, ,

Not a serving suggestion, but a quick update on the square foot raised beds.

Between the hens and the slugs, lettuces aren’t having an easy time of it at the garden deli this year.  After losing most of the lettuce plants in the vegetable beds at the Dutch House to slugs, an organic slug deterrent was needed.  So, I’ve started recycling the coffee grounds from the cafe, mounding them up around a freshly planted batch of young lettuce plants.  And what do you know, it’s worked!  Well it was either the coffee or the warm, dry weather slowing the slugs down enough to give the plants a chance to get established and growing.  Now the lettuces are looking healthy and tasty, just as they should be.  The first rocket leaves are being picked and added to salads in the cafe, and the vegetable beds are nearly fully planted.

At home there are lots of fresh leaves to pick for salads.  Not just lettuce, but spinach, kale, Swiss chard and coriander as well.  The first radishes are ready too.  Radishes are ridiculously easy to grow either in the garden or in pots, but not everyone likes the taste.  Harvesting them really young – just bigger than marble sized, means you get them nice and tender, before the flavour becomes overpowering.  Serve them with some sea salt or a small bowl of homemade garlicky mayonnaise, for a crunchy accompaniment to a chilled glass of wine on a warm spring evening.  Or slice them finely and add them to salads.  I love the combination of colours in this salad, and what’s more it tastes good too…

Radish, Orange & Black Bean Salad

A small bunch of radishes, freshly picked from the garden

1 orange

1 tin of ready-cooked black beans, or a cup of home cooked dried black beans

A couple of handfuls of small spinach leaves

A handful of coriander leaves

For the dressing –

2tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1tbsp orange juice

1tbsp lemon juice

1tsp runny honey

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Wash, then top and tail the radishes.  Slice them thinly and put them in a serving bowl.  Peel the orange and cut or tear into small chunks, removing as much of the pith as possible and saving the juice that runs out to use in the dressing.  Rinse and drain the beans, then add these to the radish slices along with the orange.

Tear the spinach leaves into bite sized pieces, and roughly chop the coriander – toss these into the bowl as well.

To make the dressing, mix the oil, orange and lemon juice, and honey together.  Season well with salt and pepper.  Add the dressing to the salad just before serving, and gently mix through.