The humble vegetable and growing your own produce

Vegetables are making a fashionable come back. For a little while there we had become accustomed to seeing vegetables donning the side of a plate: asparagus draped over a steak, spinach wilted on top of a fillet of fish, or potato gratin propping up a piece of lamb. But with the rapid increase of people taking on allotments and growing their own heritage veg, (like we are at Gourmet Classic) these once side line cast members are now taking the lead role.  Because now many of us are waking up to the idea that meal times don’t have to be the stereotypical meat and two veg, raw salad or a fresh ratatouille can be just as satisfying on its own as a main meal.

We can thank those such as Chef and Food writer Yotam Ottolegehi who has, through his love of middle eatern flavours, innocently brought veg to the forefront and made them sexy by adding fragrant flavours and vibrant colours.

Vegetables like Cabbage and Brussel sprouts have gained a bad reputation; sickly green over cooked sludge associated with flatulence and strictly reserved for Christmas day. But chopped up and fried with some delicious spices, chestnut and rock salt, cabbage and Brussel sprouts are the most delicious delicate sweet flavoured vegetable.

Having  recently taken on the running of a small allotment we have discovered how incredibly rewarding it is in so many ways but right now after all the efforts of optimistically throwing in seeds and planted seedlings we had nurtured we are literally reaping what we sowed.

The warm wet weather has helped to produce a vibrant crop which keeps us nipping back down to the allotment every other day to pick beetroot, perpetual spinach, tomatoes, courgettes and very soon sweetcorn and butternut squash.  Here is our ratatouille recipe and homemade spinach pesto to accompany it.

Here is our recipe for homemade ratatouille

and fresh spinach pesto.

The pesto will stay fresh in the fridge for about ten days and can be used to add to meat or fish or potatoes any day of the week. But the combination of the ratatouille and pesto together is simply magnificent on its own. No show stopping meat dish hogging the lime light. It’s time to just let the vegetables do the talking.