I’m quite an impatient gardener. I like crops that just get on with it. Veg that grows quickly and dishes up a reliable, colourful harvest without a fuss. I like a good bang for my buck. That’s why radishes are top of my list at this time of year. They grow incredibly quickly, with little effort and they are virtually fool proof. Plus, they bring a brash red gaudiness to the veg patch which, secretly, I quite admire.

To grow radishes, simply sow the seeds thinly into a 1cm deep drill and cover. Then wait. Within 6 weeks, maybe even 4, you will have little ruby jewels ready to harvest. Their only stipulation is water, so if the weather is very dry, give them a soak now and then or they will turn woody and send up a flowering stem before the red root has set rendering them inedible.

The poor radish is often overlooked these days for reasons I cannot fathom. It can be a bit spicy for some people and home-grown harvests will be far more opinionated than their bland supermarket cousins. Should this punchy flavour not be to your taste, I recommend roasting them. It might seem a bit loopy to roast radishes at first but its pleasingly alliterative quality hints at the delightful taste which results from roasting a radish (!). They become sweet, mellow and an almost irresistible shade of rose pink.

Roast Radish, Feta and Spelt Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

Roast Radish, Feta and Spelt Salad

This warm salad is a healthy supper in its own right, but also goes beautifully with barbecued lamb or roast chicken.

  • 2 bunches radish (approx 300g)
  • Slug olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 200g pearled spelt
  • 200g feta
  • Handful peashoots
  • 3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 100g mange tout or sugar snaps
  • 1tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts, roasted
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200oC. Trim the green from the radishes and toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange on a roasting tray, making sure they aren’t too cramped, then pop the tray in the oven for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, put the spelt in a saucepan filled with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes until just cooked. Drain well.
  3. After the radishes have had their 15 minutes, remove the tray, douse the radishes with balsamic vinegar and return to the oven for 5 minutes or until the radishes are wrinkled and the balsamic jammy.
  4. Tip the cooked spelt into the warm radish tray and toss in all the cooking juices.
  5. Add the feta, peashoots, spring onions, mange tout, seeds and nuts and give everything a good mix. Check the seasoning (it might need salt, olive oil and a dash of vinegar) then serve.
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