Edible Eden

Liz Nicholls

The garden looks abundant again! Katie Kingsley brings us these recipes that are all fresh, feel-good and perfect for entertaining over the Easter holiday.

Spring fritters

These are so quick to put together and look irresistible laid on a platter with dollops of radish raita and pesto. Serve with dressed watercress for an ideal starter or light lunch, very “Garden of Eden”. Use whichever vegetables and herbs, cheeses, seeds or spices you have to hand and design your ultimate personalised perfect patty. Heat a grill pan to very hot then char two bunches of spring onions on both sides until soft. Blanch a few handfuls of peas in salted boiling water until just cooked then drain and add to a bowl with one tin of drained white beans (such as cannellini or butter).

Chop your charred onions and add them to the bowl then mash together until combined but still chunky. Add a handful of chopped fresh mint leaves, the zest of a lemon, a handful of crumbled feta, 2 tbsp of plain flour, a good pinch nigella or black onion seeds and one beaten egg then season and mix together until just combined. Heat rapeseed or vegetable oil in a frying pan to about 1cm deep. Check the oil is at the right temperature by dropping a bit of mixture into the pan, if the oil sizzles quite fiercely it should be ready. Spoon dollops of your mixture into the pan and flatten slightly with the back of the spoon so the patties are about 2cm thick. Cook for a few minutes on each side until golden and crisp then transfer onto kitchen paper whilst you finish cooking the rest.

Slice four radishes thinly then place three or four of them in a small bowl with 4 tbsp of plain yoghurt, a small handful of mint leaves finely chopped and 2 tsp of dried mint. Prepare your pesto (if you are making your own) and lay your patties on a serving platter then spoon over dollops of yoghurt mixture, green pesto, fresh radish discs, fresh herbs and lemon wedges.

Risotto primavera

Once this gets going, there’s no stopping to measure or slice so I’d recommend preparing all ingredients. Weigh out 200g of frozen broad beans, drop into boiling water and leave for 1 minute before removing with a slotted spoon and dropping into cold water to peel off the skins. Snap off and discard the woody ends from a 200g bunch of asparagus and slice into four parts.

Finely chop a brown onion and mince three cloves of garlic, chop four spring onions, measure a large glass/250ml of white wine, a cup of risotto rice and 1 litre of vegetable or chicken stock. Use a saucepan to heat the stock until just simmering and a large heavy-based pan to prepare the risotto. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and sauté the onion and spring onion until translucent then add the minced garlic for the last few minutes and add your rice, stirring through. Add your wine and let this bubble rapidly for a few minutes until absorbed into the rice then add, one ladle at a time, stirring often and keeping at a simmer. When the stock is almost all absorbed again, ladle in more stock and taste as you go checking seasoning to ensure the rice is cooked to perfection – it should be softened with just a bit of bite in the centre.

About four minutes before the risotto is cooked, add the broad beans to the rice and asparagus to the simmering stock. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the asparagus to the risotto just before you take the pan off the heat. Add 50g of grated parmesan, a splash more stock to keep it moist and a knob of butter then put the lid on and leave to rest for three minutes before serving with more parmesan.

Lemon and poppy seed Easter loaf

Carefully pluck the petals from a yellow rose. Beat one egg white until frothy and brush on to each petal before coating in caster sugar, shaking off any excess and leaving on baking paper to dry and stiffen (this will take a few hours). Heat your oven to 150°C and grease and line a loaf tin approx 20 x 12cm. Use an electric hand whisk to beat 175g of butter at room temperature then add 175g of caster sugar and beat again until pale and creamy. Measure out 250g of self-raising flour and add three eggs, adding 1tbsp of flour and beating well after each addition. Add the remaining flour with 40g of poppy seeds, four heaped tbsp of natural yoghurt and pinch of salt. Fold until combined then transfer to your tin and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes, checking after one hour.

The cake is ready when a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack while you prepare the frosting. Measure out 270g of cream cheese, 90g of natural yoghurt, 100g of sifted icing sugar and beat together using a wooden spoon. Add lemon juice to taste and spread thickly atop the cooled loaf then scatter with your crystallised petals.

