Seasonal Recipes

Recipe Tips for December

Coming soon

Recipe Tips for November

Chard and Chickpeas

1 small onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 bag chard, stems separated & finely chopped, leaves roughly chopped
6 sage leaves, chopped (optional)
1 bay leaf
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
400g tin chickpeas
Pinch flaked chilli
200ml veg or chicken stock
juice of ½ lemon,
Olive oil, to serve
Handful fresh parsley, chopped
Salt & pepper

Sweat the onion, carrot, chard stalks, sage, bay leaf and chopped garlic in olive oil for about 15 minutes until the vegetables are soft but not coloured. Season well.
Add the chard leaves, chickpeas, chilli and stock. Cook gently for about 10 minutes.
Season to taste, add a squeeze of lemon juice and a little more chilli if desired.
Trickle over some olive oil, and scatter with the parsley.
From Riverford Organic Farms

Recipe Tips for October

Pumpkin and Lentil Soup

1 tbsp olive oil, plus 1 tsp for frying seeds
2 onions chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
approx 800g chopped pumpkin flesh, plus the seeds
100g split red lentil
a handful of thyme or sage leaves plus extra to serve
1 litre hot vegetable stock
pinch of salt and sugar
50g crème fraîche, plus extra to serve
Heat the oil in a large pan. Fry the onions until softened and starting to turn golden. Stir in the garlic, pumpkin flesh, lentils and herbs, then pour in the hot stock. Season, cover and simmer for 20-25 mins until the lentils and vegetables are tender.
Meanwhile, wash the pumpkin seeds. Remove any flesh still clinging to them, then dry them with kitchen paper. Heat the 1 tsp oil in a non-stick pan and fry the seeds until they start to jump and pop. Stir frequently, but cover the pan in between to keep them in it. When the seeds look nutty and toasted, add a sprinkling of salt and a pinch of sugar, and stir well.
Whizz the cooked pumpkin mixture with a hand blender or in a food processor until smooth, then add the crème fraîche and whizz again. Taste for seasoning.
Serve with a spoonful of crème fraîche, a few herb leaves and the toasted seeds scattered on top.
Adapted from BBC Good Food magazine

Pumpkin and Chickpea Curry

1 pumpkin , or squash (roughly 900g)
4 cm piece of ginger
4 shallots
4 cloves of garlic
1 fresh red chilli
1 bunch fresh coriander
groundnut oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
20 curry leaves
1 teaspoon turmeric
Serves 6
Chop the pumpkin or squash into 3cm chunks and cut the ginger into matchsticks. Pick the coriander leaves and finely chop the stalks. Pour a good glug of groundnut oil into a large saucepan and place on a high heat. Add the ginger, garlic, red chilli and shallots, then reduce to a medium heat. Cook until golden, stirring occasionally, then add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, and coriander stalks and fry until the curry leaves go crispy. Add the turmeric, tomatoes and coconut milk. Bring to the boil, then add the pumpkin and chickpeas. Reduce to a low heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 45 minutes. Check occasionally and add a splash of water if it looks a bit dry. When the time’s up, take the lid off and cook for a further 15 minutes or so until the sauce is lovely and thick. Scatter with coriander leaves and serve with rice or naan, chutneys and dips on the side.

Recipe Tips for September

Fried Green Tomatoes

by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
This classic dish from the American south is a delicious way to use up green tomatoes. Choose ones that are quite firm and serve as a snack or as part of a cooked breakfast. Serves four.
4 medium-large green tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
100g plain flour
½ tsp cayenne pepper
100ml milk
1 egg
5 tbsp cornmeal (fine polenta)
150g fine white breadcrumbs
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Rapeseed or vegetable oil, for frying
Cut the tomatoes into 1.5cm slices. Sprinkle with salt and place on a rack to drain for 10 minutes. Pat dry with kitchen paper.
Meanwhile, make the coating. Whisk together the flour, cayenne pepper and some salt and pepper in one bowl, the milk and egg in another, and the cornmeal, breadcrumbs, thyme and a good seasoning of salt and pepper in a third.
Heat about 1cm of oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat until hot (the tomatoes should sizzle gently as you put them in the pan). First, dip the tomato slices in the seasoned flour and shake off any excess, then dip into the egg and milk, and finally dip into the breadcrumbs and cornmeal. Fry the slices in batches – don’t crowd the pan – for about four minutes a side until golden. Drain on paper towels and eat immediately.

Recipe Tips for August

Courgette Pasta

Farihan, on Holden Road Field, created this recipe because of the large number of courgettes on her plot, and the enormous size they have been growing to overnight.

