Slow-Cooked Borlotti Beans

Image of a basket of borlotti beans

I love these pink-speckled climbing beans. They’re a big favourite in Italy and with good reason. Cooked, they have a creamy centre while holding their shape, although sadly their freckles disappear and they turn a rather uninteresting brown. The ones we planted in the garden aren’t cropping yet but they are available in the shops.

I first tasted a version of this recipe in the kitchen of the excellent Pea Porridge in Bury St Edmund’s Continue reading

The Aigua Blava Cookbook #6: Revuelta de Espárragos

Image of Suffolk eggs and asparagus in Spain

My father-in-law would have been proud of me. When his children were young he would drive home from their holiday cottage to raid the garden for sweetcorn, runner beans, tomatoes, potatoes …

Admittedly he didn’t have far to go but I think he’d have been tickled that we took our home-grown asparagus and our hens’ eggs all the way to Spain last week.  Continue reading

Shaved Asparagus Salad

Image of freshly-picked asparagus

New season English asparagus is naturally sweet and grassy and is just as good raw as cooked. Try it this way with fresh, raw broad beans and peas in a lemony, creamy vinaigrette and sprinkle over a handful of quickly sizzled smoked pancetta as I did, or dollops of soft goats’ cheese. Continue reading

Rhubarb and Orange Friands

I’m a pushover for any cake that contains ground almonds and if fruit is involved too, I’m a goner. Friands are best eaten on the day they’re made but I think you’ll find that isn’t a problem. They vanish faster than you can say rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb. (Yes, yes, I know rhubarb isn’t technically a fruit.)

I made these for a dessert but they’re equally good for elevenses, or threeses or fourses if you’re having an afternoon cuppa. Continue reading

Rhubarb and Pomegranate Jelly

Image of rhubarbThis is English jelly, the wibbly sort, not American jam/jelly. I was at a lunch recently where an apple jelly was part of the dessert and it was delicious, tart like a Granny Smith and with just the right amount of tremulous wobbliness.

It occurred to me that if you made it with rhubarb instead, you’d get a double return because after straining off the juice for the jelly, you could use the rhubarb to make a fool. If you’re feeling particularly profligate you could even serve the two together.  Continue reading

Gammon with Spiced Pears

Image of Fruit Book and Big Red Book of Tomatoes

I’ve been meaning to write a post about books for gluts, the best cookery books to have on hand if you have a lot of garden produce and are running out of creative ways to use it up. But I never get any further than these two essential volumes. Continue reading

Quince and Apple Tart

Image of quince growing on tree

One of the most anticipated harvests in our garden, right up there with the first asparagus crop, is the quince. These fuzzy yellow fruits have a fabulously perfumed aroma and taste, once cooked, as good as they smell. Small wonder that they were once sacred to Aphrodite, the goddess of love. And if you fall out with your beloved you can always use them as missiles, because when they’re raw they are rock hard. Continue reading

Saffron and Ginger Pears with Orange Posset

Image of pear tree

Ripening pears picked from the tree is a tricky business and one I’m still trying to master. Often they go wrinkly without ripening into slippery, honeyed perfection, so as I can’t bear waste I often end up poaching them instead. The advantage of this is that they soften and sweeten in the syrup of your choice and if you have too many you can bottle them to eat over the winter. Continue reading