It is a great time to top up on your rhubarb, apple and pear chutneys and jellies (you will thank me later in the year). Limousin and Organicland's superb beef and lamb products are perfect portioned and priced for the on coming BBQ season.
I had better go and get set up, come and say hi and have a taste of all the delicious produce on have the pleasure to cook with...
RHUBARB AND APPLE CHUTNEY WITH OATCAKES
Rhubarb is back in season and apples are still plentiful, combine the two and you have a wonderful zingy accompaniment. This wonderful chutney will work well with cold cuts, aged Cheddar's and oily fish. It is also a great time to top up your depleted stock of preserves before the summer glut!
3 apples, cored and cut into chunks
800g rhubarb, trim off any leaves and cut into chunks
1 onion, diced
2cm piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
1 orange, zest and juice
400g brown sugar
300ml cider, white wine or malt vinegar
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch ground allspice
1 tsp salt
6 jars and lids, wash the jars and lids in hot soapy water and dry upside down in oven 50C
In a large pot add the vinegar, sugar, spices and ginger. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves (5minutes).
Add the apple, rhubarb, onion and raisins along with the salt. Cook over a moderate heat until the ingredients soften and the mixture becomes aromatic, thick and pulpy. Taste! It should have a sweet/tart balance.
Spoon into warm, sterilised jars, seal and label.
125g medium oatmeal or rolled oats
2 tsp butter, melted
2 pinches of baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 Tbsp hot water (approx)
Additional oatmeal for kneading
Mix the oatmeal, salt and baking soda together in a bowl, pour in the melted butter and stir well using a wooden spoon. Add enough water to form a stiff paste.
Cover a surface in oatmeal and turn the mixture onto this. Work quickly as the paste is difficult to work if it cools. Divide into two and roll one half into a ball and knead with hands covered in oatmeal to stop it sticking. Roll out to around 3 mm thick. Put a plate which is slightly smaller than the size of your pan over the rolled dough and cut round to leave a circular oatcake. Cut into quarters and place in a heated griddle or heavy-based frypan which has been lightly greased. Cook for about 3 minutes until the edges curl slightly, turn, and cook the other side. Prepare the remainder dough as you did before while the first is being cooked.
Store in an airtight container for 3-5 days.
NEW SEASON POTATOES WITH FRESH MINT
Nigel from Brydone is back and we are blessed with the first of the season’s potatoes…..
1 kg new season potatoes, washed well
2 handfuls fresh mint
1 Tbsp redwine vinegar
1-2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp olive oil
Put the potatoes into a suitable size pot and cover with cold water, add the salt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender (20 minutes), drain and return to pot.
Meanwhile remove stalks from the mint and place the leaves into a mortar and pestle add a pinch of sugar and mash until you get a coarse paste, or alternately chop by hand until you get the same results. Add the red wine vinegar, pinch of salt and oil. Taste, you will more than likely have to get the balance of sweet/minty and vinegar right, adjust as necessary.
Pour the mint sauce over your potatoes and toss gently. Serve at once!
SORREL AND LENTIL SOUP
2 Tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tin diced tomatoes
200g lentils – brown or du puy
2 litres chicken or veg stock
4 to 6 fresh thyme sprigs
2-4 generous handfuls fresh sorrel, finely cut
1 cup shredded Parmesan
Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and saute until all the vegetables are tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices. Simmer until the juices evaporate a little and the tomatoes break down, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add the lentils and mix to coat. Add the broth and stir. Add the thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over low heat until the lentils are almost tender, about 30 minutes.
Add the sorrel, stir and let wilt into the soup for a couple of minutes, season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, drizzle with olive oil, and serve
NEW SEASON CARROTS BAKED IN PAPER
New seasons carrots are perfect for cooking in this way as are new season potatoes!
6-8 small new season carrots, scrubbed and ends removed
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200C
Place the carrots, garlic, thyme and oil in a bowl, season well and toss to coat.
Cut a square of baking paper large enough to hold the carrots comfortable (up to 4 servings per bag) and fold in half to make a crease. Unfold it and lay the carrots on one half along with the oil and herbs etc. Bring the other half of the paper over the carrots so both ends meet. Fold the edges tightly to form a pillow like shape. Make sure that the package is well sealed.
Place onto a tray and bake for 30-40 minutes. The package will puff up like a pillow. Serve immediately and open at the table>
So far for Rodd of Ardross Farm (which is where is our asparagus is grown) it has been a trying one. Fingers crossed we get some consistent sunshine so we can have more of his delicious asparagus. However Rodd also has bags of asparagus spears ranging in size and some tender ends. These bags are such good value and with a little creativity you can make any number of dishes. I always use the ends up in stock (veg stock cube with asparagus ends and water, heated up) which then can be used in soups, risotto or even into your pilaff.
ASPARAGUS PESTO WITH PASTA
500g bunch asparagus spears , trimmed of tough ends and halved crosswise
3 handfuls baby spinach leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1 cup pine nuts, hazelnuts or sunflower seeds
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for topping
Juice of ½ lemon
½ tsp salt
500g pasta - linguine, fettuccine, spaghetti (Pasta doro)
Bring 2 pots of water to a rolling boil, one large for the pasta and one medium sized for the asparagus.
While the water is heating, put the pine nuts, hazel or sunflower seeds in a single layer in a large fry pan. Heat on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned. Remove them from the pan and set aside. You will use ¾ cup of the nuts for the pesto paste and 1/4 cup to mix in whole.
Add a little salt to the asparagus water and drop the asparagus into the pan. Cook for only 2 or 3 minutes, until the spears are bright green and barely tender. Drain under cold water to stop the cooking. Cut the tips off, and set aside, and several of the asparagus (diagonal cut about an 2cm from the end) to use for garnish.
Add the asparagus, spinach, garlic, Parmesan, and ¾ cup of the pine nuts to a food processor. Purée and, with the motor running, drizzle in the ¼ cup of olive oil until a paste forms. If too thick, thin it with a bit of the pasta water. Add the lemon juice and salt, taste and adjust seasoning.
Salt the pasta water well and cook the pasta until just tender. Check the directions on the pasta package. You'll need more time for dried pasta and less for fresh. Drain and toss immediately with 1 cup of the asparagus pesto.
Serve sprinkled with the remaining ¼ cup toasted nuts, a dusting of Parmesan, and a light drizzle of olive oil.
ALISON WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE FOLLOWING VENDORS FOR THEIR FANTASTIC PRODUCE
Pasta doro- pasta
Brydone organics – new season potatoes
Ettrick gardens- new season carrots
Ardross farm – asparagus