Gluts of the week

/Gluts of the week

Recipes for a Nostalgic Blackberry Harvest

Blackberry picking leaves me a nostalgic and dewy-eyed sop. Perhaps it’s because I grew up on Brambly Hedge books, believing one could live in an oak tree and rural England really was full of enterprising field mice with umbrellas. Or perhaps it’s because my soft spot for Alan Bennett, who invented the verb ‘to blackberry’ (“I blackberry up the lane..” and so forth), transports me, when I blackberry, to some whimsical scene in which I’m a lonely-yet-contented woman picking blackberries and pondering the bittersweet moments of my life. The dog, in contrast, is incandescent that his walk is being constantly and unpredictably interrupted at every turn. Even a lick of blackberry and white chocolate ice-cream doesn’t appease him. […]

Courgette Glut: The Second Week Recipes

I have finally crawled out from under the avalanche of courgettes to write some recipes. There's no escape from them. They just keep on giving and the shelf in my fridge is bowing under [...]

A Tart from a Trussed up Cherry Tree

here is more bamboo than branch in our cherry. More trussing than tree. No, it isn't very sightly. But it's the only way of keeping the birds off your cherry glut. It was the invention of my live-in handyman (AKA best beloved) and it, coupled with a studious watering and feeding regime has produced a truck load of cherries. This glut is simply too miraculous to use it as mere ingredient in a recipe. I can't bring myself to cook with them. Instead, we sit in the garden beneath the shade of the cherry tree and trough our way through most of the harvest. But even I can't eat a whole tree's worth of cherries in one sitting. I persuade myself to save some and to put them to good use: Cherry and Almond Tart.

Recipes for an Impatient Cucumber Glut

Cucumbers have no patience. When they arrive in the greenhouse they arrive in almost biblical quantity. They enjoy but a fleeting window between too small and grotesquely (and inedibly) large. They don't stay fresh for more than 48 hours once picked. And once they start cropping, there's no stopping them. The only way to deal with this sort of attitude in a vegetable is to beat it at its own game: eat them. Eat them all. And eat them with relish. Do your worst, cucumbers, we can't get enough of you. I think this calls for a quick fire round of fast and simple cucumber recipes that will whip through your glut very pleasurably, don't you? Right then: Cucumber Water. 'Pickled' Cucumber and Salmon Tartare. Henricks and Cucumber. Cheers!

In Praise of Herbs: Herby Oatcakes and Lemon Balm Sorbet

Poor herbs. Ever the bridesmaid, never the bride. Stuck on the side of a cheap plate of pub grub and insultingly referred to as 'garnish'. They don't even get a space in the allotment. Instead, I dot them around the flower beds in whatever gap I can find and leave them to fend off the onslaught of geraniums un-aided. Never the star of the show. Always the support act. Poor herbs. Well not today. Despite the neglect, the herbs absolutely love this weather and are thriving to the point of glutting. There are handfuls of them. Too many for a mere garnish. So today they take centre stage as the main ingredients in two new dishes: Herby Oatcakes and Lemon Balm and Lemon Thyme Sorbet

Recipes for a Coveted Strawberry Glut

My neighbour's vegetable patch is sinfully fecund. Everything is cropping on time, with abundance and perfectly unscathed by bird or beast. We, on the other hand, have zippo in our allotment. In this climate, even the kindest gesture fans the flames of my covetousness. For example, my neighbour very generously, though not without a hint of smugness, offered me some of his strawberry glut the other day. Given that my strawberry patch is weeks away from harvesting, I swallowed my pride, thanked him graciously and hoofed it with a good two kilos of strawberries. Only one thing could come of this: Strawberry Afternoon Tea on the Lawn...

The Unfathomable Mystery of Mackerel Fishing and The Recipes that Followed

This week's glut of the week is a (smaller than hoped) bucket of mackerel, freshly caught on holiday in Lyme Regis. Making the most of twitchingly fresh fish means recipes like sushi maki rolls and barbequed mackerel. Plus, how to make perfect sushi rice and how not to get caught pretending you caught Sea Bream...

