Category Archives: Garlic

Thai style parsnip, butternut squash and ginger soup

Parsnip, butternut, ginger soup

So this is my final parting recipe for this blog. I had intended to post a few recipes over the Christmas period, but a combination of illness and family commitments put paid to that, and so this has crept into 2016.

This is a lovely creamy soup, with the warmth of ginger making it perfect for a cold wintry day. As I came down ill on Christmas eve, I just about managed to cobble together some good old leek and potato soup which slipped down perfectly. This one would have been good too.

It has used up the very last of my final butternut squash, but sweet potato would be a good substitute.


  • 1 small onion or a couple of shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic (more if you prefer)
  • 1 thumb sized piece of fresh ginger
  • roughly 3 parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • roughly half a butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pint / 500ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  1. In a large saucepan, add a little oil or butter and gently sauté the onion for a few minutes until soft.
  2. Add the garlic (peel and chop if you like, I just peeled and threw them in whole) and ginger, continue to cook for another minute.
  3. Add the chopped parsnips and squash, then cover with the stock. Put a lid on the pan and bring to a gentle simmer for 15-20 mins.
  4. At this point I use a potato masher to break the vegetables down which makes it easier to blend them. It’s not essential.
  5. Add the coconut milk and then blitz everything together with a hand blender, or else transfer everything to a blender.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste while you reheat it slightly. Enjoy.

Parsnip soup ingredients Parsnips


Butternut squash, spinach and ricotta lasagne


The spinach typically bolted in the dry heat of the summer (which now happens around May – June time). But we decided to sow another row around late July – August, just in time for the torrential downpours that signal that period of the year that the schools still oddly call the ‘summer holidays’.

Spinach is very happy in wet weather, so it grew much better this time. Annoyingly though, it was growing right in the middle of a bed I wanted to use for next years garlic. So just at the point it was growing lush and strong, I pulled it all out. The carrier bag I fished out of the shed was too small to hold it all and I had to go back and find a bigger bag.

I made a potato and spinach curry with the first bunch, and then I stripped off the best leaves from the rest, washed it thoroughly and squashed it all into a bag for the freezer. This seems to have worked well. I wasn’t sure whether to lightly cook it first, but in the end I decided to freeze it fresh, and then I just had to slice a chunk off with a knife and cook in down in a pan in a matter of minutes.


  • 1 small butternut squash
  • a handful of spinach
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tub of ricotta cheese (250g)
  • parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg, beaten.
  • lasagne sheets
  • creme fraiche or cream (might not be needed).
  1. Firstly puree the squash by peeling, de-seeding and chopping the squash, placing it all in a roasting pan with the garlic cloves, drizzle with a little oil and season with salt and pepper, then roast in the oven for around 30 mins. Take out the garlic cloves and squeeze out the garlic, then tip it all into a food processor with a splash of milk and a pinch of nutmeg, half the ricotta cheese and whizz until smooth.
  2. Cook the spinach lightly until wilted, allow to cool and then chop. Mix with the remaining ricotta cheese, the egg and a little more nutmeg.
  3. Take a baking dish and cover the bottom with a layer of the squash puree. Add a grating of parmesan cheese, then a layer of lasagne sheets and finally a covering of the spinach and ricotta mixture. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up, finishing with a spinach and ricotta layer. If there isn’t enough of this for the final topping, mix in a spoonful of creme fraiche or cream to make it go further. Finish with another grating of parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake in a moderate oven for around 30-40 minutes or until golden brown on top.


Roasted butternut, apple and garlic soup.

squash, apple, garlic soup

How lovely it is that the squash season arrives just in time for the weather to chill and the nights to darken, which dictate that it’s also now soup season.

I had a glut of squashes this time last year, 14 in total from 2 plants, so I decided to scale down to just 1 plant this year and now I have 3 squashes! You can never tell whether mother nature will be generous or mean with her offerings from year to year, but I am strangely enjoying my more meagre harvest all the more for it. Sadly, a glut can really put you off a vegetable.

I made this soup along with a galette (a rustic one crust pie) because the ingredients were more or less the same, and it meant I could make the two together and save time. I will be posting the galette recipe next, and I’ll add a link here once it’s done.

The roasted apple adds a lovely sweetness to this soup, and the roasted garlic turns into a delicious sweet nuttiness that adds depth rather than heat. A very moreish soup.

Method (ingredients highlighted in bold):

Preheat the oven to around 200ºc. Trim, peel, deseed and chop 1 small squash of choice and put the chunks into a roasting tin. Do the same with 1 large or 2 small apples, and 1 onion and add to the squash (keep back some of the apple if also making the galette). Take 1 whole bulb of garlic and trim the top off to expose some of the cloves, and add that to the roasting tin. Drizzle all with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put into the oven and roast for about 20 mins.

At this point I took the roasting tin from the oven and took out some of the squash and onion in order to add to the galette. Otherwise, just give everything a turn and put back into the oven for another 10-15 mins.

Once roasted, take out of the oven, take out the garlic and put that to one side, then tip everything else into a saucepan. Squeeze the garlic from their papery shells straight into the saucepan. Then add chicken or vegetable stock, 1/2 pint per person. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5-10 mins, then either tip into a blender and blitz, or use a stick or hand blender to do the same. Have some water ready boiled in the kettle and add a little more water if needed.