Serves: 4 people

1 big courgette any colour and type (I used white) or ½ kilo of small courgettes
1 medium onion
3-4 garlic cloves
2-3 medium tomatoes or a handful of small ones, or a tin of chopped tomatoes
Pinch of salt
Black pepper
A herb of your choice – dried oregano / thyme/ or marjoram
3 tablespoons of olive oil
150 grams of Fusilli Bucati pasta – hollow ringlets (but you can use any pasta)
Grated Parmesan cheese
Cube the onion. Peel and chop the garlic. Cut the courgette into small cubes, (peel it if the skin is very hard). Warm the oil in a pan, add the chopped onion, fry until golden brown, and then add the garlic and courgette. Stir for 5 minutes, add the chopped tomatoes (you can use tomato paste as well), add the salt, pepper and herbs, cover the pan and let it simmer on a low heat for about 20 minutes.
Boil water in another small pan, add the pasta, and cook for about 10 minutes then drain and add a bit of olive oil. Serve the pasta on a plate, topped with the courgette sauce, and sprinkled with the cheese, and chopped green or red chilli, if you like.
For added flavour and decoration add different types and colours of berries (raspberry, tayberry) around the plate. I tried that the second time I made it and it really gives a special delicious flavour. Enjoy!

Recipe Tips for July

Gooseberry Fool

250g gooseberries topped and tailed
3 tbsp caster sugar
200g Greek yogurt
1 tablespoons icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
splash of elderflower cordial
200ml double cream

Put the gooseberries, cordial and sugar in a pan with a splash of water. Heat gently, stirring, then bring to a simmer and cook until the fruit starts to burst. Squash the gooseberries with a potato masher or fork until pulpy. Cool then chill until cold in the fridge. Put the yoghurt in a bowl and beat with the icing sugar and vanilla until smooth. Gently whisk in the cream (it will thicken as you whisk so don’t overdo it). Ripple through the gooseberry pulp then spoon into pretty glasses or bowls to serve.

Blackcurrant almond tart

Blackcurrants, with their delicious combination of sweet and tart, are the most of flavourful of summer fruits. They are so packed with vitamin C that during the Second World War, when importing citrus fruits was impossible, the British government encouraged their cultivation. For many years blackcurrants were rare in shops because the entire UK crop was bought by the NHS to make cordial for the nation’s children. In the USA they were banned for fifty years, until 2008, because of fears spread a rust disease to pine trees that as devastating the timber industry. They are a very easy crop – just needing pruning to let in light and air, and netting in spring to keep off hungry birds.

Serves 8
For the pastry:
butter 100g
caster sugar 100g
egg yolks 2
plain flour 250g
baking powder 1 tsp
water 2 tbsp
for the filling:
ground almonds 200g
icing sugar 200g
plain flour 2 heaped tbsp
blackcurrants 300g
egg whites 3
cream to serve

You will also need a 25cm tart tin with a removable base

To make the pastry crust, cream the butter and caster sugar together in a food mixer or by hand until the mixture is light and fluffy, then add the egg yolks. Combine the flour and baking powder, then fold into the batter with the water to give a firm, soft dough. Tip the dough on to a lightly floured work surface, knead gently for less than a minute, then roll into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes. You can leave it in the fridge overnight if that is convenient.
Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured board and use to line the tart tin, pushing it up the sides and into the corners. Trim overhanging pastry. Leave no holes or tears. Chill the pastry for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Place an empty baking sheet or pizza stone in the oven. When the oven is hot and the tart chilled, bake for 12 minutes till dry to the touch and biscuit coloured. (If you are worried about the sides shrinking, line the tart case with foil and baking beans before baking. But is unusual for chilled pastry to shrink.) Remove the tart case from the oven and lower the temperature to 170C/gas mark 3-4.
To make the filling, mix together the ground almonds, icing sugar and flour. Remove the stalks from the currants. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites till almost stiff. Fold the whites into the almond and sugar mixture with a metal spoon. Stir in the blackcurrants without overmixing.
Spoon the filling into the pastry case and smooth flat. Place the tart on a middle shelf and bake for 50 minutes, covering it with foil if it seems to be colouring too quickly. When the filling is pale gold and lightly firm to the touch, remove and set aside to cool. Dust with icing sugar and serve not cold or hot, but warm, with cream on the side.

Recipe by Nigel Slater, The Guardian

Recipe Tips for June

Elderflower Cordial

Elderflowers are everywhere at this time of year, with their large, flat white flowers and delicious perfume on self-sown trees.
The fresh flowers make a delicious cordial. They are best gathered just as the many tiny buds are beginning to open, and some are still closed. Gather on a warm, dry day (never when wet), checking the perfume is fresh (Elders are trees – don’t mistakenly use the flowers of cow parsley, or hemlock, which is deadly poisonous and smells of mouse).

