Healthy Holidays- Cooking with Children (2)

We’ve just finished our first week of the Food and Fun  Healthy Holidays  Activities at Meanwood Community Centre. We are working with Lemon Balm and the project is funded by Leeds Community Foundation

We’re giving out free recipe kits and craft activities for children to do at home.  We’re also videoing our cooking sessions so families can cook along at home.

Here’s our recipe from today: Guacamole and Flatbreadwith Veggie Sticks.
We know avocados aren’t local or very sustainable as they require a lot of water to grow in hot countries like Mexico, Peru or in California. They are also flown in to the UK which makes their carbon footprint very high.

However, we are getting our food from Fare Share and Food Revival who save surplus food from going to waste. In our view, it’s better to eat the avocados rather than let them go to waste. If you do like guacamole then maybe just limit yourselves to avocados as a treat rather than having them every day.

The chives we used came from our gardens so no carbon footprint there!

Happy cooking and happy eating! Do get in touch if you would like to get our recipe kits over the summer holidays.

Summer cooking- Cooking with children

The summer holidays are here…..although it’s hard to notice the difference this year! Now is the time for summer cooking with children.

Season Well are providing lots of child-friendly recipes and cook-along videos for a Healthy Holiday’s project we are working on with Lemon Balm Therapeutic Horticulture CIC. We are giving out recipe kits and fun activity kits to families with children in Meanwood, North Leeds. It’s great to be able to support families with feeding and entertaining their kids in this difficult summer. Families in Meanwood and North Leeds just need to email us on Becky@seasonwell.co.uk or call us on 07790393351 to get their kids registered to receive our Food and Fun packs. These can be collected at Meanwood Valley Preschool on Mondays, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 10.30 am. We have a lovely garden for kids to have a play in and they can even feed the chickens too!

So far this week we have cooked a vegetable frittata. and banana pancakes with a rhubarb and apple sauce.

Here’s the video cook-along for banana pancakes and the recipes for both dishes are below.

Happy cooking! Do get in touch if you would like FREE Food & Fun kits for your children over the summer holidays.

Banana Pancakes with Fruity Sauce (serves 3)

Ingredients:

(makes 6 small pancakes)

For the Pancakes

2 eggs

¼ teaspoon baking powder (optional)

Oil, margarine or butter for cooking

For the fruit sauce

1 dessert spoon sugar ( or 2 teaspoons honey)

2 small apples

1 stick of rhubarb

1 orange

1 dessert spoon sugar ( or 2 teaspoons honey)

Equipment:

Saucepan

Measuring spoons

mixing bowl

chopping board and knife

Potato masher (or a fork)

Peeler (or sharp knife)

Lemon squeezer (or a fork)

Large serving spoon

Food turner

 

Cooking Instructions                  

Make Fruit sauce:

  1. Peel and quarter the apples. Remove the core (the tough bit where the pips are) Chop into small pieces and put in the saucepan
  2. Chop your rhubarb into 2cm pieces and add to the pan
  3. Squeeze the juice from the orange using a lemon squeezer or a fork and pour over the fruit in the pan.
  4. Add the sugar then put onto a gentle heat and cook for 10 minutes (cover the pan with a lid if you have one).

Make Pancake mix:

  1. Slice the banana and put into a bowl. Then use the masher (or a fork) to mash the banana into a paste.
  2. Crack your eggs into the bowl and use a fork to whisk them into the banana.
  3. If you want fluffier pancakes you can add a little bit of baking powder but this isn’t necessary for yummy pancakes.
  4. Now your fruit should be cooked into a sauce (like apple sauce) so take it off the heat. If you want you can add a bit of food colouring to make your sauce pink

Cook the Pancakes

  1. Put a little oil ( about½ tablespoon) in your frying pan and put on a medium heat
  2. When the oil is nice and hot add large spoonfuls of pancake mix to the pan. Make sure you don’t put the pancakes too close together as they will spread during cooking.
  3. Cook for 1-2 minutes on the first side then use a turner to flip the pancakes over to cook the other side.
  4. Serve them hot with the fruit sauce on top. You could also top with yoghurt and fruit.

