Thursday, August 29, 2013

Quick Kimchi

I planted cabbage in the patch last September to over winter for spring. It seemed like a good idea to have something in the ground as a winter crop. All true except for the fact, I never cook with cabbage! especially white cabbages. sometimes i'll make bacon and cabbage, but not 10 plants worth, which is what i have growing. I decided the best use would be a load of kimchi, and I was right!

my over wintered cabbage plants took awhile to produce heads after the long winter we had in Ireland.

I love kimchi and its quite hard to get in Ireland. Kimchi is the spicy Korean equivalent to sauerkraut. which is a fermented cabbage condiment. this recipe is for a quick 'white person' version, as opposed to the one that ferments for weeks (sometimes months!) as is the standard with authentic kimchi. a Korean friend of mine told me his Nan (grandmother) would put hers in a clay pot underground for 6 months during the winter! now, that must be a pungent mixture!

chill powder, ginger, green garlic and anchovies
don't let that scare you, with this recipe you'll have tasty kimchi in 2 days. the flavour develops nicely over the next couple of weeks so you have time to eat all of it. try keeping some around and tasting it as time passes.

if you are feeling creative try mixing different thinly cut veggies into the kimchi, as anything goes with this mix. beetroot would be interesting as well as some kale. I used green garlic stems, as my garlic wasn't quite ready for digging up, and im really happy with the results. I've been eating it with beef burgers (see the FWDR Instagram feed) and teriyaki mayo. its amazing with fish and chicken too. I even had it with scrambled eggs for breakfast, shoved into a pita - its the perfect kick start to the morning!


Quick Kimchi

Makes nearly 1.5 litres (6 cups)

Recipe adapted from What I had growing in the veg patch, The Simple Things Magazine and Wild Fermentation by Sandor Elix Katz (see Bookshelf)

this is a two day affair, but the kimchi gets better with age so you can keep it in the fridge for weeks after preparing. serve kimchi with a Korean BBQ, roast chicken, grilled fish, breakfast, lunch or dinner. its especially good on a burger with a bit of soya sauce mixed into you favourite mayonnaise. VERY more-ish.

2 pounds (900g) white cabbage, finely sliced into ribbons
2 tablespoons sea salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 whole stalks of green garlic, or 10 cloves of fresh garlic, finely chopped
20 slices of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 tablespoons chilli powder
1 small tin anchovy fillets in oil
4 fl oz (100ml) soya sauce
1 bunch of spring onions
1/2 pound (225g) carrots, peeled and cut into julienne strips

  • place cabbage salt and sugar in a large container and toss, leave covered in the fridge overnight.
  • the next day, rise the cabbage and dry out thoroughly
  • in a separate bowl add the marinade ingredients - garlic, ginger, chilli powder, anchovy fillets, and soya sauce and mix thoroughly, blending in the anchovy as much as possible.
  • add water to make the marinade the consistency of a thick salad dressing.
  • add the spring onions and carrots to the cabbage
  • stir in the marinade to the veggies.
  • tightly pack the kimchi into sterilized jars or a large container
  • this kimchi is great after 24 hours in the fridge, better after a week and at 2 weeks its in its prime. if you like strong flavours you can keep it around up to a month

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Easy Sponge Cake - with citrus, rosemary and thyme

this week  is the FWDR Blog Birthday week! it's been an whole entire year since the first post 52 weeks ago, and how far we've come. the year has been a good one, with lots of sun (and rain) and great home grown food. when FWDR first posted the Homegrown Bloody Mary post, it was also THE Julia Child's Birthday, and what a day to begin a food blog! So, in honour of Julia and the big birthday, I've taken from Julia's, Baking with Julia Cookbook, a cake recipe I've used time and time again with great results. I tweaked it a little to give it an FWDR spin, by adding lime zest, rosemary and thyme. its a perfect sponge recipe made even better with freshly whipped cream and homemade jam.

I've added a lot of pictures of the sponge making process, as I feel many people are afraid of making sponge cake. it really is easy, though. the one trick is to use a light touch, and not to be scared! the only leavening to this cake is the air you whip into the eggs, so an aggressive hand will knock out vital air and lend to a dense, lifeless cake. this is a traditional French genoise recipe, using the cold technique. don't skimp on whipping time, you need to whip the eggs and sugar until a ribbon sits on top of the mixture for 10 seconds, so beat those eggs for at least 5 minutes.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Phew! Finally found a scrap of time to pull this post together. The computer is still being fixed, which is the main reason it's taken so long to post. So just The same as my last post, this is all being written on my smartphone. 

The weather has really turned back to an Irish summer, it's grey, warm, wet and the air is quite close. Which are the perfect conditions for blight! That said i just finished pulling up my second early potatoes, called 'records'. They looked great, with no blight at all. All that's left are the main crop 'golden wonder' spuds. Looking forward to them! 

