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I so desperately want to have the time to write here again – I have a camera full of photos and lots I would love to share, I just don’t have the time. I think I might pop!
We have, however, managed to plant some seeds last weekend – carrots, salad leaves, beetroot, radish, parsley, and peas…and today we spotted the first green pea shoots poking through! So exciting!
I am getting a backlog of lovely posts that I want to share – overdue recipes for cooking with a glut of lettuce, two homemade summer drinks, and the last of what I got up to with the little sister (and more importantly what we were eating!).
However, for now I wanted to share this delicious garden salad we had tonight. I’m very proud of the fact that everything was grown by me from seed. This was a salad that I truly nurtured.
Here’s everything seconds after being pulled from the earth or cut…
Baby carrots – a type called Paris Market Baron that produces carrots that are fat and round. Perfect for anyone growing in rocky soil! And radishes – my favourite kind, French Breakfast, with their elegant long body and crisp white tips that gently blush to a deep pink…
Pretty spring onions – sorry I can’t remember what type they are!
Vibrant green Little Gem lettuces…
And my edible discovery of 2010 – that you can eat radish seed pods! A big thanks to Alys Fowler and her series The Edible Garden for opening my tastebuds to the joy that is radish pods. Simply leave some of your radishes to flower (or if you’re like me they do this out of neglect…), then the flowers turn into these elfin shaped pods and eventually fatten up. Eaten they – unsurprisingly – have a radishy taste…
After trimming the hairy roots from the spring onions, washing the dirt from the carrots, slicing the radishes into discs and arranging them all in a pretty dish this is what it looked like…
I took these photos about a week ago but haven’t got around to posting them yet. Up until this year, the only type of radishes I’ve grown (and my favourite) are French Breakfast – those gorgeous elongated pink bulbs which fade to white around their middle.
This year, I was tempted by a packet of Rainbow radishes and here’s the first harvest. So far we have pulled up pink ones, red ones, purple ones, yellow ones and white ones. They are all very fiery – especially the yellow and white kind. However, they are so pretty I can’t complain.
We have nearly finished with the first lot I planted, and the next lot are nearly mature. Other than herbs and the odd baby leaf, these are the first harvest from our garden.
I’m going to start my weekend posts with a fresh, vibrant salad that will help you spring into summer. This salad was dreamt up from standing in the aisles at my favourite grocery - it uses the produce that was freshest and just said ‘eat me!’
It is so simple – just peas, radishes, cherry tomatoes and spring onions. Now I know that my cherry tomatoes are way off even flowers forming, but these cherry tom’s were from Sicily, which I appreciate isn’t very local, but they were ruby red and calling to me. So anyway, less rambling, more recipes and I hope you try this one out – especially if your radishes are bulging out of the soil like mine.
Pea and Radish Salad
Feeds about four hungry mouths
Couple of handfuls of fresh peas
Bunch of radishes (about 10)
200-250g cherry tomatoes
3 large or 5 small spring onions
Cider or white wine vinegar
Finely slice and chop the spring onions and place them into a pretty serving bowl.
Sprinkle over the onions a good scattering of salt and a couple of glugs of vinegar – mix well (the vinegar and salt pickles the onion slightly, which takes the edge off that strong onion taste).
Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and add them to the onion – you can also sprinkle a touch more salt over the tomatoes (it intensifies their taste).
Set the onion and tomatoes aside, grab a bowl, find a comfy seat and take your time to pod those peas. This is a job, which is not really a job, it is a moment to yourself, a chance to slow down and dream. Sat on my granny’s terrace, podding peas and preparing string beans are some of my best childhood memories.
Cut the radishes into quarters, and add them and the peas to the salad. Give the whole thing a good stir and serve. You could add a grinding of fresh pepper, a glug of extra virgin olive oil, but it really doesn’t need adulterating. If you use fresh, quality ingredients then this salad will sing without any extras.