My December Garden
As our planet draws to another full circle around the sun and the days become shorter towards the winter solstice, its always a beautiful time to take stock of the garden. As leaves fell and revealed their bare branches it's such a beautiful reminder of the vulnerability and wisdom of nature. The cycles of life continue whilst quietly resting before the next momentum of growth.
I won't lie, its been quiet in my garden and the many plans I had to start salads in October, sow over wintering onions and get a load of broad beans in have not happened. I've had some interesting academic projects to tend to instead and the garden has gone on regardless- what a relief!
One garden project that I really wanted tending to was the pruning of the apple trees. We planted a James Grieve and an Elstar 15 years ago when we first moved into our home. The James Grieve has always been a reliable cropper, however the Elstar has been less predictable and regularly struggled to produce a happy harvest. We found the wonderful John with his fruit-tree know-how to prune the trees back to their happy healthy self with the confidence of continued and improved harvests to come- and they look fantastic!
I planted some rainbow chard in late August with the hope of a colourful display and tasty harvest in the colder darker months. And what a cheerful site it is, the deeply crimson stalks with their dark nutritious leaves, ready to cut and come again. The Red Russian kale too, has been a faithful pick for delicious stir fries and soups. Working with clients and suggesting incorporating more green leafy vegetables into their meals can often bring reminiscence of soggy cabbage or mushy Brussel sprouts. My remedy for over cooked green veg is a hot pan, olive oil and a good offering of fresh garlic! For a quick lunch I'm all for using what is available and sometimes that does require something considered "convenient". Pre cooked noodles, rice and quinoa can provide a wonderful carbohydrate base for a simple hot meal. I like the Amoy Noodles for their ready-to-add-to-anything addition if I've no left over grains in the fridge. I'm all too aware of the deemed idealistic notions of "healthy eating"- and one I feel can benefit from a little more flexibility and a little less judgment. Of course, the additional packaging issue I'm not fond of, however I feel it offers a realistic option whilst looking to make a satisfying meal particularly when busy and tired.
This recipe lends itself to many variations both vegan with hemp seeds, vegetarian with an egg or with fish such a grilled salmon. I've used chard and kale but its equally delicious with finely sliced Brussel sprouts, spinach and/or savoy cabbage. A delicious nourishing flavour and fibre rich dish that is ready in minutes.
Tasty Green Leafy Medley
Generous bunch of green leafy vegetables
Half a red onion sliced
Glug of olive oil or tsp coconut oil
1 fat garlic clove minced (again depending on your taste preference)
1 heaped table spoon of nutritional yeast
1 heaped table spoon of hemp seeds
Seasoning such as salt or a splash of tamari sauce
One packet of ready to use noodles or grains (or left over if you have available)
First wash the vegetables and chop finely. Heat the oil and gently saute the red onions with a pinch of salt to soften them. After a few minutes add the green leafy veg still wet from washing (this adds a little moisture to help steam them)- keep moving everything around the pan and after a few minutes make a little well in the middle to add the garlic to the direct heat of the pan. Again keep stirring to fully cook the garlic through to release the flavours.
Meanwhile if using the ready to use noodles, have them soaking in hot water to separate them. Drain and add to the vegetable medley. At this point add the nutritional yeast, the hemp seeds (tamari sauce if using) and combine everything well. Plate up and top with a fried egg or some flaked grilled salmon. Enjoy!