31 May 2015

DIY Smoked Mackerel Paté

For Christmas, my parents-in-law gave me a hot smoker. It is a great kitchen toy. It looks like a mess tin - one of those metal things that survivalists like Ray Mears eat from at picnics. You put some wood chippings in the bottom of the smoker, place a tray over the top and pop your food in. Shut the lid of the tin, and put the smoker on the stove, and leave it to smoke. You can buy a hot-smoker from any decent kitchen suppliers, and I've heard it is possible to make one out of a biscuit tin, or even a wok and some wooden chopsticks.

20 May 2015

The walled kitchen garden - an introduction

As regular readers and friends will know, earlier this year we moved to Hove. When we looked round the flat, one of the things that we really liked about it was the garden. The borders were pretty over-grown, but the garden was a good size and looked like it would get a lot of sun. It was quite a contrast to the garden we had in our London terrace, which was narrow, ran up a hill and was overshadowed by trees in the neighbouring gardens. The Hove garden clearly had a lot of potential, but it was also going to be something of a project.

The garden when we moved in

12 May 2015

What's in season in May

By May, Spring is in full swing. The trees are in leaf, and all sorts of seedlings are pushing up through the soil. The garden and countryside are awash in verdant greens. In the veg plot, as with all spring months, May is more about sowing and planting out than harvesting. As the risk of frost disappears, tender plants such as courgettes, tomatoes and runner beans can be planted outside. With long days and often plentiful sun and rain, plants seem to put on an amazing amount of growth. In terms of what can be harvested in May, or gleaned from hedgerows, it is often about young leaves for salads.

1 May 2015

Wild garlic soup

Wild garlic soup

This is another recipe that is ideal if you have picked or otherwise acquired a large quantity of wild garlic (or ramson) leaves. Despite the abundant use of wild garlic leaves, the soup has a relatively mild flavour and lacks the pungency of raw wild garlic. It has a vivid green colour, and a pleasant earthy flavour, which reminds me of woodland in spring. The method is pretty simple, and can be adapted to make soup with watercress, nettles and other fresh green leaves. This recipe will serve four.