Thursday, July 18, 2013

Around the croft and kitchen

As usual, so busy up here with the crofting tasks. Moving cattle back and forward between the fields where they are strip grazing, a la Joel, waiting on a new calf to arrive sometime in August.

Oh - and dealing with an udder abscess which suddenly appeared on Celia. That was a learning experience if ever there was one - and a bruising one too! But we now know a lot more about cattle than we ever did, and Celia, who never actually seemed to be ill with this, is now happily back with the others. I'll write more about this another time.

But for now, my focus is on the garden. The flower bed is beginning to really show some colour. Those huge allium flowers are stunning, my Gertrude Jekyll rose is looking very promising - such a beautiful pink, and I love the cheery faces of those pansies. We are picking sweet peas every day now, and the dahlia's are budding.  I believe I can see my dreamt-of cottage garden beginning to emerge!

We have not had the hight temperatures of the Mainland heatwave here, and it has been quite a dull and dismal week. But, the sun is on it's way, starting today, I believe, and we may see temperatures in the high 60s! Just perfect for me, and hopefully some colour will appear on all that green fruit that is just waiting to ripen.

In the vegetable plot and polytunnel, harvesting is starting to speed up just a little bit more now - it's not exactly a glut, but we manage to eat from our land every day. I planted many things later than I normally would, as it was such a cold Spring, but things are catching up nicely now. The courgettes (zucchini) are really taking off, and I wonder why I panicked earlier on and planted so many! I guess some recipes might find their way here over the next couple of months. This week, I want to share with you, a favourite delicious, quick and nourishing food, picked straight out of the garden.

We have just begun to harvest our garlic scapes. For weeks i was watching for them, and then, suddenly there they were, twisting all over the bed. We have enjoyed them is all sorts of ways, especially loving them drizzled with oil and roasted, or barbecued in a foil parcel with oil and sea salt. But my most favourite thing to do with them is to make soup. Spanish garlic soup with bread and poached egg is a regular and welcome lunchtime meal for us, so I decided to give my usual recipe a wee Summer makeover. A quick saunter round the garden with a basket yielded some garlic scapes, a few plump pods of broad beans, and a handful of bean tops. The nest box in the hen  house provided the eggs and I had made a large pot of chicken stock the day before. I only ever make enough for the number of people who are there at the time. it is not one of those that you would keep for leftovers, like the Scotch broth - and it is a really quick dish to prepare. The amounts given here are for 3 people, so feel free to increase as required.

3 or 4 garlic scapes, chopped
A handful of broad bean tops
6 broad bean pods
3 or 4 teaspoons of smoked paprika
3 eggs ( 1 per person)
3 slices sourdough or thickly sliced bread of choice
Chicken stock (2 ladlefuls per person)

Pour a good amount of olive oil into a heavy pan.
Fry the garlic scapes until soft, but not brown
Add 3 or 4 teaspoons smoked paprika ( I used 3 dulce and 1 piccante, but use what you have or prefer)
Allow to foam in the oil for a few seconds, then add a couple of ladlefuls chicken stock for each person.
Simmer for a few minutes then add the shelled broad beans.
Put a slice of bread in each soup plate.
Crack an egg for each person into the simmering soup and poach for a few minutes until softly set.
Lift the egg out  of the liquid and place on the bread
Add the broad bean tops to the soup and stir in briefly.

Ladle the soup over the bread and egg.
Savour the moment when you break the yolk and watch it ooze into the liquor
Then tuck in.

Real Fast Food...mmm!


  1. Wow that soup looks lovely, I will be trying this during the week (we are suffocating under broad beans!) Some lovely photos as always too, thanks for posting.

    1. Hi :). Use as many as you like - I only happened to have 6 that were big enough to use at the time, but more would have been welcome!
      Hope you are doing well xx

  2. I just added broad beans to my fall garden list so I can make your soup, it really does look so good.

    High 60's?!!! That is my winter weather. I am truly envious of your weather, I am melting here. Thank goodness for the a/c or I would be a

    1. Hi Tracey

      I don't normally use broad beans - normally 4 or 5 garlic cloves are my only addition with the stock, eggs and paprika.
      Stay cool xxx

    2. meant to say I have just adapted this for what is in our Summer garden xxx

  3. I would gladly send you some hot humid air, sorry but the sun is fleeting when the humidity is up. Love the soup/bread/egg mix-great idea!

  4. Your garden, and that soup look pretty terrific...though I won't be having hot soup here for a while. It could reach 101 degrees F in NYC today.

    Gazpacho might be refreshing?


  5. Lovely stuff growing there Jacqui, I'm glad your hard work is paying off at last. :-)

  6. Thanks all for your lovely comments - let me know if you try out the recipe. xx

  7. oh yum, i may have to make this when my husband returns next week, i haven't really been cooking for myself at all. it's been cool summer here, mostly foggy days and damp nights. sometimes the sun does pop out, and i'm glad for all the out of town visitors we have that come for sun and surf!


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