Since its been so dreary out I've been really craving warm summer Mexican cuisine. The first crop of tomatillos were harvested just last week. I knew what was destined for those babies- tomatillo salsa. It's great as a dip for tortilla chips or it makes a fantastic and authentic enchilada sauce, which is where my tomatillos ended up. Baked with cheese and spicy beef filling. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Radicchio Apple and Grapes

It's been an exciting week with daily rain and thunder showers then amazing blazing sunny periods. the veg patch Is loving the weather, im not so sure about it myself. The week was made even more exciting when the video card in our computer died, oops. Could be a few weeks till its back up and running! So this post is being written entirely from my smartphone. Which with the blogger app isn't as bad as I would have imagined. 

The up side is my Radicchio Treviso plants are looking fab, and I've decided to try out a recipe I've earmarked for a time like now when my plants were ready. The recipe is adapted from Around my French Table, by Dorrie Greenspan, (see Bookshelf Page, above) a must have for any enthusiastic chef who loves entertaining with simplistic and delicious food. I love recipes that toy with sweet and savoury ingredients, so this one caught my eye.

Radicchio is part of the endive/chicory family of plants thats flavours range from faintly bitter to intensely bitter. The Bitterness can change during the growing season too, depending on outside temperatures, cooler temperatures aiding in a more mild flavour. The bitterness mellows with cooking as well, adding a bit of cream helps too. This dish is slow cooked with salted butter, sweet grapes and tart apples balance out the bitter tones of the radicchio. One bite is bitter the next sweet and savoury, its a flavour sensation, and a little rosemary undertone sews the whole plate together. Enjoy! 

Radicchio, Apple and Grapes
Serves 2 as a main or 4 starters

Making this dish reminds me of cooking a tart tatin, the aromas of the butter caramelising with the apples and grapes are part of the reason. Another is the time involved, patience is key. Everything needs to be soft and melting for this dish to be perfect. 

2 medium heads Radicchio Treviso or 1 large head, halved for medium heads or quartered for large
1 1/2 Gala apples, quartered and cored
3 small clumps of green grapes
3 -4 small sprigs rosemary
2 tablespoons salted butter 

• place a large sauté pan on a low heat , add the butter and let melt. 
• place radicchio in pan cut side down, fill in gaps with apples, grapes and rosemary, leave to bubble away slowly for 20-25 minutes
•check to see if everything is caramelising, if not turn up heat a fraction and wait to turn the fruit and radicchio.
• once browned flip everything over and repeat cooking another 20-25 minutes
• poke the radicchio, apples and grapes to make sure they are soft, check got caramelisation, if ready remove from heat and plate. If not let cook longer adjusting heat if necessary.
• add a small bit of water to the pan to make a scant amount of sauce and spoon over the finished dish

Friday, July 19, 2013

Salads Everyday

French breakfast radishes with greens
here in west cork, we are having the best weather in it seems like a century! you don't even want to think about cooking, its that warm. spain is even cooler than here, global warming? maybe. does it matter? not right now! (i'm half joking there) we seriously haven't had rain in weeks.

despite the lack of rain, one of the great things about this time of year is every time i go to the garden, there's something new to pick and chop up into a salad. which is great for a hot afternoon.
there's cauliflower, courgette, cabbage, kale, peas, beetroot, radishes, spinach, lettuce, onions, chard.... you get what i mean? its a great time to have a garden and this post is a celebration of that fact.

there's no recipe today but there's more posts on the way like: a tangy slaw for tacos, elderflower fizz and cocktails (yes, MORE cocktails!) and a recipe that goes great with crispy calamari. enjoy the photos, there's loads more on the FWDR instagram page.

little gems are a great lettuce to grow if the slugs don't get to them first!

smoked mackerel with chard, fennel and flowers

Monday, July 8, 2013

Lemon Thyme Whiskey Sour

thyme is by far my favourite herb, and among that my favourite type is lemon thyme. the lovely citrusy notes to the earthy sweet herbal qualities make it great for cooking, baking and infusing into cocktails. like this infused simple syrup, its so easy to do. the syrup will keep for months refrigerated in a clean sealed jar.
I encourage you to seek out lemon thyme at your garden centre, just one sniff of this herb well sell you on buying two plants, mine has been used down to a little nub! I hope it grows back for more of this cocktail lover approved tipple! my syrup only lasted a week with my friends, better double up when the plant rejuvenates! this whiskey sour is great for summer barbecues or all night drinking sessions.
naturally one is enough but three is always better!

Lemon Thyme Whiskey Sour
Makes 1

inspired by: The Seasonal Cocktail Companion: 100 recipes and projects for 4 seasons of drinking, by Maggie Savarino. a pricelessly inventive cocktail book!

