Kitchen Garden · Recipes

Broad Bean Bruschetta

fava beans

The broad beans I planted out in November have been ready for picking for over a week, I love picking young pods and eating the small beans while working in the kitchen garden so not many make it to the kitchen at first.

fava beans

I gathered some pods today to make a really simple lunch time bruschetta, it was so scrummy and easy to make.

I just taste as I go so I don’t really measure anything.

Pod broad beans and add to a pan of boiling water for no more than 2 minutes.

Drain then remove and discard outer skins to reveal the beautiful green bean inside.

Add a dash of olive oil and mash the beans with a fork or puree with a hand blender, entirely up to you.

Add a squeeze of lemon juice and pinch of salt to taste.

Toast bread (I use Italian toasting bread) on both sides and rub one side with a garlic clove, pile the bean mix on top.



Roast Autumn Veg with Beans

A very simple and tasty seasonal dish, bringing the usual autumnal vegetables together. I used a late bloomer courgette in this recipe, it was given the perfect send off being included in this dish. Use as a side or perfect for a warming bowl of sweet, earthy autumnal goodness.

Serves 4

4 red onions, outer skin removed and sliced into quarters

1 or 2 courgettes (optional), sliced

5 medium-sized carrots, scrubbed and chopped into small chunks

2 beetroot, chopped into small chunks

1 winter squash, chopped into large chunks

Dried runner beans, large handful, soaked overnight.

Sea salt

1 tbsp rape seed oil (olive oil if preferred)

Add the soaked runner beans to a pan of boiling water, turn the heat down and simmer for approximately 1 hour, keep checking beans for softness using a fork and top up pan with extra water if the level falls too low. Drain, cover and put aside.

Add the prepared onions, carrots, courgette, squash and beetroot to a roasting dish, drizzle with oil and place in a hot preheated oven. Roast for approximately 30-40 minutes or until the onion has begun to caramelise.

Mix together with the cooked beans, add a sprinkling of sea salt and serve.


Green Tomato Chutney

Our tomatoes are still going strong in the greenhouse but there are plenty of fruits that won’t ripen now. Our chutney recipe is perfect for using up a glut of green tomatoes, I made some jars today and it tastes delicious already but should be even better in the months to come. I’ll be storing some away for our Christmas cheese board.

Makes 4 standard jars.


900g green tomatoes, quartered

300ml organic white wine vinegar

2 large onions, roughly chopped

1 red chilli, finely chopped

2 tsp yellow mustard seeds

150g raisins

1 tsp salt

Place all ingredients into a large stainless steel pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for approximately 1 hour 30 minutes, stirring occasionally during the last half hour of cooking time to prevent the chutney sticking to the bottom of the pan.

The chutney is ready when it has thickened enough to drag a wooden spoon across the base of the pan to form a channel that does not immediately fill with liquid. Allow to cool slightly then spoon the chutney into warm sterilised jars and seal. Best left for at least 6 weeks but can be used once cool. Use within 12 months. Refrigerate opened jars.


Bubble and Squeak

bubble and squeak

Ahhh good ol’ Bubble and Squeak, a traditional English dish made using the veg (usually cabbage) and potato leftovers of a Sunday roast. The beauty of this dish is there is no recipe as it was always made from leftovers!

veg stock leftovers

You can use any vegetables you like, we use the veg after making a stock picking out peppercorns, bay leaves and twiggy thyme before use.

How we make Bubble and Squeak:

  • Mash potatoes with a little butter and season, add any cooked vegetables you like and mix together.
  • Using your hands shape the mixture into patties and pop into the fridge to chill for an hour, they hold their shape better this way.
  • Shallow fry in olive oil allowing the potato to catch on the bottom of the pan each side.
  • Serve as they are, top with a poached egg or use as a side with cold meats.





Beetroot and Walnut Hummus


It’s February and we’re still harvesting beetroot from the kitchen garden. In order to use some up I made a delicious hummus following a River Cottage recipe, although I tweaked it a bit to suit our own taste. Once made it will keep for a few days if stored in the fridge, serve at room temperature. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Serves 4

  • 50g walnuts
  • 15g stale bread, crusts removed and torn into chunks
  • 200g cooked beetroot (not pickled), cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Half a tablespoon of olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas Mark 4. Toast the walnuts on a baking tray for 5 minutes, leave to cool. Put the bread and toasted walnuts into a food processor or use a hand blender to blitz to fine crumbs. Add the beetroot, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and a grinding of pepper. Blend to a thick paste, taste and adjust by adding more lemon, garlic and seasoning if you prefer, blending again. Loosen with a dash more oil if required.

Delicious as a starter or dip, served with breadsticks or flatbreads.


Rhubarb Jam


If you’re growing an early rhubarb variety such as Timperley Early, chances are you’re already looking for rhubarb recipes. If you forced it during December / January, it’s probably coming out of your ears! If not, sit tight and wait patiently for your rhubarb to catch up. And it will.

