October is that month where there isn’t so much variety coming from the garden and the produce stalls at the market have less selection than other times of the year.
In my humming spring garden, there is certainly a lot of green – lettuce, herbs, a few spindly asparagus spears, globe artichokes and young broad beans, which actually sounds like a lot, but mostly I am getting the garden ready for the summer plantings.
Tomatoes will go in after this weekend (Labour Weekend), along with the first sowing of cucumbers, zucchini and runner beans.
* Recipe: Chocolate, prune & beetroot brownie
* Recipe: All-the-goodness beetroot salad
* Recipes: sauteed asparagus with cannellini bean puree, and quinoa and grapefruit salad
* Celebrate the taste of Spring with lettuce soup with popped pumpkin seeds
* Fig & caramelised red onion skillet bread straight from your oven
ARTICHOKE & ASPARAGUS WHITE BEAN SALAD
This is a spring riff on the ubiquitous bean salad. I haven’t quite got enough globe artichokes ready to make the pickling effort, however the sight of them in the garden has me reaching for a store-bought jar to add to this salad.
You can cook dried cannellini beans for this salad using ½ cup dried beans to replace the canned beans. Soak the beans overnight with a pinch of baking soda. Rinse well, place in a large saucepan and cover with water. Add a generous pour of olive oil and a bay leaf. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the beans are meltingly soft. Remove from the heat add ½ tsp salt and cool. Continue as per recipe.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
400g can cannellini beans, drained
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 tsp honey
Juice of 1 lemon
Handful of parsley, chopped
300g jar artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
250g bunch asparagus
Salt and pepper
In a serving bowl, combine the drained beans with the oil, vinegar, honey, lemon juice, parsley and artichokes. Thinly slice the asparagus on an angle and blanch for 2 minutes in boiling water, drain and refresh in cold water. Scatter over the salad.
Check seasoning, adding salt, pepper and extra lemon juice if needed. Serve alongside slow-cooked pork.
Nicola Galloway is an award-winning cookbook author, food writer and culinary tutor.