By Catherine Lee, 21 September 2011 –
As my time volunteering at Growing Well comes to an end, I’ve already forgotten the cold, wet and windy conditions we often worked in, and simply remember with fondness the sun shining as we planted and picked the season’s crop; halcyon days indeed. A friend of mine recently commented on how lucky I was, though I may not have thought so at the time, to take a break from my usual work and spend a couple of years working on an organic farm close to the English Lake District. Not many people get those chances in life.
It was the same friend who introduced me to Baba Ghanoush. Up until then I was ignorant to the many delights of Middle Eastern food and thought that this was just a fancy name for a lovely deli and café in Kendal. I know now that it’s a favourite on the mezze table, served with warm flatbreads or used in a pitta with falafel instead of houmous. The secret is to char the skins of the aubergines properly as this imparts a wonderfully smoky flavour to the dish; I would almost suggest not making it unless you can do this stage as it really does make the all difference.
As the weeks have progressed with the cropshare I have found that I’m building up quite a stock of onions, and whilst I know they will keep I decided to look for a recipe where they were the star of the show, not just a compliment as they are so often thought of. The Herbed Onion Flan seemed like a perfect choice. Served warm with a green salad, I was able to indulge my love of pastry.
Finally, I have got around to using my beautiful patty pan squash that was in the previous week’s bag. This is the first time I’ve tried one of these so didn’t want to smother it with flavours. Instead I greased an oven dish with butter, layered the sliced patty pan in the bottom, overlapping slightly, dotted with butter and sprinkled a little grated Parmesan over. They were ready in about 15 minutes and were lovely.