Eat the Seasons

May 2019

In season this month

Fruits & Nuts
Cherries, Elderflowers, Rhubarb

Vegetables & Herbs
Asparagus, Broccoli, Carrots, Lettuce, New Potatoes, Radishes, Rocket, Sorrel, Spinach, Spring Onions, Watercress

Meat & Game
Lamb, Wood Pigeon

Fish & Shellfish
Cod, Crab, Dover Sole, Halibut, John Dory, Lemon Sole, Plaice, Salmon, Sea Bass, Sea Trout

Going out of season
Morel Mushrooms

This is a lovely spring recipe, great as a starter when entertaining, or just enjoyed as a weekend lunch, it tastes as good as it looks and I especially like it because it uses lots of ingredients from our allotment – spinach, chard, mint, broad beans, leeks and if I am lucky I may be given a little bit of asparagus by one of my fellow plot holders – Hurrah! It is also an easy recipe to adapt according to the ingredients you have to hand, and I tend to use ready-made pastry because it makes it so quick and easy.

Broad Bean, Pea, Baby Leeks & Asparagus Tartlets
Serves 4 People

Cooking time 30-40 Minutes 

Ingredients

  • 320g Ready-rolled Puff Pastry
  • 200g Spinach or Rainbow chard
  • 1 Pack of garlic & herb cream cheese such as Boursin or Philadelphia
  • 1 Bunch fresh chopped mint
  • 1 Lemon – juice & zest
  • Glug of Olive Oil
  • Handful of blanched broad beans
  • Handful of peas
  • Baby Leeks
  • Asparagus
  • Grated Parmesan to serve

 Method: 

  1. Heat the oven to 2800C / 1800C Fan / Gas 6. Unroll the ready-rolled puff pastry onto a baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper. Cut the sheet into 4 equal rectangles. Using the tip of a sharp knife, score a 1cm border inside each pastry rectangle. Prick the centres all over with a fork.
  2. Bake the pastry for 30-40 minutes until golden and crisp – keep an eye on it as it cooks, you want it to be golden brown.
  3. Meanwhile, boil a kettle of water, put the spinach in a colander and pour over the water. Rinse with cold water, then put into a clean J-cloth and squeeze out as much water as possible. Put the spinach into a blender/processor with the cream cheese, chopped mint and the lemon juice. Whizz until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat a glug of olive oil in a two frying pans. In one cook the broad beans and peas, in the other the baby leeks & asparagus. Gently fry until softened.
  5. Let the cooked pastry cases cool a little, then spread the cream cheese mixture over the centre of each one.
  6. Spring the peas and beans over the top, then add the leeks and asparagus.
  7. Finally dress with grated parmesan and lemon zest.

Enjoy!

You can email Suzanne with any comments or questions at info@suzannejames.co.uk

Eat the Seasons

January 2019

In season this month

Fruit, Nuts & Fungi

Apples, Pears (late – Concorde, Doyenne du Comice, Conference and Winter Nellis), Rhubarb (forced), Walnuts

Vegetables & Herbs
Jerusalem Artichokes, Beetroot, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celeriac, Celery, Chicory, Garlic, Kale, Leeks, Mushrooms, Onions, Parsnips, Potatoes, Pumpkin, Red Cabbage, Shallots, Spinach, Swede, Turnips.

Meat & Game
Duck (end of season), Guinea Fowl, Hare, Partridge, Venison

Fish & Shellfish
Brill, Clams, Cockles, Haddock, Halibut, Hake, John Dory, Lemon Sole, Salmon (coming into season), Monkfish, Mussels, Oyster, Plaice, Turbot

In November I decided to turn vegan (again) and I have found it much easier this time around, after 2 false starts earlier in the year. I know it isn’t for everyone, but lots of you are reducing the amount of meat in your diets, so this month I wanted to share a lovely recipe, which is inspired by a recent visit to Honey & Co – I have tweaked their recipe to include more vegetables, and it is now at the top of my list of vegan favourites. If you would like to try out some more of my vegan dishes then make sure you book seats at our Vegan East Dulwich Supper Club on 22nd February at fifty seven!

Lentil Stew with Burnt Aubergine & Tahini
Makes 4-6 Portions

Ingredients:

For the Stew: 

  •   350g Puy lentils
  • 1 small red onion, peeled & diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled & thinly sliced
  • 2 celery sticks, peeled & sliced
  • 3 whole cloves of garlic, halved
  • 1 Red pepper diced
  • 1 Green pepper diced
  • Small bunch of rosemary & thyme, tied with some string
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 4 tablespoons Olive Oil 

To Season the Stew: 

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • A generous pinch of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  1. Place all the ingredients for the stew (apart from the olive oil) together in a saucepan and add 1.5 litres of water.
  2. Bring to a boil, skim any foam that may have come to the top and turn down the heat to minimum.
  3. Add the olive oil and simmer until soft. This will take about 30-40 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and season with the salt, pepper, ground cumin & crushed garlic.
  5. Set aside and allow to infuse for about 20-30 minutes before removing the rosemary, thyme & bay leaf.
  6. You can serve the stew straight away or reheat it later.It is delicious as is, but even better with the following:

Burnt Aubergine

  • 2 Aubergine
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Take the aubergines whole and place over a gas flame or under a very hot grill and burn until the skin is charred all over and the flesh is soft. You will need to turn them every few minutes.  You can also do this in a pan with a tiny drop of olive oil if easier.
  2. Once they are soft, remove to a serving plate, slit open and, using a spoon scoop out the soft white flesh, season with lemon juice and a pinch of salt.

Thick Tahini Dip

  • 100g Tahini paste
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • A pinch of cumin
  • ¼ tablespoon salt
  • 100ml water
  1. Mix everything together to form a thick paste.
  2. If it is too thick for your liking, you can add a teaspoon or two of water to dilute.

Enjoy!

You can email Suzanne with any comments or questions at info@suzannejames.co.uk