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We have spent the last week away in the Perigord/Dordogne region of France and had a lovely time, eating lots of good food and visiting a market every day to buy ingredients – I’ll be sharing photos as soon as I can set aside some time to pull them together.
Last night we had soup for dinner, which I don’t often think is ‘enough’ to make an evening meal, which is silly really because we always enjoy it and never go hungry. I made up a soup, knowing that I wanted a big hit of green vegetables, so I gently fried a red onion, two small bulbs of fennel, a couple of garlic cloves and then added chopped courgette.
Once this had cooked a little I added 1 litre of vegetable stock and simmered before adding some peas. Finally I added shredded spring greens and mint from the garden, then blitzed the whole thing before it went from that vibrant green to sludgy green. We ate it sprinkled with a little finely sliced mint, a blob of herby garlic cheese and decorated with some edible flowers, and a sliced of toasted homemade bread drizzled with olive oil.
One day I hope to make this meal again, with everything but the sausages grown in my garden or on our allotment. I do believe that the best food is made with what’s available seasonally and from an idea of what it is you want to eat.
What started as a simple meal (and possibly one of our favourites), of grilled sausages, new potatoes and salad, turned into something a bit more interesting. The sausages came from the fab new Kenyon Hall Farm Shop, the new potatoes were boiled and violently shaken with salty butter and lots of mint from the garden.
But it was the salad that became something far better, using up odds and ends from the garden and the fridge. To a bowl I finely sliced spring onions, added a splash of white wine vinegar and some salt – I like to do this to take the edge off the onions. Otherwise I find that all you can taste is onion.
Dinner last night – scrambled eggs my way with a generous amount of garden grown herbs (chives, mint, parsley, oregano, and chive flowers) on a fresh bagel with lettuce, homegrown rainbow radishes and a mustard vinaigrette.
Over the bank holiday we had a delicious meal with my family with trout caught by my little brother. You may remember this post back in May when he caught me a trout for my birthday which we barbecued on one of the only warm summer evenings we’ve had this year! Well, my mom had three that he’d caught when we went to visit for the weekend.
My mom and I served the trout with a herb butter, garlic roasted smashed potatoes, grilled tomatoes and green beans. The locally caught trout were cooked simply in the oven covered in foil. I disappeared into my mom’s garden to gather up a selection of herbs to make the herb butter – chives, thyme, sorrel, oregano, mint – you could use any mixture you wanted. I also picked a couple of calendula flowers and snipped the petals into the mixture, this flecked the herb butter with vibrant orange streaks.
The butter is easy to make – simple whip up some softened butter, add in the chopped up herbs and optional edible flowers, add a good amount of black pepper and salt. Add a dollop of the herb butter to your cooked trout and watch as it melts and oozes down over the delicate pink flesh.
My mom’s garlic roasted smashed potatoes were delicious – the softness of crushed potatoes, the crispy bits that had been roasted, and all of it infused with a yummy mild garlic flavour. Simply parboil your peeled potatoes. Drain and roughly mash up – just to break them up a bit. Pop the smashed potatoes into an ovenproof dish, sprinkle over some minced garlic, a couple of sprigs of rosemary, and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bung in the oven and cook for about 30 minutes until the potatoes are cooked and slightly crispy on top.