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)
200g Wholewheat Couscous
8 Asparagus Spears cut into approx 3cm sections
1 Small Red Onion, chopped fine
2 Large handfuls of salad leaves/watercress
40g Almonds thinly sliced
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.
Labels: In my Kitchen