Monday 30 March 2020

News from Liz

Hi Karina,
I’ve been meaning to get touch to say hi, and to let you know that upon my return to Oz last year I set about making a veggie garden, having been inspired by you and your allotment!  I thought that now might be the right time for a “good news” story, so feel free to share this with your group of keen producers and gardeners.

My veggie boxes have largely been a great success, as well as much fun and very satisfying. We’ve harvested courgettes, aubergines, silver beet, spring onions, leeks, cucumbers, basil, snow peas and loads of tomatoes.  The only poor crop has been capsicum, with two tiny specimens so far - so that’s my challenge next summer!
As these crops come to an end I will start to put in some more leafy greens, garlic and sugar peas, and perhaps some broccoli too.

Thank you for all your encouragement and enthusiasm, and for your regular tasty recipes through the Cambridge in Abundance emails.  I always enjoy receiving them and seeing the photos.  It takes me back to many happy times around your kitchen table and in your garden.

 Let us hope we all manage to ride out this storm, and can come together again in person one day.

Much love, 

Sunday 29 March 2020

Beetroot soup, smoked salmon and mushroom gourgère

This post was first made on 17/11.19

As I had a carrot, some beetroot, an orange and some mushrooms, I thought I could do these recipes again.

I made some Vegan Smoked Salmon to go with the leftover flatbread of yesterdays curry. I toasted it, spread the last of the cream cheese, topped it with then whole grain mustard, then the 'salmon' and a drizzle of oil and lemon.

With the beetroot I made  Beetroot and orange soup

The mushrooms I turned into  the mushroom gougère, just like Sayaka did in November.


  1. A very simple mixture of goats’ cheese, crushed walnuts, finely chopped pears and seasoning gets spooned into the split (and cooled) pastry choux: the juicy crunch of the pear works well with the flavour of the cheese. Blue cheese also works excellently here.
Rapeseed oil
½ red onion finely chopped
300g mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 garlic cloves, chopped
½ teaspoon thyme leaves
1 tablespoon dry sherry
100g crème fraîche
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley

  1. In a large frying pan  heat the oil and fry the onion until soft but not coloured. 
  2. Add the mushrooms, garlic and thyme. Cook over a high heat, stirring often, until the mushrooms are reduced in volume by about half, are buttery and soft and their liquid has evaporated.
  3. Add the sherry and crème fraîche and simmer until the sauce has reduced. Stir in the lemon juice and parsley and season with salt and plenty of black pepper.
  4. Cut each choux bun fully in half, fill with the warm mushroom mixture and serve.

Friday 27 March 2020

Three bean curry with flatbread rice and a fennel salad

Today I was given a fennel bulb by Julie in the allotment. I made some Fennel Cordial with it as well as turning it into my mum's favourate salad. Fennel and egg salad. Just as normal a mustard vinegrette and added the sliced fennel and a couple of hard boiled eggs.

For my main meal I used the red kidney beans I soaked and cooked a few days ago, chickpeas and baked beans in tomato sauce, and the preserved tomatoes I made in oil in a  Kilner Jar in September last year.  A chopped onion, a garlic clove, 1 table spoon of ground coriander, 1 tea spoon each of garam masala and mild chilli powder, I added a chopped carrot (as I still had one in the bottom of the fridge)  Add it all together cover with stock and boil until all nicely hot and cooked.

Lovely on a bed of rice, and a Crazy dough flat bread.

Thank you garden!

Thursday 26 March 2020

My shopping list for this week 26/3/2020

Once a week I do the shopping for some of my neighbours and myself. Usually this will come to around £30 and will be creative to make something tasty, nutritious and varied with it.
I will attempt to write up a few of the recipe I will make with it this week.

I bought:
3 Butter
Porridge oats
Yorkshire tea
stock cubes
Soft cheese
Maple syrup
Goats Cheese
cheddar cheese
cherry tomatoes
feta cheese

The milk man brings 8 pints of milk per week
Currently I get broccoli, leeks, carrots, spinach beet, corn salad, rocket, rhubarb from the allotment

I still had some eggs, rapeseed oil, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yoghurt  from last week.

I baked a loaf of bread, sweet potato buns, puff pastry tarts (for the beetroot and goats cheese topping) flat bread for the 3 bean currry, mini mushroom pies, rhubarb crumble, broccoli quiche and cut the left over vegetables for a stirfry, once my mung beans are fully sprouted (hopefully in a couple of days time)

I made gourgeres for the mushroom, goats cheese and walnut filling,  egg noodles to go with the stirfry, lavash for nibbles.

