In the last few weeks the green blackcurrants in The Meadows garden have darkened to that beautiful midnight purple. The yellow strawberries are beginning to blush red and the hips on the Rosa rugosa bush have rounded and ripened like russet apples. Swathes of salad, bulging beetroot, the bright, striking stems of rainbow chard all cluster for space in warm beds. Peas tumble and fall over their nets, fennel fronds fringe and feather the borders and the bright golden heads of the marigolds, hint at the sun. Summer has arrived, and with it a harvest for the table.

There is nothing (maybe) more satisfying than eating food that you’ve grown yourself, or tasty for that matter! Any gardener will tell you that homegrown vegetables are more nutritious, fresher and more delicious that vegetables from the supermarket. If you know a keen gardener, they may have foisted a new potato or a tomato on you (probably covered in soil to make it extra organic) and said, ‘You’ve got to try this! It's so delicious!’ And they'd be right.  This taste difference is not very surprising- supermarket produce is often picked before it is ripe and sprayed with preservatives to last the journey. 

We have joyfully discovered that our enthusiasm for growing, cooking and eating is something we share with a lot of our garden volunteers. Over the past few weeks we have been sending recipes and ideas to one another, based on produce grown and picked in The Meadows garden. It is our hope in the future that we will create an outdoor cooking area on site so we can involve the local community in the whole growing, cooking, eating process- from seed to plate! But in the meantime, the volunteers would like to share some summer recipes using produce they’ve grown and hope to inspire you to do the same at home!  

Beetroot, Goats Cheese, Walnut and Carrot Open Sandwich

by Diane Haddock

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

1 raw beetroot, grated 

1 carrot, grated

1 tablespoon of honey

A handful of any nuts/seed you have (we used walnuts)

200g soft goats cheese

4 slices of sourdough or any sturdy bread

 

METHOD: 

  1. Mix the beetroot, carrot, honey and nuts/seeds together
  2. Spread goats cheese on the top of sourdough
  3. Add the sweet beetroot salad on top of the goats cheese
  4. Enjoy!

Broad Bean, Lemon, Goats Cheese and Garlic Open Sandwich

by Jacky Oakley

INGREDIENTS:

200g broad beans (150g when podded)

100g soft goats cheese

2 slices of sourdough

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

1 spring onion, thinly sliced

1/2 lemon (zest and juice)

2 tbsp olive oil 

1/2 tbsp of dried oregano

 

METHOD:

  1. Blanch beans in hot water for a minute.  Drain and cover the beans with cold water to cool, then drain again and peel the outer skin from the beans.
  2. Mix garlic, spring onion, lemon zest and juice together. Add oregano and the beans and lightly crush. 
  3. Heat a large griddle pan. Drizzle oil over sourdough slices and fry till golden
  4. Remove slices, spread with the goats cheese and top with the crushed broad beans

Jacky also made some blackcurrant coulis (using blackcurrants from The Meadows garden), which she drizzled over her breakfast of greek yoghurt, berries and bananas:

And Peter made some blackcurrant compote... 

And there have been countless salads, some hummus and some cake!

To find out more about The Meadows Garden, or if you want to join our team of volunteers, please contact me, Megan Primrose: [email protected]