Cook along with Becky Live at 12 pm Monday,  Weds and Friday on Facebook.com/Lemonbalmplayproject

                                         

Vegetable Frittata

(Makes 2-4 portions)

Ingredients:   

6 eggs

1 ½ tablespoons milk

Clove of garlic, crushed (optional)

Salt and pepper

100g grated cheddar (optional)

1 tablespoon oil

Vegetables:

½ onion, sliced

½ red pepper, chopped

4 or 5 mushrooms, sliced

1 tablespoon chopped herbs: e.g. parsley, chives, oregano, basil or 1 teaspoon dried herbs (optional)

You can use whatever vegetables you have in a frittata- it’s a great way to use up what’s in your fridge. Aim for about 3 different vegetables.

Equipment:

1Large Frying pan

1 large plate

Sharp Knife & chopping board

Large mixing bowl

Whisk ( or a fork)

Tablespoon

Wooden spoon

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Peel and dice the onions
  2. Slice the red pepper (remember to remove the white core and seeds) into medium-sized pieces.
  3. Wipe your mushrooms to clean any soil off then slice them
  4. If using garlic crush it flat with your knife then chop finely
  5. Break the eggs into a bowl, add the milk and whisk together.
  6. Place a tablespoon of oil in the frying pan and put on a medium heat. Once it is nice and warm add the onion and gently fry until the onions turn clear.
  7. Add your vegetables and garlic to the pan and cook for 3-5 minutes until soft.
  8. Add chopped herbs to the egg mixture and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Stir them together.
  9. Spread the vegetables evenly in the frying pan. Sprinkle over the cheese and pour over the eggs.
  10. Cook the frittata on a gentle heat for 5-10 minutes or until the eggs are just beginning to set.
  11. To cook the top of the frittata, put the frying pan under the grill for 5-10 minutes If you don’t have a grill you can flip the frittata over. First, loosen the edges with a spatula. Place a plate or pan on top of the tortilla. Turn upside down and slide the frittata back into the pan. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  12. Serve in slices. Is nice eaten hot or cold with a salad or with bread

Lock down Cooking 2- Seasonal Spinach

People are enjoying a lot more home-cooking during this COVID 19 Lockdown period. Mostly because we are at home more but also because we can’t go out for meals. We’ve taken this opportunity to inspire you to get cooking with the great seasonal fruit herbs and vegetables we have available both in the shops and markets and even by having a go at growing your own.

June is a great time for eating spinach. It’s actually in season from April right through to September so Spring and Summer are great for spinach fans. We grow our own and along with chard and Kale, we usually have a good supply of leafy greens throughout the year.
We are not the only ones running cooking sessions online during lockdown. The  Great British Food Festival has gone virtual too with coo- alongs on Zoom and Youtube lead by guest chefs. when they asked Season well to lead a cook-along session for their veggie lunch session (Saturdays at 1 pm) we jumped at the chance to share this lovely recipe for spinach pancakes with mushroom sauce which we originally developed for an Orb Community Arts cooking class. We developed the recipe using kale in the pancakes and leeks in the mushroom sauce but it was easy for us to adapt it to more seasonal spinach and spring onions.

The Cook along session went really well with people putting their own styles into the presentation of their pancakes.

Spinach Pancake stack by Marni from www.thaifoodmadeasy

 

You can watch the cook-along session on Youtube. The recipe is really versatile and can be made vegetarian or vegan.

 

 

Spinach Pancakes with mushroom sauce

Vegetarian and Vegan options

 

Ingredients: (serves 2- makes 6-8 small pancakes)

100g Spinach, (Kale or chard will work too)
125g plain or wholemeal flour ( or a half and half mix of the 2)
1tsp baking powder
200 ml milk (or plant milk of your choice)
1 egg (or 1 tbsp chia seeds and 3tbsp water)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Oil for frying
 
For the Mushroom sauce
2 spring onions, sliced
200g chestnut mushrooms
1 clove of garlic
1tsp fresh thyme leaves
50mls single cream (or soya/oat equivalent)
100g blue cheese ( or 1 tsp tahini)
½ tablespoon vegetable oil. We use rapeseed
Salt and pepper
Tablespoon chopped parsley or chives or any other spring herb like sorrel or wild garlic.
 
