Although there has been lots of salad planted in the garden on recent weekends, including mustard greens, rocket and mizuna (at least I’ll be able to distinguish between the plants after cramming in Ballymaloe for the salad leaves and herbs exams!), it’s going to be a while before any of the leaves are big enough to eat. Then, of course, because our planting in succession routine is not entirely developed – despite best intentions – we’ll have another glut to work through. But that’s all ahead of us and, until then, I’ve been growing my own salad on the windowsill.
Inspired by my perusal of Heidi Swanson‘s superb cookbook Super Natural Cooking, I’ve been motivated to start baking with more esoteric – to me, at least – grains and foods. I’m all stocked up on my favourite quinoa to try out some of her recipes (you’ll find plenty more online at 101 Cookbooks), millet, amaranth, linseed and – in the move – rediscovered some Letheringsett Watermill Organic Spelt Flour from our trip to Norfolk. Subtitled “Five Delicious Ways to Incorporate Whole and Natural Ingredients into your Cooking”, it’s a perfect read if you’re interested in cooking with whole foods and wanting to learn more about what is available and what can be done with it. And, unlike the educational but boring-looking Fresh and Wild Cookbook, it looks amazing.
It’s moving week so there’s not much cooking and baking going on, apart from me making loaves of brown bread to try and use up some of the six – yes, count them, SIX! (and that’s not mentioning the few that are down at the cottage, ahem…) – bags of flour that I have sitting on my shelves. The flat that we are moving into in Dublin is much smaller and doesn’t have a freezer so for a while there was a mad race to finish up all the frozen foodstuffs at our current place. Then we made a quick trip to DID Electrical so we now have a new under-counter freezer and the pressure is off. It still leaves me scratching my head at some of the things that I have in there though. Who knows why I froze a brioche loaf or what kinds of curry are in all those little plastic containers that I use for lunches? Certainly not the person who should have been labelling them!
Quinoa is something that I’ve been meaning to cook for quite a while. About ten years, in fact, ever since I read Nigel Slater‘s Real Fast Food. He has several recipes for this protein-packed ancient grain and, as with all his writings, I was seduced by the delicious descriptions. Not seduced enough, however, to seek it out in Ireland but, since arriving in New Zealand, I’ve come across it on several occasions. Eventually, an article in Cuisine led me to buy some from Piko which…just sat in the pantry until an inquiry about it from the Boyfriend’s mother made me decide that it was time to actually try cooking it instead of admiring it every time I opened the door of the pantry.