Thursday, 18 May 2023

Lemon curd, lemon puffs and Cheese, 'bacon' and leek tarts

 I bought a box of puff pastry and looked for recipes to use the whole sheet up. No waste and only use the oven once.

First we made the 'mushroom bacon' to go onto the savoury tart. Cheese, Pesto and 'Bacon’ tart

I then made the puff pastry cases and filled them with the lemon curd that I had made yesterday as it was properly cooled and set.   lemon curdLemon Curd Tarts

The lemon curd was made at the end, so I can use it to go into yoghurt or go onto my toast.

 A surprise visit from Holland where Gwen and Emma took this picture of me explaining how to make my mother's favourite Lemon Curd

Wednesday, 19 April 2023

Bank holiday Monday: From Spade to plate :Chickweed pesto with asparagus and sundried tomato couscous

This post was first written 3 years ago on 6/5/2018. What a difference in weather.  This year's bank holiday was wet and windy. Normally not the best way to spend a bank holiday, but after more than a month without rain, many of us welcomed it with open arms.

3 years ago I wrote: Sun sun glorious sunshine.
Today we had a large group of visiting scholars: Yumi, Takashi and Yuki from Japan, Melendra from the US, Simone from Italy,  Sarolta from Hungary, Felicia from China and June and I.
All of them seem to have Dandelion in their countries, so a good excuse to come up with a few tasty recipes.

We went to the allotment to pick the dandelions for the Dandelion Marmalade.

We all went home with a jar, still warm and not quite set, so hopefully by tomorrow we can enjoy home made marmalade!

We also helped Ted, by weeding his soon to be bean trench, the Chickweed was nice and juicy, just right for the Chickweed pesto we used for the couscous dish.

The asparagus were popping out of the ground as we watched, so they too were picked to go into our lovely fresh lunch.

As it was so hot, we made a Couscous salad with Chickweed pesto, sundried tomatoes, feta cheese and asparagus.

On the way home we found some lambs lettuce,lovage, sorrel, rocket and flowers of rosemary, calendula and few few forget-me-nots. Which made the salad not only taste lovely but a joy for the eye.

When we had a little break we tasted some of the dandelion bread and jelly that was made last week.

It went down rather fast!

Some nutritional facts about Dandelions
Some nutritional facts about Chickweed

Monday, 10 April 2023

Nettle Soup with oat and Yoghurt bread and Dandelion Waffles

Today we will be making oat milk for the waffles we are making, using the left over oats to go into the oat and yoghurt bread.
A great foraging day today.
Although there was a fresh chill in the air, the sun was out and so were the dandelions that we picked in the garage area behind our house.

When we peeped around the corner we were greeted by a see of yellow dandelions. We all pick a few handfuls to be prepared for Dandelion Oat Waffles we followed this recipe to the letter other than adding some poppy seeds which were harvested last autumn.

The Ladies are separating the yellow petals from the flower head

These were then added to the batter  and turned into some delicious waffles, which we ate with icing sugar but also a dollop of banana and blueberry ice cream (left over from Monday's from Spade to Plate session)

We made some Swedish Nettle soup which we had with the oat bread. We baked the bread on the stove in a pan. Delicious!


Wednesday, 6 July 2022

pickled grape vines


pickled Grape Leaves

We leave ten grape leaves on top of the grape clusters on the vines to provide protection against sunburn and then remove the side shoots. These are the most tender leaves, not as big but delicious. We pickle them in twenty four packs. Twelve stuffed grape leaves make a meal for one.

Origin: Greece

 Soak 1 hour, ferment 3 days, store one year


 2 people, 12 leaves per person

  1. 2 wide mouth canning jars, pint size
  1. 2 packs 24 grape leaves
  2. 2 pints boiled cooled water
  3. 2 Tbs canning salt
  4. 8 Tbs soy bean whey, or cheese wey, or 2 Tbs extra salt
  1. Cost
  2. Grape leaves are free


  1. Pick leaves after the sun sets. Wash, rinse, soak fresh leaves, one hour.
  2. Boil water, rinse jars, cool while leaves are soaking. Add salt, whey, to boiled water. Wrap 24 leaves in bundle, stuff in wide mouth jar. Immerse leaves. Store upside down. Let ferment three days in dark closet. Let pressure escape daily, then close, store cool, good for a year.

California Farm pickled Grape Leaves recipe step 2 photo



Thursday, 9 December 2021

'A sort of Thai curry'

Coming back from the garden with all this lovely organic produce I needed to think what to do with it. I also had a can of coconut milk and some yellow curry paste so decided to combine a few recipes I had used before. The result was lovely.

We cut up a medium sized butternut squash into small cubes, some green beans, carrots, red peppers  and broccoli  florets into similar sizes.
This post was first published on 15/10/2018

In a non stick pan we heated oil and added a chopped onion and a clove of garlic once translucent we added a good table spoon of yellow curry paste and cooked for a minute to develop the flavour.
When fragrant we added a quarter of a tin of coconut milk and mixed it all through.

Once done, we added the rest of the coconut milk, rinsed out the tin with 2 tbsp of water and added to the pan.
Then we added the butternut squash chunks, the rest of the vegetables and a little salt to taste.
We simmered it for another 15 or so minutes.