About 25 elderflower heads
3 unwaxed lemons sliced plus their juice
1kg sugar

Shake the elderflower heads gently and remove any insects. Place the flower heads in a large bowl or saucepan with the lemons and water. Cover and leave overnight to infuse.Add the sugar and stir, leave until it is dissolved. Strain the syrup and using a funnel pour the syrup into sterilised bottles and seal with sterilised screw-tops.
Drink diluted with water (or Prosecco), add a splash or two, undiluted, to gooseberries or dilute one part cordial to two parts water for fragrant ice lollies.

Broad Bean and Pea Bruschetta

A delicious and nutritious snack that tastes of early summer. Don’t worry, if black fly has destroyed your broad beans and pigeons have eaten all your peas, it works just as well with frozen ones.

300g peas
300g broad beans
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
8 slices sourdough bread, halved
125g soft cheese such as ricotta or, spreadable goat’s cheese
Handful of pea shoots or watercress

Tip the peas and beans into a large pan of salted boiling water, then cook for 3 mins. Drain, cool under cold water, then drain again thoroughly.
Put the 4 tbsp oil in a pan, heat gently, then add the garlic. Cook for 3 mins, very very gently, until the oil is infused and the garlic has softened but is not coloured. Tip the oil and garlic into a jug and cool.
Whizz the peas, beans and almost all the zest in a food processor, then trickle in the garlicky oil. Add the garlic cloves, almost all the lemon juice and 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. The mixture should be swirling around the bowl nicely by this point, but shouldn’t be too fine in texture. Scrape the sides down if you need to. Season well – you’ll need about 1 tsp sea salt and lots of black pepper. Add the rest of the lemon juice to taste. Spoon into a dish, swirl the top, then drizzle over the remaining extra virgin olive oil.
To serve, toast the bread, then spread with the soft cheese. Dollop a good spoonful of the mixture onto each piece, drizzle with a little more olive oil, scatter with the remaining zest, then grind over a little black pepper. Top with a few pea shoots and serve.

Recipe Tips for May

If your tasted Rita’s nettle and wild garlic pesto at the Big Dig you will know how delicious weeds can be. Here’s another way of using them – don’t forget to wear gloves when picking and handling nettles. Wild garlic – also known as Ransoms – is in bloom now – it has pointed green leaves like lily-of-the-valley and smells strongly of … garlic. Very pretty and very invasive – so eat as much as you can. 

Nettle and Wild Garlic Soup

1 large bunch of young nettles (or the tender tops)
1 large bunch of wild garlic
2 medium sized potatoes, diced
2 medium onions, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped into small pieces
1 pint vegetable stock
A knob of butter
Salt and pepper

Wash the nettles in a sink full of cold water and a large tablespoon of salt. Wearing rubber gloves add your nettles and wash thoroughly, drain and pat dry with a clean towel.
Separately wash and thinly slice the wild garlic leaves.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium temperature and add the onions, cook gently until soft then add the potato and celery, cook until tender.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium temperature and add the onions, cook gently until soft then add the potato and celery.
Cook for a further 5 minutes, then pour in the stock.
Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potato is tender. Add a splash of water if it needs it.
Add the nettles and wild garlic and let this cook for a further 15 minutes
Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
Pour into a blender and blend away.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve garnished with cream and wild garlic flowers with some nice crusty bread.


Spring Salad

A delicious, fresh salad that celebrates all the taste of spring vegetables.

12 new potatoes
10 asparagus spears, sliced on an angle
150g young broad bean
150g peas, podded
3 spring onions, sliced on an angle
drizzle of olive oil
1 lemon, juice only
2 shallots, cut into rings
15 mint leaves,torn
handful of pea shoots
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp Dijon mustard
5 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp walnut oil
300ml extra virgin olive oil
Bring a large pot of water to the boil and blanch the potatoes, drain and carefully slice in half.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Drop in the asparagus, broad beans, peas, and spring onions and cook for a couple of minutes. Drain and run under cold water to stop them cooking but not to cool them.
Spread on a tray with the potatoes. Sprinkle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
For the dressing, whisk together the mustard and vinegar in a bowl, slowly adding the oils. It should have a thick consistency, like a sauce. Season with a good amount of salt and black pepper.
Mix all of the vegetables with the shallots, herbs, watercress and pea shoots and pour over the dressing.
Eat with crusty bread and a sprinkling of parmesan, if you like.

Recipe Tips for April

Chard and Potato Curry

Chard is a wonderful vegetable to have on your plot – unlike spinach it doesn’t reduce to very little when cooked, but the stalks are tougher so need to be cooked separately from the leaves, as in this recipe.