The garden looks abundant again! Katie Kingsley brings us these recipes that are all fresh, feel-good and perfect for entertaining over the Easter holiday.

Spring fritters

These are so quick to put together and look irresistible laid on a platter with dollops of radish raita and pesto. Serve with dressed watercress for an ideal starter or light lunch, very “Garden of Eden”. Use whichever vegetables and herbs, cheeses, seeds or spices you have to hand and design your ultimate personalised perfect patty. Heat a grill pan to very hot then char two bunches of spring onions on both sides until soft. Blanch a few handfuls of peas in salted boiling water until just cooked then drain and add to a bowl with one tin of drained white beans (such as cannellini or butter).

Chop your charred onions and add them to the bowl then mash together until combined but still chunky. Add a handful of chopped fresh mint leaves, the zest of a lemon, a handful of crumbled feta, 2 tbsp of plain flour, a good pinch nigella or black onion seeds and one beaten egg then season and mix together until just combined. Heat rapeseed or vegetable oil in a frying pan to about 1cm deep. Check the oil is at the right temperature by dropping a bit of mixture into the pan, if the oil sizzles quite fiercely it should be ready. Spoon dollops of your mixture into the pan and flatten slightly with the back of the spoon so the patties are about 2cm thick. Cook for a few minutes on each side until golden and crisp then transfer onto kitchen paper whilst you finish cooking the rest.

Slice four radishes thinly then place three or four of them in a small bowl with 4 tbsp of plain yoghurt, a small handful of mint leaves finely chopped and 2 tsp of dried mint. Prepare your pesto (if you are making your own) and lay your patties on a serving platter then spoon over dollops of yoghurt mixture, green pesto, fresh radish discs, fresh herbs and lemon wedges.

Risotto primavera

Once this gets going, there’s no stopping to measure or slice so I’d recommend preparing all ingredients. Weigh out 200g of frozen broad beans, drop into boiling water and leave for 1 minute before removing with a slotted spoon and dropping into cold water to peel off the skins. Snap off and discard the woody ends from a 200g bunch of asparagus and slice into four parts.

Finely chop a brown onion and mince three cloves of garlic, chop four spring onions, measure a large glass/250ml of white wine, a cup of risotto rice and 1 litre of vegetable or chicken stock. Use a saucepan to heat the stock until just simmering and a large heavy-based pan to prepare the risotto. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and sauté the onion and spring onion until translucent then add the minced garlic for the last few minutes and add your rice, stirring through. Add your wine and let this bubble rapidly for a few minutes until absorbed into the rice then add, one ladle at a time, stirring often and keeping at a simmer. When the stock is almost all absorbed again, ladle in more stock and taste as you go checking seasoning to ensure the rice is cooked to perfection – it should be softened with just a bit of bite in the centre.

About four minutes before the risotto is cooked, add the broad beans to the rice and asparagus to the simmering stock. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the asparagus to the risotto just before you take the pan off the heat. Add 50g of grated parmesan, a splash more stock to keep it moist and a knob of butter then put the lid on and leave to rest for three minutes before serving with more parmesan.

Lemon and poppy seed Easter loaf

Carefully pluck the petals from a yellow rose. Beat one egg white until frothy and brush on to each petal before coating in caster sugar, shaking off any excess and leaving on baking paper to dry and stiffen (this will take a few hours). Heat your oven to 150°C and grease and line a loaf tin approx 20 x 12cm. Use an electric hand whisk to beat 175g of butter at room temperature then add 175g of caster sugar and beat again until pale and creamy. Measure out 250g of self-raising flour and add three eggs, adding 1tbsp of flour and beating well after each addition. Add the remaining flour with 40g of poppy seeds, four heaped tbsp of natural yoghurt and pinch of salt. Fold until combined then transfer to your tin and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes, checking after one hour.

The cake is ready when a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack while you prepare the frosting. Measure out 270g of cream cheese, 90g of natural yoghurt, 100g of sifted icing sugar and beat together using a wooden spoon. Add lemon juice to taste and spread thickly atop the cooled loaf then scatter with your crystallised petals.

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