Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Summer garden vegetable flan

We had some left over wholemeal pastry in the freezer from last weeks empanadas....
so I was in the mood for a tart(of the savoury variety),or flan or quiche and with the everyflowering spinach and overgrowing chard.. this lunchtime meal was born.
Hail the tart!
Long live the flan.

Added with a simple salad of raddicheta(an argentinian? salad leaf,slightly bitter and perhaps from the same family as dandelion leaves),spring onions ands a simple vinegrette.It was trully delightful.

For a swiss roll sized tray...lets say 7x10 inches..
Pre bake(bake blind)wholemeal pastry.
4 eggs
2 red peppers sliced and sauted
4 fat mushrooms sliced and sauted
about half pint soya milk
2 large onions
wee handful green olives cut in half
colinder full of spinach and chard freshly picked from the garden
half a cup frozen corn(or fresh if lucky enough to have some)
cupful of fresh peas from garden lovingly podded and passed the quality control by anouk
a good handful of unknown strong french cheese(please use cheese of choice)
Small quality of soft smoked cheese diced and scattered on top
dried thyme

What a misch mas way of writing the ingredients!...
Saute the onions.
Saute (or roast) the peppers.
Saute the mushrooms.
Wilt the chard and spinach in a wee bit of oil,salt and garlic.
Cook the peas and sweetcorn.
Arrange the vegetables evenly and artistly in a pre-cooked flan case.
Place grated cheese on top.
Beat the eggs...then add milk,dried thyme and salt and pepper-and pour over the vegetables and cheese.
Bake in a preheated oven 180.c until golden brown and firm in the center.

you could use tofu instead of eggs...add some dried boullion powder(organic if possible),a wee bit of dried mustard and a splash of soya sauce.
instead of smoked cheese ..add crispy smoked tofu
Add soya milk and you,ve got a vegan summer pie.

Sage Flowers

Coriander oil

Get a handful of coriander(cilantro) leaves, cover with olive oil and liquidize.
Leave in the fridge for two to three days.
Using a fine material like cotton or muslin in a funnel let the mixture drip down into a bottle.
This oil will keep out side the fridge for months .
I plan on storing it for the winter months.
Enjoy this oil over savoury stuffed pancakes,with lime juice for any thai style salad,with rice,added to sauces,to lentils,over pizzas....I could go on and on.

Monday, 15 June 2009


This is the secound lot of beetroot we have growing this year.
I love the colours.
The young leaves can be used in salads.
The larger coarser leaves can be cooked like spinach...rinsed and wilted with a splash of oil with onions,garlic or whatever takes your fancy.

This years first strawberries

No recipes in this post.
These strawberries are for Anouk who was One year old last week.
If you have few strawberries growing the best way of eating them is straight off the plant...especially if your twelve months old...

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Abuela Luisa,s Aubergine pickle

Peel shiny healthy aubergines and cut in finger size shapes.
Place in a large colinder beginning with a layer of aubergines ...sprinkle with sea salt....then another layer of sea salt.
Then put the colinder on top of a bowl to collect the bitter juices .
Leave for an hour or so.

Next place the aubergines in a large saucepan and cover them with a mixture half water ,half white wine vinegar.
Boil and cook for five minutes.
Drain in a colinder.
Layer in jars with some chopped garlic,dried laurel leaves,dried oregano,black pepper corns,aji molido(chilli flakes).
Then cover completely with sunflower oil.

The longer you leave the jars unopened the better the flavour but this is v v hard to do.
This pickle keeps very well so I advice you to make it in large quantities.
I suppose this is an Argentina recipe to eat with bar-b-qs but it also delicious with tostadas,crostinis,cheeses,veggie burgers...and the other day I liquidized them with tahini to make a baba ganush style dip.

Friday, 12 June 2009

rosemary and chilli infused olive oil

This is one of those must have oils.
It is delicious on top of pizzas,pastas....or when you want a quick hit of heat in a dish.
Its so easy to make and very beautiful to look at.

Fill a bottle with olive oil.
Place a few sprigs of clean fresh rosemay and dried birds eye chilli,s(the really small ,really hot ones).
Put a cork in the bottle and leave to infuse for a couple of days....to a few weeks(test for levels of heat that you want)

You can also try this with other herbs like thyme ,dried laurel leaves and peppercorns.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Tarragon vinegar

Could this be any easier?

Add fresh tarragon to white wine vinegar.
Remove the herbs after two months.
Bottle and place a hand painted sticker on front...

Try using this vinegar to pickle cucumbers or gherkins.

Elderflower vinegar

Jams,pickles,scented oils,vinegars are becoming my new obsessions.
Homemade concoctions are far more superior to any store bought variety and something like this recipe is almost impossible to buy...like alot of wild food recipes...so it seems extra special.

Get a jam jar or bottle.
Fill will fresh elderflowers(remove the stalks and check for insects).
Cover with white wine vinegar and leave for one month(not longer as it would be too perfumed).
Remove flowers and bottle with a hand painted label.
It,s treasure.

I,m going to make more and try it with cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar.
I also want to try make elderflower churros...you dip the flower heads in batter and dip fry them,then springle with sugar...uummm.
I,ve heard that you can make capers with the un opened flower buds....
Thats the glory of wild food recipes they seem so beautifully exotic,bountiful and free ...with endless possibilities.
Hurray for life.
Life rocks.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Sugarsnaps with spelt seitan and the last of last year,s dried chanterelles...

The peas we,re calling me today for lunch and dinner.Ah that damned sweetness beckoning me...

For lunch I fried some chanterelle mushrooms that I dried last year in Autumn.(True treasure)
First I rehydrated them in boiling water ,keeping the liquid to use in the recipe....
Then I fried them in olive oil with chopped garlic and parsley and some sea salt(A catalan way with mushrooms or setas as they are known here)
The mushrooms were added to some cooked brown organic rice(regular brown rice has loads and loads of chemicals just under the rusks)

In another pan I browned some spelt seitan torn into strips,to which I added spring onions,a wee bit of chopped ginger...adding splashs of the mushroom juices when drying too much....the last minute I added sugarsnaps and I wee splash of shoyu soya sauce.....was tempted to add some red wine and chilli but no I restrained and all was good and holy in my world

Seitan made with spelt flour seems less heavy and easier to digest.
Forgive the photo...perfectionist Jean can do better...but heh ,it,s thursday(could,nt think of a good excuse)


Last night we ate to as near perfection as you can get.A combination of flavours so simple and perfect together that I have to write about it to save the memory

crispy falafels
hummus with added toasted cumin seeds
crushed aragon olives with dried laurel and rosemary.................
and the star of the show........

Fresh sugarsnaps from the garden picked just a few minutes before blanching in boiling water for less than a minute.

I had a moment of enlightenment...when I understood the concept of being true to the amazing flavours of fresh vegetables.To overcook those sugar snaps or hide there sweetness with over powering flavours would be a sin againgst mother nature...

Sometimes you can write complicated recipes but for fresh sugarsnaps or mangetout...the best way of cooking them is barely(especially if you have lovingly watered them for the last months)...savior that green green colour and sublime sweetness and enjoy