Wednesday 31 January 2018

Leek Risotto

We will make some  leek risotto ]this week. I found it on Pintrest and thought it would be nice for our Monday morning cooking

This one uses seasonal leeks, and is ready in just 30 minutes.
Makes 4
  • 4 Leeks
  • 1 Onion
  • 10 Thyme, fresh sprigs
Canned goods
  • 1 Litre vegetable stock
Pasta & grains
  • 300 g Carnaroli risotto rice
Oils & vinegars
  • 4 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 knob Butter
  • 100 g Gorgonzola
Beer, wine & spirits
  • 250 ml White wine, dry
  • Ingredient ending

As a salad we will use a mixed green salad dressed with my favourite sauce.
Oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, mustard.

Monday 29 January 2018

Sowing beans sprouts and cress

The ground is still too cold but if we have a space on the window sill we can start sowing cress and bean sprouts.

I also notice how much the leek has grown, I cut the tops off yesterday for in a soup, I then put the stem in some water. Amazing how much it has grown in one day.

Today we will grow and make a beansprout stir fry with noodles

I am using the sprouting in a bottle technique for the mung beans and sprouting in a colander for the mixed beans

As a starter we made a Five Spice Sweet Potato Soup.
This recipe is extremely simple as it is just chopped up Sweet potatoes boiled in vegetable stock and five spice added for taste. This is a hearty winter soup.

Monday 22 January 2018


Today we focussed on mushrooms as Paola gave me a kit over Christmas and thought it might be nice to experiment together.  Carmen and June were in charge of this and hope that in the next weeks we can start harvesting our first mushrooms.

 This is what it looked like after 6 days. Not much yet, hopefully a better update next week.

Today I bought mine and made some  mushroom bourguignon and mashed potatoes.

Lovely taste and very easy to make.

We were pleased that the sun came out so had an improntu walk in the garden.
Apple trees are budding first signs of life of the bulbs and chives. 

Friday 19 January 2018

Mushroom bourguignon

For Christmas I was given a mushroom kit from Taylors so thought I would save it to start with my from Spade to Plate group to experiment with my visiting scholar friends

We will also sprout some mung beans, so that next week we can harvest bean sprouts.

To get us in the mood for a mushroom dish I have chosen a Mushroom and Chestnut bourguignon with mashed potatoes

  • Serves: 4
  • Preparation time: 1 hour


A veggie version of a classic French dish, this still has rich flavours that make for a perfect winter warmer
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, (fan 180°C), Gas Mark 6. Prick the potatoes with a fork and rub them with a little of the butter. Then wrap them in tin foil and pop them in the oven for about 1 hour.
  2. About 40 minutes before the potatoes are ready, start cooking the bourguignon. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the carrot, celery, rosemary, thyme and bay leaf and cook for 4–5 minutes until the vegetables are just beginning to soften.
  3. Next, stir in the garlic and flour and cook for one more minute. Turn the heat up to high, pour in the port or wine (if using), stirring to blend the flour in well, and let it bubble away for 2–3 minutes until thickened.
  4. Then, stir in the stock and tomato puree, followed by the mushrooms and shallots. Bring to the boil and then reduce to simmer for a good 20 minutes until thickened.
  5. Add the chestnuts, season to taste with salt and pepper and cook for another 5 minutes to heat through.
  6. Once the potatoes feel tender when pierced with a knife, remove them from the oven. Split them open and scrape out their fluffy insides into a medium bowl. Add the remaining butter, chives and nutmey, if using, and eason with salt and pepper, and then mash everything well. Alternatively, you can just serve the potatoes split down the middle.
  7. Spoon the mash onto each serving plate and ladle the bourguignon over. Sprinkle with chopped parsley to serve, if you like.

Monday 8 January 2018

From spade to plate: 1st in 2018! What to do with my leeks

The leeks this year are not very good, everyone in the allotment has complained about the leek miner fly. I had no leeks in the allotment but had some in one of the raised beds at home.
They have not done very well this year either, so we dug them up and made some vegetarian pasties with them.  We used some of them for a leek and potato soup which we ate with a mini home made 'hovis' bread

Glo mentioned that she felt the cold weather called for some baked apples, As we still had some stored we decided to stuff them with dates, sultanas, cloves, cinnamon and orange juice. They were delicious with a dollop of thick creamy Greek Yoghurt.

Felicia, Glo, Carmen and I had a lovely morning and a tasty warming lunch.