It’s fun to see how what we eat has changed so completely since the last time I wrote “A week of eating from the garden” three months ago. In spring, it’s the greens that dominate in the garden and on our plate. We eat salad almost daily and, after picking mainly perennial vegetables for our salads in March and April, it is on to annuals now: leaf mustard and baby spinach, even the first lettuce leaves. We pick bunches of fresh herbs every time we are in the garden and I use them lavishly in just about every dish I cook.
We drink herbs too – my morning cuppa has to be strong organic black tea, but after that, I make tea from fresh herbs. Esther likes to put a few sprigs of mint into the water bottle she takes to school which is an easy and healthy way to liven it up.
Here is what we typically harvest in May (we go to the allotment several times a week now, so I can harvest more often):
Leaf mustard, chard, rhubarb, radishes, parsley, mint and cut flowers (irises)
And here is what we cook:
Sunday: Chard, ricotta and saffron cakes with potato mash and leaf mustard salad
Homegrown chard and salad greens. Recipe: chard ricotta cakes.
Dessert: Rhubarb kuchen with spiced up streusel
I made this on Sunday afternoon and we had some for dessert. On Monday Remco took some to work and the kids to school.Recipe: rhubarb kuchen.
Monday: Spaghetti with parsley and basil pesto
Pasta with pesto is one of Sebastiaan’s favourite dishes so this was his request. I have plenty of basil seedlings growing on the windowsill and to make the pesto, I used the tops that I pinch out to make them bushier. Since it was not enough, I supplemented the basil with some overwintered parsley from the garden.
Tuesday: Chickpea stew with chard
Homegrown chard and oregano to finish, recipe: chickpeas with chard. Also spinach and winter purslane salad:
Wednesday: Quinoa and lentil salad with radishes and herbs
I make a version of this throughout spring, with different grains and legumes, but always adding lots of herbs. Home grown radishes, dill, parsley and lovage.
Thursday lunch: Chickpea soup with herbs
I warmed leftover chickpeas in their own broth, added thinly sliced carrot and popped into the garden to snip some herbs: Chinese chives and oregano.
Dinner: Asparagus with cheese sauce
Sadly, the asparagus is not homegrown. We lost our plants when we had to move our garden and I sowed new asparagus last year but it is not big enough to pick yet, The recipe called for borage or chives flowers as garnish but because they are not flowering yet, I used anchusa and ornamental alliums. Pretty, simple, delish – just as spring cooking should be.
Baby spinach, orache seedlings, leaf mustard and violet flowers.
Friday: Nettle risotto
Nettles foraged next to our plot on the allotment. I try to eat nettles often in spring not only because I like their taste but also to prevent anaemia to which I am prone.
Saturday: Omelette with chard
What would we do without chard? We probably eat it more often than any other vegetable, since it is so easy and reliable. It is also the only vegetable which appears in all of the “A week of eating from the garden” posts. If you’re not growing it yet, you might want to give it a try!
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