All posts filed under: Summer

Garden Salad with Elderflower Vinaigrette

The peak of the growing season is upon my garden. I am now able to harvest more that 2 or 3 bits of produce from the plot at any one time, as this Garden Summer Salad demonstrates perfectly. This is a salad to be proud off, as everything ( eggs-cept the eggs, get it?!) has been grown or harvested by me. The olive oil, is strictly not our own, but is from our friends own olive grove in Italy, and as they put it- is 3 times Extra Virgin Organic olive oil, and it tastes heavenly too. The peas, potatoes, dill, salad leaves, cucumber, and edible nasturtium flowers and corn flowers were all picked this morning, in preparation for lunch. I love how you can tuck into a portion of food, knowing that is was growing barley an hour ago, cool right?     The peas are an exciting rare variety called Champion of England, dating from the 1840’s and are from The Real Seed Company, an innovative British family business who see the soil as a living organism …

Panzanella – Italian Summer Sour-dough Salad

Panzanella – Italian Summer Sour-dough Salad Its hot! And its gorgeous outside! And when it’s hot for days on end, my tastebuds always hunger for light ‘salady’ type foods, that are fresh, aromatic and seasonal. This ‘salad’ could almost be called a de-constructed Bruchetta,  and is an absolute winner if you are hungry rather than peckish, as the bread is already inside the dish. The chunky sour-dough soaks up all the rich olive oil and vinegar, and combined with fresh tomatoes from the garden, you have yourself the perfect salad. _______________________________________ Serves 4 1 organic loaf of sour dough bread or ciabatta 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 750g ripe tomatoes, halved 100ml organic extra virgin olive oil 2tbsp white wine vinegar 10 or so basil leaves salt and pepper   ___________________________________ Combine the halved tomatoes and garlic in a bowl, with the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Mix well using your hands to release the flavours. Stir well, then leave the salad for 10 minutes, to infuse. Meanwhile chop the bread into cubes, and lightly fry …

Strawberry Rhubarb Summer Cordial

This year has so far been a top year for berries. My strawberries have produced a bumper crop of delicious deep red fruit. However…just as they were 1 or 2 days away from perfection, something began to ‘nibble’ them. And after a close inspection I found a mouse hole, right in the middle of the strawberry patch! A great home indeed! Lovely warm straw, and plenty of fresh berries on the door step, well I couldn’t blame them really! But, I wasn’t going to leave the remaining crop to the greedy mouse, so I picked every ripe berry and had enough to have with meringues and make a summer cordial too. Paired with my last remaining rhubarb, this is summer preserved in a bottle. _____________________________________ Makes 1.5 litres 300g  strawberries,  roughly chopped 3 sticks of rhubarb, washed and chopped 300g caster sugar 2 lemons, juice and zest of 1 liter water _______________________________________ Tip the fruit into a heavy-based pan alongside the lemon zest and pour over the sugar. Simmer over low heat  for 10 minutes …

Pumpkin Seed Pesto Pizza with Yellow Squash and Goats Cheese

  Pumpkin Seed Pesto Pizza with Yellow Squash, Goats Cheese and Dill My garden is thriving, as the summer is at last here for definite! I’ve got various salads, including hot and peppery rocket, butter lettuce, chard, spinach..to name a few. And of course dill, which I use as a salad ingredient most days. Freshly picked, nothing beats the aromatic flavour of dill. It adds depth and contrast to this pizza, and is a match made in heaven with goats cheese. This pizza came about as Al Fresco dining was on the cards last week, as it had been a hot afternoon, and the promise of a warm evening was guaranteed! But after the decision had been made that pizza was on the menu, I realized I didn’t have my store cupboard staple – Pesto. But as I mentioned above, my rocket and spinach was doing well, so I quickly threw one together. The lack of pine nuts didn’t put me off, I just substituted them with pumpkin seeds, they do the job nicely! Here’s …

Roasted Cherry Tomato and Aubergine Bruschetta with Rocket

  Roasted Cherry Tomato and Aubergine Bruschetta with Rocket   Its hard to beat freshly picking your own salad leaves, and rocket is at the top of the list for flavour and bite.  Last spring my good friend and ‘Bridesmaid to be’ sent me a packet of wild rocket seeds, and being a lover of variation, I sowed them beside my already thriving lettuce’s. Well, 12 months later and the rocket is still thriving, having survived the mild winter, it is looking and tasting better than ever. Add rocket to these warm and juicy bruschettas,  and you have a match made in heaven, with the sweet tomatoes,  and lovely fresh pepper punch from the rocket. I like my bruschetta oily and warm with lots of garlic, so if you are like me, dont hold back on the organic extra virgin olive oil. ________________________________________ Serves 4 as a starter or 2 for lunch   250g grape or cherry tomatoes, halved 6 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp sugar 1 tbsp oregano 2 cloves garlic, …

