A late summer vegetable garden is not a pretty sight. Weeds take over, plants die down, platoons of snails munch their way through layers of leaves on young cabbages, beans dry on the plants, fruits rot on the ground and mutant courgettes abound. So it was with some trepidation that I stepped out into the vegetable garden last Friday with the sole aim of gathering enough produce to make a platter of snacks for an impromptu drinks party. A few minutes later I scampered back into the kitchen  and found myself frantically paging through a pile of recipe books looking for inspiration. There was more produce than I could possibly have imagined, although how to turn it into a platter of snacks would certainly be a bit of a challenge. Veg bowl march 2014

  • A giant butternut
  • Three large and three small aubergines
  • Rocket – more than we could imagine using
  • Basil – an abundance of  very large healthy leaves
  • Red, yellow and green peppers
  • Red and green cabbages
  • 56 granadillas
  • 3.5 kg tree tomatoes
  • Huge bunches of sage
  • Onions
  • Spring onions
  • Beetroot
  • String beans
  • Lettuce
  • Swiss chard
  • Chillies
  • Lemon grass
  • Three smallish and possibly inedible mealies – they turned out to be perfectly sweet  and lovely
  • Some mis-shapen courgettes

Well, between the garden produce, the still very full store cupboard and a trip or two to the Cheese Gourmet in Linden we have eaten very very well this  past week.

Friday night snacks:

  • Wraps (from the store cupboard) filled with hummus (home made the previous week), pesto made from basil and McGregor almonds, rocket, a drizzling of sweet chilli sauce and butternut roasted with z’atar
  • Lettuce  and Swiss chard leaves with a filling made of a tin of store cupboard cannellini beans with finely chopped lemon grass and fresh kaffir lime leaves with red pepper and mealie kernels.
  • Cheese served with tree tomato jam and tree tomato jelly flavoured with rose and vanilla (previously made)

Sunday night dinner party for a group of 80-something-year-olds

  • Borscht made with beetroot, onion and red and green cabbage
  • Buckwheat and spring onion blinis
  • Granadilla curd served with a dollop of yoghurt

Suppers:

  • Conchiglioni  and cannelloni filled with a butternut, red and yellow pepper, and sage filling baked on a bed of aubergine and tomato ‘jam’ x 2 suppers
  • Thai inspired Norwegian wild mushroom risotto with aubergine, string bean, courgette, chilli and basil cooked with lemon grass-infused coconut milk.
  • 100% pork, preservative free Peter James-Smith Italian Salsiccia and English Breakfast sausages from the Cheese Gourmet with a red cabbage, rocket, basil and red pepper salad.
  • Left-over borscht

Preserves:

  • Two huge jars of granadilla curd
  • Three jars of tree tomato jelly flavoured with bay leaves, star anise and rose water

Baking:

  • One loaf of Rosie’s bread
  • Bran rusks

And then to round it all off this Friday’s supper was a tofu stir fry loosely based on Yotam Ottolenghi’s  Brussels sprouts and tofu recipe. We substituted red cabbage for the Brussels sprouts, tree tomatoes for the mushrooms and basil for the coriander. And the whole family devoured it. A nice surprise.