I have been thinking about this lunch for almost a year now. As soon as we moved in, plans were being hatched for our small terraced garden and it was definitely growing veg that we had our hearts set on. We somewhat over eagerly thought we might see fruit a little earlier, but the first lettuces failed so dismally and for a short period I thought I was perhaps the least green fingered person in London. Now this worried me a little because one of my food heroes, Raymond Blanc, says in his wonderful autobiography A Taste of My Life that it is as important to have a good garden as it is good food. He goes on to say: ‘Gastronomy often goes wrong when the chef fails to connect with this fundamental truth.’ I was in fear of letting him down and never truly understanding the root of my food. To quash this fear I blindly soldiered on with the if at first you don’t succeed… mentality. I am hugely relieved to say that I have just been proved that perseverance pays off.
For lunch today, we harvested – if can you call picking three radishes ‘harvesting’ – our first radishes and in salute to Monsieur Blanc they were of the French Breakfast variety – the longer, more elegant looking ones. Along with those, I picked some rocket, parsley, oregano and mint. The final ingredient was not from our garden, but special enough to warrant inclusion – and it was some delicious Jersey Royals brought fresh from island yesterday by James.
The recipe, if you can call it that, goes like this:
300g jersey royals (boiled until tender with a few sprigs of mint)
3 radishes (thinly sliced)
a few sprigs of parsley and the same again of oregano (chopped).
a handful of rocket
Mix it all together. We dressed ours with a dressing made from my fennel vinegar and olive oil – but a lemon and olive oil dressing would be great too. Season and serve.
Delicious and simple. The radishes tasted like radishes! I couldn’t believe it. The rocket tasted like rocket. Again, for some reason I was fairly astounded. They were both more peppery than the shop bought equivalent and the radishes had a little added sweetness that was a real bonus. It was all just brilliantly fresh. We had it on its own, but James reckons it’d be great with some smoked fish and I think he’s got a point! I can’t wait for the next thing to be ripe for the picking.