Wednesday, 23 May 2018

From Spade to plate: Elderflower cordial making and easy bagels

As making elderflower cordial is such a typical English drink, we made this again with the Wednesday group. As it is a 2 day process, the Monday group picked the flowers  and prepared the lemons and let it steep so that the Wednesday group can finish it off and start another batch.
























For lunch we made this amazing bagel recipe



















lovely with the vegan mayonnaise


we made and the vegan 'smoked' salmon'










Monday, 21 May 2018

What joy to get to hear from my lovely From Spade to Plate friends.

Over the last few weeks I received the occasional update from my From Spade to Plate friends.
It is so lovely to know that the recipes we have used are tried in their own accommodation to share with their families.

Last week I heard from Asako and Annie,



 today within hours of making the elderflower cordial I received this from Yumi

Hello Karina,

I was very enjoyed your session today.
After that, I and Yuki went to a park to find elderflower .
It was difficult, but we found two elderflower trees!
We picked many flowers.It was very interesting!
I am looking forward to make elderflower cordial.

Best regards 
Yumi




It was great fun. I’m so excited about the vegan smoked salmon. Joe and Sage will be too!

Love,
Melendra

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Elderflower cordial and asparagus



The sunshine has brought with it some long waited for warmth and allowed nature to catch up.
I noticed from last year's blog entry that exactly a year ago we were making elderflower cordial.
Looking around I found some lovely flowers which I turned into the first batch of cordial.

This annual activity I wanted to share with our visiting scholars as many would be able to find Elder in their own countries.

For those of the group who live near the Graduate centre, we went on a recce
 yesterday and found 5 very accessible elder trees.














The garlic in the back garden is ready to be harvested too, so that it can dry off and turned into a plat next week. We shall transplant the peppers (be sowed the seeds of peppers used earlier in the year) and inter plant them with the basil cuttings






We steamed Asparagus for lunch with poached eggs (added salt, pepper, chives and smoked zucchini)









as a sauce we used vegan garlicky mayonnaise.(with only milk and oi) or you can use the aqua faba mayonnaise recipe.










Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Paola's Spinach recipe.





Cook the spinach, squeeze all the water out and chop. Mix with ricotta, egg (or eggs) parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg and a bit of flour.
We used this gnocchi recipe but added loads of spinach




Form into balls and roll into flour. 
When the water comes to boil drop them in and lift them out once they come to the surface (like gnocchi). Don't let the water boil too hard because that could cause them to disintegrate….





For the tomato sauce put some oil in a pan with a clove of garlic. Fry the garlic without letting it go brown and add chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar as well as basil.
Cook for about 10 minutes, Voila!
Ciao x

Thanks Paola, the end result was gorgeous.


Monday, 14 May 2018

Hip Hip Horaay! From Spade to Plate is 1 year old this week.




Hip Hip Horaay! We are 1 this week

We celebrate it with a freshly made mock Rhubarb Bubbly!


With so much spinach (beet) in need of eating, we made this
Spinach torte a filling meal. As in total it takes 50 mins to make, We started this pie and whilst in the oven we went to the allotments for a stroll. We pick the lettuce to accompany the meal from the back garden.



 Rhubarb cordial. We made some vegan rhubarb fool out of the left overs.


Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Wednesday 9th May: Leek, mushroom spinach and nettle galette



First thing this morning I went to pick some rhubarb so we could started the cordial straight away.
It was easy and quick to make. We even managed a glass in the sunshine, whilst the crumble and galette were in the oven.



Yesterday I saw some lovely nettles that we could use for todays meal.
I think is goes well in the Leek, mushroom, spinach Galette we just added the nettle tops after thoroughly washing them (with gloves on) then blanching them to avoid any stinging.

The end result was delicious


We  picked the first of this year's lettuce that we sowed with the group a few weeks ago and had it  with our meal.





As a desert we have a rhubarb crumble



Saturday, 5 May 2018

Bank holiday Monday: From Spade to plate :Chickweed pesto with asparagus and sundried tomato couscous

Sun sun glorious sunshine.
Today we had a large group of visiting scholars: Yumi, Takashi and Yuki from Japan, Melendra from the US, Simone from Italy,  Sarolta from Hungary, Felicia from China and June and I.
All of them seem to have Dandelion in their countries, so a good excuse to come up with a few tasty recipes.

We went to the allotment to pick the dandelions for the Dandelion Marmalade.



We all went home with a jar, still warm and not quite set, so hopefully by tomorrow we can enjoy home made marmalade!

