Gluts of the week

/Gluts of the week

Fig Leaf Panna Cotta

My fig tree is a maverick. No straight and narrow for her. No conforming to the usual fig-tree stereotypes. No, not for her the trappings of traditional fig-tree identity. She absolutely categorically refuses to produce a single sodding fig. I am left with only leaves. But, this is not a harvest to be ignored...

Summery chicken meatballs

Midsummer is worth celebrating, don’t you think? And in the only way I know how – feasting. Last week’s Summer Sharing Platter recipe was a perfect starter so this week: main course - chicken meatballs with a herby buttery sauce and broad beans, peas and spinach.

Three recipes for a summer sharing platter

Ah, June evenings. The glass of rosé, the perfume from the jasmine wafting over the terrace - it’s all very Evelyn Waugh, isn’t it? On this sort of evening it seems a shame to come inside to eat. Far nicer to nibble at a few bits and bobs from the kitchen garden and watch the sun set...

Eat more plants

Lot of vegans around at the moment, don't you think? Or lots of vegan cookbooks at least. Maybe there’s only one actual vegan per cookbook published and the ‘plant-based’ Instagram megastars are only followed by committed carnivores watching in fascinated horror. One can hope...

Chilled pea and mint soup

Quickie for you this week: chilled pea and mint soup. Right then, let’s crack on. Incidentally, don’t imagine that because this is quick and ludicrously simple to make it has less merit. Get this right and it's a stunner...

Lemon and elderflower scones

What is a village green for if not for celebrating a Royal Wedding on? Come to our village green tomorrow and you will find it festooned with bunting, tipsy villagers sloshing Pimms jugs from one picnic blanket to the next and me handing out lemon and elderflower scones...

The secret pleasures of a clandestine wild garlic glut

The woodland is misty with morning dew. Badger trails crisscross the carpet of bluebells as it stretches away into the depths of the wood. My spaniel clatters about in the undergrowth. But best of all, the air is thick with the smell of garlic. This is my Eden...

Asparagus tart with raw asparagus salad

There are two reasons why everyone gets so over-excited about asparagus. First, it's got a very brief season so it's rare. Second, it's a total sod to grow. Nothing commands respect like the ability to grow asparagus...

On Weeds

It looks rather idyllic, doesn’t it? Here I am, pottering about in the veg patch. The sun is shining. Spring is in full bloom. But beneath this Constable painting lurks torment and peril for the Spring gardener. Weeds. Thousands of them...

The power of herbs (& a herby chicken broth)

If you grow nothing else, grow herbs. You won’t need much space. A windowsill will do just fine. From this small investment of time and space you will be rewarded with deliciousness and the giddy satisfaction of having grown something yourself...

Pan-fried radishes, puy lentils & anchovies

Every April I thank goodness for radishes. I know it sounds a bit loopy to pan-fry them but trust me: they lose all their peppery punch when cooked and turn mellow, pink and deeply savoury – like a turnip’s more interesting cousin...

Roast cauliflower with pine nuts, capers & raisins

I get a bit evangelical about cauliflowers. So undervalued. Really difficult to grow and totally unappreciated. I'm cooking a hearty roast cauliflower supper whilst I contemplate trying to grow them myself....

Last hurrah for the winter squash

They’ve had a good innings. Harvested in October, the squash have patiently sat in the shed awaiting their moment of glory. Today, that glory is an unctuous squash puree with spelt, feta and a colourful mix of roast veg. A Sunday Lunch kind of dish full of warmth and comfort. Perfect, I hear there's snow coming…

A Cake for Mother’s Day

If you have a mum like mine, you’ll be making her a cake this Sunday. I know we all think our Mum is the best, but mine really is. I’m sure yours is lovely and all, it’s just that mine is THE Best. So, I’m baking a rather unusual cake…

Forced rhubarb, saffron & honey granola pots

The drizzle has set in. The mud is endless. When it isn’t raining the mire freezes rock hard. A chill wind whips around your collar and down your back. Even the dog shivers. We are in the depths of the Hungry Gap. But not in Yorkshire...

The 2018 Patch Plan & Space Optimism

How I managed it is a mystery. I was so enthused by the prospect of a new patch that when it came to the planting list, I perhaps very slightly over-estimated the available space. I have space optimism. How ever would I fit it in?

More Borrowed Quince with Marzipan

Last week there was quince with pork, rhubarb and Sichuan pepper. It was scrumptious. This week there is yet more quince in the fridge. And there is very little else to get excited about in fridge or allotment. So I make pudding. A sweet treat...

A Borrowed Quince Harvest with Sichuan Pork & Rhubarb

You know those chainmail gloves you can use when shucking oysters? Well, they would be useful if you plan to grow quince. The growing of the quince itself is relatively easy. It’s in the cooking of them that the effort is spent...

New Beginnings

My New Year’s resolution is to not make any. Horrid things. The only serve to make you feel inadequate. What I do remain a sucker for though is new beginnings. A blank page, a fresh start is something I love. And this year I have the ultimate in new beginnings: a new kitchen garden…

Slack’s Festive Hacks

When you've got a surname like mine there is no pun, rhyme or gag you haven't heard. Until last week this is, when Slack's Hacks was born. I can take absolutely no credit for its invention but I will steal it for my own. Here then, are my Slack's Festive Hack's to make your veg sing this Christmas...

Chard, goats’ cheese and spelt pizza

Chard. Honestly, if you grow nothing else, grow chard. It is bullet proof, prolific, long lasting, beautiful and, most importantly of all, tasty. Sow anytime March-August in shallow drills, thin the seedlings and wait. Just wait...

Pear and cardamom friands

I've pulled off my wellies, hung up my Barbour, scrubbed the soil out of my nails and headed to the big city of London this week where I'm teaching cookery classes for AEG at Taste of London Festive Edition...

A Glut of Courgettes Stuffed with Lamb

Warm and wet. We might not like this so-called English 'Summer', but to the courgette plant, this is heaven. There's a veritable pool party going on down in the patch...

The Restorative Qualities of a Good Bean Salad

Your first proper summer harvest is never just bucket of muddy veg from the patch. It’s nature’s way of fishing you out of the treacle, giving you a good nutritious meal and setting you back on the right path...