Monday, December 31, 2012

Lemon Geranium Custard Cream

Lemon Geranium Pelargonium crispum

 this is my new favourite dessert or dessert accompaniment. it brings the unexpected geranium leaf into the kitchen and not just the window sill, the flavour remains lemony familiar but with a hint of the exotic.

my lemon geranium plant was given to me as a cutting from my friends plant, earlier this year. i had seen a recipe for rose geranium cream in the cookbook: Tartine, from the now famous Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. the recipe itself got me thinking, why not lemon geranium as a substite? im not suoer wild about heavy rose flavours in my desserts anyway. the result was an exciting flavour reminiscent of a lemony turkish delight. its great alongside any sponge cake or as a filling for tarts.

hot milk steeping with geranium leaves

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Pumpkin Fudge

i've still got one medium sized pumpkin in the kitchen from this fall's harvest. after awhile pondering what i might make with it, i recalled a particular recipe for Parsnip Vanilla Fudge from the book: Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache, by Harry Eastwood. the book specializes in cakes made with vegetables and low fat, usually wheat free recipes. and guess what? the recipes work! which is great for  gluten free cooking enthusiasts, especially when every recipe uses veg in some way. for those of you used to gluten free baking: you may know some recipes have a tendency to be 'bricklike' and dry. but the clever addition of grated vegetables in Harry's recipes yield moist and light baking.

you don't need much pumpkin for this recipe, so count on making a nice pumpkin curry afterwards.

 the authour has a whimsical way of writing recipes, refering to cakes and their individual personalities like they are a part of a story book. which can hit hard on the annoying scale, but if you can over look this then, you are well on your way to exciting baking. the book is well worth the shelf space.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Wheat Berry Risotto with Beetroot and Blue cheese

this time of year is always busy down in the bakery where i work, and this week the orders are flooding in for christmas. so updating the blog has been put on the back burner. sad, but true. i am always thinking about new recipes, though. i've tried out a few ideas, some good, some not so good. i'm looking forward to a whole queue of posts i'm lining up like: pumpkin fudge, lemon geranium custard (my new favourite dessert!), and more on our knobbly giant friend - celeriac. so stay tuned in after christmas!

im revisiting one of my favourite ingredients in this recipe: beetroot. earlier this autumn i dedicated 3 posts to the bold vegetables, if you missed the posts you can read them here, here, and here. has anyone tried the beetroot gin and tonic? they're perfect for christmas parties, and festively coloured!beetroot are really the only things left out in the garden, with some rainbow chard, kale and a handful of broccolli plants. there's quite a few spots opening up and i've begun thinking about the spring whats going where. once christmas passes i'll dive more into it, and post the 2013 garden layout.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cookbook Review: Flour Water Salt Yeast: the Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza

it's taken me awhile to write this post. mainly because of all the research and baking i've done with while reading this book! im well on my way to my fourth bread recipe, and i can't wait for the next baking day at home.

i bought Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast: the fundamentals of artisan bread and pizza, after searching for new baking books to read. the name instantly jumped out at me, for obvious reasons! it seems we (the authour and I) were on the same wavelength, as far as titling our projects go! after a a little detective work,  i realized i've actually been to the bakery this book hails from and indulged in their lovely breads. it was serendipty. i bought the book immediately, with baking and a book review in mind. i'm so glad i did.

the concept: 'flour water salt yeast' is highly apt for the art of bread baking, taking a few simple good ingredents with the help of invisible microrganisms and fermentation creates- bread! the alchemy of bread never ceases to amaze. in this book, the recipes rarely stray from the above 4 ingredients, except for the 'Pan au Bacon,' but who can leave out bacon?

Sweet Potato and Pear Pizza

Ken's Artisan Bakery is run by Ken Forkish, who studied at the San Francisco Baking Institute, he also apprenticed with renowned bread baker, Chad Robertson, of Tartine Bakery (san francisco).  Ken opened his doors in 2001, in Portland, Oregon. the bakery specializes in long fermented breads with high hydration content and well rounded flavour. these breads have been adored since they were first baked in the bakery 11 years ago. since then, Ken has opened a pizza spot, there are 4 different pizza base recipes in the book to choose from, and are equally as delicious as the bread recipes.

bread recipes in ths book are wetter than most and require folding, rather than kneading
since getting the book i've read it front to cover and baked three bread recipes - two with commercial yeast  and the other sourdough. being a long time baker myself, i went for a sourdough recipe (Country Brown), and since then, i've been short on time, tried out the simpler recipes (the Saturday White Bread and White Bread with Poolish). every recipe has been memorable and highly addictive.