Utensils:
Weighing scales
Chopping board
Sharp knife
Saucepan
Frying pan
Food processor or hand mixer
Wooden spoon
Large mixing bowl
Measuring spoon
Kitchen roll
 
Method:
  1. If making a chia/flax egg grind 1 tbsp seeds in a pestle & mortar or food processor then mix with 3 tbsp water. Set aside for a few minutes for it to thicken.
  2. If using baby spinach simply place the leaves in a blender and pulse until they are broken down. If using bigger leaves tear the leaves off the thick middle cores and then pulse.
  3. Then put the rest of the pancake ingredients into the food processor. Blitz till combined and smooth.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables for the sauce:
           slice the spring onions and mushrooms
           Peel & crush the garlic, chop the time and chop the cheese ( if using) into cubes
  1. Put ½ tbsp of oil into a saucepan and warm on a low heat. Then add the spring onions mushroom, garlic and thyme and leave to cook gently with a lid on whilst you fry the pancakes
  2. Set your oven to its lowest temperature. Warm ½ tablespoon oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add 2 tbsp batter per pancake to the pan – you should be able to cook 2-3 pancakes at a time. Gently fry for 3 mins till browned underneath with lots of bubbles on top.
  3. Flip. Cook for another 2 mins till set. Keep warm on a plate in the oven while you cook the rest of the pancakes, adding more oil as you need it.
(you may need to wipe out the pan with kitchen roll in between batches if you have any burnt bits) You should get 6-8 pancakes.
  1. Stir the leeks and mushrooms. When they are nicely softened you can add the blue cheese and cream and stir till all the cheese has melted. For Vegan option add Oat cream,  or creme fraiche, and tahini and stir to combine.
  2. Serve the pancakes topped with a spoonful of the sauce and a sprinkling of chopped parsley or chives

 

 

What to eat in May and June- Asparagus of course

Asparagus is one of our favourite UK seasonal vegetables and we greet the first local spears in the grocer’s shops with joy each May. We love to eat as much as we can until mid-June when it disappears from our shelves.

These days it doesn’t disappear though as you can find imported asparagus on supermarket shelves nearly all year round. Please don’t buy this out of season asparagus. It has come from Peru or Mexico and has a high carbon footprint.    This is because it has to be air freighted as asparagus loses flavour and texture after it has been cut and of course, South and Central America are many miles away. Peruvian asparagus is also grown in irrigated beds causing severe water shortages in a very dry region.

Uk locally grown asparagus has a 97% lower carbon footprint than Peruvian asparagus and is much tastier too so always check where your veg has come from. The pictured veg are from a smallholding near Appleton, York and sold by Food Circle

Even when buying local asparagus. It’s not the cheapest of veg as it has to be hand-picked daily. As it’s with us for only a few short weeks (late April to late June) we are happy to pay for this short seasonal treat. We also tend to wait till May to enjoy it too when the price has dropped a little.

Asparagus is best eaten as fresh as you can before it converts more of its sugars to starch and becomes woody. Look for nice firm spears  and storing it upright in a little water in the fridge will help keep it fresher for longer

We enjoy asparagus blanched and pan-fried with garlic and a little sea salt or just steamed and served with poached eggs or with a Spanish potato omelette (tortilla) We also like it in salads like the quinoa salad we cooked for one of our May Facebook Cook-along sessions 

Our absolute favourite asparagus recipe is one we discovered a couple of years ago for asparagus and new potatoes in a smoked almond sauce. (Original recipe by  Nicholas Balfe, head chef at Salon, Brixton)

We cooked this for our first June Cook-Along on Facebook so have a look at our tutorial or just follow the recipe below. Happy Cooking!

