Well we’re in the height of summer, although you wouldn’t believe it looking at today’s weather, it’s been freezing! I’m really enjoying the new variety of vegetables that are in season. This weekend we celebrated Amy’s birthday; we ventured to the local pick your own farm before heading home for all things cider and BBQ based. Whilst we were mainly picking the last of the strawberries and finding the best raspberries and redcurrants to bury into the freezer to get us through the winter we also found some marrows.
Marrows are one of those vegetables, which can be a bit boring. I’m a fan of boring and really like marrows but I can understand why some people may not really appreciate them quite so much. So, when life brings you marrow…..stuff them!
Stuffed marrows with puy lentils and tomatoes
250g puy lentils
1 cartoon of passata
2 tbsp dried basil
2 cloves of garlic
1. In a saucepan cover the lentils with boiling water and simmer for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, slice the marrows in half (lengthways) and scoop out the seeds (don’t throw them away)
3. In a roasting tin place the marrows and drizzle with olive oil and pop in the oven at 180C.
4. Dice up the marrow seeds and flesh and add to the lentil to cook down.
5. Once the lentils are cooked, drain and add the tomato sauce along with the garlic and season with pepper and basil.
6. Once the tomato starts simmering, take the marrow out of the oven and spoon the lentil mixture into the marrow. Return to the oven for 15 minutes. Serve with some green vegetables and mashed potatoes.
Living in a flat I don’t exactly get the chance to grow and harvest my own food. Even my window sill gardening has come to an abrupt end after that outbreak of flies! So I couldn’t wait to get out of London and head to a pick your own farm with Veronica, and this weekend I finally got the chance.
There’s something about harvesting your own food that makes it taste better. And nothing beats eating a sneaky just-picked strawberry. We headed straight to the soft fruits and found some amazing redcurrants that seemed to glow in the sunlight. The strawberries however had pretty much come to an end and the raspberries weren’t quiet ready. The vegetables, well they were in full swing!
The beans and peas were plentiful but nothing compared to the aptly named rainbow chard. Abundance doesn’t even describe it. It was a bit like being a kid in a sweet shop, so many exciting colours, which one to pick next?
I hadn’t even planned on harvesting any chard as I often get it in my veg bag and its not a particular favourite of mine but when I saw it all growing, I couldn’t resist.
So what to do with all this chard? I decided on wilting it down with some onion and garlic to get that deep, rich irony flavour. I quite fancied rolling it all up in a crepe but having still not mastered the vegan crepe I opted for topping a pizza with it.
With cauliflowers back in season I thought I’d share a cauliflower pizza base recipe. If you don’t have a cauliflower to hand you can always use Veronica’s spelt flour base.
Rainbow chard pizza with a cauliflower base
For the base:
100g brown rice flour
2 tbsp flax seed
4 tbsp water
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
large pinch of za’atar (or dried herbs)
salt and pepper
For the topping:
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 green onion
2 cloves garlic
Large bunch of rainbow chard
1/2 block of tofu
- Start off by making the base. Grind the flax seeds to a fine powder and whisk together with 2 tbsp water until it starts to thicken, then set aside.
- Roughly chop up the cauliflower and place the florets into a food processor and blend until the become fine breadcrumbs.
- Place the ground cauliflower into a large piece of muslin and squeeze out the water from the cauliflower.
- Measure out the rice flour in a large mixing bowl and add the cauliflower, nutritional yeast, za’atar, salt and pepper and mix together.
- Give the flax seed mixture another whisk and pour into the cauliflower mix and combine with your hands.
- Add in 2 tbsp of water bring the mixture together to form a dough like ball.
- Place the dough in a pizza tray lined with baking paper and flatten out using your hands to about 1/2 cm thick.
- Bake in a pre-heat oven for about half an hour until golden brown. After 15 mins take the base out of the oven and place another sheet of baking paper on top of the base and another tray or large flat plate. Very carefully flip the base over and transfer back onto the pizza tray. Bake for the remaining 15 mins.
- Whilst the base is cooking, prepare the topping. Finely slice the onions and fry off in a frying pan in some olive oil until they start to brown and caramelise.
- Add in the crushed garlic cloves and the finely chopped chard stems. Cook for 5 mins until the stems start to soften.
- Add in the finely shredded chard leaves and cook until they most of the water is cooked out.
- Grate in some nutmeg and season to taste.
- Whilst the chard is cooking, finely slice the mushrooms and break the tofu up in a bowl using a fork.
- Remove the cooked base from the oven and spread 1 tbsp of tomato puree over the base.
- Spoon on the cooked chard mixture and spread out evenly.
- Sprinkle on the tofu, scatter the sliced mushrooms and season again before putting back in the oven for around 10 mins.
- Remove from the oven and carefully slice and serve the pizza. The cauliflower base isn’t as robust as a bread base but if you have this in mind and handle it carefully it will hold together nicely.