Although we live on the fringes of London, Ade is originally from the West Country. His childhood holidays were mostly spent by the coast in Devon and Cornwall, formative experiences which have left him with a lifelong adoration of… (trumpet fanfare)… The Pasty. Continue reading “Chard and Potato Pasties”
Something happened this weekend, something we’ve all been eagerly waiting for; spring finally sprung! The sun shined, the air felt warm and nature was starting to stir. From the early shoots on a newly-pruned clematis to the sound of a lone bee bouncing drowsily around my polytunnel, it seemed that everything was finally starting to wake up.
In the garden, I cut down blackened perennials from last year and did some weeding and mulching. I’ve been growing several plants from seed that will eventually go out into the garden, but I’m no fool; I’ve learnt the hard way that despite these bright days, the nights are still Jack Frost’s domain and now is not the time for planting out my young seedlings. To do so would only end in tears with me on my knees, holding my withered plants as I look to the sky in despair yelling ‘NOOOO!’
Up on the plot, I was keen to bury my fingers in soil, so I headed for the warming polytunnel to sow tomatoes, leeks, chard, basil, lettuce, pak choi and beetroot (Boltardy, Chioggia & Albina Vereduna). The Albina Vereduna variety are from Rob Smith’s heritage range at Dobies. I’m keen to try these as they’re meant to have a different, sweeter taste.
I’m expecting to plant out my seeded potatoes and sow some early carrots and parsnips before the end of the month so today I also placed a fleece over the beds in the hope it will warm the soil to give me a headstart.
There is a moment in every gardener’s day when time stands still. No matter the long list of jobs clamouring for our attention, we all take solace in this moment. We stop, breathe in the air, take in our surroundings, the colours, sights and smells. It’s something only us gardeners know about and appreciate. Being still with ourselves, and with nature. Not to get too poetic, it’s when we submit ourselves, totally, to the moment. I think this is what they call mindfulness.
For me, it was bathing in the warming sun and watching the other allotmenteers going about their tasks, all part of the allotment life at large, all busying themselves like bees in a hive. As well as the regular faces, there were some new ones. The once unkept, unloved plots were now getting a new lease of life from keen hands with new ideas.
Chard is an excellent vegetable: as pretty as a picture on the plot (and plate), adaptable in the kitchen, delicious in flavour and packed full of vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants, what’s not to love?
I threw this dish together late on a Sunday evening after a very busy day of Pilates, pickling, weeding, watering and whatnot. It was gone 8pm by the time we’d finished at the plot and hobbled through the front door, backs aching from our marathon weeding session. I wearily opened the fridge, feeling about as limp as the chard leaves that were slumped on the bottom shelf which Ade had harvested a few days earlier. There was some leftover chorizo next to them. Chard and chorizo, I pondered.
I grabbed some eggs and some parmesan, and this heavenly little recipe was born…
CHARD AND CHORIZO FRITTATA
Serves: 2 Prep Time: 5 mins Cooking Time: 25 mins
1 small onion, diced
50g chorizo, finely sliced
20g parmesan, grated
Salt and pepper
Melt the butter in a medium sized frying pan before frying the onion over a low heat for 8-10 minutes.
Wash and trim the chard, removing any tough pieces of stalk. Chop the chard and add to the onions in the pan along with a little salt and pepper (go easy on the salt, the chorizo is quite salty).
Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, before adding the chorizo and cooking for a further 2 minutes.
Beat the eggs together in a bowl before stirring in the grated parmesan.
Add the eggs/parmesan to the pan and stir, ensuring a good even coverage, before leaving it to cook through.
Once it has cooked through but the top is still raw, place under a hot grill for 5-10 mins until the top firms and the frittata begins to puff up.
Remove from the pan, slice into wedges and serve (hot or cold) with a salad.
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