Wednesday 25 March 2020

Rhubarb cordial and crumble with a lovely Spinach and ginger soup

Looking back through my blog I came across the lovely day when Asako, Ada and Karina came to harvest spinach and Rhubarb a few years ago.  So when I headed to the allotment this morning for my daily exercise, I found a very chilly but Sunny oasis of peace and hope.

I came back hope with a bunch of tulips, Rhubarb flowers and forget me nots to put inside in a vase.

I picked some spinach for the spinach and ginger soup and rhubarb for a cordial and crumble. I used the left over strained rhubarb as the base of the crumble. The topping is one with ginger, almonds, sugar and flour.

 We even managed a glass in the sunshine, whilst the crumble was in the oven.

As a desert we have a rhubarb crumble I used the strained rhubarb that was left after making the crumble. The topping with the almonds was divine.

Dezyre making the crumble topping

For starters we made a spinach soup.
June and Asako cut the spinach and wilted it in some salted water,
They then added a chopped onion, ginger and a minced garlic clove.
Covered it with a vegetable stock to cover the greens and let it simmer until cooked.
At this point we added some cornflour to thicken the soup a little. Then added some milk to bulk it out.

Rhubarb crumble ingredients

Monday 23 March 2020

On my daily walk I picked some dandelions for a afternoon snack

As the milkman just sent an email that due to the current crisis they cannot amend regular orders, I decided to make oat milk . Other than the fact that it gives me a little more cows milk for tomorrows tea (we drink so much more tea now we are asked to stay at home)  in April last year we also made some for the waffles. I used the left over oats to go into the oat waffles recipe

Although it is chilly the sun is shining and I was in need for a walk to the allotment. There were loads of dandelions which would not only be nice in a waffle but has got some medicinal powers too.
A great foraging day today.

 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 and maple syrup
Tina mixing the waffle batter with flower petals
Add caption


Purple Sprouting Broccoli kedgeree

In April 2018 we made this recipe with the from Spade to Plate group. When I saw the beautiful purple sprouting today, I have decided to make it again.

Simone brought a Waitrose recipe card for a PSB dish which I tried and slightly amended to a vegetarian version.

Ingredients (serves 2)

2 eggs
160 gr PSB spears
1 large leek, thinly sliced
2 tsp curry powder
100 gr basmati rice
200 ml vegetable stock
1/2 lemon zest and juice
Handful of chopped dill.
Some finely chopped smoked zucchini
smoked paprika


Boil the rice as per instruction on packet.

Cook the eggs in cold water. when it starts to boil, leave to boil for  5 minutes so they come out not too soft nor to hard and dry. Cool under running cold water and set aside. Steam the PSB with a little salt (3 minutes)

Slice the leek and saute with the smoked zucchini in a little oil until soft . Add the curry powder  and cook for 1 minute. Mix Rice, leek, zucchini and curry powder, dill and lemon and leave to stand for 2 minutes while you peel and chop the eggs. Divide the rice on the plates and top with the PSB and eggs. Sprinkle the eggs with a little smoked paprika and serve.

The making of the meal was done very quickly as many hands make light work.

We then had a lovely meal together. For those who might like to have a non vegetarian option, you can add some flaked smoked haddock through the rice.  The end result even without the fish was delicious.

Sunday 22 March 2020

Grow your own on your window sill

Over the years we have grown  some of our own food in our window sills. We  grew some cress and bean sprouts. (we used mung beans, dried green peas, chickpeas) from the corner shop.  Sunflower seeds  and shop bought veg.

 This lady has a lovely video on how she makes her sprouts, I feel she uses too much for our needs, but the principle is good.

As this does not involve any soil, I wonder if it might be an idea now, as many of us cannot go out?
There are some exceptions where soil is concerned, but most can be grown without soil.
A lovely activity to do with the children too.

Last week I bought some leeks and only chopped the top  of the leeks for a vegetable soup and then put them in water to continue to grow. Nice for in stir fries the coming week. The same can be done with spring onions, little gem lettuces, celery to name but a few.
 Amazing how much it has grown in one day.

We planted the cress on paper too but the sunflower seeds were left soaking in a jar of water.

