This is the 3rd year that I have harbored dreams of growing our own, of being able to say ‘These veg?, oh yes they came from garden, dreams sadly almost dead , dashed thanks to the army of slugs which attack my little patch every evening, multiplying themselves by factors beyond my mathematical ability and seemingly immune to the pots of beer and slug pellets I try dispel them with. I’m inundated with suggestions but I do draw the line at the person who suggested I go out each evening with a garden scissors and snip the buggers – even I couldn’t bring myself to do that.
So, instead I shop and bypass the more wintery vegetables in favour of lighter summer styles which are in abundance right now – (someone has solved the slug problem and I just need to know their secret). These recipes are full of summer flavours, light and easy to eat whether with fish or meat. Perfect outdoors eating and quick to prepare so you can get out in the garden after work. The spice butter and pomegranate molasses are staples in my house and they are great to add a little interest to salads and vegetables. And so, while I don’t have any produce from my own garden,I did at least get the chilli from my plant on the windowsill which the slugs haven’t worked out yet how to reach.
Griddled Bok Choi with Spiced Butter
Serves 2-3 people
2 Heads of Bok Choi – wash and keep root intact
2 oz butter
1 tbsp Ras El Hanout spice mix or any dried spice mix you like to use
Drizzle of olive oil
Salt and pepper
Trip the top leaves from the bok choi, roll up like a cigar and shred, then set aside
Cut the remaining bok choi into 1/4’s keeping root intact so it does not fall apart
Mix the butter, oil and spice until it is soft and spreadable
Season the cut sides of the bok choi then spread with the spice butter
Heat griddle pan until very hot (Open all the windows)
Place the bok choi cut side down on the pan and cook until lovely and golden, with griddle marks then flip over and continue to cook on the other side until almost tender with a little
bite. Remove from the pan to a service plate.
Add the shredded leaves with a drizzle of oil and flash for a minute on the pan then remove to the serving plate.
A final dash of seasoning and serve.
Tomato and Green Bean salad with Pomegranate dressing
4 ripe tomatoes deseeded and finely diced
1 red onion finely diced
1 red chilli deseeded (if you wish) and finely diced
2 handful of green beans, blanched for 3 minutes and chopped into small pieces
1 tsp sumac
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper
Combine all the dressing ingredients and mix well.
Add all the vegetables to a bowl and cover with the dressing and leave for about 15 minutes for the flavour to develop. Taste and adjust for seasoning then serve.