It’s been three weeks since my last post which is rubbish on the blogging front. It does however mean that I’ve been busy on the work side of life which I guess is a good thing. Poorly timed though as this is when the garden has been sprouting out some top-notch produce.
We have feasted on courgettes, broccoli, dwarf green beans, kale and carrots a plenty. The beetroot is ready to be uprooted, and I’ve sown some more seeds to catch some later in the year. Our lettuce has pretty much all been munched and I’m missing that, but am plotting on sowing some more seeds in the next couple of days. I’m going to attempt the Arctic King again which likes a later sowing apparently (perhaps not as late as last year though). Also this month I’ve sown some radishes and spring onions, so we’ll see what happens to them. Oh and some mixed oriental leaves. Also, I’ve been giving my tomatoes a weekly feed and they seem to be growing quite well – I’m hoping to crop some cherry tomatoes very soon.
The one thing I’ve been having lots of trouble with are my chilli plants. They seem to have flowered and then the flowers just dropped off. Perhaps they aren’t meant to give fruit in the first year? Or should I be feeding them with something at some point? Too much water or too little? If anyone out there has had some chilli growing success, I would love to hear how it’s achieved. My Scotch Bonnet hasn’t flowered at all, so I reckon he’s saving himself for next year.
Right, now for the recipe which involves both kale and oregano from the garden. Also some scapes which are delicious.
If you haven’t come acorss them, here’s a little info; they come from the flowering stems of some types of garlic and to me they taste somewhere between garlic and spring onion (so could easily be replaced by them), they also have a little sweetness to them. You can fry them up in a little butter, steam them, chop them and add to salads or a lot of people seem to make pesto with them. And as an added bonus they seem to keep in the fridge for ages.
Ingredients (serves 1, but quantities can easily be multiplied)
1 tablespoon olive oil
60g chorizo, chopped
3 scapes, roughly chopped
50g kale, roughly chopped
3 sprigs oregano, leaves picked
1/2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 duck egg, poached *(see note on poaching at the end)
Heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium to high heat and add the chorizo, fry for about three minutes until it’s beginning to look a little crispy. Lower the heat a touch and add the scapes, kale and oregano and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Finally add the sherry vinegar and let cook for about 30 seconds.
Pile onto a plate and top with the duck egg. Eat immediately and serve with some crusty bread.
There are a few fairly simple rules I like to follow when it comes to poaching an egg – it seems to be one of those subjects that everyone has a different opinion on, but here’s what works for me:
Use really fresh eggs and the colder the better. Heat a large pan of water with a good few generous splashes of vinegar. Let it come up to a really big bubbly boil. Crack the egg into a ramekin and then immediately slide into the pan, trying to make it land on one of the big bubbles. Once it looks like the white has set around the yolk, turn the water down to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes for a nice runny yolk. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl of cold water. Trim it a little with a pair of scissors if you want it to look really perfect. You can either serve it straight away, or reheat in a pan of boiling water when you’re ready to eat it (very useful if you want a few poached eggs).
Failing having super fresh and cold eggs, here’s a nifty trick that excellent Home Economist Nicole Herft taught me. Bring the vinegary water to the boil and then roll the egg round the pan (in its shell obviously), once clockwise and once anticlockwise. Get the pan back to a rolling boil and then crack the egg in and proceed as before. It basically sets the egg a tiny bit so that it holds its shape better once in the water. Genius!