IIn the gardening calendar, the warmer days of early May herald the start of the main vegetable growing season and the time to put your favorite crops in the ground or in pots begins in earnest.
But it’s between late August and early September, when the summer harvest is in full swing and the fall harvest is just beginning to arrive, that cook, food writer and vegetable gardener Kathy Slack loves her best. garden. “There’s not too much work to do other than weeding and watering, and the harvests are spectacular,” she said. The Independent.
Whether you are a novice or were born with a green thumb, his first book Plant patch takes you through a full year in her vegetable garden, celebrating her ten favorite things to grow and the most exciting ways to eat them.
Here are three recipes from the book for seasonal beans, zucchini and beets.
Grilled Holda Beans with Goat Cheese, Herbs and Flowers
Helda beans are like runner beans 2.0. They’re flat and long like runners, but smooth-skinned and stringless – a scarlet runner after a facelift. They grow prolifically, reliably and without being bothered by pests, but if you don’t grow your own they are easily found in stores, often sold as flat beans or string beans.
Beans can be cooked perfectly on the grill of a barbecue over medium-high direct heat or in a frying pan.
I almost always serve this dish at barbecues, scattering generous handfuls of herbs (and edible flowers if I can find them) on top with crusty bread on the side. It’s a loose, relaxed dish that has a lazy summer lunch written all over it.
Time: 15 minutes
700 g Helda beans, or other flat beans, such as baby runner beans if you can’t find Helda, trimmed and stemmed
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon liquid honey
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
2 spring onions, finely chopped
A small bunch of mixed green herbs (parsley, mint, dill, sorrel, chives, basil)
125 g soft and creamy goat cheese
Edible flowers (chives, nasturtiums, pot marigolds), to finish (optional)
Put a frying pan on high heat and let it heat up well, or prepare your barbecue (see intro). Toss the beans in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place them in the hot skillet or on the barbecue grill and cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook for the same amount of time on the other side, so that they become marked with lines of fire. black char on both sides. Depending on the size of your griddle or grill, you may need to do this in batches to achieve even charring. Once cooked, transfer to a heatproof mixing bowl.
In a bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil and honey, vinegar and spring onions, along with a pinch of salt. Tear the herbs and add them too. Mix, then check the balance of flavors and adjust as needed. Pour the dressing over the hot beans and gently toss everything together.
Arrange the seasoned beans on a serving platter. Brush the top with chunks of goat cheese, drizzle with petal confetti to finish, if using, and serve.
Zucchini Cake with Lime Buttercream
I’ll put plants in puddings with the slightest encouragement. And an abundance of zucchini, their bright trumpet blossoms winking at me like orange hazard lights in vegetable beds, is all the invitation I need. It’s a very simple cake, not as weird as it looks, and the answer to so many situations. Forget the buttercream and just dust it with icing sugar for eleven; or smooth buttercream frosting and decorate with flowers for a rustic party cake. The version below falls somewhere in between.
Time: 1h15 plus cooling time
For the cake:
120ml sunflower oil
175g sweet brown sugar
165g plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
175g zucchini, trimmed
Zucchini flowers, or any edible flowers, to finish (optional)
For the buttercream:
60 g softened unsalted butter 120 g icing sugar
1 lime, zest and juice, plus extra zest to finish
Preheat the oven to 195°C/175°C fan/thermostat 5½ and line a 21cm round cake tin with parchment paper.
Beat the eggs and sunflower oil in a bowl until combined. This is your wet mix. In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, baking powder and baking soda. It’s the dry mix. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon.
Grate the zucchini on the coarse side of a box grater, then squeeze out the excess water and add the zucchini graters to the mixture. Fold everything together.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and level the top. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from pan as soon as your fingers can handle it, then let cool completely on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, prepare the buttercream. Simply beat the butter and icing sugar together in a stand mixer until pale and fluffy. This will take several minutes. Add the lime zest, then gradually add the lime juice, beating well before adding the next squeeze of juice to prevent the mixture from coagulating.
Once the cake is completely cooled (and it must be stone cold or the buttercream will melt), place it on a cake stand or serving platter and spread the buttercream on top. Finish with a grating of lime zest and some edible flowers if you have some on hand. Zucchini flowers would be especially neat. The cake will keep for 2-3 days at room temperature and another day longer, although less gracefully, if then put in the refrigerator.
Miso Roasted Beet Poke Bowl
Lots of ingredients, but not too many hassles. The only real effort is in the sushi rice, which has a reputation for being delicate, but this method, taught to me at chef school, has never failed me. Once the rice and beet are dressed (which can be done ahead of time), all that remains is to add the embellishments. And don’t bother with all the balls – nori, spring onions, peanuts, shichimi togarashi – they all help bring out the earthy sweetness of the beets.
450 g whole raw beets
175g sushi rice
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon Japanese brown rice vinegar
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon shichimi togarashi
2 spring onions, sliced
30g unsalted peanuts, chopped 1 tsp nori nuggets
For the miso sauce:
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon dark brown muscovado sugar
2 teaspoons of white miso paste
4 teaspoons lime juice
1 teaspoon mirin
2 teaspoons Japanese brown rice vinegar
2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tsp sunflower oil
Preheat oven to 220C/200C fan/thermostat 7. Wrap each beet in aluminum foil, place on a baking sheet and roast for 1½ to 3 hours, depending on the size of your beets, or until tender. that they no longer resist a skewer inserted in their middle. Unpack the packages, then, once cool enough to handle, peel them and cut them into pieces. You can do this ahead of time or while you prepare the rest of the dish.
For the miso vinaigrette, simply mix everything together in a bowl, then pour it over the hot beet pieces.
Wash the sushi rice in a bowl of cold water. Drain in a colander and repeat at least twice until the wash water runs clear. After the last draining, put the rice in a saucepan with 225 ml of water and a pinch of salt, close the lid and bring to the boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and set a timer for 13 minutes. Don’t lift the lid, even though it’s very tempting, or you’ll lose the steam that cooks the rice.
After 13 minutes, turn off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes. This lid will start to look really appealing, but will stay sturdy until the 10 minutes are up, at which point you can remove the lid – hooray – and spill the rice onto a baking sheet. Mix the mirin and brown rice vinegar together, then pour it over the hot rice and stir, spreading the rice all over the tray as you do so. This helps it cool down quickly.
Mix the mayonnaise with the shichimi togarashi in a small bowl. Halve the avocado, pit it, peel it and cut it into slices, then pour a little lime juice over it to prevent it from browning (keep some of the lime intact for serving).
To assemble, divide the rice between 2 bowls, then spoon the beet miso over it. Add half a sliced avocado to each bowl and add a dollop of mayonnaise on the side. Finish with spring onions, peanuts and nori nuggets, and offer a squeezed piece of lime remaining on the side.
“From the Veg Patch” by Kathy Slack (Ebury Press, £25; photography by Kathy Slack).