Time to reintroduce ‘A Handful of Rocket’ to current followers and new visitors. Reading my, now archived,  ‘Home’ page I’m reminded that 2018 provided a pretty abundant harvest but so far 2019 has been rather lacking. A glut of plums and raspberries, the runner beans are getting into their stride, the courgettes have been slow and pretty small (this time last year they more marrows than courgettes!), the peas are disappointing, the lettuce and chard already bolting and that leaves the non-existent strawberries, the very poor broad bean crop and the completely slug ravaged kale and cauliflowers. The snail and slug population have done very well out of my efforts and the pigeons too have benefitted.

 

Gardening isn’t all fun but when something surprises you like an abundance of spinach, a row of radishes, or better still a row of lovely fresh rocket, that has somehow escaped the onslaught of every nibbling creature in creation, it’s a joy to use the results in the kitchen. Before I forget I’ve got a small block of six sweetcorn plants that are doing well, I assume the nibbling things found these a bit of a challenge so I’m hoping for a cob or two.

 

I would always urge you to have a go, even if you only sow a few salad leaves in a pot or bucket. Children especially are more likely to try vegetables they’ve had a hand in caring for.

 

 

 

 

 

My default position when it comes to food is zero waste, if you read my blog posts or try any of my recipes you’ll see this is a theme I return too over again. Throwing away usable food is unacceptable in our modern world, where even in our first world country parents miss meals to make sure children are fed. Where children eat their only meal of the day in the form of a free school meal and even this service is always under threat due to cuts. The myth continues that ready made food is somehow cheaper than it’s fresh equivalent but I cannot buy into this claim. Creating a nutritious meal from fresh ingredients, particularly when cooked in bulk and frozen into meal sized portions, will always be healthier and generally, if that meal is vegetarian or vegan, cheaper.

 

My aim though is not to preach. The aim really is to get everyone cooking, at least a couple of times a week, to try new things and not to throw away those perfectly good vegetables or fruits (or anything else) because the use by date is past. We should all be able to see and smell if something isn’t right. We don’t need a date to tell us a carrot is unusable or of that slightly bruised apple can’t be saved if the bruised part is cut off. Think about what you can do with it, stew it? Make apple sauce, slice it up and add to your mocktail… the options are endless.

 

Have a go at making your own pasta, in the summer try making ice-cream, whizz up foraged wild garlic into salsa verde, learn which ‘weeds’ are edible, do something different with beans, make your own sharing dish of nachos. Rope the kids in to make soup, cakes, biscuits or bread. Grind your own spices, have a go, take a chance on something you’ve never tried.

 

I hope you have a browse, try the recipes, look at the external links and send in a comment or two because I’d love to hear from you. Happy cooking.