly, you can only buy peppers in packs of three in the co-op, so I went to MacLennan’s for the green peppers. The recipe took about 45 minutes to make.
- 7 or more tablespoons of olive oil
- 350g pork fillet or loin, cut into 7mm strips
- 120g cooking chorizo, cut into little pieces
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 1 large green pepper, finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 250g paella rice
- 2 ñora peppers, or a good pinch of sweet paprika
- 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
- 900ml hot chicken stock
- 500g spinach
- 1 lemon, cut in wedges
- salt and pepper
- In a large flat pan, such as a paella pan or a very large frying pan, heat the olive oil on a high heat, and then quickly fry and stir the pork strips so that they are just about cooked, it doesn’t take long. Remove the pork from the pan with a slotted spoon. season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- In the same pan, put in the chopped chorizo, stir and add the onion, stir and add the green pepper. Turn the heat down to medium. Make sure you aren’t stingy with the oil. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring to make sure that all of the onion caramelises.
- Add the garlic and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so.
- Add the rice, and stir so everything is evenly mixed.
- Season with salt and pepper, and add the paprika. If you are using ñora peppers, these should be torn up, seeds and stalks discarded, and soaked in hot water first so that they are soft. Add the hot chicken stock. Simmer for 15 minutes, until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid and is just about cooked through.
- About 5 minutes before the end of the cooking period, put all of the washed spinach in a very large pan, turn up the heat and cook until it is all wilted down.
- When the rice is cooked, add the pork and spinach and push it into the paella, so that the oil soaks in. Cover with a lid and let everything settle for around 5 minutes.
- Serve with lemon wedges. The lemon is absolutely essential for bringing out the best flavour. It needs a lovely fresh salad as well, for example a green salad or a tomato salad. So delicious.
The season for this dish is coming soon, but I just longed for it. I had eggs, some frozen broad beans from last year, and some dried dill, and it was very good. It will be even better when my dill plants and broad beans are ready. Thanks to Susannah and Alexander for the eggs.
Thank you to ‘nightingales and roses‘ for the recipe.
- 500-600g broad beans
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped
- 1 tbsp flour
- 3/4 tsp turmeric
- 60g fresh dill, chopped, or 2 tbsp dried
- 4 tbsp oil
- Defrost the beans, if using frozen beans. For larger beans, remove the tough outer skin.
- Heat the oven to 190C.
- Mix the salt, baking powder, pepper, garlic, flour and turmeric and beat into the eggs. Squish any lumps, then fold in the beans and dill.
- Oil a 20cm springform tin with half the oil, and heat it in the oven. When the tin is hot, pour in the mixture and return to the oven.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven, and brush the remaining oil over the top. Return to the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the top has a lovely golden crust.
Serve with a radish salad, flatbread, a yoghurt dip, some fresh walnuts.
I’ve got bags of carrots in the freezer, and I’m experimenting again. I also made a very peculiar soup with pickled beetroot and sour cream that I don’t think I will try again. This was so quick and easy, and there are at least six servings in there. It is better made with a chicken stock.
- 30g butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 leek, finely chopped – do not include any coarse leaves
- around 500g carrots, grated or finely chopped
- 1 litre + of chicken stock or similar
- around 150ml plain yoghurt, unsweetened
- Salt and pepper
- Gently fry the onion and leek in the butter. Cover the pan and let them sweat for around 3 minutes
- Add a good pinch of salt and the grated carrots, stir together, and cook for another 5 minutes
- Add the hot stock, and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes
- When the vegetables are tender and cooked through, use a soup wand to blend the soup, and to blend in the yoghurt.
- Stir through the chopped chives, and add salt and pepper as desired.
Serve with some good rye bread, or other wholesome brown bread.