Almond Jasmine Rice Pilaf

I’m cleaning up some of my recipes pages, dear reader and splitting off the ones that have become too crowded. If possible I’ll update these with photos in the future, but for now this will have to do. I’ll schedule these so they won’t overrun the site.

Ingredients

1/2 Cup of Jasmine Rice
250ml Water and 1/3 of a Chicken Stock Cube
1 Tbsp Butter
1/8 Onion, Chopped Fine
20g Slivered Almonds
Salt and Black Pepper to Taste
Pinch of Dried Parsley

Method

1. Heat Butter in a pot on a medium heat. When Butter has melted add the Onion and Almonds and cook covered for 2-4 minutes until Almonds are golden and Onion is soft.

2. Stir in Rice and cook for 2-4 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Rice should be slightly translucent and may brown slightly. Add Chicken Stock, Salt, Black Pepper and Parsley and stir up the Rice and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to medium (3 on hob) cover and let it cook for about 12 minutes.

3. After the 12 minutes is up, remove it from the heat. Let it stand for another 10 minutes or so. After 10 minutes, lift the lid and take a fork and fluff the Rice.

Flaxseed and Buckwheat Flour Scones

Photos added to end of post.

Pep's Free From Kitchen

August 12th Update: I’ve added new photos below the recipe.

Homemade raspberry jelly.

I swear that if you start making a new recipe, carefully take photos of each stage, document each step with perfect clarity then it’ll fail and all that work will have been wasted. Whereas if you just fly by the seat of your pants, take no photos then you’ll succeed, ending up have only one photo and a pocket full of hastily scrawled post-it notes. I can’t even count, well I can but I’m making a point so shush, how may scone recipes I have made at this point, no, no, dear reader, you don’t need to count either. I like them as you n usually make just enough for one serving and that’s that. The trouble when using buckwheat like this is that the end result is often extremely crumbly, but as I say…

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Haggard, Hardened and Productive

Wait, what date was this harvest?

No, not me! I’m beautif… have an honest face. You shut up. I feel the need to type, dear reader, will you then go with me on a verbal journey, not an overly verbose or deep one, just to the garden to admire the marvels of production, the harlequin squash? Cast your mind back to the chaotic first year, I, naive, young…inexperienced, budding Jack had been told of the marvellous ease that squash grew with. Then the hailstones came, the frost came, the powdery milDEW CAME! Ahem, no I’m fine, that first year I will ever and always recall harvesting my first squash, lifting it gingerly for fear of breaking, I still hold the same reverence for them now, that and I’m clumsy at the best of times, lifting it slowly from the plant, which came up with the squash because it was dead. How they ever grew that year I will never know. Care and diligence, perhaps. T’was love, dear reader, love did grow the squash! Or tomato feed, probably the feed. The second year led to the discovery that with good weather came a second harvest. This year has been a mixture, but thankfully there will be a second harvest, barring some unfortunate occurrence.

Like me falling on them while taking photos.

They’re growing at all angles.

One thing you will notice is how ugly and gnarled the plants become over time. The lowest layer of leaves dies away and you have to let them seal up, they’re hollow tubes, so no infection can make its way into the plant, which rest on a single, fairly narrow stem. The bad weather is causing the powdery mildew, though I’m treating them, it never vanishes. There’s dust blowing where it has dried, but it’s still there. The squash is growing at all angles now, harlequin seems to enjoy spreading out, there are huge tendrils with more leaves and flowers and fruits all spilling every which way. I love it, really I do.

I tried pruning last year and it’s a waste of time.

They can ripen very swiftly.

I’m currently at six harvested, two table king and four harlequin. The table king made a delicious, simple pasta sauce. Next I’ll be making cottage pies. What I’ve done this year is give them a dose of nettle and comfrey tea while the next fruit setting starts, it’s less balance, more general than geared towards fruit, but I’m hoping the it’ll give them a boost and maybe, just maybe, there might be third harvest. It can’t hurt that much. I don’t want them putting out too much green at this stage, but they’ll need to bloom for a third time if I want more squash after this. I did warn that I’d wax eloquent endlessly on squash, didn’t I, dear reader? I enjoy it and thankfully you can skip past this when you want.

Quite a few danglers this year.

Another is wedged between two lids and a block.

I do dispose of the lids after using, you never know what they might be retaining and it’d be  waste to damage a squash because you didn’t want to get a fresh coffee cup lid. Kindly donated by anywhere that has them. I do all I can to keep them happy and healthy, but I think there’s a point where the plant can grow no further, where it’s used more than it’s stored and just stops. I’d like to harvest them all year-round, but I’ll settle for the weeks or months of harvesting. It’s an enjoyable time, in no way diluted by repetition. I’ll be back again soon, dear reader.

All that growth with such a thin centre.

Mounding the earth around it at the beginning helps so much with stability.

The second growth never quite matches the first.

Snail Went To Live On a Farm

Brussels Sprouts are being protected by lavender. Perhaps.