Meanwhile we dry roasted a handful of peanuts nuts. When toasted, we put most into the coconut mixture, keeping behind a little as topping when we dish up.

We served the curry with noodles and topped with cashew nuts and coriander leaves. MMM!

Saturday, 13 November 2021

Fried courgette flowers with lavender honey

 Deep-fried courgette flowers are a treat at the best of times, but cooked this way they’re a real luxury

Fried courgette flowers with lavender honey
Yotam Ottolenghi’s fried courgette flowers with lavender honey: Go on, treat yourself.

Fried courgette flowers with lavender honey (V)

I am more than happy just dipping courgette flowers in egg, shallow frying them and serving with lemon, but on special occasions I make this luxurious variation. Serves four.

125g soft goat's cheese
30g parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), finely grated
2 tbsp chopped chives
1 tsp chopped thyme
Salt and black pepper
8 female courgette flowers with the baby courgette attached
100g plain flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
120g panko breadcrumbs
350ml sunflower oil, for frying
About 1 tbsp lavender honey

Thursday, 4 November 2021


 Today in the allotment I noticed that the row of yacon was affected by the frost. The leaves turned from a vibrant green to a shrivelled black. Not long then before we can harvest the yacon!

Here are a few recipe ideas

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Raspberry vinegar

 With so much apple cider vinegar and an abundance of raspberries, I made he base for the balsamic vinegar on 3/10 and left it with the raspberries for one month. Today I strained out the berries and was left with a beautifully red vinegar. I added 3/4 sugar to 1 part of vinegar and ended up with 3 lovely bottles of raspberry balsamic vinegar. MMM what a treat for the winter.

Some benefits of raspberry vinegar (without the sugar)

Monday, 1 November 2021

A wonderful festive meal made in no time.

Last week Julie asked when we could make a festive meal. I was not planning to do this quite yet, but seeing the first red pepper and spinach in the allotment made me think of the vegetable loaf we made a few years ago and was put in my first cook book.

The carrots and the potatoes too came in handy as they were roasted whilst the puff pastry loaf was getting ready in the oven.

We made some vegannaise (using aquafaba) which was used in the loaf.

Later the chickpeas and broccoli from the allotment were turned into creamy broccoli and chickpea soup.

This time we had a full house with 8 adults and baby Tomo after the meal we walked to the allotment and harvested some raspberries and beetroot to take home.

Sunday, 31 October 2021

Christmas vegetable loaf, lemon cheesecake mousse and biscotti

For our mains we made a vegetable loaf, tasty easy and a nice centre piece for a festive table.
We mixed 1/2 red pepper, 1 garlic clove, 1 lemon zest, 85g spinach, 35g pitted black olives, 55g feta cheese and 115g mozzarella cheese and 2tbsp mayonnaise.  Mix all together and put in a puff pastry loaf.

We had a busy but lovely day today.  Angeles and here nieces Sara and Irene came to help and were in charge of he

lemon cheese mousse with aqua faba Yumi worked hard to whip the aquafaba into peaks whilst Irene and Sara prepared the base for the cheesecake mousse.

We went to the garden and picked the last of the raspberries as topping of our dessert.

Asako and Sayaka made Vegannaise as we had aquafaba (chickpea brine) left  and we need some for the vegetable loaf.

3tbsp chickpea water
1 tsp mustard
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
 3/4 - 1cup rapeseed oil

Add the aquafaba, mustard, salt, apple cider vinegar and maple syrup to a jug. Blend on high with an hand blender until frothy.
Measure the oil in a liquid measuring cup and with the blender on its highest speed, slowly stream the oil in over 1-2minutes, moving the blender up and down to incorporate a little air towards the end.

If it ls looking to thin add a little more oil, the more oil you add, the creamier, thickener and denser the texture will become.  Taste and adjust flavour as needed.

As a lovely treat to go with a cuppa we made some Vegan Cranberry almond biscotti
Mairead was in charge and showed Irene and Sara how it is done.

After all this hard work, we set down and enjoyed a lovely festive meal.

this post was first published on 16/11/2018

Saturday, 30 October 2021

Quince Jelly, Pumpkin curry and flat bread

Yesterday I went to Paola to help her pick her amazing quinces. Just on time as over night we had lots of wind and rain and decided to make some jelly and pectin.  When I looked back when I last made some was exactly 3 years ago (31/10/2018) so funny how nature look so unpredictable but always seems to have a similar time to harvest. 

So here is the post from 2018. Yesterday Tina Alexander offered me a large bag of quinces so this morning, it was time to turn them into some amazing quince jelly.

By the time we had prepared our pumpkin curry with chickpeas, the jelly had set and we enjoyed a delicious meal with rice and flat bread

When we cut open the pumpkins it turned out they were the Akai Pumpkins, which meant that all the seeds we cut out, we can dry to eat raw without any husks

For the flat bread  the ingredients were.

2 cups of plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup of milk
3 1/2 tbs butter

Warm the milk and melt the butter in it.
Add to the flour and salt and mix thoroughly and knead into a ball.
Leave to rest for 10 mins, then cut in 4 and roll out thinly
In a dry frying pan, put in the flat dough and leave it until it shows bubbles, then turn for another minute or so (make sure it does not burn). Et Voilà! Delicious flat bread to go with your curry