Saturday, 19 March 2016

soup and salads

With the lengthening days and a definite warmth when the sun makes an appearance, I have been making trips down to the lottie to tidy up after its winter sleep.
Digging over one of the beds, I was pleasantly surprised to find a few parsnips hiding there. After months in the ground, they were not the best looking vegetables, but they made a delicious soup, with a sprinkling of nutmeg and a few shavings of parmesan cheese.


I  also cleaned out the shed, evicting a family of very large spiders with the help of a long broom. I know spiders are harmless - at least they are in the UK - and I know I should, but I cannot love them. I will tolerate them on the lottie so long as they DON'T ENTER MY SHED!

Now is also the time to plot and plan which vegetables and fruit to grow on the lottie this year.
Following my carrot success last year, maybe they should be on the list again. There will definitely be beans: runner, french and broad, along with butternut squash, beetroot, onions and spinach.

The carrots in the salad below were bought not grown. 
Even in winter/early spring, a salad is always welcome in my opinion.
This one had a sweet/sour vibe with dates (or I have used raisins in the past), lots of chopped mint and coriander and a dressing made from olive oil, lemon and date syrup (which tastes a bit like molasses) or you could use honey, plus salt, pepper and 1/2 teasp of cinnamon and the same of ground cumin.



And along the same idea a cauliflower 'tabouleh'.
After a delicious meal out with mr digandweed, when I enjoyed fresh grilled salmon on a bed of cauliflower couscous, I decided to recreate the dish at home. It follows the trend for using vegetables in place of pasta.
'Googling' revealed a number of recipe ideas; some used raw cauliflower, some lightly roasted. All required the cauliflower to be blitzed in a food processor or alternatively grated by hand. 
I decided to go with the roasted version and mixed my grated cauliflower with a little olive oil, spread it out on a baking tray and put it in a hot oven for about 20 minutes.



When it had cooled, it was dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, chopped coriander and a sprinkling of red chilli. Great with grilled chicken, fish or roasted vegetables.

Will you be gardening this weekend?
I know a lot of people have already made a start on sowing trays of seeds.
What are your 'must have' vegetables for the allotment or garden?

Happy weekend!





annjenny x

18 comments:

  1. We have made a start with seeds. Our must haves are salad leaves, spring onions, tomatoes, beans, both broad and French, radish, a variety of herbs and then we add on as the season progress's. I loved the look of your salad, I have had it with raisons but not dates I will be giving that a go.

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    1. Yes, I forgot salad leaves. They are a must especially as the mixed bags are expensive to buy.

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  2. I have a hard time even going into our shed. The tools I use are near the door and I try not to think about the spiders. I haven't even thought about seeds yet but guess I should. Beans and beetroot will definitely feature. The pigeons tend to eat anything leafy and green. Last year I netted my broccoli but the caterpillars ate it all!

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    1. Oh no! Sometimes gardening does seem to be a battle against the elements and varied bugs :(

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  3. Both your salad ideas look delicious. I like the variation on the usual carrot salad and will have to try the cauli tabbouleh too. Like you, I'm thinking about what to sow in the veg plot this year - start of a new growing season!

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  4. Yum, delicious recipes, and I'm envying you your parsnips, they're something I want to try this year. I've planted some inside but no germination at all yet. I always like to have runner beans, and I always grow tomatoes too even though they don't do spectacularly well (although this may be the year...) And sugar snap peas are great, I wouldn't be without them. I need to try and keep a succession of them going this year. The first batch are up. CJ xx

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    1. Thank you. I have grown parsnips for a couple of years now and have had reasonable success. I sowed mine direct in the soil a bit later in the year, but they do take a looong time to germinate.

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  5. I've tried the 'cauliflower rice' before but fried rather than roasted and wasn't too pleased with result as it seemed a little soggy - will have to try the roasting method next time! Photos look amazing, as usual!

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  6. I know lots of people don't bother with potatoes these days but I do love the first crop of earlies. Must have lots of rocket, squash and courgettes, and beans for the architecture too. I'm a lazy gardener so like these because they are all more or less reliable,everything else seems o be more susceptible to pests and rainfall - too much or too little.

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    1. I know what you mean. I gave up on brassicas because of problems with too many pests.

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  7. Such delicious looking food, I may have to move in! I make a broccoli tabbouleh which is also very tasty. And very green!

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    1. Ha ha! Thank you. Broccoli tabbouleh sounds good.

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  8. Your soup and salads look delicious! Tabouleh is one of my favourits too. Especally in summer.

    What a lovely find those few parsnips were!

    Enjoy the new gardening season.

    Madelief x

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  9. Your photos of what you cook are always so inspiring. I've been after a recipe for carrot salad with a North African slant so thankyou!

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