Asako sowing seeds in cream cheese boxes lined with kitchen paper
The Sunflower shoots and pea shoots that we sowed 2 weeks ago are ready for harvesting so we will make a Sunflower shoot salad . The lemon vinegrette was delicious, a bit too much, so we kept the other half for another day.
sunflower (left) and pea shoots (right)
Sayaka harvesting the first sunflower shoots
Cortney harvesting the pea shoots

Friday 20 March 2020

Mung bean curry

As I still have perpetual spinach and carrots left in the allotment, I thought I could make this Mung Bean curry this weekend.

We made this first with our  Wednesday group on 9th October 2017 and Monday group on  2nd February 2020. So lovely to see the happy smiles again. 
Miss you all,  and hope that the group cooking sessions can start again soon. For now, enjoy this anti inflamatory curry and the happy memories.

The recipe for the  Mung bean curry: 4 servings
1 cup of mung beans soaked for 6 hours or overnight
2 tbsp oil
2 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 finely sliced onion
15 gr finely grated ginger
1 tsp tumeric powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp chilli powder
4-6 minced garlic cloves
1 can of chopped tomatoes
2 carrots sliced into half moons
4 cups of vegetable stock
3 large handfuls of shredded silverbeet/spinach
sea salt to taste

In a large pot heat the oil over a medium high  heat and add the mustard seeds

When the mustard seeds start to pop add the cumin seeds and onion. Saute for a few minutes over a medium heat. When until onions become translucent, add the chilli, tumeric, ginger, garlic and tomatoes.

Continue to saute on gentle heat for another 5 minutes, until the tomato pieces are cooked down. Then mix in the mung beans and carrots. Stir thoroughly so all the spices and flavours coat the ingredients

Next add the stock and bring to boil. then turn down and gently simmer.
At this point you may want to add some salt, try 1/2 a teaspoon.
Cook for 30 minutes with the lid partially on, until the lentils are fully cooked and you have a thick caserole like consistency. You will need to stir consistently so that the beans don't stick to the bottom of the pot.
Once cooked, stir in the beet and simmer for a couple more minutes before turning off.

Serve with basmati rice, a dollop of yoghurt  topped with fresh coriander and a fresh salad.

These days I tend to use the Lazy Dough to make flat bread, but I have to save my eggs and yoghurt  as there has been a 'run on eggs' due to the Corona virus, so for this 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
(or if you want to use it as a wrap this is possible too as long as it is thin enough)

If you have enough yoghurt this flatbread  recipe might be another easy option.

Thursday 19 March 2020

First Wednesday from Spade to Plate: Beetroot soup and fresh bread

Today was the first day that I introduced a Wednesday cooking event.
The weather was lovely so we walked to the allotment to dig up the last of the beetroot.
This variety was not the deep red one but the more orange coloured one.

We turned it into  Beetroot Soup which we had for our lunch with some freshly made bread.
The recipe is in the first From Spade to Plate recipe book on page 21

1 onion, 1 potato 450g beetroot, a table spoon of rapeseed oil, 1.2litre vegetable stock
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon marmite, ground nutmeg, natural yoghurt and chopped parsley.
Sesame, pumpkin seeds as topping.

Chop all the vegetables and saute for a few minutes
Add the stock and bring to boil until all vegetables are soft.
Blend until smooth and addd the vinegar, yeast extract, nutmeg and season.
Just before serving add the yoghurt and sprinkle parsley and seeds

To make yoghurt 

You only need 2 ingredients
Whole milk 
a couple of spoons of starter (previously made yoghurt) or life yoghurt from the shop.

Bring the milk to simmer so that bubbles appear on the side of the pan and a skin forms on top of the milk.
Let it cool to body temperature, 
Stir in the starter and make sure that there are no lumps in it.
Gentle warm up so that it is not cold to touch but luke warm.
Then put in a warm place  (I put it in this tea cozy) for 8 or so hours.
It should have thickened by then, put in the fridge and it will settle a little more.

In this case we made a batch of bread dough:

300 gr  organic white strong flour
300 gr organic whole meal strong flour
7gr (one sachet) of dried yeast and a pinch of sugar
12 gr sea salt
mix of of seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, poppy and sesame seeds)

Mix all together, knead and let it rise. When double in size  knock back and put in a greased tin.

I am going to experiment and freeze the dough in plastic bag as we still had bread left that I baked on Monday and don't really want to use the oven more than once a week.  I am following instruction from the internet but will write the outcome, when I have it.

Bingo! I defrosted the dough overnight, shaped it into a 'bread shape' put it in a greased tin and waited 2 hours (a bit long)  for it to rise fully again. baked it and in 35 mins we had a delicious fluffy loaf of bread.

This post was first posted on 14/3/2018