June is half way through the year. Where has the time gone??
Wheat and barley crops in the fields are lush and green, rippling and swaying in the wind.
The beginning of June is the main time to plant out tubs and hanging baskets and it’s generally accepted that after 1st June, there won’t be another spring frost. Night time temperatures do sometimes dip fairly low however.
I always find it a bit depressing when we get to the longest day and realise that the days will become shorter again. It seems like summer has only just begun and it’s ending already.
June has long daylight hours, the weather is (usually) warm and it’s salad season. Barbecues are fired up if the weather is good and the aromas of charcoal and roasting meat waft into my garden.
Scottish strawberries and asparagus are in full swing now, with gooseberries and elderflowers also featuring. Imported stone fruits are also in the shops with tart apricots, peaches and nectarines being a favourite.
Here’s what I have been making in June…
Broad Bean, Bacon & Potato Huevos
Huevos Rancheros is an easy one pan dish suitable for brunch, lunch or a simple supper. I made this one with broad beans, bacon and potatoes. Delicious!
1 tbsp olive oil
Small clove garlic, thinly sliced (optional)
1 mug frozen broad beans
120g new potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
25g bacon, chopped
½ tsp thyme leaves
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
2 – 3 eggs depending on appetite
Splash of balsamic vinegar
- Heat the oil in a small frying pan, add the bacon, potato pieces & thyme. Fry on a medium heat for a few minutes, then lower the heat a little, put a lid on the pan and cook for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
- Increase the heat again and add the frozen broad beans, spring onion, garlic and balsamic vinegar. Mix well, make a well for each egg in the mixture. Drop in the eggs, sprinkle over salt & pepper, reduce the heat a little again and cover the pan with the lid. Cook for approx. 5 minutes or until the egg whites are cooked, but the yolks still runny.
- Sprinkle over a little parsley or paprika to serve.
Red Onion & Chorizo Focaccia
Makes 12 pieces
500g Strong flour
20g semolina + extra for sprinkling
1 sachet fast action yeast
50g olive oil + extra for drizzling
1 red onion
1 lg clove garlic
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp thyme leaves
150g chorizo sausage (3small)
Small bunch rosemary, torn into sprigs
Sprinkle of sea salt flakes
- Make the dough – combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, mix well and knead for 10mins. This is a soft dough, but don’t be tempted to add extra flour. Use your scraper to keep it tidy & clean your hands.
- Allow the dough to rise for about an hour before knocking back. Rest the dough for 20 mins.
- Slice the red onion, garlic and chorizo. Put into a pan and fry gently until the chorizo oil starts to be released and the onions have softened. Add the thyme leaves and balsamic vinegar. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- Heat the oven to 230C/450F/Gas8 for 1 hour.
- Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking parchment. Sprinkle over a little semolina.
- Divide the focaccia dough in two. Take one piece, put it on your baking sheet and gently stretch it out to almost cover it. The dough should be about 5mm thick. Spread the cooled topping evenly over, leaving about 5mm around the edge.
- Take the second piece of dough, stretch it out and drape it over the top of the first piece, allowing the edges to come together and form a seal.
- Sprinkle over a little semolina and the rosemary sprigs cover with cling film or a cloth and allow to prove for 30mins.
- Go down the dough, pushing your fingertips and the rosemary into the dough to make a dimpled surface. Put into the oven.
- Bake for 15minutes, then reduce the temperature of the oven down to 200C/400F/Gas6 and bake for a further 15 to 20 minutes. Drizzle with a little oil and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt as soon as the focaccia is out of the oven.
Spice Baked Cauliflower with Tomato Sauce
Cauliflower is incredibly versatile & I’m always thinking of new ways to cook it. This one is a winner!
1 large cauliflower
400g new potatoes
- Boil the potatoes for 10mins, drain and allow to cool enough to handle. Then cut into bite size pieces if necessary.
- Cut the cauliflower into large florets and steam for 3 minutes to par cook.
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground turmeric
3 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
10g coriander leaves & stems, chopped
5g mint leaves, chopped
- Heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas6
- In a mortar & pestle or spice grinder, grind the salt & garlic together until you have a smooth paste. Add the spices, stir well and mix in enough olive oil to make a paste.
- Put the cauliflower and potatoes into a roasting tin, dot over the spice paste and use your hands to mix everything together well. Try and get some of the paste down into the cauliflower florets and a good covering over the potatoes. Spread out into a layer and put into the oven for 30 minutes.
