It turns out that the garden did not miss me at all while I was on holiday, in fact, I’d say it positively thrived. I guess things just want to grow and they go for it, which certainly makes my life easier. The story wasn’t quite the same inside, I think I was lucky with all the rain going on outside, but when we got home everything indoors looked very thirsty – the tomato seedlings are still happy enough and the courgettes are just beginning to sprout. The saddest thing of all though is that my chilli plant looks very depressed and I don’t fancy my chances at being able to revive it.
On to a happier note though, the purple sprouting broccoli I sowed last February (2011) is ripe for the picking and it’s delicious.
It’s incredibly satisfying to have been growing something for this long and for it to work and taste amazing – less bitter than any store bought stuff and much more tender. Luckily, I’m just in time to plant some more for next year so I’m going to do it this week and I urge you ALL to go ahead and grow some yourself, it’s seriously worth it and nice to have something cropping early.
I remember Ottolenghi pairing Purple Sprouting Broccoli along the lines somewhere – I think at NOPI – with Skordalia (a greek dipping sauce) and it works a treat so I’ve stolen his idea for that and made some to go with this salad – the rocket was also from our garden, well the window box outside our bedroom, and it’s peppery and punchy.
I then took some inspiration from another great chef, Frankie at Luscious Organic, and threw in some hemp seeds which she had brilliantly combined with a salad I had there last weekend. I didn’t realise how tasty they could be. Here’s the recipe for the Skordalia:
150g potatoes, peeled and chopped
25g ground almonds
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1-2 tsps red wine vinegar
50ml olive oil
50ml extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Add the potato and cook until tender. Drain and then return to the heat for about 15 seconds to steam dry. Place in a food processor / blender with the almonds, garlic and vinegar. Blitz until you have a nice smooth puree. With the motor running, slowly pour in the oils – as slowly as if you were making a mayonnaise – so it emulsifies. Mine was still a little too thick at this stage so I blitzed in 50ml water to loosen it a little. It should be a little thicker than mayonnaise. Season and serve with whatever you fancy, in this case a steamed purple sprouting broccoli, rocket, cherry tomatoes and toasted hemp seed salad. Yum.