i love Ken's in-depth writing style and way his book is meant to bring newcomers to the joys of bread baking. by starting small (with one day recipies) and working up to intermediate, then advanced recipes - some taking days to prepare, this book is for everyone wanting to bake bread. the chapters and recipes are written in a timeline from easy to advanced, so you can work your way through the book, like a bread cookery course. after which you should be a bread baking master, there's 19 recipes in all! most of the bread recipes provide handy timelines for the working person to go by, so you don't have to be home the whole day waiting for your bread to rise, like the 'saturday white bread', (which im getting ready to take out the oven as we speak), this bread was developed for days when you need bread fresh bread in a few hours, begining at 9:30 am and finishing the bread at 5:00pm in the evening.

shaping the wet doughs into loaves
the book itself is broken down into four parts. Part 1 being an introduction to bread baking and the tools needed. Part 2 is a collection of 'Basic Bread' recipes, like straight doughs, and breads made with pre-ferments. following onto the more the advanced Part 3: levain bread recipes, with understanding the levain (sourdough) method in hybrid and pure levain breads, as well as making your own sourdough from scratch. Part 4, contains 3 chapters dedicated to the art of pizza and focaccia making, favouring homebaked pizzas baked with a super high heat and pizza stones.

baking with a cast iron dutch oven
when attempting the bread recipes in this book do try and seek out a cast iron dutch oven to bake in. this is a much celebrated method of home bread baking, and is essential to creating a crust with crispy caramel colouring. breads such as these rely on steam captured in ovens to allow the loaf to rise thouroughly in the oven, and gelatinize starches in the crust. it may sound complicated, but in practice the bread does all the work for you! this method has been adopted by many professional bakers and written about in books like, The Bread Builders, and Tartine Bread. everyone should do it! look at the bread you could end up with! it's amazing.

Saturday White Bread

the final conclusion is: i'm totally inspired by this book. f you're interested n everything there is to know about bread or want to learn how to make better bread, this is the book for you. the recipes may take some time to finish, but really only involve minutes of actual active time, wth stunning results!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Wasabi Deviled Eggs

today is one of those days where the skies just open up and let loose. its absolutely bucketing down here, and my hens are probably wishing they were ducks, huddled up in the corner of their shelted pens. so, in honour of them im bringing this recipe to the table. it's a bit of a dinner party stand by, has a lot of room for improvising and has family memories that come with it.

it's that time of year for dinner parties, and being american myself, this season kicks off with a bang - Thanksgiving. my sister has (without fail) produced amazing thanksgiving dinners for upwards of 20 people every year. there's something about the dinner that instantly recalls back to memory the years of thanksgiving dinners, the memories of family and friends getting together, and giving thanks. much like christmas dinner does here in ireland. but, in my family, thanksgiving is always a bigger dinning event. chistmas eve being the second big dinner and chistmas day a more intimate family day lunch. this may seem odd to some but traditions are usually always biased, and im partial to mine!

with all these parties to consider, and the heaps of food required for these dinners, there's always three things im asked to make. every year. they are: cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, and Deviled Eggs. i can make anything in addition to these sides, but these, are 'traditionally' mine to make.

deviled eggs are hard boiled eggs that are halved and the yolks are blended with a mixture of mustard, something acidic, something spicy, and a touch of seasoning. this mixture is then piped back into the halved eggs and garnished, most commonly with paprika and curly parsley. deviled eggs and many other 'retro'  foods are getting a new lease of life, with: deviled quails eggs, green curry deviled eggs and bloody mary deviled eggs - these wasabi ones meet the modern mark on a retro canape.

my first deviled egg memories are of my grandmother, Geraldine, who was a natural entertainer. she loved food and get-togethers. as a child i can remember always being attracted to the mustardy eggs and their wiggly soft texture. probably eating far more than my share, but when you're a kid, and you like something- fair is subjective. my grandmother died when i was 6 so these types of memories are held quite dear, they usually all revolve around eating (funny, huh?): my first ketchup with scrambled eggs, discovering fresh papya, bread n' butter pickles, canned peaches, fresh curly parsley growing from the garden, and ambrosia salad. if i was only old enough to try the cocktails at her parties!

