Sunday, June 24, 2007

Broad bean risotto

Despite the attack of several thousand blackfly, the broad beans have developed well. I have only ever eaten frozen broad beans, which I thought were pretty good, but the taste of them fresh is quite sublime. They are really juicy and not at all meally as they can get when a little more mature. I used them in a risotto with some of the Feltham First peas. It tasted great so here is the recipe:

Vegetable stock
50g butter
olive oil
2 leeks
275g arborio rice
fresh broad beans
fresh peas
Clove of garlic
Handful of fresh mint
Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Put the stock in a saucepan and heat until almost boiling. Then turn down the heat and keep it on a very low simmer.

Heat the butter and a dash of oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the sliced leeks and cook for 1-2 minutes until soft but not brown. Add the garlic and stir well.

Add the rice and sir, using a wooden spoon, until the grains are well coated and glistening (about a minute). Add some stock (you could add a glass of wine now if you wish) and stir until absorbed.

Add the stock a ladel at a time and stir 'til absorbed. After 10 mins add the broad beans and peas. Continue to add the stock at intervals as before until the rice is tender (aboat 18-20 mins).

Grate in some parmesan, season and add the chopped mint. Mix well and remove from heat. Let it rest for a couple of minutes then spoon into bowls and add some more Parmesan to finish.

Rust never sleeps

The garlic has been severely affected by rust this year so I pulled it all up yesterday. The bulbs themselves seem unaffected but I understand that I will need to use the garlic 'wet' rather than allowing it to dry for storage. Luckily the onions and shallots growing nearby seem to be unaffected and are fattening up nicely with all the wet weather we are having.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Upside Down

The ups...
Home grown peas are so sweet that I am trying to grow sucessional crops this year. The First Felham peas are producing well and the second sowing of Balmoral peas are now in flower. I've just sown some more so hopefully this will see us through the summer. The potato plants are looking healthy and some have come into flower. Now is the time to water them in order to help the tubers swell - especially as the weather is so hot.

And the downs...
The broad beans are starting to fatten up although the blackfly have really got hold and, even through the plants have attracted a good number of ladybirds, I think it is a losing battle. Things are also not looking so good with the brassicas - I planted out some kale and calebrese a couple of weeks ago but something has stripped all the leaves off them - I'm guessing it might be birds so have netted them and hope they might recover. Oh yeah and as I was striding about watering the potatoes I went and squashed my only courgette plant that was doing really well.