Our little garden is growing and we harvested our first salad leaves for our school lunches today. Young salad leaves plucked from the garden. I have been tussling with some monster pigeons and a snail or three, but after cunningly placing a few colanders over my precious little plants they are growing like ‘weeds’. The showery weather has delighted the garden if not us!
Today I made a gluten free lunch for Jack just to see if he could take life without his wholemeal bagel! He wasn’t best pleased with the idea so will evaluate it when he gets home. I made a bento style arrangment with boiled eggs, peeled carrots, falafel balls, homemade tomato sauce, dried apple, and a special treat, organic blueberries. I wrapped the falafel balls in the washed and dried home grown salad leaves.
It really isn’t rocket science growing your own salad leaves, and if in fact you live near Voorschoten and pop into the Outlet Garden Store you can buy a big pot of already growing salad greens for 5.95 for about 10 fine gustily growing lettuces. I think you will be quids in after forgoing a couple of salad bags from AH! And you simply can’t get fresher or better. We are also growing chives, mint, basil, rosemary, rocket, edible flowers such as borage, pansies and nasturtiums, plus broccoli, shallots and tomatoes! We’ve put a smattering of salad seeds in pots scattered all around the garden. We’ve popped in snow peas and beans so now it’s just a race against birds and snails. Although, we have 5 tomatoes of different varieties on the go, I have found they don’t ripen up quite as I would like, but if you pick them green and place in a warm splot indoors they will colour up and be great for sauces etc. I seem to be constantly roasting tomatoes to make my own sauces for pizza, Italian dishes and to serve with paneer and rice. Such an easy and quick thing to make and so much better than most of the tinned varieties.
I invented a rather yummy dish last week, using up cold brown basmati rice, adding in lemon juice, pomergranates, cubes of lightly fried paneer which had been marinated in a mild curry paste, roasted hazelnuts and some fresh mint from the garden. I can’t stress how important I think it is to use loads of fresh herbs in cooking – they are full of goodness, heighten tastes and give delicious aromas to food. They are quite simple the herbal icing on the food. Grow on….. and if you have space, grow an apple, plum or a pear tree.
There’s a new organic supermarket on the block. Now Den Haag boasts its own Marqt and I can see the attraction although I hope it doesn’t steal customers from my favourite farmers market on Wednesdays. Organic shoppers have never had it so good – we have the afore mentioned farmer’s market, Ekoplaza, Gaia, and various other “Natuur Winkels” – I think they all have their place but can only say that my fav shopping spot is the market with its friendliness and sense of commonality. But Marqt has some lovely products including their smoked mackerel, Brood’s bread and their very gorgeous lemon mayo (use sparingly) and finally organic quails eggs. I believe that Ekoplaza has the edge on fruits and vegetables though which are always displayed beautifully, particularly in their new flagship store on Kerkplein. Wherever you shop and spend your precious dollars or euros I wish you good honest food that rings with honesty, goodness and taste!
Before I leave, I would like to pose the following questions: Do we need vending machines in schools? Do you have them in your schools or workplace? What do you think of the products they vend?