there is a key to making good, easy to peel, hard boiled eggs. the eggs need to be 'not so fresh.' aged, rather. which, if you are like me and pride yourself on the freshest eggs around, this is a tough egg to crack. most grocery store eggs are going to be a week old or older so will probably do. i recently discover from, a local egg producer, that eggs can last for 3 months! but the health department, in all their wisdom, only allow 28 days from being laid to being sold. so, its up to you to decide when to toss em. the consensus is: if the egg floats in water it's bad.

 i would by eggs as close to their 'sell by date' as possible for deviled eggs. the reason being is: an older egg has more a bit more oxygen inside its shell, from a longer absorbtion period. making the egg (once cooked), much easier to peel away from the shell. peeling fresh eggs is a nightmare and usually results in multiple crumbly throw aways. it is still possible to get a peeled egg from a fresh one, just more time consuming.

i brought these Wasabi Deviled Eggs to our Thanksgiving Dinner last thursday. they went down a treat, the wasabi adds that needed kick to the eggs, while the subtle cooling cucmber garnish mellows the flavours. wasabi is a member of the brassica family (cabbage, brocolli, mustard, etc.) and is generally called japanese horseradish, as its native to japan. but funnily enough its not of the horseradish species (which shares the same family) at all! the flavour is very similar, if not more potent, as the more familiar horseradish. you'll usually find wasabi in more well known sushi dishes as a condiment.

have fun at your next dinner party!


Wasabi Deviled Eggs
Makes 24

'classic' deviled eggs have a mixture filled with dijon mustard, minced shallots, tabasco and mayonaise; garnished with paprika. but, let your mind run wild for filling additions! for a  'bloody mary' spin try using: horseradish, worchestire sauce, lemon juice, tabasco and celery salt - garnish with finely chopped tomato, black pepper and a splash of vodka! for green curry ones try: green curry paste and lime juice with a coriander sprig garnish.

1 dozen hard boiled eggs, cooled

2 tablespoons wasabi paste
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 tablesppons fresh ginger, minced super fine
3 large spoonfulls of store bought mayonaise

1/4 cucumber, de-seeded and finely chopped
rice wine vinegar
chilli flakes
chives, finely chopped
  • take all but the chives for your garnish and toss together with enough rice wine vinegar to coat the cucmber pieces. set aside.
  • peel your hard boiled eggs. i do this under a running sink tap. tap them to loosen the shells.
  • dry the eggs, once peeled with kitchen paper.
  • halve you eggs with a sharp knife and remove the yolks into a mixing bowl. set the halved whites on a serving platter.
  • with a fork or whisk mash your egg yolks till smooth. add the rest of the ingreidents for the filling, mix till combined. taste the filling and adjust with what you feel it needs. we're looking for a balance of flavours, and a nice kick.
  • fill a piping bag or freezer bag with the end snipped, fitted with a star piping tip, with your filling. and pipe rosettes into the egg white 'shells'
  • garnish with your cucumber garnish, and chopped chives.
  • chill until ready to serve.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Homemade Sour Apple Vodka

im to the point of being obsessed with infused spirits, last year it was foraged blackberries and a spiced quince vodka. this year im trying out my own sour apple vodka for Sour Apple Martini's, click here for the recipe. homemade infused spirits are simple to make, time and aggitation (a good shake) are the key - my quince vodka from last year hasn't stopped improving since it was ready for consumption. 6 weeks seems to be the consensus for good flavour when infusing spirits, but a month is perfectly alright.
this year's theme is 'apples,' our cupboards are filled with a mass of infusing spirits. we've got damsons stewing away alongside, apple and cinnamon, plain apples, apple and clove and of course this Sour Apple Vodka.

a few more ideas on my infusing to-do list are: black pepper vodka for bloody mary's, cucumber gin for gin and tonics, pear brandy for well - pear brandy, rosemary vodka for a winter martini, mint whiskey for mint juleps.... its endless: ginger, pineapple, elderflower, horseradish, pumpkin, spices, herbs, fruit, leaves, brownbread (?), cardboard (?) - why not? ok, maybe those last two were a bit adventurous.

the idea is: any spirit can be infused and anything can be used to infuse it. homemade spirits are a great gift too, and are sure to be consumed and disappear. solving that age old dilema, what can i get that person that won't just sit on a shelf collecting dust? infused homemade booze is as good as it gets.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Leeks Vinaigrette with Hazelnut Oil and Ummera Smoked Bacon

Leeks Vinaigrette

gardens across the northern hemisphere are winding down. my garden has slowly become a shadow of its former self, with the beans gone and the courgettes wilted. the strong specimens of the brassica family are standing with a few less leaves from the recent windstorm. the rainbow chard has been reluctant to grow new shoots, and the lettuces will be moving into a cold frame soon enough.