Dear reader, you wound me, do you doubt that dear gentle Jack, he who would wrap the lantern in gauze so that the moth would not come to harm, had I either of those things, would wilfully harm a snail? I see you eating my plants I’d brain you with a brick too, dear reader. I just noticed it after taking the photo, constant wet weather is not conducive to growing, but the pests thrive in it. After I placed the lavender plant near them the Brussels Sprouts haven’t been touched by caterpillars. Strange, but true.

These are peace I think. Irony, what’s that?

The purple chips I couldn’t eat. Next year purple sweet potatoes if possible.

In the last two years when the basil and chillies, this year tomatoes and bell peppers too, grew in the same space each has thrived. I really don’t know if companion planting is effective, but this is interesting to note. Perhaps there are gasses being released that each uses. They’ll always grow together and if it means a greater yield of both them I’m more than happy. I’ve hear nasturtiums help squash, but I’m not sure if it’s to divert pests and considering I have a whole section of garden overrun by them, on purpose, you won’t catch me making that mistake, I’ve seen others do it, I can only imagine them being a nuisance in between squash.

There sure how been a lot of posts these days. Not tired of them are you, dear reader?

*Picks up brick* No? Good good.

It’s not quite on the level of a recipe, but I roasted long sections of squash, chips in a way, and sweet potato with some fresh rosemary and they were delicious. The rosemary really survived the roasting. I’m going to try to save my squashes for some cottage pies, I think even a mix of both would be delicious. Naturally I’ll have to make another batch of pesto soon. Not that I’m complaining, at the rate I’ve been harvesting basil it may last me until next years harvest.

I think it was a mixed bag I bought.

This was almost grey and I thought it was dead.

I’ve mentioned before, check your notes, what do you mean what notes?! Ahem. I’ve said that I have older variety strawberries, there are big baby-fist sized ones growing currently and I’m saving them for conserve, I know it calls for small ones, but imagine huge strawberries in syrup. All softened, they’re really firm fresh, and sweetened, they’re tart. I still have a pound or two of the others in the freezer, collecting yellow ones still fr a 50:50 jam. It’s been a good year, the work has paid off.

They fell over. Nearly killed me righting them.

A flower starting. Beetroot and scallions too.

Nothing else to report. Today is the third of August. When this will post is anyone’s guess. See you then, dear reader, take care. I’ll leave you with my bellboys. Let’s hope they grow.

Can’t eat these either, but they’re fun to grow.

Next year I use teepees for support.

You learn more each year, mostly you learn how little you know.

Garlic Jasmine Rice

I’m cleaning up some of my recipes pages, dear reader and splitting off the ones that have become too crowded. If possible I’ll update these with photos in the future, but for now this will have to do. I’ll schedule these so they won’t overrun the site.

Ingredients

1/2 Cup of Jasmine Rice
250ml Water and 1/3 of a Chicken/Vegetable Stock Cube
1/2 Tbsp Butter
1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
Pinch of Dried Parsley

Method

1. Heat Olive Oil and Butter in a pot on a medium heat. When Butter has melted add the Garlic and cook for a minute or so.

2. Stir in Rice and cook for 2-4 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Rice should be slightly translucent and may brown slightly. Add Chicken Stock and Parsley and stir up the Rice, and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to medium (3 on hob) cover and let it cook for about 12 minutes.

3. After the 12 minutes is up, remove it from the heat. Let it stand for another 10 minutes or so. After 10 minutes, lift the lid and take a fork and fluff the Rice.

A Fool, A King and Jack

I couldn’t wait another day.

Last year I grew golden nugget squash alongside my harlequin and with each successive squash I grew more and more disappointed. They seemingly had no resistance to bad weather other than to harden up so much that a hammer bounced off the skin. You can imagine that I wear leary and weary of cutting into my huge table king squash, my first ever table king no less. Though the knife did stick, it’s a very large squash, I’m more than happy to report that acorn style squashes will be what I’ll be growing from here on out.

“Wait, another squash tasting post?” Don’t cry, dear reader.

You know these posts feel like an alternative world version of those paid for product reviews. These are squashes grown from seeds I paid for, taken care of by me and eaten solely by me. The reason I’m sharing? Well, you never know who it might help, be it a prospective gardener wondering what they should plant, a curious shopper recalling a post like this when they stumble across freshly stocked squash. Last year I hadn’t much opportunity to compare the squashes, I’ve been eating harlequin for three years now, but this is the first year I could really compare freshly grown squash to store bought as I have a more varied selection and more experience.

I just sauteed a sample not a whole squash….this time.

If I were pad by the word I’d be a rich, rich Jack. As I am, well, I’m rich in spirit and I have squash so it balances out. So, what was my second squash like? The first thing I noticed, even when raw, was that the flesh is so creamy, it has none of that slimy hardness that you sometimes find with squash. They are stored so it’s unsurprising there’d be a difference with my fresh, but it’s such a great divide, they’re like two different berries. As you can see I tried a little coked and I can say if you can’ get harlequin then a table king wouldn’t be a bad replacement for potato, it was quite as crispy and crumbled as the harlequin, but it did have a lovely fluffy interior with a crispy shell. I made it into a pasta sauce with shallots. This was just one squash, I’ll be trying them as many ways as I can with what I have.

