At last the garden is beginning to bring forth its summer harvest. The strawberries, raspberries and redcurrants are earlier and more productive than any year I remember. This is probably because of the extremes of sun and rain during June but the strawberry bed, dug out and planted back in March is also partly responsible.
After years of trying to grow strawberries in pots and battling with the vine weevils, this year they are just ripening nicely under the cat barriers. Even the slugs don’t seem to have found them yet.
The peas and broad beans are doing their thing. I had a few days on my own last week so was able to gorge on green soups and broad bean guacamole. I also created a rainbow curry, which I really enjoyed, but has gone down well with the rest of the family too so must be ok. Most of my recipes are based on the make it up as you go along principle and so are hard to write down, but here’s a version that might work
Cooking times are not at all precise but the secret is to not overcook anything except the dried beans which must be nicely mushed in advance.
Quantities are not precise either
Ingredients should depend on what you have in your garden
- handful of dried beans of your choice, cooked until mushy – I’ve been using mung beans which take about 20 minutes but you could use almost any kind of dried bean though most would take more advanced planning
- about 2 cloves of garlic – chopped
- a red onion – or 3 small red onions if they’re anything like mine – chopped
- about an inch of fresh ginger- chopped
- spices : I’ve been using cumin, mustard seeds and a fiery chilli mix
- a good armful of Rainbow chard – separate the leaves from the stalks, chop the stalks into small pieces and cut up the leaves
- a handful of fresh broad beans or peas
- a couple of fresh tomatoes cut into quarters
- Dry fry the spices in a large frying pan
- Add a tablespoon of oil
- Add the garlic, ginger and onions and cook until soft
- Add the chard stalks and cook for about 5 minutes
- Add the cooked beans and a little extra water if necessary to keep everything moist but not overcooked
- Add the chard leaves and cook for a bit longer
- When everything is looking ready, add the fresh tomatoes and broad beans and peas and cook for a few minutes until everything is hot
Serve with rice or new potatoes, yoghurt, mixed with mint and cucumber, and home made pickle or chutney from the store cupboard
In the winter, we seem to survive on root vegetable soups and stews. The joy of this time of year is eating vegetables straight from the garden and making up recipes like this