Several times a year, with the exception of the pandemic, I do cooking demonstrations at my local Willesden Library in Brent. The events are free to attend, you get to cook with me and taste the food. You even get to take some home.
I think this is a brilliant initiative. Libraries aren’t just about books, but about learning in general and within the community. The next event, with budget summer recipes, will be on July 13th through eventbrite.com
The emphasis recently has been on budget-friendly recipes and ingredients. These recipes use seasonal spring ingredients.
Watercress is in season from April. It usually lasts 3 days but can last up to 5 days if the stems are kept in water. Choose bright green bunches. Watercress contains high amounts of iron, calcium, and vitamins A, C and E. It's anti-ageing and wrinkle reducing.
- 50 g butter
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 400 g potato, peeled and chopped or 1 heaped tbsp plain flour
- 600 ml vegetable stock, hot
- 250 g watercress or wild garlic
- 100 ml single cream or creme fraiche or full fat yoghurt or sour cream
- sea salt and pepper
- Fry the onion in the butter until soft. Add the potato or flour, stir to coat in the butter, cover with a lid, and cook for 15 minutes.
- Add the hot stock, bring the whole thing up to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover again with a lid, and cook for 20 minutes.
- Add the watercress and let it wilt for a couple of minutes. Leave the soup to cool a little, then use a blender to blend the soup until completely smooth. Stir the cream through the soup. Season with salt and taste. Serve hot with a few watercress leaves to garnish.
This is very similar to green Iranian rice, except it has more garlic.
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 shallots or a medium brown onion, finely chopped
- 3 to 5 cloves garlic, minced, or more, if you wish, finely chopped
- 150 g basmati rice, steamed with a little sea salt in the water
- 300 g broad beans, double podded
- Bunch fresh dill, finely chopped
- 1 lemon, zest and juice of
- Salt and pepper
- 50 g butter
- Steam the rice, double pod the broad beans, chop onions, garlic, dill so everything is ready
- Preheat the oven to 180C
- Heat the olive oil in a wide frying pan
- Soften the shallots, then add the garlic
- Add the cooked rice, the dill, broad beans, lemon juice, salt, pepper. Stir and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes.
- Add a big knob of butter
Microwave cabbage or spring greens
This is a quick and easy way to cook cabbage or spring greens which are basically young wild cabbage leaves. They are high in vitamin C, folic acid and great for diabetics
- 500 g Spring greens, cut into confetti like strips
- 50 g salted butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 small red chilli
- Sprinkle sesame seeds
- drizzle toasted sesame oil
- Put the greens into a large microwaveable bowl with a splash of water
- Microwave for 2.5 minutes
- Drain and put in a wok/frying pan with butter, lemon and the other ingredients. Fry gently for a few minutes.
Wild garlic yoghurt raita
On a recent trip to Kent I got this recipe from Lucia of The Wild Kitchen
- 500 g Greek yoghurt
- 1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced (optional)
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1 tsp salt
- bunch wild garlic, chopped finely or you could use fresh mint
- Mix the yoghurt with the lemon juice and salt. Add cucumber if you wish.
- Stir in the wild garlic
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