Welcome to my kitchen on this bright morning. Sit down and have a cup of tea - smoked salmon and crowdie (cream cheese) on the menu today. I've been breakfasting alone lately. Well, its the summer holidays, so boys sometimes like a long lie, and morning isn't the best time of day for John at the moment, so he tends to get up a bit later too. I'm always too hungry to wait for them, so have come to relish these few moments of calm before the busy-ness of the day starts.
I've been making up these concoctions too - which we jokingly refer to it as the "chemo-therapy". Its a blend of coconut oil, fermented cod liver oil, matcha powder, turmeric, kelp and shitake powder, surprisingly pleasant and full of good cancer-fighting stuff. I have absolutely no idea if it will have any effect, but it feels like a positive thing to do, while we wait for the actual treatment to start.
But, still - there is some elderflower liqueur on the go. No-one really likes the cordial in this house, and I had great success with the fennel liqueur I made last year, so I thought I would give this a go too. I'll let you know around New Year :)
(Put 20 heads elderflower and zest of an unwaxed lemon in a litre kilner jar and fill with vodka. Make sure the flowers are submerged. Seal jar and store in a cool dark place for 3 months. Strain out elderflowers and return liquor to the cleaned jar. Add 300 grams caster sugar and stir well. Re-seal and return jar to storage place for another 2 months, give it a shake every now and then to help dissolve the sugar. The same recipe can be used forthe fennel liquer - except use a couple of handfuls of fennel instead of elderflowers.)
We planted a wild cherry tree a couple of years ago, but not much seems to be happening with it yet, so it's always nice to see cherries at the crofter's market. This batch disappeared quite quickly...
But the main ingredient just now is garlic. I have a great crop this year and I am just picking it and using it fresh, rather than dried. To be honest I lost a lot of my garlic harvest last year because I didn't have a cool dry place to store it - this year it can stay in the ground until I need it.
Although that is not going to be for long, as it is so sweet and mild that I am using lots of it in every savoury dish that I make. Two bulbs went into this kale and bacon tortilla, which was extremely delicious indeed.
Cloves from 2 bulbs fresh garlic, some pancetta, gently fried together - add a couple of good handfuls of chopped kale and allow to wilt into the garlic/bacon mix. Whisk 8 eggs with a splash of cream, add a good handful of a strong cheese, salt and pepper and add this to the pan. cook until still soft on top then add another handful of cheese - finish cooking under the grill.
Hungry boys love it.
Still picking the garlic scapes too. I use them in many dishes - salads, stuffed into chicken or fish, roasted in olive oil like asparagus spears, in soup... the possibilities are endless. But at some point, pesto has to be made. I think it is the law...
I cup basil, 1 cup scapes, 1/4 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 1/2 cup olive oil. Whizz together until nicely pulverised. Add more Parmesan or oil to get consistency you prefer, and season to taste. And it does.. taste.. delicious.
I made a batch today and it fair pepped up a summer salad soup (just chicken stock with leeks, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and some leftover salad leaves from yesterday)
For dinner, I covered some salmon fillets with a good layer before baking them, in a hot oven for 15 minutes. What a fantastic meal. I'll need to make another couple of batches before the scape season is over once more.
And then James discovered, after many years of never eating them, that he actually like mushrooms! In fact - he loves them! It was like Green Eggs and Ham... they are so good - so good you see!
Hope you are enjoying good appetites this season xxx