About 500g Swiss chard
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 onion, halved and finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
3cm piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
3 cardamom pods, bashed
350g potatoes, chopped into chunks
250g plain yoghurt
1½ tablespoons tomato purée
A small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
A small handful of almonds, cashews or pistachios, toasted and chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Separate the chard leaves from the stalks. Cut the stalks into 2–3cm pieces and roughly chop the leaves.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the onion and fry until just golden. Meanwhile, pound the garlic, chilli and ginger together with a pinch of salt to a paste. Add to the onion and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes. Tip in the rest of the spices and stir for a minute or two.

Add the potatoes and chopped chard stalks and fry, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, so that they are well coated with the spice mixture. Pour in about 400ml water – enough to just cover the veg. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 10–12 minutes until the potatoes are just tender. Add the chard leaves, stir and cook until just wilted.

In a bowl, whisk together the yoghurt, tomato pure and some of the hot liquid from the curry. Remove the curry from the heat, stir in the yoghurt mixture, return to the heat and warm through very gently (if it gets too hot, the yoghurt will curdle). Stir in most of the coriander.
Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Scatter over the toasted nuts and remaining coriander, then serve with rice and naan or chapattis.
From River Cottage Veg Every Day by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Rhubarb, almond and ginger crumble

Rhubarb is one of the easiest crops to grow if you have full sun and can sort out drainage, and it comes back bigger and better year after year. Herb sweet cicely, is also very easy to grow – as well as adding a lovely aromatic edge to a dish, the aniseedy leaves make tart fruits seem sweeter, which means you can use less sugar. Recipe by by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

For the topping
200g plain flour
A pinch of salt
140g caster sugar
2–4 tsp ground ginger, to taste
250g flaked almonds
200g cold, unsalted butter, cubed
For the base
750g rhubarb, trimmed
3 tbsp sweet cicely leaves, finely chopped, or 3 tbsp caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. For the topping, put the flour, salt, sugar and ginger together into a food processor and blitz briefly to combine. Add the flaked almonds and process just enough to break them up but not turn them to dust. Add the butter and process until well mixed.

The crumble should be in fudgy clods rather than in fine crumbs. Getting this right may take a little tweaking as the almonds can vary considerably. If the mix is too dry, add a little more butter; if it’s in one or two lumps, add a little flour.

For the base, cut the rhubarb into 5cm lengths, spread evenly in a baking dish and sprinkle with the sweet cicely or sugar. Scatter the clods of crumble mix evenly over the fruit, letting them sit where they fall rather than pressing them down. Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes or until the topping is golden with a few darker brown patches. Serve with cream or fresh custard.

Recipe Tips for March

If you have rhubarb on your plot, here is a delicious alternative to crumble. If you don’t have any rhubarb think about planting some – it’s one of the easiest crops to grow if you have full sun and can sort out drainage, and comes back year after year. 

Rhubarb Cakes

300g rhubarb
Juice of ½ lemon
165g self-raising flour
175g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
175g caster sugar
3 large free-range eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

25g unsalted butter
2 tbsp self-raising flour
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp icing sugar, to dust
4 tbsp crème fraîche, to serve
2 tbsp clear honey, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Grease a 23cm square cake tin and line with baking parchment.

Trim the rhubarb and chop into 3cm pieces. Place in a bowl with the lemon juice. In a separate bowl, beat together the flour, butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Fold in half the rhubarb and spoon the mixture into the bottom of the tin, spreading it out with a spatula. Scatter over the remaining rhubarb.

For the topping, rub the butter into the flour, then stir in the sugar and ginger. Sprinkle over the cake mixture and bake for 40-50 minutes. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin. Dust with icing sugar, then slice into squares. Serve warm or cold with crème fraîche, ice cream or Greek yoghout, drizzled with honey.
Recipe from Sainsburys

Recipe Tips for February

Coming soon

Recipe Tips for January

Spiced Parsnip and Apple Soup

A delicious warming soup for winter days. If you don’t have all the spices you could add a teaspoon of curry powder.
700g parsnips (chopped)
40g butter
1 tbsp oil
2 onions (chopped)
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 litre vegetable stock
1 large Bramley apple or sharp eating apple (peeled, cored and chopped)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
6 cardamon pods (remove pods and crush black seeds)
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground ginger
salt and pepper to taste
A dollop of double cream, Greek yogurt or crème fraiche to serve. (optional).

Melt the butter and oil in a heavy pot.
Add the onions until they are soft.
Add the garlic and spices and cook for 2 mins
Add the chopped parsnips, apple and vegetable stock.
Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the parsnips are soft.
Add the chopped apple and cook for 5 minutes.
Liquidise with a stick blender.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add a dollop of cream, Greek yogurt or crème fraiche.
Serve with crusty bread.