We  can deliver cooking tutorials via Zoom so do contact us if you would like your own seasonal cooking tutorial

Asparagus with smoked almond sauce,

 wild garlic and new potatoes

Ingredients: (Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main course)

400g new potatoes, boiled until tender in salted water

8 spears of asparagus, woody end removed

A handful of wild garlic leaves

A handful  of spring herbs, such as parsley, chives pea shoots, etc

50ml olive oil

30ml sherry vinegar

½ tsp sea salt

50g chopped smoked almonds and edible flowers ( wild garlic or chives) to decorate

For the almond sauce

100g smoked almonds

1 clove garlic, chopped

100ml cold water

200ml neutral oil, eg, vegetable/rapeseed oil

tablespoon sherry vinegar

1/2 tsp fine salt

Utensils:

Food processor

saucepan

griddle pan  or grill

Cooking instructions:

First, make the almond sauce.

Put the almonds and garlic into a food processor. Turn the power on at a low speed and add half the water and blend into a thick paste. Increase the speed and gradually add the oil and the remainder of the water alternately so you end up with a smooth, glossy sauce.

Season with a dash of sherry vinegar and a pinch of fine salt

Preheat the griddle pan or grill to a high heat. Carefully grill the Jersey Royals until they are nicely coloured and have picked up some smokey flavour. Set aside in a warm place.

Next, grill the asparagus so it’s evenly coloured and cooked to your liking. Slice each asparagus spear in half, either lengthways down the middle or across the stem to make lots of different shapes and sizes.

Finely chop the wild garlic leaves, and toss together with any other herbs and leaves you’re using. Toss together with the warm asparagus and Jersey Royals, dressing with olive oil, sherry vinegar and sea salt as you go.

Place some of the almond sauce on the base of the plate, and arrange the salad on top. Top with the chopped almonds and a sprinkling of wild garlic flowers or chive flowers.

Grow your own dinner- seasonal stir fry

If you want a truly local, seasonal dinner then this beautiful stir fry recipe uses spring ingredients you can easily grow: pak choi, radish and spring onion.

We designed the recipe for Bramhope School last year as part of “Growing Bramhope”. We ran this bespoke programme from February to September where every child in the school got involved in growing and cooking their own fruit, herbs and vegetables.

Year 6 had to grow quick-growing veg as they had to fit their planting and growing sessions with us around their Sats. Pak choi and radish are quick to grow and year 5 had grown plenty of spring onions to share.

None of these veg need much space and can be easily grown in pots on a windowsill or in your back garden. Radish, in particular, are really quick to grow and you can have a crop ready in 3 weeks.

Even if you don’t want to grow them yourself. These ingredients are in season in the Uk from May right through the summer. You should be able to buy them easily at your greengrocer or supermarket. Do check where they have come from to make sure you are buying as local as you can.

So here’s a recipe which gives the simple radish room to shine. Never tried cooked radish before? Give it a go, it mellows out their sharp flavour beautifully

radish stir fry

If you’d like us to help your school get growing and cooking with own-grown produce have a look at our school’s page or just contact us for a chat.

 

What to eat in May- Rhubarb, rhubarb and more rhubarb

It’s May and a time of abundance for rhubarb. It’s the only UK fruit that is around right now so it’s time to make the most of this seasonal beauty.

Bright pink forced rhubarb has disappeared from the shops now but rhubarb is springing forth in allotments and gardens around the country and people are saying “what can I do with all this rhubarb?” Once you’ve stewed some to have with yoghurt and had a couple of rhubarb crumbles some people get stumped with what to do next.

Well, never fear hat’s one of the reasons we are here. So far we’ve done cooking tutorials covering rhubarb flapjack, and rhubarb loaf cake (see below) which you can watch on our Facebook page or read again on our earlier post.

Our most recent live tutorial is for rhubarb curd. A delicious seasonal alternative to lemon curd. Great in cakes, with yoghurt or just on toast.

Watch our tutorial or just follow the recipe below.

We love it in our special rhubarb and ginger layer cake.