winter cabbage plant with leek seedling and curly kale in background

its all fine because i've planned ahead this year and decided to have a go at a winter veg plot. usually i have a few chard plants left or some leeks but never planted with winter in mind. i found a great book on the subject, How to Grow Winter Vegetables by Charles Dowding, it has absolutely all the information you'll ever need on the subject. as well as a chapter on 'No-Dig' gardening which i'm keen to have a go at next spring.

my winter veg patch at present

most of my winter veg plants were a bit late going in but seem to be braving the elements well. i picked up curly kale, winter cauliflower and winter cabbage at the Mahon Point Farmer's Market in August. they sat outside till september when they finally had room in the veg plot, after the spuds.
i also started leeks indoors and interplanted raddichio treviso and 'pixie' cabbage between the rows.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Stuffed Dumpling Squash with Chorizo and Rocket Salad

on one of my seed buying frenzies i grabbed a packet of Sweet Dumpling Squash seeds. not knowing really what they would turn out like, i figured they were a winter squash, all the packet said was "unsual light and dark striped skin with flesh of creamy orange. perfect for stuffing or cooking whole." so i guessed i couldn't go too wrong. once they were in the poly tunnel - happily growing away, i did some research. i read they were actually summer squash, but then i read they were winter squash. so i was confused, once harvested they seemed to be a bit of both. they have stored really well since i harvested them in september, and that puts them more in the winter squash genre, in my mind. i was worried i'd end up with too many squash going off all at once, like some of my courgettes (summer squash). this wasn't the case, as im staring at three plump firm specimens as i write this. after cooking their flesh turns soft and creamy, i look forward to growing more of these next year!
after eyeing up recipes for stuffed squash i decided to stuff my lil' dumplings with my new favourite ingredient from the bakery/deli. its a fresh chorizo iberico, which means the black iberian pigs were fed on acorns from oak trees for a period and also that it requires cooking before eating, unlike cured chorizos. its pretty rich and requires no oil for sauteing, the internal oils do all the work, yum! i also grabbed some st. tola organic goats cheese, creme fraiche. the rocket (or arugula) i got from my weekly C.S.A box from Kinsale Green Growers. the flavours melded together wonderfully, and one sweet dumpling squash happily fed two people, it would be perfect for 6-8 as a side dish too.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Perfect Poached Eggs with Homemade Ketchup

i've been waiting awhile before dropping the 'chicken bomb'. for those of you that don't know me, i have to tell you - im an obsessed chicken person, i admit it. im currently caring for 12 chickens (3 cockrels and 9 hens + 2 baby chicks!)! its becoming a bit O.T.T. but im getting a handle on my chicken collecting. i just love having hens around and then buying new ones! i don't want to be going on and on about my hens and how lovely they are or all of their names or what breeds they are, but i have to warn you now, i probably will! so if this kinda thing bores you, skip ahead to the recipe!

a Faverolles breed

this is my first year caring for chickens.  and since im the sort of person that has to do everything from scratch, chickens came naturally. (as well as, growing vegetables and baking!) so, why not have my own free-range organic chickens to lay eggs? we'll im finding there's alot more to it, and i've gone the whole learning curve since bringing home my first few hens in march. researching breeds, hatching chicks, caring for sick hens, buying new hens, meeting new chicken people, travelling to markets, raising chicks ...... all of it.

surprisingly im finding after all that stuff that its totally worth the effort. at the moment egg numbers have dropped due to decreasing day length, this is also where chickens begin to molt old feathers and grow new ones.  it's a gradual process and one that most people don't tell you when buying chickens. so im telling you now: molting = fewer to no eggs for 4 to several weeks! because their bodies can't make eggs and feathers at the same time. i guess that makes sense.... so count on a 'hungry gap' of no eggs!