Wordless Wednesday (or ‘Yesterday’s Mackerel Haul…recipes follow soon ‘)

Mackerel caught at Lyme Regis. Recipes to follow soon

Radishes

Ah radishes. The jewels of late Spring. Their shameless red skin against the dank, soggy soil: a beacon that heralds the imminent arrival of summer’s full show. The invigorating kick of heat that brings hope during the Hungry Gap. Quick. Easy. Tasty. There’s no downside to a radish. […]

Wordless Wednesday or A Glut from the Patch, finally! (recipes coming soon)

Glut of the Week: Fat Hen

From horror to hero: how to cook edible weeds like fat hen. This week I show you a weed souffle recipe

Glut of the Week: Mouths to Feed

Copyright Wes West This past weekend I fed 80 people. Some of them more than once. I’m not a caterer. My mental arithmetic isn’t good enough. I shudder at the thought of rented crockery. I pale at the mere mention of long tables and stackable chairs. And yet here I stand, on a glorious Saturday evening, looking at 80 people sipping Pimms on a skin-kissed lawn and expecting to be fed in an hour. […]

Glut Update: A Lovage Cordial Induced Snooze

My home brewed alcoholic Lovage Cordial.

Glut of the Week: Lovage

As we huddle in the staff hut of the Daylesford market garden*, warming our hands with chipped mugs of tea whilst watching the storm outside and wondering if that was it for Spring, the unmistakable smell of lovage wafts around us. It’s been harvested that morning and its pungency gets us wondering: what’s lovage for anyway? Overpoweringly fiery when raw, it’s too intense to be something you’d nonchalantly chuck in a dish for subtle flavour and a little colour. How could anyone use a whole bunch of it, let alone the field of the stuff that’s just been picked? And thus my challenge is set. I bring a bunch home. The smell lingers in the car, on my hands, in the fridge. But I will not be beaten. Google is no help. Apart from soup (yawn) there is some talk of an alcoholic cordial made with lovage (more of which later) and the only other option I find is a soothing lovage foot soak (here should you need one). I do discover that it’s been cultivated since Pliny’s time, so someone must have found good in it. I decide to pair its distinctive aniseed notes with some of my favourite things – booze, cheese, biscuits. Here’s the result: Lovage curd cheese: […]

A Feast in Praise of Rhubarb

I get a bit giddy about rhubarb. My own rhubarb plants are fledgling and un-established  so any home harvest is treated with near religious ceremony. Before such rare and blessed occassions, I am [...]

Glut of the Week: Wild garlic

The dog and I went trespassing this morning. The come hither wafts of wild garlic in the wood adjoining our path were too enticing to resist. A valid defence in court for any cook, [...]

Gluts of the week: Spoons and Soil

Yes. Spoons. Tablespoons if we're going to be exact. You would not believe the number of tablespoons chefs use in a day. And this week I am being uncharacteristically chefy. I'm back at [...]

(Free)Glut of the week: Nettles

I do not recommend donning marigolds mid dog walk and charging headlong into the hedgerows. Fellow walkers look suspicious; their dogs tilt their heads quizzically. But, the derision of man and beast is nothing [...]

Glut of the Week: Eggs

And not the chocolate variety. I have lived for many years under the misapprehension that chooks, or a least the non-battery kind, only lay eggs when it's warm. How I imagined the supermarkets [...]

Glut of the Week: Savoy Cabbage

Another week. Another glut of sub-standard cabbages. Last week's mini red cabbages are followed this week by perfectly formed but very petite savoy cabbages. Like their red brothers before them they too are [...]

Glut of the week: Shellfish

Ok, so it’s clearly not an allotment glut. However,  shellfish are at their plumpest and sweetest in Winter. A good job too, because nothing else is. When the allotment ground is too frozen [...]

Glut of the week: Blackberries

What with all the weather we’ve had this summer, the hedgerows’ bounty has been a little low key. But there are still just enough blackberries to constitute a Glut. A scenic route home [...]