You get about half the weight after peeling.

It always looks like custard to me. The taste is pretty mild, pleasant in it’s own way, but I’d like this with some kind of seasoning. If I have a smaller one I may roast it with cinnamon or honey, something sweet. There’s not much else to say, but I’m really pleased with my choice of secondary squash this year. I love putting something away in the freezer made with fresh produce, I’d never use it all at once anyway and this way, in the Winter when everything is going dormant I’ll have all these wonderful flavours to enjoy. That’s all for today…oh, my seven feet, at least, artichokes fell over, I nearly crippled myself righting them. They better flower next year or, nah, I’ll keep them, they’re fun to look at. See you later, dear reader.

The roma are starting to ripen too. The plants are sagging dangerously. Next year: Tepees!

Flaxseed and Buckwheat Flour Scones

August 12th Update: I’ve added new photos below the recipe.

Homemade raspberry jelly.

I swear that if you start making a new recipe, carefully take photos of each stage, document each step with perfect clarity then it’ll fail and all that work will have been wasted. Whereas if you just fly by the seat of your pants, take no photos then you’ll succeed, ending up have only one photo and a pocket full of hastily scrawled post-it notes. I can’t even count, well I can but I’m making a point so shush, how may scone recipes I have made at this point, no, no, dear reader, you don’t need to count either. I like them as you n usually make just enough for one serving and that’s that. The trouble when using buckwheat like this is that the end result is often extremely crumbly, but as I say today luck, if not records, is on my side. Or perhaps I’m just experienced and know what I’m doing with these ingredients.

The one thing about free-from baking is that once you understand the ingredients then it can be made to work like any other kind of baking. There are just more limits, more ways to circumvent those limits too. A lot of companies like to proliferate the idea hat you need to be something extraordinary to make any free-from product. That suits their profit margin, but it’s not true. Believe me or not, to be honest I no longer care. There recipes re here as proof, if after looking people still ca’t grasp the idea that someone trying to make money will lie to them or mislead them then, well, too bad.

If you make them large an X slash on the top will help them bake quicker and more evenly.

Now, my dear readers are too smart for that. So, let’s see what I did today that worked and why when possible. I opted for more flax to help soften, there was a fear it’d end up mushy so I didn’t use much extra liquid outside of the egg and oil. Flax absorbs hence the resting period. Buckwheat four because it’s a wonder four. Really there isn’t much here outside the usual. What was interesting is that when it all came together, with just a splash of water, it was this airy ball, just a bit sticky, really light and squishy. When rested it firmed up, but still had that trademark buckwheat crack when he dough was worked too much. A gentle roll in my hands and it was back to smooth. The work of a few minutes.

Now, I did let it cool before cutting and there was a bit of crumbing around the edges, but it stayed intact. When it was cut the whole was firm, really much more so than others I’ve made. Even when I bit into it it didn’t crumble at all, it was firm, but had just enough moisture and spring to stop it breaking up. The texture is on the rough side, a pleasant grittiness if you will, and there is a strong taste of flaxseed. For such a simple recipe these were really nice topped with butter and jam, there was no cascade of cracked scone, taking my jam and butter with it on its journey to the floor or my tee-shirt, just a evenly textured bite, not too dry either. I think these are the best  I’ve made so far. You do have to adjust your taste-buds when it comes to new foods, but that’s true of any diet or cuisine. I think too many people baulk at the idea of eating anything they’re unfamiliar with, never realising they’ve set their own level of “normal” and refuse to budge from it. I’m sure if a large portion of new coeliacs and free-fromers watched a child do what they do they’d be making snide remarks and telling anyone, poor devil, close enough to listen how they’d eat what they’re given. Well, I have scones and jam in me, so I’m good. See you later, dear reader.

Ingredients

65g Buckwheat Flour
35g Ground Flaxseed/Golden Flaxseed
1 Medium Egg (60g-65g)
15g Sugar
15ml Olive Oil
1 Tsp Baking Powder
Dash of Vanilla Extract

Makes 2 Large Scones.

Method

1. Preheat oven to 200c (Fan) and line a baking tray with grease-proof paper.

2. Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl and then stir, with a fork in the Olive Oil Egg and Vanilla Extract until the dough starts to come together, adding a splash of water as needed. Dough should be airy and slightly sticky. Form into a ball and rest for 5 minutes.

3. After the 5 minutes are up, the dough should be firmer now and not sticky, split into two and roll each portion in a ball and press gently onto the prepared tray.

4. Bake for 20 minutes until scones are firm and a brown colour. Transfer to a wire-rack and let cool. Best eaten on day of baking.

Golden flaxseed works much better. Before resting.

After resting. Much firmer.

Slash the tops to bake faster. Make little rolls or one long one if you’d like.

They’re really good.