I adore rhubarb jam, it’s not for everyone but if you love jam and of course rhubarb then you really must give this jam recipe a try. I’ve just finished using my last jar from the batch I made last spring, so now I’m itching to make more.

rhubarb jam

Rhubarb Jam (makes approximately 4-5 jars depending on size)

1 kg rhubarb (forced or unforced stems)

850g jam sugar

Cut the rhubarb stems into inch pieces, add sugar and rhubarb pieces in layers to a large pan. Leave the pan overnight to allow the rhubarb juices and sugar to combine to make a syrup. The following day, bring the pan to a steady boil (stirring occasionally before boiling point). Boil for 6-7 minutes then test for setting point by using a sugar thermometer or wrinkle test on a chilled plate (place a small amount of jam on a chilled plate using a teaspoon, push the jam across the plate with your fingernail, if the jam wrinkles then your jam is ready). When setting point is reached remove pan from the heat and rest for a few minutes before pouring the jam into clean warm jars. Personally, I don’t add anything else because I’m a true rhubarb fan and I adore this jam, but you could add other flavour hints to your jam such as ginger.

I hope you enjoy this jam as much as I do. Try swirling it through whipped cream, dollop it on ice cream, try it with scones or use as a filling for a sponge cake.

rhubarb jam on scones

I highly recommend growing Timperley Early, it races out of the ground way ahead of other rhubarb varieties, an established patch can be ready to start pulling from March, much earlier if forced.


Apple Cake

apple cake

I baked a lovely apple cake recently, moist and gently spiced with a generous amount of fruit, the sugar topping gives a slight crunch. It’s incredibly moreish, perfect with an afternoon mug of tea in the autumn sunshine.

The garden produced an amazing crop of apples and other fruit this year, having plenty of fruit to bake with I made warming crumbles and tarts (spiced apple, apple and pear also apple and blackberry using foraged berries which was delicious), but I also want to pick some fruit for storing. I really must set some time aside to get on with that.


Back to that cake I was telling you about, here’s the recipe:

Serves 10

250g unsalted soft butter

200g caster sugar

250g plain flour

250g apples (cooker or dessert) peeled and diced

3 eggs

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

Half a mug of sultanas

Generous amount of demerara sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 170C (gas mark 3), line the bottom of a 23cm cake tin with parchment paper and grease the sides. Cream the butter and caster sugar together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy, beat the eggs together in a small bowl or jug and gradually add to the mixing bowl (add a tablespoon of the flour to the mix if it begins to curdle). Fold in the cinnamon, flour and baking powder until just combined, then fold in the apple and sultanas until completely combined.

Spoon mixture into the cake tin, spread the top until it’s level and push down any protruding apple pieces until they are covered to prevent them from burning. Sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top, bake on the middle shelf for 50 minutes, a skewer comes out clean when ready. Leave to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack.

Perfect just how it is or try adding ground almonds or walnuts. Enjoy!




Blackberry Jam

blackberry jamI’m really enjoying using my new Maslin pan, I love experimenting with jams and jellies, it makes things so much easier. I wish I could say the same for the jam thermometer, I’m sticking with the trusted cold plate method for testing setting point (see recipe).


I put together the following recipe for blackberry jam using locally foraged berries, handy if you only wish to make a small batch at a time or if you’re struggling to pick enough berries before the birds get to them. Blackberries are low in pectin which can make a good set tricky to achieve, I used a mix of jam sugar (a sugar with added pectin) and granulated sugar, the juice of a lemon also helps the jam to set. This recipe makes a rustic, chunky jam (full of fruit and seeds which I like) with a good set.

Makes 3 -4 jars

600g blackberries

350g jam sugar

200g granulated sugar

Juice of 1 small lemon

Pop a clean plate into the freezer. Wash the blackberries and pick over to remove any stalks, allow the fruit to dry. Add the blackberries to a preserving pan with 200g of sugar (granulated or jam sugar) and the lemon juice, lightly crush the berries using the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher to release juices. Stir on a gentle heat for a couple of minutes to combine then add the remaining sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar then simmer gently to soften the berries (approximately 8 minutes), bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes and test for setting point by placing a small amount of jam liquid onto the cold plate, allow to cool slightly then push the liquid with your finger, if it wrinkles then setting point has been reached (if not, return pan to heat and test again).Once setting point is reached remove from heat. Pour into warm sterilised jars and cover. Store in a cool dark place.


Plum Jam

making plum jam

It was time to relieve our Victoria plum tree of its heavy branches of fruit, so I set about picking lots of gorgeous plums over the bank holiday weekend to make jam.

plum jam

Makes 6 -8 jars depending on size

1.5kg plums

1.25kg granulated sugar

Slice the plums in half and remove stones, place plums into a preserving pan with 400ml water, bring to a simmer and cook on a gentle heat for around 20 minutes until the fruit is tender and skins soften.

Add the sugar and stir to dissolve, bring to boiling point and boil rapidly for approximately 8 – 10 minutes, test for setting point at regular intervals to avoid burning the jam. Once setting point is reached, pot the jam and place lids on.


