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Cooking for a Crowd in Kingham

The best of the allotment’s ingredients were on show at The Cotswold Table last Sunday as the g&g stand was chocka with early Summer fare for the good folk of Kingham to try. And I’m pleased to say they did. With gusto in fact – I ran out of samples before the event finished. (Free food: always a winner!). I was busy promoting the personal cooking side of things, but also the exciting new g&g Pick Up Picnic – get yours here! (Shameles plug over, how crass). Here are a few of the things I cooked up (but not all of them, Cheeky, otherwise I’d be giving away all my secrets now wouldn’t I). […]

A Self-inflicted Glut of Lettuce

I've never been one for heeding a lesson. "Will you never learn?", my Mother's stock response to repeated follies from falling out of trees to poorly chosen boyfriends. But after last year's lettuce [...]

A Glut of Pigs’ Trotters

  "Could you do anything with trotters? I've got a load in the freezer," The Benevolent Farmer Brown shouts across the allotment. "Sure", I reply, oozing with satisfaction at both my thrift and [...]

Glut of Green Shoots

No time to cook this week. Which is fortunate really, because there's only pea shoots and baby radishes to cook with. This week is all about the kitchen garden. The Just So Spring [...]

Rhubarb: the saviour of The Hungry Gap

The kitchen garden is a heartless creature sometimes. This is the season for slaving away sowing, hoeing, weeding, soil improving, potting on-ing. May is when the leg work for the whole growing year is done. It’s when the foundations for a good or bad harvest are laid. And in return for all this nurturing and fretting the allotment gives you, what? Nothing. As we shuffle forth reluctantly into the Hungry Gap, clutching our rumbling tums and wishing we’d never said we were sick of leeks, there is almost nothing for the average gardener to pick in May. The radishes aren’t plump, the PSB has flowered, the pea shoots aren’t podding yet and the asparagus….well, come on…. who has time to grow asparagus for themselves? What there is, is rhubarb. It’s divine at the moment – thin, pink, still sweet, not yet stringy. It is known to some that I get a bit giddy about rhubarb. You can see last year’s rhubarb rants here  and my compendium of bloggers’ recipes here. It’s also one of my top 10 things to grow yourself as you can see here. So you see, I can’t get enough of it (which is fortunate when that’s all there is). So, to a quick and simple rhubarb supper: Smoked Mackerel with rhubarb purée […]

Nettles, Kale and Rhubarb Gluts for The Cotswold Table Market

A dank and dree dawn greeted us for the Cotswold Table market in Chipping Norton this weekend. Nonetheless, gloves were donned, hot tea was procured and off we went with a whole host [...]

A Glut of Weeds

Regulars will know my penchant for weeds; both the accidental cultivation and more intentional cooking of. And a mild, wet April creates the perfect climate for wild garlic, nettles, cleavers and the like to glut – Christmastime for the foragers. Last year at around this time, the G&G household was fed almost entirely on weeds. That is, it was until a rebellion was threatened and I was forced to branch out. You can see some of those wild garlic and nettle recipes here and here. This year, I venture to field two exceptionally tasty weed dishes at the G&G table in the hope of making the most of this free glut without an ensuing mutiny. Weedy Chicken Kiev   […]

Wordless Wednesday: Spring Sprouts

And the Organised Shall Have Leeks in Abundance..

Those with greater restraint and foresight than I will still have leeks in their allotment. Gorging and under-sowing saw my harvest vanish before Christmas. However, with a little planning, a prayer against allium weevil and a spot of succession planting, the organised allotmenteer can harvest leeks from August to May. And in the depths, as we are, of the Hungry Gap, the humble leek becomes something of a saviour. If you have a glut of leeks, here are a few ways to use them, some old favourites, some new beaus: Carpaccio of sea bream with confit leeks […]

A Sage Harvest

Perennial herb pruning season is nigh. The rosemary bushes are burgeoning, the sage shrubs are rampant and the blacksmith is sharpening my shears in preparation for the annual cull. (Ok, I made that last bit up, but wouldn’t it be charming if that still happened.) Our sage has become particularly unruly and I’ll be cutting it right back almost to the base, leaving only a few shooting points. A kill or cure option no doubt, but they do turn terribly straggly and unkempt if you don’t show them a firm hand. The result of said firm hand is an armful of furry, fragrant leaves that need either using up. I can’t bring myself to compost such as harvest, so here is some sage advice for anyone in the same situation (oh come on, you surely can’t have expected me to hold off for long. Just one tiny, weeny pun? No? Ok, no more, I promise.) Sage Tea […]

