Thursday, 10 September 2009

Late Summer sunshine food

We're enjoying a last blast of sunshine here with Autumn fast approaching. Last week we harvested the first of the vegetables we've been growing in our small raised bed, a good crop of beetroot and some lovely sweet carrots.

harvesting our first veg

The carrots were served Peter Rabbit-style, just pulled from the earth, rinsed and eaten with the green leaves still attached. The beetroot was made into a delicious beetroot relish with capers and balsamic vinegar and eaten with salad and cold meats.

making red pesto

Today I picked great handfuls of the basil flourishing in pots on the decking and made some homemade red pesto. It was so simple to make, but 100 times nicer than the shop bought jars. My 'recipe' involved throwing a few handfuls of basil, half a clove of garlic and 50g or so of toasted pinenuts into a mini blender with 7 or 8 sundried tomatoes and whizzing them for a bit, then I added parmesan, salt and pepper to taste and some extra virgin olive oil till it looked like it had the right consistency. I served it with my new favourite De Cecco Mafaldine pasta and some extra pinenuts and basil leaves strewn over the top and it was demolished by adults and small people alike.

homemade pesto

I've also been spending some time lounging in the garden watching the plum tomatoes ripen, mostly drinking this, my attempt to recreate the amazingly refreshing citrus fizz I had at Wahaca with my friend Sarah last weekend:

Officially the most thirst-quenching drink ever

I bashed up some mint leaves in a glass with a couple of lime quarters, added lots of ice and topped up with sparkling mineral water. It doesn't quite measure up to the Wahaca version, but it'll do until I go back.

Much as I'm enjoying the end of the Summer, I'm looking forward to Autumn, definitely my favourite season of all. The pumpkins are showing great promise.

Giant pumpkin

Pumpkin soup and apple crumbles are just around the corner!


  1. You'll be eating pumpkin soup along the months to come!

  2. That's an impressive crop. I love home grown, it all looks so appetizing!

  3. I think many of us seem to love autumn the best Helen. Until yesterday it felt truly underway here as the weather was so bad, but now we have beautiful sunshine and blackberries...yum x

  4. How remiss of you forgetting to put the rum in that drink! xx

  5. I love the look of the pesto - I think I might have to try that one at home. It's obviously been a good year for pumpkins, mine are doing well, too.

    Pomona x

  6. Wow! Look at all those vegetables. Thanks for the links to the receipes, I've never tried beetroot relish, must give it a go.

    Do you think I will be able to grow vegetable on my balcony?

  7. Your home grown produce looks wonderful, and I bet it tasted amazing too!

  8. There's nothing like home grown veg is there? We're off blackberry picking today... crumbles and jam lovely!

  9. wow, what a feast. I love the sound of home made pesto, makes me feel hunry at the thought!

  10. Yum! It all looks very tasty.

  11. Helen, that pasta looks yummy! Might have to give your recipe a go as red pesto is one of my faves. Your garden kitchen is coming along very nicely!!

    Natasha x

  12. great colour inspiration - the orange carrots and and red beetroot, and the pumpkin looks amazing. Will you eat them or just cut them up for Halloween?


  13. The veg look great - superpumpkins. My squashes all got scoffed by the slugs before they had a chance to grow. Did get a nice crop of tomatoes though.

  14. the pesto sounds delicious... such gorgeous homegrown produce!
    p.s. i am your swap partner for julia's seed swap...
    i will email you soon.
    sweetmyrtle ginny x

  15. I am totally amazed! The vegetables look amazing. Pumpkin soup is my favourite. I must try to grow something on my balcony. My neighbour was growing some tomatoes on their balcony so it must be easy to do it..
    Have a nice weekend!

  16. Just arrived from flickr!

    Congratulations. Helen!
    Hope you feel better now!

  17. Mmm, that beetroot relish sounds so good.


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