If you want to book a cooking class for your friends or your team to bake the curd and cake together just drop us a message via our contact page.

Rhubarb Curd

Ingredients:

 260g rhubarb

100g sugar

50g butter

2 Eggs

Red food colouring

 

Equipment:

 Chopping board and sharp knife

Roasting pan

Saucepan and balloon whisk ( or wooden spoon)

Sterilised jars

Bowl

Instructions

1. Heat  the oven on to 200°c or Gas mark 6

2.  Chop Rhubarb into finger-sized pieces, removing the ends. Place in a small roasting dish and sprinkle over a tablespoon of sugar. Cover with tin foil & place in the oven for 15-20 minutes When ready remove & set aside to cool.

3. Sterilise your jars either by running through a hot setting on the dishwasher or by filling with boiling water then popping to dry in the cooling oven once you have removed the rhubarb.

4. Beat the eggs

5. Push the cooled roasted rhubarb through a sieve into a bowl using a wooden spoon

6. Melt the butter in a small, non-stick saucepan on a low heat. Then take the pan off the heat and whisk in the sugar and the eggs

7.Next add in the sieved rhubarb and stir in. Then add  your chosen food colouring to get the pink colour you want

8. Return the pan to a low heat and whisk it gently for 5-10 minutes whilst it thickens. You want it to be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon

9. Pour into your jars and put in the fridge to cool completely

Rhubarb loaf cake recipe

Ingredients:

 (makes 1 large loaf cake)

340g rhubarb, cut into small chunks

225g self raising flour

110g butter (or use solid margarine)

110g caster sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

Utensils:

Sharp Knife & chopping board

Large mixing bowl

Small mixing bowl or jug (for beating egg)

Wooden spoon or rubber spatula

Sieve

Wire cooling rack

2lb loaf tin

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 180°C 
  • Grease and line your loaf tin with greaseproof paper (or use a pre-made paper loaf tin liner)
  • Chop the Rhubarb into 1 cm pieces.

( slice off the very top ends where the leaves were and the white bottom where the stick was connected to the plant. You can discard these or keep them for making icing)

  • In a large mixing bowl use your fingers to rub the butter ( or marg) into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs
  • Add the caster sugar and rhubarb and  gently mix
  • In a separate mixing bowl use a fork or a whisk to beat the eggs then add the vanilla extract.
  • Pour the egg mixture into the flour, sugar and rhubarb mixture and stir till combined.
  • Spoon into the loaf tin then put in the oven and bake for 30 minutes
  • Turn onto a wire rack to cool.

The cake is nice served slightly warm with ice cream as a pudding. If you leave it to cool and store in an airtight container it will keep for up to 3 days and be lovely served in slices as a cake.

If wanted you can drizzle the cake with a little icing. I simmer the discarded ends in a very little water to extract rhubarb juice. I mix this with icing sugar to make a delicate pink icing to drizzle onto the cake.

Rhubarb loaf cake with rhubarb icing

Cook- along recipes

Whilst we are all stuck in our homes during the Coronavirus pandemic Seasonwell is trying to lift your spirits with some live cook-along tutorials on our Facebook page

Posted by Season Well on Friday, April 3, 2020

We’re also hoping to help you feed yourself healthily with what seasonal produce is available and using what you may already have in the cupboard.

I don’t know about you but we have really limited our supermarket visits since the lockdown as we’re just not finding then a pleasant place to be.  Now is the time to be using your local shops and market, use what’s growing around you and use up what you already have in your cupboards.

Posted by Season Well on Tuesday, March 24, 2020

So far we have cooked with Kale and Wild garlic ( see past posts for those recipes). Today it’s time for rhubarb. We are lucky enough to have some growing in our allotment. If you aren’t so lucky then do you have neighbours with an allotment (you could barter for toilet rolls maybe!)  Or maybe you are near to a community garden like Incredible Edible Aireborough who have rhubarb growing. Or think about getting a local fruit and veg box delivered.

We’ve made a healthy Rhubarb flapjack, using a recipe we got from our friend and colleague Jenny from Active-Eat.

