Kitchen garden revisited

Although I’m happy to see the end of the rain for now (the weeds think it was just divine), it has meant a significant bloom in my garden which I’m wishfully hoping will encourage my veggies to leap into action.

And thankfully my herbs have heeded to that plea and headed skywards.

I’m sure I’ve waffled on before but I am passionate about my desire for an extension in some way, of the kitchen into the garden, creating a continuous unbroken road of food from earth to table and table leftovers to replanting in the ground.

From something that can start as mere seeds from last years crop, to snippets of existing plants (and delighting in my neighbour’s wayward rosemary hedgerow), the kitchen garden can be whatever and however big and grand or tiny and surprising as you wish to make it.

So I’m thinking of some delectable, desirable dishes to use up the flurry of oregano, rosemary, coriander, parsley and basil playing home to my garden for this year.

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Smell and the fragrant kitchen

I think smell is one of the essential kitchen ingredients. It is so personal, so specific, so definite, it makes or breaks our taste buds.

It is defined by seasons, mood and whether you’re in the moment.

It can be the herbs you delicately shred into a meal, the sweet baked cake calling you from the oven, to the overnight marinade bursting with flavour set to come alive in your mouth.

What defines a perfect smell in your humble kitchen?

Fusion: An explosion of texture & taste

In my culinary opinion, the concept of fusion is very underused in the modern kitchen – fusion entails a combination of ingredients that perhaps might be frowned upon as ‘not fitting conventional recipe’ notions. But surely this is something to embrace?

It is also a wonderful way of using leftover ingredients to ensure food waste is kept to an uttermost minimal.

A salad combination, although unseasonal as the winter draws nearer and when we actually prefer a bit of warmth, does however, provide a great side dish.

What you need is a decent handful of rocket (adds warmth and peppery spice), some peeled orange sections (for that citrus and sweetness burst), pomegranate seeds (if not for anything other than their sweet, bejewelled tones) and some small torn chunks of Greek feta cheese (for that essential creaminess to help balance the other textures and tastes).

The ingredients are nothing new and I certainly haven’t reinvented the wheel. But this is a side dish that is just asking to be plonked kindly alongside a main dish of Mediterranean lamb or homemade rustic pizza (as was my own choice this morning). It makes me wish summer was around the corner!

Have you created your own salad from leftovers? Would love if you could share your experience.

Happy eating x

A rather romantic stroll in the market

I have an idealistic view of the culinary world that thankfully I can spend all I want (and all day in my head) where I visit romantic European outdoor markets and country stalls in my dreams.

The idea of fresh fruit, veggies, bread and pastries, wandering the many stalls crammed with cheeses and colourful fresh flowers.

I have luckily been to an actual few over the years – Rome being among my favourite; dried herbs patted around the outdoor tents, strands of egg pasta, plastic crates packed to the high with glossy vegetables.

The fresh look of produce, the passion and drive of stall holders in their many and the array of choice is a novelty I don’t feel I have locally to me.

If only Rome could come to Luton!

Share with us what your market dream would be and I will gladly keep the dream alive…

Bringing the outside inside

The Kitchen Garden concept is an essential part of my cooking and I urge it to be yours if possible too.

By growing herbs (and vegetables when and where I can) in the small space we retain outside our flat, I adore the development in watching seeds burst and grow to become a fully-fledged ingredient.

I encourage whatever space you have to use as your outdoor kitchen.

The fresh smell of wafting herbs around the home can conjure up an utter sense of relaxation (and a rumbling tummy).

Do you have a Kitchen Garden and a photo you would like to share?