Saturday, July 3, 2010

Meatless Monday: July's Here!

It's the beginning of July and the weather is so wonderful for growing and sowing fruit and veg-- guess it's time to discuss what's in season this month!

As we've mentioned before, we are big fans of the Eat Seasonably Calendar. (It's such a fab and inventive resource!) Anyway, according to them, July's best includes:

  • Cherries (ahhh, so refreshing - just what you need on a hot summer day)
  • Cucumber (we like it in our water, in salads, on sandwiches - a real kid's favorite)
  • Curly Lettuce (so great for those happy summer salads you crave around this time)

Why is it important to eat seasonally?
  • More flavorful and fresher (in my opinion)
  • Helps reduce the energy needed to grow and transport the food we eat
  • Can be less expensive - and helps to support the local economy
  • You know where your food is coming from - helps to connect to land and great conversation starter about fruit and veg with your children
For our weekly Meatless Monday recipes:

What about a simple tomato and cucumber salad?

1 Red Onion
3 Large Tomatoes
1 Cucumber
The Juice of Half a Lemon
2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Very thinly slice the onion. I deseed the tomatoes, but if you're in a rush just do what you want/can. I then cut the cucumber into bite size pieces and add it to the mix drizzling olive oil and lemon over the top and gently stirring it all together. You can then add parsley or basil to the salad - whatever you need to use up from your garden.

Courgette and Bulgar Salad (From the great Veg Box Recipe's site - highly recommend it!)

½ cup cracked bulgar wheat
2-3 medium courgettes (zucchini)
2-3 medium carrots
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic
50g (2 oz) Cheddar (hard) cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ stock cube

Put the cracked bulgar wheat in a bowl and cover with twice its voume of boiling water. Cover with a clean cloth and leave for 25 minutes, until the water has been absorbed and the bulgar wheat is fluffy.

Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a pan. Peel and chop the onion. Saute in the oil for 5 minutes.

Peel and crush the garlic clove. Scrub (or peel) and finely chop the carrots. Add to the onion and saute for 5 minutes. Stir often so they don't burn.

Grate the courgettes (or slice finely). Grate the cheese. When the carrots are soft, add the courgettes and cheese to the pan. Mix well, put the lid on and leave until the bulgar wheat is ready.

When the bulgar wheat is cooked, add it to the pan and mix well. Serve immediately.

Berry and Fennel Salad
(I think this is from the Vegetarian Society, but not quite sure.)

50g Walnuts
¼ Cucumber
½ Fennel, very thinly sliced or shredded
85g Watercress, thick stalks removed
1 Round Green Lettuce, washed and dried
150g Blackberries, washed and dried
150g Raspberries, washed and dried
150g Silken Tofu
6 tbsp Good Quality French Dressing
1 tbsp Caster Sugar

Preheat oven to 200C. Spread walnuts out on a baking tray and put in hot oven for about 4 minutes until lightly roasted. Remove from oven and cool.

To make the dressing: Drain the silken tofu by putting it in a bowl lined with kitchen paper and patting dry. Transfer French dressing to a small liquidizer together with the silken tofu and the caster sugar. Blend for about 30 seconds until creamy. Put into a bowl ready to serve.

Continue with the salad: Cut the cucumber in half lengthways, and then thinly slice to make half-moon slices. Mix these with the fennel and watercress

Arrange whole green lettuce leaves on four plates, and pile the cucumber mixture on top. Scatter with the blackberries, raspberries and roasted walnuts and serve, passing the dressing round separately.

You can top either salad off with Fresh Cherry Cake. (From BBC's Good Food)

If I'm perfectly honest, though, I never get around to making anything with cherries. They are just too good - and we always eat them straight away.

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