Browsing through the gorgeous range of traditional garden tools by Joseph Bentley at ACHICA today inspired me to think about my very own garden and plans for the year ahead, which includes adding a vege patch and planting my fig tree (that has outgrown its pot) into the soil. So, this afternoon I reached for my copy of The Garden to Kitchen Expert by Judith Wills & Dr D G Hessayon (Transworld Publishers), which has been sitting on my shelf for long enough, waiting for when I have a quiet 10 minutes spare. I'd highly recommend a read - the book is an inspirational guide to taking your home grown produce to plate and is packed with useful expert advice on what to grow when and how to get the best from your garden. It comes with over 600 recipes for things to make with your home grown fruit and veg too. Here's a couple of extracts from the book, including tips for storing vegetables and a yummy broad bean risotti recipe - you might have to use Sainsbury's frozen broad beans for that one, but by next year, who knows what home grown beauties lie ahead...
TIPS FOR STORING VEGETABLES
Store vegetables as far from fruits as possible:
Don't store potatoes or carrots with apples: the gas these fruits release can cause potatoes to sprout and carrots to become bitter.
Avoid keeping cabbage and turnips alongside celery, pears and apples, as cabbage and turnips will transfer their odours to this produce.
Don't store potatoes with onions: when close together they produce gases that spoil broth.
Don't store potatoes in the fridge: they will become too sweet.
Store cabbage, kale, swede and turnips in a frost-free shed rather than in the house, as they give off strong odours.
BROAD BEAN RISOTTO RECIPE
You can serve this with grilled or baked chicken breast - or even add chopped cooked chicken to the risotto with the beans.
300g (11oz broad beans)
4 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic
300g (11oz) risotto rice
750ml (1 1/4 pints) hot vegetable stock
2 tbsp fresh chopped pasley
1 tbsp fresh chopped mint
juice of 1/2 lemon
50g (2 oz) grated Parmesan
Boil or steam beams
Sweat finely chopped onion in the oil in a large pan over low heat for 5 minutes to soften but not colour, adding chopped garden for the last minute.
Stir in rice until coated with oil. Stir a large ladle (about 75ml/2 1/2 fl. oz) of the hot stock into the risotto and continue stirring until stock has been absorbed by rice. Repeat until all stock is used up or rice is cooked through and creamy.
Stir in beans, parsley, mint, lemon juice and half the cheese. Serve sprinkled with remaining cheese.
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Recipe and tips taken from The Garden to Kitchen Expert by Judith Wills & Dr D G Hessayon (£9.95, Transworld Publishers)
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Emily Peck, Editor
View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor