Garden Buffet Recipes

Green Pie

You can use any combination of herbs and greens in this pie – including wild greens like nettles and dandelion. You can also use a different combination of cheese to the one I’ve suggested – you’re going to want something salty, soft and crumbly like feta, a harder cheese like parmesan or cheddar, and something soft and mild like ricotta

Ingredients

1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3 celery stalks
4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
large handful mint leaves, chopped
large handful parsley, chopped
large handful oregano, or thyme, or sage, chopped
Around 200g other greens eg spinach, chard, spring greens, dandelion leaves, nettles – chopped
2 tbsp olive oil (+ more for drizzling)
75g feta
50g parmesan or cheddar
15g pine nuts – or another nut of your choice (chopped if necessary)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
pinch chilli flakes
packet puff pastry
100g ricotta cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180

Warm the olive oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat. Cook the herbs, greens, garlic, onion and celery, stirring constantly for around 15 mins, until the greens are wilted and the celery is soft.

Remove from heat, and stir through the feta, parmesan, nuts, lemon zest, chilli flaks, 1/4 tsp salt, and a generous grinding of pepper. Taste to check the seasoning – you might want to add more chilli, lemon zest, seasoning here. It needs to be really tasty! I sometime add a bit of extra grated garlic, if it feels like it needs it. Set aside

On a floured worktop, roll out your pastry to about 3 mm thick (I often use ready rolled tbh). Cut a circle of about 30cm diameter (of if using ready rolled, just make a square pie). Place on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper.

Tip the filling into the centre of the pastry, leaving around a 3cm border.. Fold this up around the filling, pinching the edges together to form a secure lip around the filling. Brush the pastry border with an egg wash (1 egg, lightly beaten).

Dot the top of the pie with blobs of ricotta cheese

Bake in the oven for around 30 mins until the pastry is golden. Check after around 20 mins, though – if it looks as though the filling is going to burn, but the pastry is still pale, cover the filing with a piece of foil and continue cooking till the pastry is ready.

Remove from oven and drizzle/brush with a bit more olive oil. Serve warm or at room temp.

Courgette Pickle

Makes one large batch (about 3L) – reduce as necessary

Ingredients:

12 courgettes
8 TB turmeric
3 TB fennel seeds
2 TB fenugreek
12 cardamom pods
2 TB yellow mustard
2 TB brown mustard
3 cups of cider vinegar
3 TB seedless tamarind
3 TB chili flakes
2 handfuls of curry leaves
1/2 cup of sesame oil, and more to cover
1 cup sugar
4tb salt
Olive or sunflower oil

Method

Slice courgettes into half moon shapes, the same width as a pound coin.

Sprinkle with salt and set aside for an hour.

Drain off any juices, rinse and pat dry.

Sprinkle the turmeric on top of sliced courgettes.

Heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the courgettes (with some salt) in batches, letting some brown. You might need to add oil to every other batch.

Continue until all courgettes have been fried.

Clean the pan and then fry the spices until brown and smelling aromatic.

Whizz the spices in a spice grinder or use bash with a pestle and mortar (it’s nice to leave the spices with a bit of bite) .

Add the vinegar to the frying pan on a gentle heat; add the salt and sugar and dissolve

Add the tamarind paste and mix, add the ground spices and the chilli flakes and the sesame oil.

Add the curry leaves.

Mix into the cooked courgettes and transfer to heated or sterilized jars.

Push the courgettes down and top with some more sesame oil.

Label and store in a cool dark place.

Babaganoush

2 Aubergines
Clove garlic
4 Tbsp tahini
1 lemon – juiced
Salt

If you have a gas cooker: Turn on two of the rings, and sit an aubergine directly on top of each. Cook, turning, until the skin of the aubergines are really burnt and blistered, and the flesh feels totally soft. This method will give you a super smokey flavour. You can also do the same on a BBQ.

If you don’t have gas or BBQ: you can do this in a v hot oven. For the oven method, you will probably want to halve the aubergines, cut a few slits in the skin and place them flesh side down. Just make sure you cook until really tender.

Once they’re ready, remove the aubergines and place in a bowl. Cover the bowl with a plate and allow to cool. Once cool, you can rub the skin off the aubergines with your hands – discard the skin

Place the aubergine flesh in a food processor along with tahini, lemon juice, salt. Whizz and taste for seasoning – adding more tahini, lemon or salt as needed.