There must be a rainbow?!.

Abundance in a bag: fruits, vegetables and treats from my allotment
Abundance in a bag: fruits, vegetables and treats from my allotment

It is a truth universally acknowledged that an Englishman in wont of conversation will discuss the weather – at length…  So this Summer has been a great English conversation starter: rain, wind, floods – delightful… My one woman harvest festival might not be as warm as previous years (though, quite what did those OAPs did with those perennial tins of cockaleekie soup?), but my beloved allotment is bearing fruit, quite literally, so despite the weather, there’s a deluge of raspberries, tomatoes, carrots and other colorful treats.

Here are some recipes using what is being harvested now:-

Beetroot, carrot and apple salad.

This has to be one of the ultimate hippy salads: reminds me of festivals and raw food cafes, but is really simple to make, delicious, sooo good for you and all the ingredients are in season.

Grate two beetroots, two carrots, a small piece of ginger, half an apple.  Mix together, then add chopped rosemary, some seeds and a dressing of olive oil, balsamic/cider vinegar, honey and mustard.

Courgette Camden salad.

Margot and I have adapted this from one we ate daily at Glastonbury.

Grate a courgette, mix in some vegan pesto: made from basil, seasoning, olive oil and pine nuts.  That’s it – super simple, soooo delicious!

Aduki bean burgers.

Aduki beans are according to macrobiotics meant to be the most balanced bean to eat, while ginger is warming, ideal for early Autumn to ward off seasonal colds.

Soak the beans overnight, then boil for at least an hour and a half.  Half way through boiling, add in some washed, chopped potatoes, so they can boil together.  After, rinse and mash.  Grate some carrot (I tried out some beetroot this time too and it adds both a nice reddy colour and is tasty), courgette, a small piece of ginger, perhaps a clove of garlic and add to some miso, tomato paste, vegan bouillon, Bragg’s amino acids and mash with your hands (which if you’re like me, you’ll enjoy!), then pat into burger shapes and using a small amount of oil, eg sesame, lightly fry to cook.  I love these with a tahini dressing, to add another nutty protein and salad.

Kuru Fasulye.

Literally this means dried beans in Turkish and while I cook Turkish-ish dishes; my style is more ‘hippy’: see how it goes/what’s in the kitchen and uses way less oil than traditional Turkish cooking…

Soak some white beans, eg broad beans overnight then boil and cook for at least an hour and a half.  Using olive oil, fry some garlic/onions, adding in tomato paste, bouillon, chopped potatoes, courgettes, aubergine, peppers, carrots, herbs such as oregano, basil, thyme, sumac and seasoning, then add water, bring down to simmer once boiled and let cook for 45/60 minutes.  Like all stews, this tastes better the next day.  I like to serve this with bulgar pilaf, made my Dad’s way: with fried onion (he likes to use margarine rather than oil to fry them in – ‘more tasty darling’…), chickpeas or red lentils and tomato paste in the pilaf.

Sun blushed tomatoes.

The tomatoes are all turning red now; of course I don’t want to waste them.  Sadly London isn’t sunny enough(!) to sun dry them naturally, so here’s a way to dry them and enjoy them for weeks to come.

Turn the oven to a really low heat, like lower than gas mark 1.  Wash the tomatoes, slice into them (I make criss-cross cuts), put them onto a wire rack in a baking tray.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and I like to add herbs, such as thyme, oregano, basil and bay; you can add sugar (I don’t!)  and bake for a couple of hours.  Once “blushed”, put into a sterilised jar with sunflower oil, garlic and herbs if you like; they will keep refridgerated for weeks.