Rhubarb Flapjack

Ingredients:

150g rhubarb ( approx 1.5 stalks)

zest & juice 1 orange

2cm piece fresh ginger root

300g porridge oats

2 medium bananas

200g dates ( de-stoned)

75g raisins ( or sultanas)

75g mixed seeds ( sunflower & pumpkin)

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Equipment:

Shallow, square or rectangular baking tin, greased and lined with baking paper

Large mixing bowl

Large spoon or spatula

Food processor ( or large knife and chopping board)

Measuring spoons

small saucepan with lid

Instructions

  1. First, make the rhubarb compote. Chop up the rhubarb into 2cm chunks and place in the pan with the finely grated zest and juice of the orange and grated ginger. Cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the rhubarb is soft and can be mashed with a fork. Leave to cool a little.
  2. Use a food processor to mash your dates into a chunky paste- you will need to add a splash of water
  3. Mash the 2 bananas until smooth
  4. Mix the date paste and the mashed bananas with the oats then add the seeds and the raisins
  5. Put half the oat mixture into your lined tin and press down so you have a firm layer
  6. Spoon over the rhubarb compote and spread to make a layer on top of the flapjack mix
  7. Dot over the remaining mixture then use your spatula or the back of the large spoon to gently smooth it so you have covered the rhubarb layer
  8. Bake for about 40 minutes at 180°C
  9. Slice whilst still a little warm and leave to cool

What to eat in March: Kale of course

Season Well loves Kale, It sees us through the winter months and is fresh, green, healthy and delicious. It’s not bitter if you make sure you eat the smaller, young leaves. Even the bigger ones are great for soup and making kale crisps.

I started Season Well by running cooking classes for Orb community arts. They have a beautiful, productive kitchen garden but 3 years ago people had no idea what to do with the produce being grown. I stepped in to show them how  and the spark of Season Well was born.

Jon, the gardener at Orb, loves kale too and grew a few kinds: curly,  Cavalo Nero (AKA black Kale) and Russian Kale. I had to come up with so many Kale recipes I joked I would have the makings of a 100 Ways with Kale Cookbook (that’s still in my mind to do sometime!)

Anyway, March is a great time to be cooking with this fabulous green which is still seeing us proud before the spring greens are in abundance

Have a go at this delicious curry recipe which went down well with everyone (even  the Orb student who was heard to say once “not bloody kale again!”)

Kale & Chickpea Curry

Makes enough for 6 people

Ingredients
1-2 tbsp rapeseed oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 large onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tin plum tomatoes
800g/2 tins of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1 heaped tsp coriander seeds, crushed
1-2 chilli, chopped (depending on strength of chilli wanted)
1 tsp turmeric
200g kale, chopped

Utensils:
Chopping board
Sharp knife
Frying pan
Wooden spoon
Measuring spoons

Method
1. Wash and chop the Kale into small pieces

2. Peel and chop the onion into small pieces

3. Crush the garlic and coriander seeds.

4. Chop the chillies

5. Heat the oil in a lidded pan over a medium heat and when it’s hot add the mustard seeds and then the cumin seeds.

6. Stir for a minute until you can smell the aroma of the cumin seeds and the mustard seeds stop sizzling, then add the diced onions. Fry the onions for 15 minutes until they start to brown

7. Add the garlic. Fry together for 4 minutes before adding the tomatoes, stir and leave to cook for a few minutes.

8. Add the crushed coriander, chilli, turmeric and salt and leave to cook on a gentle heat until the tomatoes start to break down and create a thick sauce (about 10 minutes).
Turn the heat up to thicken the sauce a little if required.

9. Add the chickpeas and stir to coat them with the sauce. Add a splash of water and let them simmer for 5 minutes.

10. Add the chopped kale, a handful at a time, stirring in between. Leave this to cook for 5 minutes until kale is soft and tender. Serve with naan or chapattis and some fresh plain yoghurt.

