At the beginning of the month I did a series of posts for National Gardening Week, exploring some of the early spring harvests from the garden. The season has moved on since then, and as the asparagus plants are still young I have stopped harvesting them to let them grow. The purple sprouting broccoli harvest was also coming to a natural end, and so I removed the plants to put in a second bed of potatoes, and to use one bed as a temporary space for hardening off my summer squash, sweet peppers, sweetcorn and new PSB plants.
There are peas and beans on the horizon, but for the most part the garden is currently producing leafy greens, and so I was looking for ways to make the most of them.
On Sunday I started by harvesting a good bunch of leaves from my wild garlic. It has flowered and is setting seed, so it is also coming to an end for now. I gave it a good feed of worm ‘juice’ from my worm composter to encourage it to grow back big and strong next year, and turned its leaves into my first ever homemade pesto, following a recipe from the Woodland Trust.
So there was wild garlic pesto. One of the other recipes I found was for Calzone with greens, and using it for inspiration I decided to make a Wild garlic calzone. We had ready made pizza dough in the freezer (but it’s easy enough to make your own, especially in a breadmachine). It proved a little tricky to roll out into a rectangle, which is what the recipe required, but funny-shaped calzone taste just the same! I simply slathered wild garlic pesto over the rolled-out dough, added some leftovers from the fridge (tinned sweetcorn and smoked meat) as ‘toppings’ on one side, crumbled over some feta and then folded the calzone over and baked them in the oven.
Ryan had been out in the garden, making amazing progress in turning the scrap of land outside the new fence into a useable space, and so was grateful for a hearty lunch. This was my first attempt at making calzone, but Ryan will ensure it won’t be my last!
On Monday, I turned a big bunch of sea beet and Buckler leaf sorrel into a baked omelette, following a recipe in Carl Legge’s The Permaculture Kitchen. As you may be about to guess, this was my first ever attempt at making a baked omelette, but it’s pretty simple. I fried a chopped onion with a couple of sliced garlic cloves, then added in the washed greens so that they wilted in the pan. I whisked 4 eggs with some milk, then added in the wilted greens, the rest of the feta leftover from the calzone, and some chopped chives and parsley from the garden. Stirred together, poured into a greased casserole dish and baked for 30 minutes until it had set and was going golden on the top. Served with slices of fresh yoghurt bread I (and the breadmachine) made on Sunday morning, it made a lovely lunch.
We had the rest of the omelette cold for lunch yesterday (and it was still lovely). On Tuesday we ate the rest of the calzone for dinner, reheated (ditto). There’s leftover wild garlic pesto waiting to be used for pasta later in the week. And plenty more greens in the garden!
We had a lovely weekend of working in the garden (and not the fun stuff – hard labour and weeding, mostly), and cooking food from the garden, and it was really relaxing and gave us a glimpse of the good life. I wanted to preserve the feeling, but it evaporated yesterday morning on contact with the outside world.
There’s a fair amount of hard work to do in the garden before we get to the point where we finalise the new seating area, but in the meantime we have folding chairs we can take outside, and a plan to invest in a reasonably priced folding table so that we can eat outside. We have a secondhand patio umbrella we inherited from Ryan’s parents, to provide some shade.
Oh, and Ryan fitted the patio doors with magnetic fly screen doors, which are amazing things. You can push through the centre of them, even with your hands full, and the magnets close them up again behind you once you’ve passed through. It’s very sci-fi, but the upshot of it is that we can sit inside with the patio doors open without letting in every insect in the garden. It’s one thing creating an organic, peat-free, insect-friendly garden; it’s quite another inviting them into the house! We were forever encouraging bees back out into the garden, so we won’t have to do that any more. The original plan for the garden was that it would become an extension of the house, encouraging you out of the patio doors, and with that little issue resolved, I think we’re back on track 🙂
Next up on the To Do list: finding ways to make the most of the mint harvest (I added more plants to the garden because we love minted potato salad and Pimms), and making the most of the broad beans as they appear. And I’ve got peas! So we need to start eating those as mangetout and snap peas and podded peas and all that jazz.