Fellow food blogger and Bristol based foodie, writer and campaigner Elisabeth Winkler sent me copies of two books she co-wrote knowing I was not only a passionate cook, but a keen amateur vegetable gardener.
The books ‘Make more of Squashes’ and ‘Make more of Peas and Beans’ blend growing tips with delicious vegetable recipes. This year must say I found the peas and beans book the most useful, having some out-of-control French and runner bean plants that have showered me in their bounty, whilst the squashes are still looking pitiful. Thankful as I am for the copious amounts of beans, and I really am, we all get to the stage when we run out of both inspiration and, quite frankly, patience. No, I cannot be bothered to blanch and batch freeze any more runner beans. Besides there is no room in the freezer and I am not sacrificing the space for the ice-cream.
So these two little books step in to give you the ideas and inspiration to use all your harvest in a whole range of dishes.
In the peas and beans book I enjoyed ‘broad beans with cream and herbs’, which I served alongside some roasted salmon and new potatoes. It involved frying a little garlic in butter, adding some crème fraiche and double cream then podded broad beans and some fresh chopped, mixed herbs.
From the squash book I have discovered highly addictive squash chips, which need to be rubbed in oil and the Moroccan spice mix ras-el hanout before being baked. Totally delicious.
The growing section is simple and bursting with excellent advice for how to start your plants off from seed, which varieties to choose and how to care for them. I particularly liked the ‘cost-cutting’ section, full of nifty, thrifty tips such as collecting yoghurt containers to use as seed pots or growing courgettes in large coffee bean sacks.
The squash book includes recipes for all the vegetables in the same group, which includes courgettes, cucumbers and melons. Enjoy spicy squash couscous, pan-fried cucumber with garlic and chilli or courgette cake.
Whilst Make more of Beans and Peas includes spiced pea soup, summer vegetable pasta, oriental-style mangetout or warm Greek salad of runner beans. Inspiration to keep you cooking all the way through the growing season.
For more details visit http://www.amazon.co.uk/Make-More-Squashes-Vegetables/dp/1906316376