Friday, 4 May 2012

Nasturtium, Rocket and Tomato Salad

Nasturtium, Rocket and Tomato Salad

(I created this myself, with ingredients from my garden, so the proportions are a bit vague...!!!)
large bunch of nasturtium leaves
about half a cup of nasturtium flowers
a bunch of vine tomatoes
large bunch of rocket (no problem if some rocket flowers get included!)
(all these ingredients should be organic if possible)
1 or 2 cloves of garlic

Wash all ingredients very carefully, especially the nasturtiums.
 Slice the tomatoes.
Arrange them on a plate in an aesthetically pleasing manner - the nasturtium leaves, then the rocket leaves, then the sliced tomatoes, finally the nasturtium flowers.
Make a vinaigrette with the finely chopped garlic, some balsamic vinegar (raspberry-flavoured balsamic vinegar is especially good for this!) and some extra-virgin olive oil.

Stuffed Courgette Flowers

Stuffed Courgette/Zucchini Flowers

This is one of my very favourite recipes - I make it every summer in Italy. It is quite difficult to obtain courgette flowers in England, unless you grow them, so I have grown a few this summer!
Approx 15-20 courgette/zucchini flowers
135g fresh ricotta cheese
a bunch of fresh basil
1 egg
salt, pepper, nutmeg, clove of garlic

Wash the courgette flowers carefully, as they are rather fragile.
For the stufing, mix together the ricotta, beaten egg, crushed garlic, chopped fresh basil, salt and pepper. (You can also add some freshly grated Parmesan, but I don't, usually). Fill each flower with this mixture.
For the batter
200g plain flour (some recipes specify self-raising, but I prefer plain).
pinch of salt
400ml. cold water
 OR - even better - about 300 ml beer

2 largish eggs, beaten (organic if possible)
two or three tblsp olive oil

Mix together the flour, beaten eggs and olive oil, add the water gradually until the desired consistency is obtained.
Coat the stuffed flowers in this batter, and fry them gently in olive oil for a few minutes until they are golden. Drain them on kitchen paper.

Marigold custard


This recipe is from several sources; it appears to have originally been created for the Pagan feast of Beltane, but it is delicious any time!!
2 cups milk
I cup marigold petals (preferably organically grown, from your own garden)
pinch of salt (optional)
3 tbsp. sugar
piece of vanilla bean (about 1 -2 ins in length)
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
pinch of allspice
pinch of nutmeg
some rosewater(amount according to taste!)
whipped cream for topping

Pound the marigold petals is a clean mortar and pestle, or crush with a spoon. Mix together sugar and spices, (and salt if using). Scald the milk with the marigolds and vanilla bean. Remove the vanilla bean and add the beaten egg yolks and dry ingredients.Cook on low heat until it thick enough to coat a spoon. Add the rosewater and allow to cool.
To serve, top with whipped cream and garnish with marigold petals (or rose petals).