Finish with a swirl of cream if you like and enjoy.

roasted veg for soup

Chickpea hummus with roasted garlic


I am slightly addicted to hummus. If it’s there in the fridge when I’m feeling hungry, I have to find the nearest thing I can to dunk into it. Occasionally when I have the time I make my own from a tin of pre-cooked chickpeas. It’s so easy to do, I should really make it more often. I usually to stick to the traditional ingredients, chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, tahini. On this occasion I didn’t have any tahini, but decided it needed an extra kick at the end so added a bit of paprika, which worked well.

garlic harvest

The garlic that has been growing on the plot since autumn, has started to be lifted. The first couple of rows have come up and are drying out in the sun. There’s a couple more rows to come up at the weekend. So anything I can get garlic in right now is having it. Some of the heads were on the small side, and didn’t seem to have split into cloves. In fact most of them were fine except for a couple, but I decided to roast a few of the smaller heads whole, some to use for this recipe, but also some to keep in the fridge for other dishes.

garlic for roasting

To roast the garlic:

Trim the bottom of the garlic, just enough to give it a stable base, then cut across the top, enough to expose the cloves within. Place in a roasting dish, drizzle with a little olive oil, and roast in a hot oven for around 30-40 mins. Once cooled, squeeze the garlic from their papery skins.

The soft, nutty, garlic paste is great for spreading over pizza bases, mashing into butter for spreading onto pre-roasted meat, to make garlic bread, stirred into past dishes. Possibilities are endless.

To make the hummus:

In a food processor, place the drained chickpeas, a few cloves of the garlic, a glug of olive oil and the juice from half a lemon. Season with salt and pepper and blitz. Then just keep adding oil/lemon/salt to taste and to your desired consistency. I added about half a teaspoon of paprika towards the end.

Lamb and spinach curry

Lamb and spinach curry

John made this for us on Saturday night using some of our allotment grown spinach, onions and garlic. It’s not too hot, nice and fresh.

Source: an adaptation of this recipe from Olive magazine.


  • Ginger a small chunk, peeled and chopped
  • Garlic, 2 cloves, chopped
  • Onions, 2 roughly chopped
  • Fresh Red chilli 1, chopped
  • Ground turmeric, 1 tsp
  • Garam marsala, 1tsp
  • Ground cumin, 1 tbsp
  • Ground coriander, 1 tbsp
  • Chilli powder, 1 tsp
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped lamb, 600g
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup of water
  • spinach 100g bag, chopped
  • Fresh or frozen peas 50g
  • Fresh coriander, half a bunch
  • Dash of Worcester sauce


  1. Brown the meat well in a frying pan with a couple of tablespoons of oil and then put to one side.
  2. Chop the ginger, garlic, chilli and onions, add these to the pan with some additional oil and fry gently for 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add in the browned meat and all the spices. Stir in the tomatoes, and cup of water, then bring to a gentle simmer.
  4. Cover and cook for 1 hour.
  5. Add the spinach and peas and a dash of Worcester sauce then cook for another 10 minutes.
  6. Garnish with chopped coriander.
  7. Serve with rice or nan bread.

Lamb and spinach curry2 spinach on plot

Garlic scape pesto

garlic scape pesto

If you’ve never heard of garlic scapes, they are basically the flowering stem on growing garlic. You only get them on hardneck garlic and elephant garlic. The hardneck ones curl around like a large pigs tail and you know they’re ready when they loop back on themselves. The elephant garlic scapes head straight up to the skies, and both, if left alone, will flower and set seed like any other plant. It’s normally recommended to remove them so that the plant concentrates its energy into the bulb.

This is all quite new to me because I’ve never grown hardneck garlic until this season. And while I have grown elephant garlic before, I had no idea the flowering stem could be used like a scape in the same way, and they just ended up on the compost. Also, I’d heard of pickled scapes, but nothing more, and not being a big pickle fan I didn’t think they were worth bothering with. I had no idea what treasure I was wasting.

If you’re a garlic lover, it is worth growing these varieties for the scapes alone, they have the most intense fresh garlic flavour, and this pesto is so easy to whizz up, normal pesto is frankly just boring by comparison.

Source: The Garlic Farm website.

  • 400g Scapes cut into pieces
  • 100g grated parmesan
  • 250ml Extra virgin Olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • Salt & black pepper to taste

Put everything into a blender or food processor and blitz. Add more oil if required and season to taste.

My first small experimental batch was spread onto a cheese and tomato sandwich. It was so delicious, I headed straight back to the allotment to collect more scapes and made a bigger batch (with a bit of added basil) to stir into pasta. Use it anywhere you might do conventional pesto.

elephant garlic scape garlic scapeselephant garlic

Spicy Lentil Soup

lentil soup
Another soup recipe from John:
I love the earthy, rich taste of lentils but I’m not overly confident about how to prepare and use them, so this was something of an experiment. I had a handful of slightly tired-looking vegetables at the bottom of the veg basket: some very small Romano potatoes from the plot, a couple of little carrots, an onion and some garlic. There’s a light dusting of snow on the ground outside today and I thought that a spicy lentil soup might be just the thing to keep the chill at bay.
  • 200g brown lentils
  • 200g potatoes
  • 50g carrots
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small red chilli (optional)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Olive oil (1tbs)
  • Vegetable stock 800ml
Put the lentils on to boil for around 35 minutes in plenty of water. While they are cooking, dice the onion, garlic and chilli and fry them in a little oil in a separate pan for a few minutes before adding the carrots and potatoes, also chopped fairly small. Once all the vegetables have been fried lightly in the oil for a few minutes, add the drained, cooked lentils, mix everything together and then transfer to a single pan. Add the stock and seasoning and simmer gently for a further 20 minutes until all the vegetables are soft. Then use a hand blender, or a potato masher, to reduce the soup to a smooth texture. Finally, add any additional seasoning to your own personal taste – I used a pinch of hot cayenne pepper – and serve. This makes four good portions.
It tasted really warming, hearty and wholesome – great for a cold January day!
lentil soup ingredients
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