19 May 2016

In My Kitchen


I love to cook, good food is really important to me.  If you are anything like me you spend a large amount of your life in the kitchen preparing good nourishing food to eat, so this is what has been going on in my kitchen this month.  If you would like to join in you would be most welcome, leave a link in the comments section.


I always start off the Spring with good intentions to forage for wild food throughout the growing season, getting excited when the wild garlic puts in an appearance and never really going much further until the rosehips and blackberries appear in the Autumn.  I do hope that I manage better than that this year!  But I have been out picking wild garlic leaves this month and whizzing up batches of pesto, I used almonds this time.  I always pick a good quantity of leaves, from several different places to ensure that I am not compromising the plants in one particular place, and freeze some of the batches for use during the year.  We don't eat huge amounts of pesto but it is much nicer to eat your own.  There were a few leaves left over so I just had to make some scones with them as I had been seeing recipes for them all over the web in April.  I made a small batch as scones taste so much better the day they are cooked and I don't think they freeze terribly well.  We ate ours with a bean spread.  Delicious!


I think we may well have eaten salads every day this month, certainly my children would have you believe so, not salad again I hear them cry whilst they tuck in and eat every last mouthful!  They have been a mix of made up recipes with anything I had to hand, they are often the best and the most impossible to recreate as I never have the same bits to use up from one week to the next, and recipes that were both new to us or tried and tested.  The one on the far right above has tofu in it which I thought was delicious but the rest of the family decided they preferred the smoked tofu salad I make, this one was marinated and baked.  The rest are all grain based with rice at the top and pearl barley and couscous at the bottom.  I have been adding nuts and seeds to the made up salads, particularly toasted ones.  I soaked a big batch of pumpkin seeds overnight and toasted them on a low oven, sprinkling a bit of chilli powder over them first, until they were crisp, they don't last long round here.  They have been enjoyed in salads and as a tasty snack.  The first picture in the post is a beetroot and feta salad that we all adore and would eat every week of the year, I do make this every week we get beetroot in our veg bag.


I mentioned in my March in my kitchen post that I was on the hunt for tasty recipes for breakfast.  I tried two this month.  A Banana Bread with Millet in it, which got eaten so quickly that I failed to take any pictures!  It was delicious with yogurt and/or apple puree.  It was one of those recipes with a very long list of ingredients which usually that means they take forever to make, but not in this case. It required some forward planning as the millet needed to be cooked first before adding to the mix, but it was a two bowl method, one dry, one wet, mix together, spoon into tin and into the oven.  The other recipe was a Breakfast Bar.  It was from a book I was given earlier in the year, one that I thought was going to be great but has actually turned out to be a disappointment and is rather hard on the wallet.  Again these were banana based this time with oats and a few other ingredients, they were ok but I don't think I would make them again however I may use the recipe as a basis to have a go at coming up with my own take.  I can see that these would be really useful when camping or out walking as they were good and solid and didn't fall apart like so many of this type of bar do, so watch this space I might be sharing my results at some point!


We have entered the, very short but rather lovely, Asparagus season here in the UK.  We get a handful of spears in our veg bag each week for about a three to four week period.  Each year I try to add a new recipe into my repertoire and this year I found a salad that I thought sounded good and it was, so I thought I would share it with you.  It is based on a recipe I found in a book from the library, I have tweaked it slightly but if you would like to see the original it can be found here

Lentil and Couscous Salad with Almonds and Asparagus  

100g Green Lentils (I always soak mine overnight)
360ml Water
200g Wholewheat Couscous
8 Asparagus Spears cut into approx 3cm sections
1 Small Red Onion, chopped fine
45g Capers
2 Large handfuls of salad leaves/watercress
40g Almonds thinly sliced

Vinaigrette
5 tbs olive oil
3 tbs apple cider vinegar

Put the lentils and water in a saucepan and simmer until cooked, if you have soaked them overnight they will cook quicker.  If needed, drain, then run under cold water and transfer to a large bowl.

Cook the couscous by your preferred method, I always melt some butter and gently fry a crushed clove of garlic in the butter for a minute before adding the couscous and coating with the garlicky butter then add the water and simmer until cooked.  Add the couscous to the lentils.

 Steam the asparagus until just tender, rinse under cold water, drain and add to the lentils and couscous.

Add the red onion, capers, salad leaves and almonds.  Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together and drizzle over the salad mix together and serve.

