Green and gorgeous

After rain comes that wonderful feeling of freshness – everything in the garden looks brighter, greener and more gorgeous.  Rain restores the vitality of life around me – and as long as it doesn’t rain for days and days – I enjoy a break from sunshine and a chance to reset, indoors (and perhaps do a bit of cleaning/filing – things I would rather avoid) before being outside again!  And there is always that wonderful smell – can’t quite find words to describe it – wet, crisp, clean… I remember one of my favourite childhood books was about Mrs Apple and her pekinese who played in her Apple orchard…. And she talked about the smell of fresh rain…. Takes me back!

 And with fresh, green & gorgeous surroundings, comes ingredients – and the chance to put together some quick and simple side dishes….. wild garlic pesto (as I’ve mentioned before), pickled cucumber, salsa verde – made with cavolo nero leaves and inspired by the wonderful Giffords Circus cookbook and a Thai dipping sauce with spring onions & lime….. Any or all of these sauces are great with fish, bbq meats, steamed asparagus, salad leaves…… and great to keep in the fridge for when you’re looking for that little ‘extra’ to add to supper.

It’s a great way to use up bits and pieces from the fridge – and I’m also very lucky to be surrounded by carpets of wild garlic, but rocket leaves are always a good alternative.  Enjoy the fresh green flavours – as well as the rain, there’s more to come this week!


Wild Garlic Pesto
Makes 1 large jar

 1 large handful of washed wild garlic leaves
1 small bunch of herbs (parsley/coriander/basil)
60g toasted pine nuts
60g grated parmesan
150ml olive oil
Juice of half a small lemon
Salt & pepper


  • Whizz garlic leaves & herbs in mixer to finely chop.
  • Add pinenuts, parmesan, salt & pepper and whizz again
  • Pour in lemon juice and half the olive oil and whizz – check texture and keep adding oil until you are happy.
  • Check seasoning and store in airtight jar. Will last for 7 days, top up with olive oil to keep green. 

Pickled Cucumber
Makes 1 large jar

1 cucumber, cut long ways and seeds removed, and sliced into thin half mooned or ribbons
1 tsp flaky sea salt
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp white caster sugar
½ tsp bashed coriander seeds

Small handful of herbs – dill or mint are best

  • Prep cucumber and put in sieve and mix with salt and leave for 15 mins.
  • Squeeze the cucumber to get rid of excess water and pat try with clean tea towel
  • Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl and then add cucumber and stir through.
  • Keep in airtight containers – will last for 3 days

Salsa Verde with Cavolo Nero
Makes 1 medium jar

2 large cavolo Nero leaves, stripped from stalk and roughly chopped
1 small bunch of parsley/basil/coriander
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 small tin of anchovies in olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp capers
Juice of half a lemon

  • Blanch cabbage leaves in boiling salted water for 4-5 mins and the refresh in cold water and thoroughly drain.
  • Add to blender with herbs, garlic, anchovies (with their oil), capers, mustard and whizz until roughly smooth.
  • Add salt & pepper and lemon juice to taste – whizz again and you should have a thick, chunky paste. Add a little water to loosen
  • Keep in airtight jar – will last for 3 days

Thai Dipping sauce with spring onions & lime

1 bunch of spring onions, finely chopped including green stalks
1 lime
1 tbsp Fish Sauce
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Mirin Sauce
2 tsp Chilli Sauce – or fresh Chillies

*Mix together finely chopped spring onions with the zest and juice of 1 lime.
* Add remaining ingredients and stir through
* Keep in ramekin/bowl covered in cling film – use as a dressing or dipping sauce with fish. Will keep for 2 days.

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