Having access to an allotment (or vegetable garden) gives you the perfect opportunity to grow some of the foods you love and also the chance to try some new recipes. There’s a long list of produce to try but starting with the basics if you’re new to allotment ownership is probably wise.
Tomatoes are a given, lots of us have memories growing up of picking the bright red fruit and being quite proud that we managed to not only keep the plant alive, but also harvest something edible from it!
A few other popular vegetable choices are carrots, lettuce, onions, potatoes and peas. Fruit wise; strawberries are a must and if you’re lucky to have the space to plant some fruit trees on your plot then an apple, plum or pear tree is always a plus.
Don’t forget to save a little space for any herbs you like to cook with too. Chives are super easy to grow and make a great addition to that summer potato salad; with thyme, basil, sage, parsley and rosemary also being popular with allotment gardeners.
Some recipes to try from produce you’ve grown:
Creamy Beetroot Curry
Serves 8 as a side dish.
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, very finely chopped
2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
3 tbsp madras curry paste
1 green chilli, halved lengthways
450g ripe home-grown tomatoes, peeled and chopped
3 tbsp ground almonds (optional)
4 tbsp low-fat natural yoghurt, plus extra to serve
1kg (peeled weight) raw beetroot, peeled, halved and thickly sliced
Heat the oil in a large lidded pan, stir in the onions and cook for 8 mins until soft. Tip in the mustard seeds and cook for 1 min until toasted. Stir through the curry paste and sizzle for 3 mins.
Mix the beetroot through the spicy onions, then add the chilli, tomatoes and 2 cans of water (about 1 ¼ pints). Cover and simmer for 30 mins, stirring occasionally, until the beetroot is tender. Remove the lid, turn up the heat and cook until the sauce is thick. You can freeze it at this point.
Take off the heat, then stir through the almonds, yoghurt and some seasoning (salt and lemon juice). Top with yoghurt and serve with basmati rice, if you like.
Carrot and Coriander Soup
4 large carrots
Half tsp dry coriander
Big bunch fresh coriander
1-2 pints Veg stock
Salt and pepper
Soften the chopped onion in some oil.
Add dried coriander and chopped carrots stir and fry for a minute.
Add stock and cook until veg is tender.
Then put in a blender and whizz until smooth.
Reheat and add chopped, fresh coriander just before eating.
Squashy Rhubarb Cake
Serve as a cake or warm dessert
Ingredients for cake:
85g self-raising flour
85g caster sugar
1-2 level teaspoons ground ginger
85g butter softened
For the filling:
340g of rhubarb
2 level tablespoons caster sugar
For the crumble topping:
85g plain flour
30g caster sugar
Set oven to 190, line an 8inch cake tin.
Sift the flour into the bowl and add ginger.
Add the butter, sugar, and eggs, beat until smooth
Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and level the surface.
To make filling for Squashy Rhubarb Cake:
Cut rhubarb into 1-inch pieces and mix with the sugar.
Spread over the top of the cake mixture.
To make crumble topping:
Sift plain flour into a bowl.
Cut the butter into pieces and rub into the flour.
Stir in the sugar, then press together to form larger pieces.
Sprinkle over top of rhubarb.
Bake for 1 and ½ hours or until a skewer comes out clean.
Cool slightly in the tin.
Be sure to check out the rest of our National Allotment Week series on our blog!