Monday, June 22, 2009

June 22nd, 2009

Summer time is salad time and our lettuces are growing well. I have been succession planting them so we can have lots of lovely salads throughout the summer. This one I put together using fresh lettuce, some sauteed butternut squash with a bit of balsamic vinegar, some tomatoes, cucumber, chunks of goats cheese and some pine nuts. :) Quick and yummy.

I recently purchased a book from John over at Allotment Forum I belong to. It is his newest book Low Cost Living. He has lots of lovely tips and hints on how to be more frugal in these struggling economic times. And in one of his chapters he has some recipes for using wild foods. And this was the result from his recipe for Elderflower cordial. Brian and I had been on the look out for some citric acid and once I found some then I was ready to make my cordial. On the way home from town we picked some elderflowers along one of the paths that we take. You need about 20 of the heads and along with a few other ingredients. You let set over night to steep.

This has been allot of fun making and sharing with friends. First off I can say the smell takes a bit getting used to. It reminds me a bit of cat wee and the colour isn't too far off either. But like blue cheese and dragon fruits once you get past the smell, then the flavour is something to really enjoy.

We like having ours with a bit of sparkling water and homegrown sliced strawberries and a sprig of mint.

And it was a big hit with the guys down at the pub, once they quit telling all the jokes about urine samples and that I was in the wrong place ....I should have taken it to the doctor's surgery. :D
To try John's recipe you can find it in his new book or you can find similar recipes on the Internet. It is something we will be making every spring from now on.
I have been bitten by the preserving bug of late. Guess it is something that is going hand in hand with the gardening. I remember canning quarts of green beans and loads of pickles and jelly(jam) making back in the US. Over here in the UK it isn't as easy to find the equipment needed to do this. I have gotten together some jam jars, lids and some bits and bobs and just this past week found a big enough stock pan to do some water bath canning in. :) Well actually I couldn't wait for my stuff to grow to start making chutney and pickles. So I cheated and bought some produce from our local Aldi store, who at the moment has plums at 49p a punnet. It took about 2 punnets along with a bag of apples to make my spicy plum chutney. I modified the original recipe again to make just half the quantity which is sorta double the recipe here....Spicy Plum Chutney. I ended up with 3 1/2 pound jars of chutney. And the pickles I bought 4 large cucumbers and a bag of onions and some peppers. I really love this recipe for making Bread and Butter Pickles . I did the whole recipe this time and I ended up with 8 one pound jars of pickles.

Later today I plan to make some redcurrant and port jelly with the juice I made yesterday from our redcurrants. I have another bush yet to ripen and those are promised to Brian for his morning muesli.

I came up with a pie recipe that needs just a bit of tweaking and it will be perfect. But here is what I made so far. First off I made a single pie crust adding in some dried oregano along with the flour for the crust. The blind baked for 10 minutes.
Next I took some lardons and fried that up with some chopped onion. And then once crisp and browned then I pan fried some potato slices along with some minced garlic in the lardon drippings. Just partial cook as they are going to finish baking in the pie.

Next I layered the potato into the base of the pie and sprinkled over the lardons. Then some grated cheddar cheese. Then on top I placed sliced tomatoes. Then in a large mixing jug, I added 4 eggs, some cream and milk along with salt, pepper, and dried herbs such as thyme and oregano; mix well. Then pour over the pie until up to the rim. Sprinkle on some freshly grated Parmesan and some more herbs.

Bake at 180 for about 45 to 50 minutes when a knife inserted comes out clean.

And while the pie is baking (being frugal here) I took some sweet corn on the cob and placed it on tin foil. Dot with butter and fresh herbs a bit of salt and pepper and just a splash of olive oil. Wrap up tight and sit on the bottom shelf of the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.

I put my pie on a baking tin just to make sure any spills are caught so I don't have to spend time cleaning the oven. Also makes it easier for transferring the pie to and from the oven.

Serve wedges of the pie along with the sweet corn and some fresh picked salad greens. :)
It came out a bit on the salty side for me so maybe instead of lardons I will use bacon or some ham next time. And parboil the potatoes rather than fry. And I will definitely be adding more oregano as I love this herb. Tarragon would also be very nice as would some fresh chopped flat leaf parsley or basil. And the cheese maybe a bit of goats cheese along with the cheddar.
Well now I am getting hungry so had better go think about lunch....... See you soon.


Coffee and Vanilla said...

We love roasted corn, never thought of making it this way, thank you for the tip :)

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Pat said...

Thanks Margot. Sorry been a bit busy of late. Looking after baby hedgehogs. :D