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Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Jerusalem ArtichokesThe last edible items to be foraged from the garden this year? Jerusalem artichokes.

These strange knobbly tubers have an odd reputation; some cooks love them, and some hate them. The main problem is not their scruffy appearance or the time it takes to clean and peel them.

No, it’s the fact that they contain inulin, a component that cannot be broken down by our digestive system. Instead, bacteria in the gut goes to work to metabolise it, and this can lead to flatulence.

Allotment Pie

Tricolour CourgetteIt’s November and my Tricolor plant at the back of the garden is still producing round stripy courgettes the size of footballs.

(I gave a couple to a friend of mine and she scooped out the insides to make Mediterranean stew. Left with a pumpkin-like shell, she carved faces into the thick skins, put candles inside and used them on Halloween.)

Easy roast vegetables

Roasted Vegetables RawOf course, another way to cook all those harvest time veggies is simply to roast them.

I baked a small tray here, but you can easily double the quantities and add cubes of aubergine, squash and peppers.

Ingredients

1 red onion or 5 shallots
1 carrot
1 large stick of celery
1 leek
1 courgette
Half a dozen cherry tomatoes
Fresh basil
Olive oil
Salt
Coarse ground black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.

Chickpea and bean salad

Chickpea and bean saladAs well as a glut of courgettes, I have nearly a dozen pots of basil growing in the garden. (I got a bit carried away when sowing different types of basil seeds earlier in the year.)

I love basil, and I’ve been using it to make pesto and adding it to spicy tomato pasta sauce. It’s also delicious freshly chopped on salads. And if you’re in need of a fibre boost, try a bean salad.

Courgette and Basil Soup

Tricolour CourgetteThis year, I’ve got a glut of round courgettes. Slugs chomped a few of the plants, which was probably just as well as I’ve got more than enough courgettes from the remaining plants.

These were grown from Thompson & Morgan ‘Tricolor’ F1 Hybrid seeds. They’re supposed to be a mixture of yellow, green and striped courgettes, but mine were all striped. The courgettes are tasty; the only problem is you turn your back on them for a couple of days, and they’ve suddenly ballooned from golf ball size into footballs.

Turkey Korma

Turkey Korma SauceA friend of mine asked me to investigate korma recipes, and I came across this one for Chicken Korma from the Hairy Bikers.

I didn’t use as many cardamom pods as suggested (12!); I thought six would be plenty. I liked the suggestion made in the comments at the end of the recipe of substituting coconut cream for double cream – I’ll try that next time.

Fish Oil Supplements v. Fish: Italian Fish Stew

Italian Fish StewI’ve recently been reading up on the supposed benefits of taking fish oil supplements. What a confusing subject. As usual, what’s good for you one week is bad for you the next.

The consensus seems to be that you’re better off getting your omega-3 fatty acids from fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. You can also obtain another type of omega-3 from flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and leafy vegetables.

Simple and Striking Self-seeding Flowers

English MarigoldsI love self-seeding flowers. They save me so much time and money as they add a rainbow of pinks, oranges and reds to patches of my garden that would otherwise remain bare.

Then there’s the element of surprise. You never know what’s going to pop up where. Of course, some can become a little too intrusive.

English marigolds (Calendula officinalis)

The Perfect Poached Egg

Poached EggI’ve experimented with a variety of ways to poach eggs over the years and only recently have I discovered a process that really works.

Many egg poachers have been discarded along the way, and I’ve tried a fair few. The problem with placing an egg into a cup of any sort is that it doesn’t cook evenly. The water around the cup heats up and the edges of the egg harden while the white surrounding the yoke stays clear and runny. Then the egg inevitably sticks to the cup when you try and get it out.

The failed attempts

Syrup Chips and Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

Lion's Mane MushroomsThe start of this month saw a trip to Dawlish in South Devon.

While I was there, I tried two very different delicacies. One was syrup chips and the other Lion's Mane mushrooms – both were slightly sweet and didn’t taste as you’d expect.

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