30 comments:

  1. You are making me hungry ..... and I have just had breakfast!! Have you tried a poached egg on top of salad - it adds a lovely flavour, and the runny yolk acts as a dressing.

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    1. Now that sounds like a great idea! Thank you!

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  2. Oh my goodness theses salalds all sound delicious! I particularly like the sound of the asparagus salad. What a super-healthy diet you have. My boys are not salad fans, though luckily will eat veg, amd fruit. X

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    1. You can make a salad with anything, I think anyway. Not just lettuce cucumber and tomatoes ;). Perhaps sneak a little one in here and there?

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  3. You can definitely sense the shift in seasons by your cooking this month :) The same is happening around here, more salads as we approach the warmer days. Your salads look so delicious. Asparagus is just coming into season here, and for the first time I have it growing in the garden. Tonight we will have our first harvest. It will be small, just a few spears, but I bet it will be delicious.

    Happy cooking my friend.

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    1. Thank you Kim, I bet home grown asparagus tastes the best! I have been pondering starting a bed somewhere........

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  4. Everything looks so delicious, especially the salads. We are still in the soup season here (spring is very shy and nights are quite cold still). I hear the "no soup again", sometimes reinforced with "I don't like soup" daily, yet daily he will eat all the soup to the last spoon...

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    1. We have been flitting between soups and salads this past week although I do have some lovely warm salad recipes that we have also been enjoying ;)

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  5. We also love beetroot and feta salad......well most salads really. All your salads look so yummy! Celebrating asparagus season here as well, although it flipping cold here today so back to home made veggie soup to warm my cockles :)

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    1. The weather is very up and down isn't it, it makes menu planning a bit more difficult I always seem to end up with the wrong meals to go with the weather!

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  6. Yum, all those different salads look delicious but the one I'd choose is the beetroot and feta. I don't have beetroot very often as the rest of the family won't eat it but I love it.

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    1. Beetroot and feta are a wonderful combination, it would be really easy to make a small quantity of this salad or any beetroot salad, make it for yourself you never know the rest of the family might want some too!

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  7. Your food always looks delicious. Lots of salads being eaten here too. The beetroot and feta is now on my to try list. X

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    1. Thank you Jules! Hope you enjoy beetroot and feta it is a great combination especially with balsamic vinegar in the sauce.

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  8. What a great idea to add wild garlic to your scones, I wish I had thought of this. I am the only one here who likes salads and I eat one for my lunch every day. I might give the asparagus salad a try, it looks delicious. x

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    1. There is always next year for the wild garlic!

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  9. Everything look so delicious and healthy! I would love to be invited for lunch to your house :) I am not a big cook, but I mastered the lentils soup - so nutritious and easy to prepare!

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    1. Small steps are the best way Alina ;). You would be welcome to join me for lunch anytime!

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  10. I wish I could come and eat at your kitchen! after a week visiting family and eating out every single day, I'm back to the daily salads and revisiting healthy foods!! homemade food is the best and healthiest.

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    1. You would be most welcome anytime Karen! Enjoy that healthy food it really is the best thing for you.

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  11. I love the wild garlic scones, and the beetroot and feta....the pumpkin seeds....millet banana bread.....You're making me so hungry!

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  12. i really feel as if i ought to come and live at your house so i can eat all of that lovely food....*sigh* *dribble* xo

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  13. It all looks so delish. Will definitely be giving the lentil salad a go. Maybe one day I'll try wild garlic (always mean to, never seem to manage it!).

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    1. Thank you! It comes back every year so one day you may.........

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  14. Your photos alone are making me hungry. I want to try making wild garlic pesto. I grow lots of basil to make pesto, but it would be nice to try a foraged alternative. Also like the idea of almonds. I'm not keen on the taste of pine nuts, so I'll try adding almond. We had our first asparagus of the season this weekend. Such a treat.

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    1. Thank you Cheryl. You could use any nuts really it's just that I had almonds to hand. I have also made it with walnuts and cashews in the past. Pine nuts are so expensive that it doesn't really make it a worthwhile option to make your own! I always grow basil to make it with that too.

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  15. I absolutely love beetroot salads and, with feta, oh my ... I wish I was eating some right now! I can't wait to try the lentil salad too. Our days here are definitely still warm enough for salads!

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    1. Beetroot and feta is a one of the perfect food combinations for me, and it has to be with balsamic vinegar in the sauce.

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