Monday, 17 June 2013

Food From Your Garden.

I aspire to be a proper gardener.  That means having a beautiful garden but it also obviously means growing an abundance of beautiful things to eat.  My Granda and Grandma's garden when I was growing up was overflowing with amazing flowers and all sorts of goodies to eat.  The peas were always my favourite but I loved everything I ate from that garden.

Several years ago (and I think somewhere around 10-15 years ago), I found a copy of a Reader's Digest book, Food From Your Garden, in a second hand bookshop near Forres and bought it for myself while dreaming of one day having a thriving garden.  I love the book and look at it often.  

My attempts at producing anything edible are pretty modest.  I do grow a few herbs and tend to be self sufficient in salad leaves for a few months of the Summer.  I also have a good supply of rhubarb after getting plants last year from Little Macaroon and I grow the odd other thing from time to time. I tried my beloved peas last year but failed by not putting netting over them from the beginning and finding the seedling got demolished by the birds (I managed about 4 pods in the end - last year's post).  This year I have the netting all ready to go on from the start but none of my fresh seeds have germinated.  Not one. I guess that's what I get for buying cheap seeds from B&Q. Lesson learned.

We have acquired two tomato plants and three courgette plants (thanks Little Macaroon) so far this year and I will be doing my salad leaves again (so good to have a constant supply for the sandwiches).  Seems a bit pathetic but I had intended to concentrate on the peas.

However, this post is about a recipe for cream of spinach soup and I have to admit to having bought the spinach in the sad supermarket plastic bags. Sorry.

Dom from Belleau Kitchen asked us to do a healthy dish for this month's Random Recipes (check out his gorgeous-looking prune and almond brownies). I got together the books I felt I would be guaranteed to pick something healthy from and they amounted to this little selection - 

Food From Your Garden, Reader's Digest
Veg Patch by Mark Diacono
Sarah Raven's Garden Cookbook
Gordon Ramsay's Healthy Appetite

I used which chose Food From Your Garden and I used it again to get a page number which led me to the spinach section. Excellent - I think I could do with topping up my iron levels.  

The recipe is very straightforward, quick and easy (yes, I did choose the easiest recipe on the page and I make no apologies for that).

Basically, saute some diced onion and carrot in some butter, add plenty of spinach.  Add some stock and parsley (aha - this DID come from my garden), a bouquet garni, some nutmeg and seasoning and simmer for half an hour then blitz.  Add the cream and heat through.

It recommended serving with croutons which are sprinkled with nutmeg - genius.  

What a wonderful soup.  I think the simplest and least fussy recipes are the best and I love how this is so healthy but tastes indulgent.  Maybe not quite as indulgent as Dom's brownies but I will be trying those very soon.  In fact, I reckon they would go with this recipe for a soup-and-pudding day.

I'm wondering about growing spinach next year.  It would do as one of my salad leaves for sandwiches and any leaves that I didn't get round to eating while young and tender would go to make this excellent soup.  In fact, I may decide to grow some this year instead of my peas.


  1. None of my peas sprouted either Lou. Nor my sweetcorn, pumpkins or fennel. And then I discovered a solution. You sow them perfectly according to the instructions, then wait and tend and wait and tend until you're 100% sure nothing is going to happen and your window of opportunity is escaping. You spend roughly 20 times the cost of the seeds on feeble looking plug plants from Dobbies (or Foxlane, they had loads of plugs). Plant the plugs in your veg patch and swallow the bitter creeping feeling that you've failed and cheated. All of your seeds will germinate the following day.

  2. an AMAZING colour!... I can taste the health coming of the screen... glorious is the only word I can describe... our peas have all but been eaten by the wood pigeons... cheeky blighters... thanks so much for the entry this month, beautiful stuff!

  3. Looks like a great book. I need to get on and choose my recipe