There is nothing I enjoy more than being out on the allotment working hard. It really puts a smile on my face! Even on cold mornings, there is something exhilarating about being outside, working hard and feeling that warmth in your muscles, and after, going back home and sitting down with a lovely hot cup of tea!
But none of us grow our fruit and veg just for the hard work! There is a pride and joy in eating something that your have grown yourself! Knowing that the sweat and tears (and sometimes blood!) have been worth it!
Before growing my own veg, I had a rather bland repertoire of meals that I always cooked. It often involved combining chicken and pasta with a nondescript sauce. But having excesses of courgettes, beetroot and other veg means that I have had to expand my repertoire and I have to say, I am enjoying my food far more than I ever was! I have been scouring through food magazines and have tried a number of new recipes, so, I thought I’d share with you some of the best recipes I have tried and tested this year!
I hope there is something here for you to try! And please feel free to share any new recipes you have tried this year!
Hot Brussels Sprout Coleslaw (Adapted from Eat In Magazine)
I think this recipe is a lovely way of using up Brussels sprouts. The honey and mustard dressing adds the right amount of sweetness. The recipe didn’t originally have carrots in but I added them as I think it gives a good flavour to the dish.(Serves 6)
- 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp clear honey
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 400g Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
- 2 carrots grated
- Parsley, chopped (optional)
- In a jug whisk together the mustard, white wine vinegar and honey.
- Heat a large frying pan over a high heat until hot. Add the oil and stir fry the Brussels sprouts and carrots for 2 minutes or until the sprouts are just starting to colour. Add in the mustard dressing and stir fry for 1 minute or until coated.
- Remove from the heat, stir in parsley (optional) and season. Transfer to a warmed serving dish and serve immediately.
Chocolate Beetroot Cake (Taken from Tesco Real Food magazine)
I was pleasantly surprised with this recipe as I was skeptical that beetroot would work. The cake does not take on the flavour of beetroot but the beetroot does add a lovely moistness and gives the chocolate a real depth of flavour. The beetroot is puréed so you can prepare it ahead of time and freeze. Serves 12
*I don’t particularly like buttercream so I make a chocolate cream using melted chocolate and double cream for the filling.
- 200g dark chocolate
- 200g butter
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 300g cooked, peeled and puréed beetroot
- 150g self-raising flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
For the buttercream*
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 150g butter
- 300g icing sugar
For the chocolate icing
- 125g dark chocolate
- 125ml double cream
- 40g golden syrup
- Preheat the oven to gas mark 4, 180°C. Grease and line 2 x 20cm cake tins with nonstick baking paper.
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of shallow, simmering water. Stir in the cocoa powder, until completely smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric whisk, until stiff peaks form.
- Stir the egg yolks, sugar and beetroot into the chocolate mixture. Gently fold a third of the chocolate mixture into the egg whites, then fold in the remaining chocolate mixture being careful not to knock the air out.
- Sift in the flour and baking powder and gently fold through the batter. Divide the batter between prepared tins and bake for 25-30 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin s for 15 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make the buttercream. Mix the cocoa with 3 tbsp hot water to make a paste. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and icing sugar, until light and fluffy. Add the chocolate paste and continue beating until combined. Spread the buttercream over one cake. Chill for 15 minutes, while you make the icing.
- Put the chocolate, cream and golden syrup in a small pan over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until thick and glossy. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the fridge to a serving plate. Position the second sponge over the buttercream. Using a palette knife, spread the icing over the cake covering the surface in a thick layer. Leave to set for 30 minutes, before serving.
Spicy Roast Veg and Lentils (From BBC GoodFood)
I really like this recipe as I think it can really showcase some of the lovely veg we grow. You can find this recipe in the link above. Previously when I have made this I have added in courgettes and tomatoes which also works well! It is also delicious served with some lovely sausages from the Butchers!
Courgette and Orange Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting (From BBC GoodFood)
I have already mentioned this recipe before in a previous post but it was a real favourite with my work colleagues. You can get the recipe from the link above. It is a great way of using up excess courgettes and as the courgette need to be grated, you can store grated courgette in the freezer so that you can then enjoy this cake even in the middle of winter!
Smoked Haddock and White Bean Stew (Taken from Eat In magazine, can also been found here)
I grow climbing beans and dry them for use as haricots which work perfectly in this recipe. It is also a great recipe for using up excess leeks and potatoes and is just a warm bowl of comfort after a hard days work on the allotment! Serves 6
- 30g butter
- 2 leeks, sliced thinly
- 200g peeled and cubed potatoes
- 400ml milk
- 600ml fish stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 300g undyed smoked haddock
- 30g plain flour
- 195g drained sweetcorn
- 2x400g cans of white beans
- Fresh parsley, chopped
- Smoked paprika
- Warm crusty bread, to serve
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat and cook the leeks and potatoes for 10 minutes or until softened. Season.
- Meanwhile, add the milk, fish stock, bay leaf and smoked haddock to another pan. Bring to the boil, then remove the fish from the poaching liquid. Set the poaching liquid aside. Flake the fish into chunks, removing the skin and bones
- Stir the flour and sweetcorn into the leek mixture. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the reserved poaching liquid. Bring to the boil. Add the white beans and simmer for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Gently stir in the flaked fish and heat through. Garnish with parsley and smoked paprika. Serve alongside the crusty bread.
Rhubarb and Orange Jam
Making jam and chutney is great fun for me and a great way of using up the gluts of food. Rhubarb is something I always have a lot of and throughout the season I am constantly giving it away. A few of my friends really like this rhubarb jam and I find it is a great way to use up the excess. The flavour of the oranges works really well with the rhubarb.
- 3lb rhubarb
- 3lb sugar (I use jam sugar with added pectin)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 oranges
- Chop the rhubarb and place in a bowl with the sugar. Add the lemon juice. Cover and leave overnight.
- Boil the oranges in a saucepan for about 30-60 mins depending on the thickness of the skin. Leave them to cool and then remove the skin and excess pith from the orange and chop into segments.
- Place the rhubarb mixture and orange segments into a pan and slowly bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved. Let the mixture boil rapidly and remove the scum as it appears.
- Test for the setting point by dropping a tsp of jam onto a very cold plate. If the jam sets quickly then it is ready. Once the setting point has been reached, turn off the heat. Fill warm sterilised jars with the jam and seal whilst still warm.