'Lucielle' the brown layer hybrid hen

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Celeriac and Apple Soup

whatta veg!

introducing a whopper of a veg, the super knobbly scary looking, the mighty mighty big, with an even bigger creamy flavour: Celeriac! it looked so nondescript in the veg patch all year, but after diggin one up the truth was revealed - a frankenstien monster of roots! what a beaut

celeriac is also called: turnip-rooted celery, 'knob' celery (ha ha!) or the wrongly named 'celery root'. thanks to wikipedia, i am now the celeriac quiz master and can say celeriac its wrongly called celery 'root' because, when we eat celeriac we are eating the hypocotyl of the plant, not its roots. what's the hypocotyl you ask? well, i can tell you a hypocotyl is the stem from a germinating seed, if you look closely the roots are actually growing from the hypocotyl, which are cut off before cooking. if you are interested in hypocotyls and what they have to offer click, here.  .

i'm pretty sure this is the first time i've cooked celeriac (i don't know why) let alone grow the bugger. bar one time possibly roasting it? and what a fool i've been to not have tried this veg in the kitchen more often. growing it proved to be slightly tricky, as the slugs burrowed into half of them and literally ate them from the inside out. eeek! i'll be giving this root veg more space in the patch next year and possibly less to its stalky cousin, gasp! i love celery stalks (see this post) but i grew way to much. 9 plants in total.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Crispy Kale Chips

we're back on the kale train, again. one of my red russian kale plants has started bolting, i'm scrambling to use up leaves. so, i've started massaging a simple soy based marinade into them, with a seaweed sprinkle from Forage & Find, then baking them to a delicate crisp. the result is highly addictive, with a slight barbecuey flavour.

these kale chips are perfect for party nibbles or snacking. they only take 15 minutes to prepare and bake. so, if your growing kale in the garden you can pull out this recipe when unexpected guests arrive, or that impromptu house party starts to kick off.

i made a batch of these kale chips while writing this post, im heading to a dinner party later and i wanted to bring them along. also, while writing this post i have consumed the entire bowlfull of kale chips! better get another batch going...

for another delicious kale recipe click, here.

Monday, October 8, 2012

DIY Seed Saving

carrot seed heads

growing veg from seeds saved from the previous years crops is an age old art. for the DIY-er its a climax in self sufficiency. its also easy to do with most veg or flowers. the trick is patience, as well as learning to let your plants go to seed rather than harvesting their crop. which at times can make a veg plot seem untended and messy. its just the natural course of a plants life and a great way to get more in touch with different plants and their life cycles.

in the not-so-distant past, commercial seeds where unavailiable to most. so every farmer knew to have enough food for the years to come - you have to save seeds from the best plants, at the end of the growing year. we can now get almost any imaginable seeds in garden centers, supermarkets, and farm supply shops. 'so why save 'em whe you can buy em ready to go?' im all for buying new seeds, its actually one of my vices, my collection expands every year and i love trying new varieties of veg. especially ones that are hard to find in shops: romanesco, heirloom tomato varieties, raddichio, coloured carrots, and painted corn.. have all joined my seed box collection recently, and these are the rare seed varieties i try and save seeds from. there is also an added benefit to saving seeds from successful crops: every year the seeds that mature and grow are more adapted to the surounding climates, so they'll grow better for you each year! so its a very handy skill, for our rainy climate.

dried carrots seeds (center, spiky) ready for storage

Saving your own seeds:
i've included pictures from two types of veg that have a slight trick to saving their seeds: tomatoes and carrots. tomato seeds need to be fermented before drying, and to get good carrots from your own seeds you need to wait till the second year of the plants lifecycle when the plants are matured.

Monday, October 1, 2012

No-Knead Focaccia Loaf- and a garden tour


i started this blog as a way to share my garden, the food i cook from the garden, with more people. i feel like now is a good time, the end of summer, to show-off this years veg plot at the height of its glory. i started this plot in march of this year, creating the raised beds with recycled scaffolding boards. a friend of mine found a great source for them at a .50 cent a foot for damaged or unusable boards. these were cut to shape, with a jig saw and screwed together with a bit of galvi-band. the finish on the boards is with an outdoor mahgony coloured furniture stain, which i've used on everything stainable, veg crates, doors, garden furniture, you name it. after that we (me, my other half and 4 friends) filled the beds with a third topsoil, then another third with really old sheep manure (a thoughtful gift from friends of mine!), then the top third with compost from the local recycling center, in bandon. it worked out at 40 euro for all the compost. all in all the beds cost around 80 euro to fill and build. not bad.

clockwise , beetroot and rainbow chard, red russian kale plants

old spud patch (they grew 6foot long)

i was inspired by joy larcom's book, Creative Vegetable Gardening (see side bar), for my garden design and all of my planting scheme. i wanted to create a small space within the garden to be able to use for entertaining, eating and enjoying the garden. i went for a square 'C' shape, with a willow arch over the entrance. its my favourite garden i've had in the dozen or so i've created in the past. from joy's book i tried to add intrest by interplanting different textures and colours of plants and planting crops on the diagonal instead of straight lines.