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 fat cloves garlic, skinned but left whole
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp soft brown sugar
- Heat the oil in a deep pan, add the onion and garlic and fry gently to soften and begin to colour the onion.
- Add the spices, mix, then add the tinned tomatoes and brown sugar . Stir everything together and simmer without a lid for 20 minutes.
- Puree with a hand blender or liquidiser, taste for seasoning and keep warm.
- When the cauliflower and potatoes have cooked, remove from the oven. To serve, divide onto plates and spoon over some of the sauce.
Chinese Style Kale with Poached Eggs on Toast
I harvested some of the kale growing in my garden for this. I used 6 black Tuscan kale leaves, but curly kale would work just as well.
A good handful of kale, sliced
1 tsp oil
1 spring onion, sliced
2 tsp tarragon, chopped
2 tsp soya sauce
2 medium eggs
Drizzle sweet chilli sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 slice sourdough bread
Pinch of paprika (optional)
- Heat the oil in a small frying pan, add the kale, sliced spring onion and tarragon. Stir fry for a few moments until the kale begins to wilt. Add the soya sauce, simmer until the kale is tender and the vegetable juices have evaporated. Remove from the heat, stir through the sesame oil and keep warm.
- Poach the eggs and toast the bread.
- Finish the dish by covering the toast with the sesame kale mixture. Top with the poached eggs, drizzle with a little sweet chilli sauce and sprinkle over some paprika to finish the garnish.
Chickpea & Chorizo Stew
I usually have soup in the fridge ready for lunch, this soup/stew is inspired by a Spanish recipe I found in a book.
Serves 6 – 8
150g dried chickpeas
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
400g onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
300g chorizo sausages
¼ turnip swede, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
Good handful parsley, chopped
- Either soak the chickpeas over night or in the morning, put the chick peas into a pan, cover with at least double the volume of water and add the bicarbonate of soda. Bring to the boil, simmer for 10 mins and allow to stand for 2 hours.
- Cut the sausages into pieces, fry in a large pot for a few minutes to colour and bring out the fat. Add the chopped onion, garlic, swede, celery and carrot, continue to fry and colour the vegetables for about 10 minutes.
- Add the chickpeas and their soaking water. Top up with extra water if necessary to the same level as the vegetables. Bring to the boil, simmer for 20 – 30 minutes or until the chickpeas are tender.
- Stir through the parsley, taste for seasoning and serve.
Apricots in season are absolutely gorgeous orange mouthfuls of sweet, tart deliciousness! This tart makes the most of them.
Makes a 20cm tart
150g plain flour
25g caster sugar
35g ground almonds
100g butter, chilled
1 small egg
- Blitz the flour, sugar, ground almonds and butter in a food processor. Add the egg and blitz until the mixture comes together. Form into a log, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour.
100g icing sugar
100g ground almonds
300 – 400g apricots
2 tbsp caster sugar
20g flaked almonds
Extra icing sugar to dust
- While the pastry is chilling, beat the icing sugar, almonds and egg together. Halve and stone the apricots.
- Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4
- Take the pastry out of the fridge and cut it into slices about the thickness of a £1 coin. Lay the pieces in your tart dish and press into shape. Try to do this quite quickly so that the pastry doesn’t warm and melt. Pour the filling into the bottom of the tart and put into the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Toss the apricots with the caster sugar and arrange them in the tart case overlapping. Depending on their size, you might need to arrange them almost vertically.
- Put into the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
- Reduce the oven heat to 150C/300F/Gas2, remove the tart, sprinkle over the flaked almonds and dust with icing sugar. Bake the tart for a further 45 minutes.
- Once ready allow to cool to just warm, serve with crème fraiche, yogurt or cream.
Sweet & Sour Pork with Orange & Prunes
This recipe was inspired by a new Spanish cookery book. The vinegar mellows as the dish cooks.
1 pork fillet
2 medium onions, sliced
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp wine vinegar
2 tbsp soft brown sugar
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Zest & juice of 1 orange
1 – 2 tsp cornflour (optional)
- Cut the pork fillet into chunks, removing any sinew. Heat the oil in a sautee pan or casserole and fry the onions and garlic until golden. Move them to the edges of the pan.
- Add the pork and fry to colour, then stir in the sugar, vinegar, prunes, orange rind & juice. Add enough water to almost cover the meat.
- Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour, stirring now and again.
- Taste the sauce, thicken a little with the cornflour if necessary and season to taste. Serve with potatoes or rice and vegetables.