2 measures Whiskey, your preference, I love Bushmills
1 measure Lemon Juice
1 measure Lemon Thyme Syrup (recipe follows)

for Lemon Thyme Syrup:

3/4 cups (180gm) white sugar
1 cup (240ml) water
1 good fistful lemon thyme or thyme
  • using a mortar and pestle crush the thyme with a little sugar, or bruise with your fingers
  • place all ingredients into a sauce pan and bring to boil stirring occasionally
  • let cool and strain out thyme
  • store in a sealed jar in the fridge for 1-2 months
for drink:
  • place all ingredients into a large jar or cocktail shaker with a good amount of ice
  • shake or stir until well chilled
  • strain into a glass tumbler or cocktail glass filled with ice
  • garnish with thyme sprig or thyme flowers and a cocktail cherry

the creative process

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

FWDR on Instagram

Flour Water Dirt & Rain is now on Instagram! I'm finding Instagram really handy as a substitute for blog posts. I know myself and the reality is, I can only get time to make 1 good blog post a week (sometimes 10 days!! eek). I wish it was more, but a full time job in a bakery has precedent over blog time. i'm not complaining either! I love my job. I also really like the FWDR blog and I love getting feedback from readers. so if there are any readers who wish there were more frequent postings, following FWDR on Instagram might suffice! It's great for those little moments you find in the garden where something new is happening but might not require an entire blog post. like the flowers on the 'golden wonder' spuds. so cool! or the oats i'm experimenting growing - they must be 4 feet tall by now! Instagram might also spark an idea for a blog post too, like a kale and radish slaw for tacos? so delicious! I have to blog that one.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! there is also a FWDR Pinterest account, just click the links on the right hand side bar to get to both sites.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Gooseberry Elderflower Pie


Last week was a glorious week of balmy summer weather. the gooseberry bush (that we adopted with the house) was heaving with bright green fruits. screaming: "hey, pick me! don't forget about me like last year!" the big question was: what do you do with all those gooseberries? gooseberry fool pops into everyone's mind but, what else? after browsing my Bookshelf, I came across recipes for savoury uses like, a sauce for pork or mackerel, and sweet ones like: a pie, jam or chutney. the pie recipe jumped out at me, as well as a seasonal pairing of elderflowers. its that time of year too! bring on the elderflower champagne! 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Aioli Egg Salad

luckily working in a bakery I get bread on tap, as well as having chickens in the garden I always have eggs on hand. with that, a bit of oil and a minute or two of wisking I have aioli( too. (or homemade mayo). egg salad or 'egg mayonaise' is one of my comfort foods, especially when served in a toasted croissant.

I've been relying on it for sustenance after getting home from work. something crunchy and warm (toast) and something cold and creamy (egg salad), no complaints here! I've had a glut of eggs lately which is good because the garden has yet to reach that glut stage.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cucumber Gin Gimlet

what's better than a day in the garden? a drink afterwards! especially on a misty day like today. (its the first rain in weeks!) this cocktail is the perfect summer time refreshment and if you are growing your own cucumbers you shouldn't have to wait much longer to harvest your own 'cucs' and try out this handy cucumber gin infusion recipe. then you can sit back and admire your garden and your fancy cocktail skills.
a gimlet is a classic cocktail traditionally made with Rose's Lime Juice (a sweetened lime juice) and gin or vodka. Rose's proves hard to find in this part of the world so a simple syrup and fresh lime juice combo makes a good stand in. the gimlet has many variations, a cocktail tip: if you substitute the gin/vodka for rum you'd be making a daiquiri!
I had my first gimlet last year in a cool cocktail bar in Barcelona, with no menu.  the gimlets were served with a retro green maraschino cherry as a garnish. im not sure if it was the day-glo green cherries or the heat (or maybe just the gin), but I've been thinking about my own version ever since. a cucumber gin and lime pairing seemed like a good idea. after the first test run I was a bit surprised that I didn't have to tweak the ratio at all. the cucumber flavour makes a great background for the zingy lime juice and herbal gin spices. a word of warning - just follow this golden rule: no more than two!
I ended up using a store bought cucumber for this recipe, I just couldn't wait for the in season ones! be sure to use the entire thing for packing loads of cucumber flavour in your gin, I recommend Gordon's gin for this recipe it's my favourite at the moment. De-lish!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Polytunnel Build

about a month ago I set up shop to build a small polytunnel, to cover the new 'herb only' addition to  the veg patch. I took the idea and design from my neighbour's who own Cambium Garden Centre. last year they grew the most amazing basil plants and lettuces, I was sold on the idea. everything seems to grow better under plastic in Ireland. that said we seem to be experiencing a drought! im afraid to mention it else I jinx the good fortune we've been having. at the moment watering the garden has become a novelty!
below are some images of the polytunnel build as it progressed over one week. it's a great design as it can be opened from both sides. with over 2 feet of standing room for plants you can grow just about anything, bar: sweet corn and tall tomatoes. this bed is being held as a herb bed for basil, parsley, sage, rosemary, mint, thyme, lemon thyme, coriander, fennel bulb and lemon balm. just about every herb you can dream of - which should make for some interesting pesto recipes!  the dimensions are 3'x 14' so, 42 square feet.
empty bed constructed of pallet wood

6' lengths of 1'' piping doubled up at four points, 2'' would be ideal

2"x1" brace under piping and ends covered in polytunnel plastic, stapled at bottom