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?