Recipe for pointy cabbage

This works with any cabbage leaves but spring or pointy work well as does January King.

You will need one pointy cabbage ( the central bits not the thick leaves), one garlic clove ( a segment) crushed, about 50 grams thinly sliced chorizo or about 3 cms of Hungarian spicy sausage (Waitrose)- chopped up into small cubes – about 3 mm square

Wash and slice the cabbage into thin strips, if it has a thick vein – cut this out and just use the leafy bits.  Heat some oil in a Wok or large saucepan, I use olive oil but any will do. Add the chorizo or spicy sausage and quickly stir fry- the pan will start smoking and the meat will crisp up.  Add some crushed sliced garlic- about one segments per cabbage and quickly stir, before it turns brown add all the chopped washed cabbage. Take care as the water on the cabbage will cause the oil to spit.  Stir for one to two minutes until the cabbage has wilted a bit. I like my cabbage quite crunchy but if you like it softer then keep in in the pan for a bit longer. Add a small amount or ground pepper and serve. It goes well with buttered new potatoes, roast potatoes or on its own.  As a variation start by frying an onion until it is nearly soft then follow the recipe.

Vegetarians or those without the spicy meats needed can just use a chilli, thinly sliced with or without seeds if you want hot or not so hot.

Chippings and fences

The Parish Council ground staff have been busy. All the clippings from the hedges bushes they have been pruning have been chipped and our very weedy access path has now been well and truly mulched. The problem is that it made my end allotment look rather odd- with no definable edge. Luckily one of my allotment neighbours has some spare wire which was just long enough to fence in the side open to the path. I am now on the scrounge for more wire for both ends. The post are not as upright as they could be as we are on a hill and I found it very difficult to keep things completely true. Still it all is secure and forms a nice border.

Courgettes and runner beans a plenty;  lettuces, carrots and shallots all doing well. My first potatoes have been dug and eaten- about 10kg from the 5 plants growing between the legs of the runner bean plants

I have also planted some Cavalo Nero for the winter- on of my favourites. It is protected by another of my net cloches. I could not bring myself to remove the regrown Tom thumb lettuce which has stated to sprout again.

What to do with the produce?

Here are some simple recipes that I have been using over the last few weeks with the allotment harvest.
Unfortunately I forgot to take any photos before I ate the food. I suppose this proves how great it was.
All these recipes are for two people and can be scaled up. If I have inadvertently borrowed your recipe, please let me know and I will give full credit.

1. Stuffed Courgette  flowers based on a recipe from the River Cottage Handbook No 4 Veg Patch

Slowly fry until softened but not brown a finely chopped onion then add
3-4 small courgettes, cut into small pieces, salt and cook until soft. Add to the softened mixture a small clove of crushed garlic and cook for a minute or so.  Take the pan off the heat and allow to cool a little.
Make a batter of  about 100 ml cold fizzy water, 75 g flour – I use 00 Italian white plain flour as it is very fine and can be mixed with the water easily, add a pinch of salt and the yolk of an egg, beat with a whisk until a fine smooth batter like emulsion paint.- refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Carefully part fill a deep pan with frying oil – I use olive oil but groundnut would work. A deep fat fryer would also work.  Heat the oil to around 180c – Watch it and take care not to set fire to anything or spill it.

While the oil is heating – do keep watching the oil during this to avoid setting fire to the Kitchen! Using courgette flowers (either the male ones or any that were on the end of the courgettes themselves), gently spoon in the fried courgette and onion mixture and lightly twist the petal tips to close the flower. Once all the flowers have been filled  ( 6-10 depending on the size of courgette), take the batter, whisk then dip each stuffed flower in the batter and immediately add to the hot oil. Only cook 2-3 at a time. They will be golden in about a minute, remove onto kitchen towel to drain and put in the next three flowers until the are all cooked. Put on a serving place, lightly  sprinkle with salt and serve

2. Spicy green beans
This is a quick and tasty way to use all those runner or french beans

Take a handful of beans- around 200grams, top and tail, then chop up to around 3cms long. French beans can be left whole if you prefer. Heat some olive oil in a pan or wok and when hot put in the beans and quickly stir. Add 1 teaspoon of ground cumin seed and 1/2 tea spoon of hot paprika – smoked works best.
Stir and add a crushed and chopped clove of garlic. The garlic and spices will coat the beans. After about a minute, add some tomatoes, either finely chopped fresh or tinned or passata. Just enough to coat the beans- around 100 grams. Cook until the beans are as soft as you want and the tomato is a paste.

3. Stuffed marrow or overlarge courgette.

Quantities vary with the size of the marrow but I used this amount for a marrow that was about 35 cms long and two courgettes which were each about  25 cms

Heat some olive oil in a pan or wok and add a finely chopped onion, turn down the heat and cook until the onion is soft- about 15-20 mins.  Add  about 200gms of mince- lamb, pork or beef  and cook until brown. Vegetarians can add finely chopped mushroom instead of the meat.  when cooked remover from the heat  and add around 100 gms of bread crumbs and  if you have it  a good handful of fresh origano and parsley. The mix in an egg , stir together.

Cut off the ends of the marrow and slice horizontallly down the middle. Scoop out the seeds and the stringy bits around the seeds.  Using a larg preferally low lipped dish or tin, loosly line with foil which should be oiled or buttered on the inside ( for you to put the marrow on).
Fill the cavity of both halves of the marrow with stuffing and smooth down. put the two halves together and tie around with cotton string. put onto the buttered foil and make the foil into an envelope loosley around the marrow. Put in the oven at 180 C for around an hour until the marrow is soft and the juices have started to run into the bottom of the foil.

To serve, carefuly remove the marrow from the foil onto a serving plate, cut the string and remove and cut the marrow in rounds each with some suffing inside. Eat with new potatoes or rice.

If you have any left over, refrigerate for up to 2 days.   Slice up in rounds and lay in a gratin dish. cover in chopped tomato or passata and grate a thick layer of cheese over the top. Bake in oven  for around 30 mins at 200 until the cheese has melted and browned. If it take too long put under the grill to finish off. Most hard cheeses will work. I tend to use Cheddar.

4. Lebanese Moussaka
This is very tasty and does not have any cheese or dairy based sauce.

Cut up one medium sized aubergine, first in half  then into slices- you should be able to get 6-8 slices per aubergine.  Heat some olive or groundnut oil in a saucepan or deep fat fyer until it is 180 C. Fry the aubergine until goldern brown- it is best to do 3- 4 slices at a time and then drain on kitchen paper.
Chop up one onion and fry in a pan until soft then add two crushed, chopped cloves of garlic and 3/4 of a can of tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Line a gratin dish with the aubergine, then cover with cooked chickpeas – I use a tin of brown chick peas. Cover the chickpeas with the tomato, onion and garlic mixture and finally cover with thin slices of tomato, drizzel with olive oil and a light twist of salt and pepper and put in the oven at 180 C for around an hour but check after 40 minutes to ensure that it has not dried out. The Tomatoes on top should be soft and beginning to brown and everything else should be soft and succulent. Can be eaten hot, warm or cold.

>Allotment 17- more harvest and lots of weeding

>The last few weeks have been spent digging up comfrey, nettles and thistles which seem to grow as you watch. With such dry weather watering has been necessary every evening, which is fun to do but is playing havoc with my work shoes.

I have been harvesting lots of courgettes and runner beans, load of lettuce, radish and red chard and one or two more exotics such as kohl rabi, aubergine and two very small globe artichokes.