The Garden and Kitchen in May
Vine Leaves – Dolmathakia
Pick young (but large enough to roll) vine-leaves and cut off the stems. Dip into boiling hot water. Place on a board shiny side down.
Combine filling in a bowl – spring onions finely chopped, plus some finely chopped parsley, fennel, mint (dried mint is even better), lettuce (old lettuce is fine with thick white stems). Add uncooked white rice, salt and pepper and some olive oil.
Take a leaf and place a heaped teaspoon of stuffing towards the stem end. Tuck in bottom ends, roll once, fold in sides and roll up neatly but not too tightly.
Line saucepan bottom with old vine leaves. Pack in the rolls, with perhaps a second and third layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; add lemon juice, water and oil. Place an inverted plate on the top, cover saucepan and simmer gently for 45-60 mins. Add more warm water if necessary.
Allow to cool with serve with yoghurt.
Lots of lovely lettuce salads. Nothing much added but some infused olive oil that Rosemary made. This was made by gently warming olive oil with some lemon rind and bay leaves. This oil with some balsamic vinegar added to the lettuces is all that is needed to make a delicious salad but Rosemary then sprinkled some marigold petals on the top.
Nasturtium Seeds – Poor-man’s Capers
|Nasturtium seeds in vinegar|
Collect the seeds as the flowers begin to fade. Put them on salted water for a while then into boiling water for a minute. Then pack into bottles with vinegar. These are great added to salads or put on top of pizzas.
Beets – Preserved and Raw
Dig up beets and cut off the leaves (Young beet leaves can be added to a variety of greens to make horta). Wash and cover with water and boil for about a half to an hour – depending on the size of the beets.
I bottled some sliced beets in vinegar.
You can grate raw beets for a salad, but we have just grated some of the cooked beets, mixed with lemon and oil, for a salad. Another day we added some of this beet mix to some chopped young green beans.
|Bean and beet salad|
Green Beans – Frozen and Fresh
The beans are just perfect just now but coming on so fast. We picked a basket full. Most of them I blanched and packed into freezer bags. But of course we are also eating them right away – see the salad above. When I do open up the bags later in the year I’ll cook them with home made tomato sauce and lots of garlic.
Zucchinis – Pasta and Flowers
Zucchinis are something else that arrives by the bucketful in this season. There are many different things to do with them. Yesterday I made zucchini pasta. The long, larger ones are good for this. I use a potato peeler and slice down the sides, skin and all. Then when I have a bowl full I heat butter and a little olive oil in a fry pan and dump in the zucchini. I’ll put on a lit but turn them now and then and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
But then there are the flowers. You shake out the flowers, cut off the stems, and fish out the stamens. Then I fill them with a mix of ricotta with a little fetta mashed in, and some added herbs. (I like sage, but Takis does not!). The flowers petals are twisted over this mix. Then just before the meal I dip them into a batter and fry them, turning so that each side is browned. Serve immediately.