Tag Archives: cooking

The great eScape

5 Jul

A brief break from elderflowers whilst my elderflower bread starter gets its fizz on – more on that later. In the meantime I’ve been getting in a pickle. Scapes are the immature flowering stems of a garlic plant, the stems are delicious with a light gralicky flavour. But it’s not the stems I’m interested in this time… scape buds
I got my hands on a decent quantity of the unopened flower buds. Since capers are also flower buds I thought I’d try pickling the scape buds in a similar way. So here goes…
pickled scape buds
I made a pickling mix using cider vinegar and a few aromatics; coriander, bay, fennel and peppercorns. I think they look pretty good, because of their size I’m leaving them a week in order for the pickle to really work its magic. Thumbs up!
Pickled scape buds

I’ll let you know how they taste soon!

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Put a cork in it!

26 Jun

You can’t fail to notice the heady scent of summer that hangs in the air at this time of year; it is of course the all too brief elderflower season.
botanical elderflower picture
With their penchant for inhospitable climes even wastelands are turned into pockets of wild beauty. But it’s not their looks or their scent I’m after, rather the deliciously summery flavour they impart, so it’s time for a run of experiments… The first, elderflower champagne.
DSCF1272
After finding a suitable tree with flowers in full bloom and their aroma hanging heavy in the air, pick yourself around fifteen decent sized heads and return to the kitchen.

I used Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe which can be found here
I used a bucket for the brew and love how the lemons bob amidst the flowers, let’s hope it tastes as good as it looks.
elderflower champagne
I find a pair of tights is a good defence against marauding ants!
elderflower champagne covered
I’ll be back with an update in two weeks – fingers crossed for fizz!

Roots ahoy…

30 Apr

It seems that life has conspired to keep me away from my plot this last week. Frustration at the weekend meant that my carefully laid plans for putting my other seedlings out were thwarted by lack of soil! Above all this has been the most irksome of issues with my attempts at green fingered-ness. Buying compost is both expensive and not ideal as a long term growing solution.

Due to the high nitrate of many composts they can do more harm then good, burning roots and leading to the death of plants; something I only found out after putting my courgettes into pure compost – they look ok now so hopefully I’m safe. I had hoped to buy the community compost mentioned in previous post but unfortunately when I arrived for a pick up they had sold out – more fool me for not calling before!

I will write more on my compost conundrum but firstly good news! Remember these! It may have taken them almost two months but they’ve finally gone and done it…roots!
Rooting lemongrass
I so nearly gave up on these babies and so pleased now I persevered, one already has a tiny shoot pushing up alongside. Potted and chilling in my kitchen.
Potted lemongrass

Something for the fish

20 Mar

I’m a huge fan of bulbed fennel, it is so delicious, both cooked and raw. One of my favourite things is thick slices of fennel browned until the sugars in the fennel begins to¬†caramalise, sublime either with fish or nibbled on whilst standing at the hob! Unfortunately I ¬†won’t have space for the bulbed variety but I couldn’t resist a packet of fennel bronze that I spied in my local garden center. I’ve never seen this bronze variety, the picture looks like they’ll come up as a rusty dark mauve colour. More interesting then the standard variety and I’m looking forward to seeing them grow.
The seeds are sublime! Love the fact that they will grow into beautiful bronze fronds.

fennel seeds

Grow grass grow!

5 Mar

Not in this instance the green stuff but rather the slightly more exotic, less grassy, lemongrass. I cooked a noodle broth the other evening in order to reincarnate and finish off a rather splendid roast, it included the zingy and delicious lemongrass. As my growing progresses I get more and more obsessed with it, hence why I now have a jar of lemongrass sticking out of water in the hope that they take root and I can add them that to my meagre collection. Finally a photo with an actual plant in it – no matter that I didn’t grow it!Lemongrass



Couldn’t resist adding the latin name for these babies, Cymbopogon… potentially the most luxurious word to say ever?
Broth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Broth!