Fig and Honey Yoghurt with Poppy Seeds and a Taste of Portugal

  I am back from a most wonderful time in Portugal. The weather was magnificent, gifting us with pleasant warm breezes and cloud free skys. It wasn’t easy adjusting back to the autumn weather up here in the more northern latitudes of Scotland, but I can comfort myself with the knowledge, that under this thick fisherman’s sweater, I do indeed have a tan! The best thing about taking a trip away, for me, is forgetting all the everyday tasks of home life and work, and allowing yourself to fall into a new more relaxed routine. Our routine whilst away, was to be woken up at dawn by the local cockerel, make our sleepy way to the balcony and watch the sunrise over freshly made coffee. When I’m on holiday, breakfasts are my favorite meal, they are a chance to sample the county’s freshest produce, usually in a way which requires little preparation or cooking, and usually in its most simple of forms. I spent lost of time traipsing through local vegetable markets, and filling my …

September Lagkage – Danish September Birthday Cake

  The brambles are thriving this year in the woodlands by our house, a lovely sight reminding us that there is still food to be found during the seasonal change from summer to autumn. And so, for the birthday cake I made last week, brambles seemed a fitting ingredient, providing tangy notes to an otherwise very sweet Danish cake. Lagkage translates as Layer Cake, and consists of 3 thin sponges, layered up with either a whipped cream filling or a custard filling. In addition to that, fruit and jam are added to make this cake a special occasion cake, not only for the time involved in making it, but for the sheer number of calories! No birthday in Denmark will usually go without a Lagkage, and neither does a birthday in our house. _____________________________________________________ Ingredients 150g plain flour 150g butter, softened 150g sugar 3 eggs 1 tsp baking powder Filling 700 ml whipping cream 250 g amaretto biscuits, crushed 3 tbsp brandy 1 mango, diced 100g brambles 4 tbsp icing sugar For the top 75g …

Grilled Corn on the Cob

There have still been a few warm evenings to enjoy over the past couple of weeks, so when I came across fresh corn on the cob, still in their green overcoats, I couldn’t wait to get them home and stick them on the BBQ. Some fruit and vegetables, like corn or bananas,  are ingenious in the way they come with their own packaging ready to be transported in, or cooked in. The husks on the corn serve as a ready made wrapper, that can be put directly on the BBQ, with no need for foil. And I can’t eat corn on the cob without a dollop of cold butter, melting into all the little dimples, and consequently going everywhere. Corn is definitely not a ‘first date’ food, but it does make a great family meal. For this recipe, I have made a spicy herb butter to enhance the sweet flavors of the corn. __________________________________________________________________________________ Serves 4 Ingredients 4 fresh corn on the cob, with husks 75g butter 1/2 tsp sweet paprika 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper …

Baked Courgette with Mushroom, Sage and Pumpkin Seed Stuffing

Looking out of the window in my studio, I am a little saddened by the fact that it is already dark at 8.30. The days are getting shorter and a little colder..already? However, looking at my veg plot you wouldn’t know to look at it. My courgettes are thriving,  and with each plant producing a lovely shiny courgette a day, I am harvesting more than 10 a week. This means that courgettes are on the menu most nights, and as I’m not one for making the same dish more than once a month, I’m having to work hard to keep this productive veg interesting. A few weeks ago, I created a couple of courgette recipes for my local farm shop, as they too have a bounty of emerald green fruits, just waiting to be put into a delicious veggie recipe! Here is one of the recipes; ________________________________________________ Baked Courgette with Mushroom, Sage and Pumpkin Seed Stuffing Serves 2 as lunch or 4 as a starter. Ingredients 4 small courgettes 1 red onion 2 cloves of …

Homemade Elderflower Ice Lollies

The sun is still shining! Oh we are so lucky to have a whole summer of pleasant weather here in Scotland. The first flush of this seasons flowers and produce is finished, including the beautiful elderflowers and sweet strawberries. But other crops are ripening at the moment in my garden including wild raspberries and peas. And there are still many ways to prolong the taste of summer, for example by using my elderflower cordial recipe, which you can find here, and freeze the sweet summer drink into homemade ice lollies. It is the easiest thing I have ever made, but I know it will impress your guests and its fun for kids to make too. _________________________________________________________________________ Ingredients 500 ml elderflower cordial, recipe here 1/2 a lime squeezed _________________________________________________________________________ Simply make the cordial a little stronger than you would take it, if you were drinking it. Squeeze the lime juice in, and pour the liquid into a pre bought lolly tray, or into 6 small washed yoghurt tubs. Insert the plastic popsicle sticks, or wooden ones if …