Posts tagged with "vegetables"

I used the prunings from the dogwood as pea sticks and now they’ve sprouted. At this rate, I’ll have a whole load of new plants to transplant when the peas have finished.

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Nice bit of purple sprouting on the allotment

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I have made this soup or versions of it countless times and have been cooking it for so may years I can’t remember the first time - I just know I was still at school. It’s very simple, just lentils and vegetables, but is tasty, nutritious and cheap. It sustained me all through college when I would make huge pots of it to eat over several days or share with my housemates. Nearly thirty years later, it’s still a staple meal at least once a week during the winter, with any leftovers going with me to work the next day. Many people don’t make soup themselves as the tinned variety is so cheap and readily available. Homemade soup is very easy and so comforting, the chopping and preparation are pleasant wind down after a hard day at work.

Lentil and vegetable soup - serves two plus some left over


  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 or 2 leeks, sliced
  • 1 stick of celery, sliced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • Pint and a half of stock, hot - cubes are fine
  • 4 - 6 oz red split lentils
  • Good pinch of thyme and a bay leaf
  • Black pepper
  • Parsley to serve

Heat a good slurp of olive in a heavy pot. Add the onion and garlic and fry gently until translucent. Add the leeks, celery and carrot, stir well and cook gently with the lid on for 5 - 10 minutes until soft. Add the stock, lentils, herbs and pepper and bring to the boil. Simmer gently until the lentils are mushy, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley to serve.


- Replace lentils with cannelini, borlotti or flageolet beans, dried or tinned.

- Add a small handful of pearl barley for a thicker both.

- Add a little tomato purée and a handful of shredded savoy cabbage or kale and cook for a further five minutes.

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Stuffed marrow

I’ve still got a couple of marrows (summer squash) sitting in my garage so we’re having one for dinner. You could just top this with grated cheese, but Welsh rarebit is much better. For those of you outside the UK, the beer in the recipe is proper, dark bitter beer, not weedy Budweiser. This is less of a recipe, more like some suggestions, so quantities are up to you.

To stuff one large marrow you will need:

  • Brown short grain rice, cooked in vegetable stock with a couple of bay leaves
  • A small onion, finely chopped
  • Half a pound of mushrooms, finely chopped
  • Pine nuts
  • Parsley, finely chopped

For the Welsh rarebit topping:

  • Grated cheese, Cheddar or Caerphilly
  • A spoonful of wholegrain mustard
  • Enough beer (or milk) to moisten the mixture

Cut the marrow in half lengthways and scoop out the fibrous core and seeds. Place in a baking dish with a little water in the bottom and bake at a medium heat for about half an hour until the marrow is beginning to soften.

Fry the onions in a little olive oil until soft, add the mushrooms and cook for a further five minutes. Mix into the cooked rice and add the pine nuts and parsley with some black pepper.

Fill the cavities in the marrow halves and pile the rest of the mixture on top. Spread the rarebit mixture along the top of the rice. Bake in a medium oven for about 20 minutes until the rarebit is bubbling and golden on top. Serve with tomato sauce.

You could include some wild rice in with the brown or use red Camargue rice. It needs to be short grain rice as this is a bit sticky when cooked and so works better as a filling.

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Squash and leeks on their way to becoming soup.

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Borlotti beans drying to store for winter casseroles.

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After a few chilly nights over the last couple of weeks where we’ve lit the fire, the weekend is warm and sunny. Last night was particularly nice, still and pleasant so we managed to eat outside. All the vegetable matter was homegrown, the tart made with caramelised onions and goats cheese on shop bought puff pastry, having decided some years ago that it’s far too much effort to make from scratch. Cheers.

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Last few chillies of the summer

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Anya potato wants a hug

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Chutney part one

A selection of garden ingredients being prepared for making a spiced tomato chutney. I’m basing it on this recipe for green tomato chutney I posted last year, but reducing the amount of apples and increasing the tomatoes. I’ve added a bit more spice plus one of my semi hot chillies finely diced.

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