This is a great way to use up spinach, plus the pesto will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge (makes about 2 cups). Blend the following together for 2 minutes: 80 g shelled and toasted pistachios, 2 juiced lemons, 4 peeled garlic cloves, 2 t chopped parsley, 2 t chopped basil, 3 cups cleaned and trimmed spinach, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Slowly start adding 1 ½ cups olive oil in a steady stream, scraping down the sides of the blender as you go. When all the olive oil has been added, blend for a further 5 minutes. Season to taste and store in jars in the fridge.
Mint-and-apple-dressed garden lettuce bowls
Once you’ve eaten a bowl of your own crunchy homegrown lettuce, you’ll never look back (make ½ cup). Combine 1 T Dijon mustard and 1 T apple cider vinegar in a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a bowl, then slowly whisk in ¼ cup olive oil. Add ¼ cup apple juice and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Just before serving, add ¼ cup mint and crush into the dressing using the mortar and pestle. Pour the dressing over lettuce and microherbs and top with 50 g Parmesan.
Carrot cakes with honey glaze
These little treats are super easy and quick to make. Enjoy with a cup of tea after a hard day’s work in the garden (makes 6 small cakes). Preheat the oven to 175°C. Mix together 2 large peeled and grated carrots, 1 free-range egg, 60 g melted butter, 150 g light brown sugar, ½ t finely grated ginger and 1 t vanilla extract with an electric beater until pale and fluffy. Combine 140 g flour, 1 t baking powder, 1 t ground cinnamon and 1 t ground ginger and fold into the carrot mixture. Grease a shallow muffin pan. Spoon the mixture into the pan and bake 15–20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Place ½ cup water and ½ cup honey in a saucepan and simmer over a low heat until syrupy. Pour over the hot cakes and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.
The best way to enjoy fresh vegetables from the garden is with this home-made mayo (makes 1 cup). Blend together 2 free-range egg yolks, 1 t Dijon mustard, ½ t sea salt, ½ t freshly ground black pepper and 3 garlic cloves. Gradually add ¾ cup canola or grapeseed oil in a steady stream. Add 1 T each of chopped basil and Italian parsley, 1 T chopped chives and juice of 2 lemons. Blend for a further 5 minutes. Serve with veggies like radishes, asparagus and broad beans.
EXPERT TIPS: HOW TO GROW LIKE A PRO
Follow these handy tips from Woolies’ horticulture technologist Cobus Coetzee:
- Do not overwater vegetables, especially when growing them in containers.
- Keep soil moist for the first few days after planting and always water in the early morning or late afternoon.
- Once the seedlings are established, allow the soil to dry out completely before watering.
- Allow enough space between plants so that enough light can reach the leaves for photosynthesis.
- Space between plants also allows for air movement, letting the leaves dry faster after watering and rainfall, which can help prevent diseases from developing.