Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden - Chinese proverb

Friday, 12 October 2012

Salad Glut Busters: Cucumber

Is this raita or tzatziki? The choice is yours...
We're well into the cooler days now, so I spent some time earlier this week clearing some of the beds up at the allotment. The cucumber plants were past their best, so I rounded up their fruit and now have a glut!

I tweeted this fact on #saladchat and received some interesting ideas to share with you today:
  • Cucumber soup w/ dill or lettuce/bacon/pea/cue, cucumber stew, cucumber sauce for fish, yoghurt/chilli salad (via @Carllegge - with various links I've found since our #saladchat)
  • Might not use up loads but I like making a big bowl of tabouleh with cucumbers in (and toms, parsley etc) - thanks @kitchgardengirl. Now it just so happens Liz at Suburban Tomato gave us a recipe for tabouleh in an earlier Salad Days. Her recipe doesn't include cucumber, but it's ripe for adaptation :)
  • We are pickling glut cucumbers now said @cafebargeArgyll *. I asked them for a recipe and they suggested: Ours are about 6 inches. Quarter lengthways, salt overnight, pickle in rice vinegar/spices. @Karlasparlour added: I pickled mine last year with some shallots. Most yummy. For those of you wanting a more specific recipe, Fiona at The Cottage Smallholder has 2 for you to try
  • @Featherwalking reminded me: @TheMontyDon has a nice one in his Fork to Fork book. Cucumber warmed through in cream. NB it's the Fried Cucumbers recipe found on p217.
NAH always makes curry on Thursdays, so last night a nice cooling cucumber raita (also inspired by Carl's reply) seemed the best place to start my actual glutbusting.

Ingredients
  • 8fl oz (250ml) natural yoghurt
  • ½ cucumber, finely chopped (or grated if you prefer; you may also remove the seeds, but I like them. If your cucumber skins are tough, you may also want to peel them first)
  • large handful mint leaves, chopped
  • sea salt to taste
  • ½-1 green chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped (optional - I don't usually include it)
Method
  1. Mix the yoghurt, cucumber and mint together - some recipes say to squeeze out excess water first, but I find I don't need to with homegrown ones
  2. Add salt to taste and chilli if using
  3. Chill and serve
Alter the ingredients slightly and you have the classic Greek tzatziki - omit the chilli and mix in a tablespoon each of lemon juice and olive oil, plus a crushed clove of garlic and a twist of black pepper. Serve with warmed pitta bread for a starter or light lunch.

@Martina_Der kindly emailed her #saladchat suggestion for a hot dish using cucumber. We'll be trying this on Sunday as it's just what's needed to cheer us up after all the foul weather we've been having lately.

Cucumber and Pork with Soy Sauce (serves 2)

1 cucumber
100g/4oz pork loin
1 clove garlic, crushed or chopped
1 tbsp peanut oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
100ml water
1 tsp sesame oil

Top and tail cucumber, quarter lengthwise, deseed and cut diagonally into 1cm slices. Slice the pork loin thinly.

Heat the peanut oil in a wok, and fry the garlic lightly. Evenly brown the pork and add the cucumber, stir-frying until it becomes translucent. Stir in the soy sauce, sugar and water. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for a further 5 minutes until the cucumber is tender. Sprinkle on the sesame oil, and serve on a bed of boiled rice.

(From It's Raining Plums, ed. by Xanthe Clay)

* = I love the idea of a Cafe Barge tweeting :)

4 comments:

  1. Funnily enough I made tabouleh with cucumber last night for dinner and very nice it was too!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Liz - what good timing :) I was really pleased to be able to tweet we'd already got a tabouleh recipe via The 52 Week Salad Challenge contributers the other day. Thanks for all the recipes you've shared, they've been really good!

    ReplyDelete
  3. The cucumber & pork sounds wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Petoskystone - I've just ordered the book it comes from on the strength of this recipe. It celebrates seasonal cooking which is very much in the ethos of this blog. Only 1p + p&p on Amazon secondhand - a bargain!

    ReplyDelete
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