We also helped Ted, by weeding his soon to be bean trench, the Chickweed was nice and juicy, just right for the Chickweed pesto we used for the couscous dish.

The asparagus were popping out of the ground as we watched, so they too were picked to go into our lovely fresh lunch.



As it was so hot, we made a Couscous salad with Chickweed pesto, sundried tomatoes, feta cheese and asparagus.



On the way home we found some lambs lettuce,lovage, sorrel, rocket and flowers of rosemary, calendula and few few forget-me-nots. Which made the salad not only taste lovely but a joy for the eye.


When we had a little break we tasted some of the dandelion bread and jelly that was made last week.








It went down rather fast!

Some nutritional facts about Dandelions
Some nutritional facts about Chickweed

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Dandelion bread - Dandelion Cordial

At this time of the year the grass in the allotment is dotted with dandelions and plenty of them.
Did you know that you can turn them into delicious bread?

Making some dandelion jelly to eat with it.




Dandelion cordial


Some nutritional facts about Dandelion





Tuesday, 1 May 2018

From Spade to Plate: Wednesday 2nd May: Asparagus with Poached egg



With this strange weather (hot 28C last week and now 6C and rainy) the asparagus shot out of the ground last week and slowed down now.

We have enough to make a few lovely dishes with todays cooking group so we will make some Asparagus soup and some steamed asparagus.

Inspired by a dinner I had at Restaurant 22 on Chesterton Road, I made this poached egg to put on top of some asparagus. I added the smoked courgette 'bacon' together with salt, pepper and chives to add to the egg.

We made a bed of lambs lettuce, dandelion leaves, wild garlic and beetroot leaves and topped it with Asparagus, the egg and melted butter.

On the side we had some garlic mayonnaise (without eggs) The recipe we used was the vegan one (aqua faba and oil, but if you don't have chickpea water and are not vegan this egg free mayo could work for you

Delicious with new potatoes and some parsley.

As a dessert we have banana and mango ice cream

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Dandelion pizza - Spinach soup - Rhubarb crumble


Rhubarb flowers to cheer up the room

A three course meal for 9 people in 2 hours, not bad for a Monday morning activity.

I have to confess that because the horrible cold and windy day, I went out to pick the food yesterday evening.

For starters we made a spinach soup.
June and Asako cut the spinach and wilted it in some salted water,
They then added a chopped onion, some rosemary and a minced garlic clove.
They then added a vegetable stock to cover the greens and let it simmer until cooked.
At this point we added some cornflour to thicken the soup a little. Then added some milk to bulk it out.

We served this soup with a swirl of double cream, a little gorgonzola and to please the eye as well as the stomach some chives and lambs lettuce flowers.

For the Pizza I picked the Dandelion leaves and some spinach beet to bulk it up.


Dandelion, spinach beet, red onion, garlic and  smoked courgettes


For a quick and easy non yeast pizza base I used the following ingredients:

2 cups of self raising flour
2 tbsp of yoghurt
1 tsp of baking powder
a little salt
cold water to mix.
coarse semolina to sprinkle on your work surface to roll out the dough

Mix all together and let rest in the fridge for 30 mins. Then roll out thinly and cut in a circle that fits into a frying pan. Put some oil in the frying pan, put in the dough and fry on both sides until done.
(about 4 minutes)

This pizza is based on The Italian Food Forever recipe but changed it a little

For the topping:

  • 1 Bunch Dandelion Greens (Or About 8 Cups Chopped Into 2 Inch Pieces)
  • 1 Large Red Onion, Peeled And Thinly Sliced
  • 2 Large Cloves Garlic, Peeled And Minced
  • 6 Slices Prosciutto, Finely Chopped or (in our case smoked zucchini finely chopped)
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Cracked Black Pepper
  • Sea Salt
  • 1 1/2 Cups Sliced Fontina Cheese (or in our case some feta)

  • Rhubarb, almond and ginger crumble from Delia online
Rhubarb crumble ingredients






  1. In a heavy skillet, heat the olive oil and once hot add the onion slices.
  2. Continue to cook the onions over medium heat until they are very soft and caramelized, then add the garlic and prosciutto, and stir to mix well.
  3. Add the dandelion greens and stir to mix well.
  4. Continue to cook until the dandelions are soft and wilted.
  5. Season with the cracked pepper and sea salt to taste.
  6. Divide the topping in half and spread over the dough circles leaving a 1 1/2 inch edge all around.
  7. Scatter the cheese slices on top of the pizzas and put under the grill until the cheese is melted.  about 5 minutes.
  8. sowing squashes and purple sprouting broccoli
  9. Serve either warm or at room temperature.