If you want to cook this with Becky then have a look at our Facebook page for her live Cook-along on Tues 2nd April

And if you enjoy it what not have a go at growing your own Kale. lots of instructions in this article from Grow Your Own magazine

Read our Working With You pages to find out how we could  bring some kale growing and cooking to your organisation or contact us for a chat about how to help you get growing and cooking seasonally.

What to eat in April- Wild Garlic

Ok we’re a bit early with this one but then so is the wild garlic!

This is the first wild spring green I felt confident about picking. I now pick a much bigger range of wild greens but this still remains my favourite.

I love it just roughly chopped in scrambled eggs and omelettes or baked in a quiche ( well I did before turning vegan!) It’s also great in salads.

My favourite thing to do with it though is to make wild garlic pesto. It packs a real punch. It’s gorgeous just stirred through pasta or used to flavour savoury muffins scones or soda bread.

So I’m sharing with you my recipes for both the pesto and wild garlic soda bread.

Happy foraging!

Wild Garlic Pesto 

Makes enough pesto for 2 jars (or about 10 servings)

Ingredients
75g almonds (or a mix of almonds and pumpkin seeds.
75g Parmesan (or pecorino for a vegetarian alternative) plus extra to serve
(optional)
160 ml virgin olive oil or rapeseed oil, plus extra to serve
75ml olive oil
100g wild garlic
Juice 1 lemon

Utensils:
Chopping board
Sharp knife
1 baking tray
Food processor or pestle & mortar
Wooden spoon
Jars or tubs for storing pesto
Lemon squeezer
Cheese grater

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180C
2. Spread the nuts out on a baking tray or roasting tin. Place in oven for 10
minutes then put onto a plate to cool
3. Wash wild garlic and pat dry with a towel
4. Grate the cheese & squeeze the lemon
5. Place cheese, and wild garlic into food processor with cooled nuts and

whizz until thoroughly chopped. Add lemon juice and oil and whizz again
until forms a chunky paste. Your pesto is now ready.
If you don’t have a food processor you can finely chop the wild garlic then
grind them in a pestle and mortar with the nuts and cheese, adding oil near
the end.

Put  the pesto into a sterilised jar, cover the surface with a little
more olive oil and put a lid on it. It will keep for 2-3 weeks like this in the fridge or put into plastic pots and freeze for longer

Adaptations
You can make a dairy-free version by just leaving out the cheese and
swapping the almonds for cashew nuts. Or use a tablespoon of nutritional yeast
You can make a less garlicky pesto by using half and half wild garlic and
kale leaves
You can use any other nut in place of almonds e.g. pine nuts, hazelnuts,
walnuts or even pumpkin seeds

 

Wild Garlic Pesto Soda Bread

Ingredients

250g plain white flour
250g plain wholemeal flour
½ teaspoon ( tsp) salt
1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
200 ml yoghurt
230 ml milk
4 tablespoons pesto

 

 

Utensils:

Large mixing bowl
Spatula
Measuring spoon
Measuring jug
Weighing scales
Chopping board
Baking tray
Bread knife
Wire cooling rack

 

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees for conventional ovens or 180 degrees for fan ovens
  2. lightly oil a flat baking tray.
  3. Weigh out both your flours in a large bowl, mix together and add your salt and bicarbonate of soda.
  4. In a separate jug, measure out your yogurt and milk. Add pesto and stir together.
  5. Pour your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with your hands or a spatula until it just forms a dough.
  6. Turn out on to a lightly floured board and use your hands to form into a ball.
  7. Transfer onto the oiled baking sheet and Use a sharp knife to draw a deep cross in your dough.
  8. Now just pop the tray into the oven to bake for 40 minutes until the bread has risen slightly and turned a nice golden colour. You’ll know if the bread is fully baked if it sounds hollow when tapped underneath.
  9. When you’re happy that your bread is baked, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack. If you like you can place a slightly damp tea-towel over the loaf as it cools to prevent the crust becoming too hard.

 Serve slightly warm with butter.

