We have been having a seed sowing frenzy. The glasshouse looks like seedling central and is jammed full of seed trays with little plants growing away, very happily I might say with the delightful weather that we had in April. We have begun to transplant the some of the seedlings outside into the garden beds. One thing that is slightly odd is the lack of April showers. Anyone that knows me would know that I’m the last person to wish for rain but it is most unusual to be outside watering in April. Maybe by the time you read this the skies will have opened up and tipped down the rain, if that’s the case it’ll all get a jolly good watering, if not we’ll continue to enjoy meditating whilst swinging the garden hose.
The peach and apricot trees have both blossomed and the fruit has set – so much fruit that I’m picking some off. Last year the weight of the fruit cracked some of the branches on the trees. It’s not so easy picking off the baby peaches and apricots being as greedy for the fruit as I am but it’s necessary for the trees survival. The apple and plum trees are full of blossom and the gooseberries have set.
There’s a bit of wait involved before we’ll be getting much to eat but there are a few early birds like the rhubarb, radishes and rocket that are ready to go.
Radishes must be one of the most gratifying seeds to set, alongside rocket that is. Both zoom to life if they are watered carefully.
The radishes, which were sown a few weeks ago, are now a crowded row with some that are already red and plump. They’ll come along fast and furious now.
The only trouble with radishes is what to do with them, apart from wash them and pop them in your mouth like sweeties. Radish tzatziki used to be on our menu when Lettercollum was a restaurant, served alongside spring lamb. These days we’re more inclined to eat it as a vegetarian complement.
We’ve been eating the tzatziki alongside vegetable fritters, perfect for dunking.
Todays little harvest accompanied cauliflower pakoras. Here’s the recipe…
• a small bunch of radishes
• 150mls thick, creamy yoghurt
• 1 clove garlic
• 1 small red onion
• a small handful of mint
• juice of half a lemon
• salt and pepper
Wash the radishes and grate into a small bowl. Peel and finely chop the red onion and garlic. Pick the mint leaves from the stem and chop into skinny ribbons. Stir all the ingredients together and season with a little salt and pepper.
• 100g gram flour
• 1tsp salt
• 1tsp baking powder
• 1-2 chillies
• 2 tsp crushed coriander seeds
• half tsp garam masala
• 1 small cauliflower or use half
Wash the cauliflower and break into small florets. Sift the gram flour into a bowl with the spices, salt and baking powder. Slowly add cold water and mix to a batter. The batter should be a thick pouring consistency.
Stir the cauliflower into the batter and mix well to coat each piece.
Heat some oil in a wok, deep fryer or old saucepan. If you’re using a saucepan, don’t fill with oil, about one third full is the safest.Test the temperature of the oil by dropping in a small piece of cauliflower. If it pops directly to the surface it’s hot enough. If it’s ready gently slip in five or six pieces of cauliflower and fry until golden, three or four minutes, you will need to flip the pieces half way. Don’t let the oil get too hot because the pakoras will burn before the centre is cooked. Drain on kitchen paper and fry the next batch.
Serve with salad leave and radish tzatziki on the side.
If you are interested in cooking classes we have two more running before the summer really kicks off.
There are a few places available on the Middle Eastern cooking class on the Saturday, May 23 and the Salad and Summer recipe class on Saturday, June 6. The cost is €95 and includes all recipes, tastings and a large lunch. Please contact us if you are interested or would like more details.
You can drop into the shop, Lettercollum KItchen Project , 22 Connolly Street, Clonakilty or email email@example.com, www.lettercollum.ie.