purple sprouting, and red russian kale
leeks, seeding radishes, and squash, lots of nasturtiums

i didn't actually want  or need this garden to meet my eating needs throughout the year, i dont have time to grow all that veg! but rather to just be able to grow the interesting veg i want, enjoy the process of growing them and create an outdoor space to be in. and to my surprise i've had loads of veg, almost more than i need! since the begining of the lettuce season the beds have been giving me loads of choice: from beetroot, to romanesco, spuds, mangetout, onions, courgette, beans, chard, celery, lettuce, herbs, and loads of sweet peas - and theres even more to come!
celery, courgette(front corner), celeriac, beetroot and chard

more purple sprouting, asparagus, purple beans, celery

Monday, September 24, 2012

Vanilla & Blossom Salad: bees, butterflies, and their habitat

edible flower blossoms and wild flowers, clockwise from top left: calendula, cornflower (non edible), allium (onion family includes chives), nasturtiums, verbena, chamomile, borage
wildflowers, nectar rich plants, bees, butterflies, meadows and pollinators.
this gardening year for me has been focused on providing bees and butterflies with a suitable homeall through the summer. im attempting to do this by growing plants that these pollinators love: verbena, borage, chamomile, alliums, cornflowers, nasturtiums, legumes, and wildflowers. as well as staying away from chemical sprays and instecticides.

with modern agricultural methods we have systematically kicked out bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects out of the coutryside. and by planting low nectar flowers in our gardens we have pushed them even further away from our homes! in the past before massive harvesting machines and plows were around, there were many many more hedgerows blooming with wild flowers, these hedgerows teamed with pollinators. in turn they helped to pollinate crops humans were growing beside these hedgerows. now, with new machinery our hedgerows are being taken out and replaced with fencing providing little sanctuary for our friendly bees and insects. and no wild flowers.
focused on beauty rather than function in our home gardens, modern flower beds are being planted with low nectar flowers, or flowers that have double blooms that make it harder for pollinators to reach nectar sources. another, cause of food loss for pollinators is our tendancy to mow lawns to an inch of their life. leaving no time for lawn daisies or dandelions to bloom and provide food for insects.

leaves and blossoms form the garden, as well as purple french beans: which i didn't use in the recipe, but should have!

don't distress! there's a few ways we can help out our pollinating friends. we can leave space for wildness in our gardens, we can plant flowers that attract pollinators, and we can refrain from using weed killer and chemical pesticides in our gardens. i find just having flowers growing in the veg patch makes being there that much more enjoyable, adding to the sensory experience. knowing you are in a place that bees and butterflies love!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Nasturtium Capers

nasturtiums add needed colour to the garden,
and attract bees and butterflies

nasturtium seed pods dangling off the vine

this may surprise you, but you can makes capers with nasturtium seed pods! i first heard of the idea last year. it seemed like a good idea, caper berries are an acutal berries of a certain shrub, and nasturtium capers are something like the 'poor mans' version. their flavour has a hint of the nasturtium spice you get in the flowers that mellows once pickled. if you have loads of nasturtium plants in your garden, is worth the hour it takes picking and jaring up these little buds. i got half a pint of seed pods from 3 plants, and i could have kept going.  this recipe suits that amount perfectly.
a pint o' pods
Harvesting Pods: pick the seed pods once they have turned green and big on the vine. don't use seed pods that have fallen off plants, they've dried up and will make new plants next year.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Beetroot Gin & Tonic - Beetroot: Part 3 of 3

Beetroot Gin & Tonic

after deciding, and announcing, that i was going to make a cocktail with beetroot, i realised i'd never had a cocktail with beetroot. but since i can probably dip cardboard in gin and still enjoy it, i figured why not beetroot? i did a few searches around and saw things like: beetroot margaritas and beet-ellni's. i gave it some thought as too which liquor to use with a reduced beetroot essence... gin with its herbal notes sprung to mind, and orange citrus zests paired in beetroot salad was my next thought. put the two together and the Beetroot G & T was born! in my mind anyway.....

juice from three beetroots
stright from the garden, into your drink!
since i've started this three post beetroot blow out i've been seeing red. ive had beetroot everywhere i go, had it on toast, in chocolate, candied, in my drinks, with fish, in salads... im happy to say this is the last beetroot post for sometime! i still have a great affection for the root veg, but im going to keep my roots out in the garden for awhile. it feels right to end this party on a high note, i hope some of you get a chance to try this cocktail in your own homes.