Chewy Choc Chip Cookies


Today it rained heavily, not a great day for gardening so I made cookies instead. The teenagers of the house inform me they’re very tasty, so here’s the recipe if you’d like to give them a try.

Makes around 10 cookies:

150g plain flour

100g caster sugar

75g soft brown sugar

1 egg

120g unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

150g chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 190 C or gas Mark 5. Combine both sugars in a bowl, melt the butter in a saucepan on a gentle heat and pour into the sugar, stir briskly until combined. Lightly beat the egg and stir into the mixture, sift the flour along with the baking powder into the bowl and combine, then stir in the chocolate chips.

Line a baking tray with baking parchment and dollop on heaped dessertspoons of the cookie mixture, the cookies spread out when cooking so leave a distance between each one on the tray. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and harden before tasting!



Pumpkin and Raisin Cake

pumpkin and raisin cake

With plenty of pumpkins stored away I’ve been looking for recipes to make something a little different with them. This scrummy recipe for pumpkin and raisin cake appealed to me, particularly the spicing which would be pleasantly warming now that colder weather has finally arrived.

Serves 12


250g plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

200g dark brown soft sugar

100g butter

2 eggs, beaten

250g pumpkin puree

4 tablespoons milk

100g raisins


Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4.

For the pumpkin puree I measured out 800g of roughly chopped pumpkin (skin and seeds removed) and placed in a pan of boiling water, simmer for 20 minutes or so until the pumpkin pieces are soft (test with a fork). Strain water and place cooked pumpkin pieces into a fine mesh sieve, try to remove as much excess water as you can by pushing down on the pumpkin pieces with a fork to strain. Scrape the contents from the sieve into a bowl and use a hand blender to puree. Measure and set aside.

In a mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, spices and bicarbonate of soda. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Mix in eggs, 250g pumpkin puree and milk. Stir flour mixture into wet mixture until just combined. Fold in raisins.

Pour into a 23 cm cake tin and bake for 35 – 40 minutes (test middle of cake with a skewer).

cake mixture

Although you can’t really taste much of the pumpkin, the puree keeps the cake moist. After working in the vegetable garden or the allotment, enjoy a slice with a cup of hot tea. Lovely!


Easy Butternut Squash Soup

butternut squash soup

A thick, rustic soup, bursting with autumn goodness! Perfect for a quick light lunch or warming snack, this recipe is super easy to make, particularly if you’ve never made soup before.

Serves 1


1 tbsp olive oil

1 small garlic clove, roughly chopped

200g butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and chopped into small chunks (150g if you prefer a thinner soup)

1/4 pint of vegetable stock (use chicken stock if you prefer)

2 tbsp milk

Black pepper, freshly ground to season

Fresh coriander leaves to garnish

butternut squash macro


Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the chopped butternut squash and fry for two minutes. Add the stock to the pan and bring to the boil, simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until the butternut squash is tender. Add the milk to the pan and season with black pepper, set aside and allow to cool slightly. Using a food processor or hand blender, blend the butternut squash mixture (for a rustic soup small lumps are fine!). Warm through when required and pour into a warm bowl, garnish with coriander and serve with a chunky slice of bread.


Blackcurrant Jam

blackcurrant jam

The weather continues to be beautiful (probably a little too hot for some) and the allotment is pumping out bumper crops of soft fruit. I’ve really got into jam-making recently so I thought I’d post this easy peasy blackcurrant jam recipe. I’ve used blackcurrant ‘Big Ben’ for my jams, but you can use any variety that you wish. I don’t have a sugar thermometer but I will explain how to test for setting point without one.

Foodie bits you will need to make 1 medium/large jar:

  • 300g blackcurrants
  • 300g granulated sugar
  • 250ml water


The preparation bit:

  • Sterilize a jam jar, make sure the jar remains hot at the time of bottling the jam.
  • Put a plate into the fridge or freezer, you will need it to test the setting point of the jam.
  • Wash the blackcurrants and remove stalks.

making blackcurrant jam

The cooking bit:

  • Place the fruit in a preserving pan or large stainless steel saucepan, cover with pre-measured water and bring to a gentle simmer, leave the fruit to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes to allow the skins to soften.
  • Add the sugar stirring gently with a wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved, bring to a full rolling boil for approximately 4 minutes, remove pan from the heat and test for setting point by placing a small amount of jam liquid onto the cold plate, allow to cool slightly then push the liquid with your finger, if it wrinkles then setting point has been reached (if not, return pan to heat and test again).
  • Pour into a hot, clean jar and seal immediately.

Simple Coleslaw


Large carrots, 5 should do it (use more if your carrots are small)

Half a white cabbage (add red cabbage too if you have it)



Peel and grate the carrots into a mixing bowl or salad bowl, whatever is to hand. Slice the cabbage slightly chunky for crispness, then add to the bowl. Put a few dollops of mayo into the bowl and mix well so that the grated carrot and sliced cabbage are covered then squeeze lemon juice over the coleslaw, add more if you like your coleslaw zesty like me.

And there you have it, simple, quick and tasty.