A Glut of Sunshine: A Thai allotment and the meal it grew

Ah sunshine. That most elusive of luxuries at this time of year here in Blighty. The buds on the trees, the snowdrops in bloom, the lighter nights are but a tantalising reminder of that long forgotten thing called Summer. Well the g&g household could stand it no longer. So this week we shut up the greenhouse, packed the kitchen sink and travelled to Thailand for a week of sunshine. And, as it happened, some allotmenting and cooking too. Def. Busman’s holiday (noun): a vacation or day off from work spent in an activity closely resembling one’s work. The resort we visited (Aleenta Hua Hin) not only had its own kitchen garden, but also offered the opportunity to spend a day perusing the food markets with the chef and then cooking up some lunch in the restaurant kitchen. Predictably, I jumped at the chance. First stop: the market and an array of fruit and veg I’ve never even imagined before: a million varieties of aubergine; grapes the size of plums; mysterious little mango-apricot creatures, fresh green peppercorns; live eels, dried squid… you name it. We taste everything. Apart from the eels. […]

A Guest Glut for Ross & Ross

A dank and dirty February is torment to kitchen gardeners. Seed catalogues have been thumbed, greenhouses scrubbed and all are itching to get planting for the new season. But instead of carefully nurturing a small army of seed trays, most, me included are stuck inside watching potatoes chitting on a rain-spattered windowsill. There’s only one solution: comfort food. And with little to sustain us in the veg garden, I turn to the lovely and local Ross and Ross Food.  Very kindly, they sent me some of their preserved goodies to sample in return for writing a guest spot on their blog. And no, no one paid for any coverage or kind words – how vulgar. It was no chore at all to trough through their terrines and chutneys. Better that than chasing the empty seed trays that are blowing around the allotment. You can see my guest spot on the Ross & Ross blog here. And the recipes are also here below: Ham hock terrine with a crispy soft boiled egg […]

Glut of Cookbooks: Days Eight to Ten – Rarebit, Snaps and Saffron

Into the heavy lifting of this 10 day challenge and I’m starting to feel the effects of cooking a new recipe every day. It really takes some organisation. Anyway, I’ve kept up with the cooking, though I’m behind with the blogging. But you weren’t counting were you? You were? Well don’t. It’s not a race. Day Eight is a warming, simple supper for a wet and dreary Thursday evening provided by Nigel Slater’s Tender Volume 2: Rabbit and Apple. Rabbit? No Rarebit really, but he calls it Rabbit. And why not. His recipe. He can. […]

Glut of Cookbooks: Day Six & Seven – Bambi and Butter

I was given, as one is, the fore leg of a young deer a while ago. I thanked the benevolent hunter warmly but promptly vac-packed it and stuck it in the freezer having no clue what to do with it. […]

Glut of Cookbooks: Day Five – The Ethicurean Almond and Pear Cake

Day Five of the Cookbook glut challenge is without doubt the most sublime yet. The Ethicurean cookbook is a joy to behold and this Almond, Pear, Chocolate and Cardamom cake is typical of [...]

Glut of Cookbooks: Day Two & Three

Day two of the cookbook glut, and a warming supper of ras-al-hanout chicken with pearled spelt and cabbage from Nigel Slater’s Eat. I confess that whilst I’ve loved his ideas, I’ve not found this book very specific in its instructions. I suspect that the Twitter-inspired urge to keep the copy short and snappy has been at the expense of clarity. For example, if one were to, as instructed, add the powdered spices to the pan after quickly browning the chicken, the result would be spices burnt to a crisp. No matter, the combinations of flavour in most of the recipes, including this one, are an inspiration despite the gaps in the practicalities. […]

Glut of Cookbooks: Day One

  In January, it’s aways troublesome to find seasonal recipes that don’t involve braising, stews, mash and stomach-cementing stodge. So this Bells of St Clement’s ceviche from Tom P-B’s Let’s Eat is a welcome bit of seasonal zing in a notoriously unzingy month using, as it does, pomegranate and Seville oranges. […]

A Glut for the Hungry Gap: Cookbooks

Ten. Count them. Ten. There are ten new cooking-related books on my bookshelf this month. That's one for every other day of 2014 so far. This cannot continue.There's nothing growing in the allotment [...]

A Glut of Plans and Seed Catalogues: The 2014 Patch Plan

It's all about planning this week. Too cold. Too dark. Too soggy for digging the veg beds. Too early to plant seeds. there's only one thing for it: light a fire. Make a [...]

A Glut of Christmas Leftovers

There's little more satisfying than a festive leftover

A Hedgerow Christmas Cake

I've never made a Christmas cake before. That I've eaten homemade Christmas cake every year for thirty-odd years and never made my own is testament both to the extraordinary baking skills of my [...]

Recipes to Feed a Crowd or What I Cooked up for Cotswold Table

G&G was out on the road this weekend at the excellent foodie market, Cotswold Table. And golly did we have fun. Talked ’til I was horse (nothing new there then). Bought too much stuff (ditto). And showed the good folk of the Cotswolds what I get up to by cooking up a whole host of seasonal tasters and samples. My brief to myself for these tasters was: make it seasonal, make it extremely tasty, make it cheap, make it easy to produce in volume (footfall was nearing a thousand). Given that this is also my brief for most Christmas gathering menus, I thought the recipes might be relevant at this festive time and so here they are: Spinach, Cheddar and Pinenut Frittata […]

Recipes to Feed a Crowd…

…or What I Cooked up for Cotswold Table

The Dawn of the Black Radish Harvest

A cracking little winter harvest