a busy domestic blog of knitting, sewing and all kinds of needlecrafts, cooking my garden produce and preserving it

Thursday, 31 October 2013

A Variety of things to make with Too Many Cucumbers

 We've had a bit of a a cucumber glut recently - quite a few 'normal' long ones but lots of round crystal lemon types - and all at the point where the weather has dropped cooler and no one wants cucumber salads any more.

It was time to look for more ways to use them up!

I started with my slightly bizarre standby of cucumber jam

This always sounds odder than it tastes as once cooked up the cucumber doesn't taste much and the flavour of the lemons is far stronger

Then cucumber chutney tweeking my normal pumpkin recipe - cucumber boils down more than pumpkin and I didn't end up with as much chutney for my efforts...but at least the number of cucumbers in the bottom of the fridge was going down.

In the end, I got out the recipe books and cooked them!
This is one of a variety of recipes for braised cucumber. As I was using the round crystal lemon cucumbers I cut them into wedges and left the seeds in. They're then left to stand in a mix of salt, sugar and lemon juice for 30 mins or so, drained, covered with breadcrumbs and baked.
I'd half expected them to turn soggy when cooked but they didn't, turning surprisingly crisp. They didn't taste of cucumber either but of something far more unusual. I'm not sure I'd try it again though - if there's a glut next year, I'll go for salsas and more pickles instead.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Tomato day

 Despite the weather turning colder, I've a glut of tomatoes from the allotment - and no space in the freezer for them so I got out the saucepans to use them up - well some of them.

First - passata. I've been trying to avoid the fiddly sieving and leaving the pips in with most of this year's jarred tomatoes but I had lots of little cherry types that were best sieved to remove skins as well.

 Second - lunch. Minestrone with turnips, white beans and spinach.

 Last but not least, a huge batch of green tomato chutney.

The day's jars all lined up.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Lunch from the Lottie/Recipe Testing; Leek and Potato Soup

Leek and potato soup from Rose Elliot's New Complete Vegetarian - which has to be the easiest soup ever. There are two very similar recipes in the book - one being 'chunkier' than the other. Basically both are very simple - Put leeks and potatoes in water, add teaspoon of veg stock and some freshly ground pepper, boil till soft, mash and serve, possibly with more pepper.
It's quick, extremely easy and, best of all, it uses veg from my allotment.

Homegrown dinner - favourite leek and cauliflower curry

I've cooked this curry from Rose Elliott's cookbook before as it's one that uses up a lot of the 'spare' veg from my garden and allotment, and the ingredients can be altered a bit here and there - this time I threw in an odd courgette that needed using up and intended to stir some spinach through at the last minute - but forgot!! I made a mistake with the curry powder too - the recipe doesn't specify 'hot' of 'mild', both of which I have in the cupboard and I used 'hot'. Not a mistake I'll make again! The rice, of course, is NOT homegrown - maybe I should have served it with potatoes or chips!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Cucumber jam

This week's glut is.....cucumbers! 
The weather's turned cooler, no one wants to eat salad and I can hardly freeze them, so it's back to my weird jam making.

Having tried this recipe before I don't think cucumber jam (or marmalade) is so very odd.
The cucumber just gives bulk and picks up the flavour of whatever is added, in this case lemons.

It looks quite marmalade-like but I don't think I was generous enough with the lemons this time as the flavour isn't very strong - in future I'll add more.
Still, it's ok and has saved the surplus from being wasted.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Homegrown dinner #2 Goulash or something close

Continuing to 'eat what we've got', I decided to make goulash - probably not remotely authentic, it involved lots of tomatoes, an onion, some small peppers, a jalpeno, white beans, runner beans and potatoes, helped by some left-over chorizo slices and gammon stock from the freezer.

For an experimental, make-it-up-on-the-go dinner it worked well - so well I'd try to make it again, but homegrown chillis are always very variable and the next version of this may be a lot milder.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Homegrown dinner

 A homegrown dinner today, rather than a lunch from the lottie!
We have such a lot of veg all ready to be eaten, and no freezer space left, that it seems only sensible to use it as much as possible.

 I was trying to use up the glut of tomatoes, runner beans, turnips and spinach, preferably in a way that could be served with our home-grown potatoes.
The nearest dish I could think of was minestrone - ok, without carrots or beans which I'd normally include, but close enough.
So I went for a sort of drier version.
Onions, tomatoes, a couple of small peppers, another which turned out to be a jalpeno chilli, chopped turnip and sliced runner beans all cooked through, then the spinach and a few leaves of red kale added at the last minute

It actually worked quite well with the potatoes - I mashed mine on my plate and soaked up the tomatoey juices with them. Next time, I'll check first for jalapenos mixed in with peppers!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Lunch from the lottie #14

Another batch of salad variations - how many ways can the same ingredients be put together?

Although there's still plenty of salad stuff cropping, the weather's turning colder so it may be time for more soups instead of cold lunches everyday.