Is nice toasted and topped with wilted spinach and a poached egg

Adaptions

For a gluten free version just use a gluten-free flour

For dairy-free version use, 300ml  of your usual plant milk with l tablespoon cider vinegar and  You will need to use a cheese-free pesto too. (Alternatively, just whizz 2 handfuls of wild garlic in a food processor with a little olive or rapeseed oil)

Remember to wash your garlic leaves before using!

What veg to eat in February

We plan to give you a seasonal recipe a month highlighting what’s in season each month and what you can cook with it. So let’s start with a February veg favourite of Season Well: Jerusalem Artichokes

It’s not an artichoke and it’s not from Jerusalem. These are actually grown on an allotment near Harrogate which we support a learning disability charity to manage. They are a tuber so grow underground and look like a knobbly potato. They got their name because they are thought to taste a bit like artichoke.  The plant is part of the sunflower family and the Italian for sunflower is Girasole (follow sun) which sounds a bit like Jerusalem so hence the name.

 

The plant grows very tall so is good to grow as a windbreak which is what we planted them for on our windy site. They are also so easy to grow. Once you have planted a few tubers in spring they need very little looking after. They grow tall stems and have small flowers in summer. They then die back and are ready to dig up in the depths of winter when little else is growing. I have developed a love for their nutty flavour.  

The tubers are very good for you as they contain iron, vitamin c and potassium. They also have a prebiotic effect in the gut due to the high levels of a carbohydrate called inulin. This promotes growth of good bacteria in the gut which fight harmful bacteria in the intestines, prevent constipation, and give the immune system a boost. Inulin is also thought to regulate blood sugar

Unfortunately whilst they may reduce wind on the allotment they can increase wind in your bowels. They are nicknamed “fartichokes” for the windy effect they have on some people. The good news is that the more you eat the more your body can tolerate them and the less windy you become. It also affects some people more than others.

As they are so good for you, easy to grow and so very tasty give them a go.

One of our favourite ways to cook them with our allotment group is in this delicious soup recipe. Here we mix them with leeks which are also in season this month. If you want to be super healthy you can sprout a few alfalfa or pea seeds ( or any microgreens) and serve the soup with a little sprinkling on top.

Please comment if you’d like some seed sprouting instructions or any other artichoke recipes. We’ve also made artichoke cake in other years and this year intend to try an artichoke pickle as pickling or fermenting is suposed to reduce their windiness

Leek, potato & Jerusalem artichoke Soup

Ingredients: (Serves 4-6)

2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large leeks, sliced
1 onion, chopped
300g Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed & roughly chopped
300 g potatoes, peeled and chopped
1.2 litre veg stock
2 sprigs rosemary
1 bay leaf
A little nutmeg, freshly grated
Salt & pepper
Handful of microgreens ( pea shoots, basil shoots, alfalfa sprouts)
A little cream for swirling ( we use Nooj cashew cream to keep it vegan)

Method

  1. Wash the artichokes and scrub well with a brush.Then roughly chop them.
  2. Put the artichokes in a pan, cover with boiling water and leave to simmer on a low heat whilst you do the rest of the prep

  3. Wash and slice the leeks. Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic 
  4. Peel the potatoes,if using, and chop into small pieces. You can make the soup with all jerusalem artichokes (600g) if you prefer. It will be a darker colour and stonger flavour. We have done it both ways and  like the addition of some ptoatoes to lighten the soup                                                                               
  5. add the olive oil to a large nonstick saucepan and lightly fry the leeks, onion and garlic for a few minutes.Then add the cubed potaotes and fry for a few minutes more.                                 
  6. Drain the water off the artichokes and add to the pan along with the stock, bay leaf and sprig of rosemary                            
  7. Leave to simmer on a low-mediumheat for 20-30 minutes or until the artichokes are soft.                                                             
  8. Remove the bay leaf and rosemary stalk and blend the soup to the consistency you like. You can blend it totally smooth or leave some chunks                                                                               
  9. Serve in bowls with a swirl of cream  (or vegan alternative: Nooj or soy cream) and a few micro greens.

Enjoy your healthy seasonal soup.