Rhubarb & Almond Clafoutis

A clafoutis is a classic French dessert, somewhere between a cake and a pudding. It’s normally made with cherries but here’s my seasonal twist with gorgeous, tangy rhubarb and flaked almonds. The other twist? This recipe is plant based and low food waste, the eggs are replaced with aquafaba which is the liquid from a can of chickpeas or white beans which is normally discarded. I love it served warm, scooped out of the dish into bowls with yoghurt or custard but it’s also delicious chilled and served in slices. Give it a try and let me know how you like it? And of course, switch the fruit for whatever you fancy. I even make a savoury version with asparagus or cherry tomatoes…the possibilities are endless!

Apart from the taste, the whole joy of this recipe is that it is very forgiving, hence the super-simple mug measurements. Some of my cakes require exact weights to work but this little beauty is a chilled out affair. Just grab a regular sized mug to weigh out your sugar and flour (not American style ‘cup’ measurements) and if you don’t have a measuring tbsp, just use a dessert spoon for the oil/milk. A few grams amiss here and there won’t affect the bake as it’s more of a pudding than a cake, so just trust your instincts and go for it. If you have a really big roasting dish or flan dish, use a big mug and enough rhubarb to cover the base in a single layer. And enjoy the easy, relaxed method!

Liz x

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp butter/margarine
  • 1 handful sugar
  • 5 or so stalks of rhubarb
  • the liquid from a 400g can of chickpeas or white beans
  • 1/2 mug sugar
  • 1 mug plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder (or 1 tsp baking soda & 1 tsp vinegar)
  • a pinch of salt (omit if your aquafaba came from a salted tin)
  • 3 tbsp oat milk (or more if needed)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 handful flaked almonds (optional)
  • yoghurt or custard to serve

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 175C. Find a large flan dish or medium roasting dish.
  2. Butter the base of the dish then scatter over a handful of sugar. 
  3. Rinse and cut your rhubarb into bite sized chunks then arrange them in the dish.
  4. Pour the aquafaba from a can of chickpeas or white beans into a large mixing bowl. Keep  the beans/chickpeas in a box in the fridge to use later today or tomorrow.
  5. Whisk the aquafaba until frothy, then add the 1/2 mug of caster sugar and whisk until creamy.
  6. Fold in the plain flour and baking powder (if your aquafaba came from an unsalted tin, add a pinch of salt now too).
  7. Stir in the milk, oil and vanilla. You should have a thick, creamy batter. If it’s too thick, add a splash more milk and stir again.
  8. Pour the batter over the rhubarb and spread it evenly. Scatter over the handful of flaked almonds if using.
  9. Bake in the oven until golden brown and just set. This should take approximately 20-30 minutes. The cake should still have some wobble and the rhubarb should be just cooked through and tender. 
  10. If you find it’s browning too much on top before being cooked through, move it to a lower part of your oven and cover the dish with a baking sheet or some baking parchment.
  11. Serve warm in large scoops with a dollop of yoghurt or custard. Or allow it to chill and set – the texture will become less pudding-like and more cake-like as it cools. You can then slice it and serve it in wedges like a regular cake. 
  12. Feel free to play around with the recipe substituting seasonal fruit or frozen berries as you like. I even make a savoury version with asparagus or cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs and feta. Simply substitute the sugar for more flour and seasoning.

Food Waste

Hopefully we will all be doing what the carrots in this photo are doing soon!

Over the last 15 years we have seen a fair bit, and although generally things are never black and white, one thing stands out for me as being just that: food waste. Whatever way you look at it, it is wrong.

We work really hard here to reduce food waste, it is not always possible, but it is one of our core values. There are times when the quality just is not good enough and we will never ever compromise on the quality of what we send out in our boxes.

We grow our own food so we have a very good understanding of what is ok and what is not. We make sure we harvest as close to packing the boxes as possible, we work with other growers to ensure we have the freshest best produce. 

But there is one thing we never do, we never discriminate based on looks, on wonkiness. If a carrot is wrapped around another carrot will we grade it out? Absolutely not, we will CELEBRATE it, If a potato is showing a little cheekiness, well that is absolutely ok with us. In fact, we want vegetables like that.

This ‘WONKY’ food tastes the same, it has the same nutritional value, it looks the same on our plates it has been grown sustainably on organic land. It makes a lot of sense to us to NOT grade out vegetables like that. I guess we are pretty lucky that we do not have to conform to supermarket standards, that we set out own standards and we can do this because we know you our customers are ok with getting cheeky potatoes every now and again.

Ultimately, we appreciate this because we know how hard it is to grow food. Right now, as I write, this we are behind with our planting, the weather is not being very seasonal, it is to reach 2C tonight and the temperatures have been very disappointing for May and heading into June it is still wet and cold.

I hope we get a break soon, as we have plants backing up waiting to go into the wet fields, and the plants that are already in the fields are behind where they should be. It is hard not to feel a little anxious, will the weather ever give us a break? Every year it is has, and this year I hope will be no different, so, we wait and be patient, there really is very little else we can do.

So, as a farmer when you consider all the effort required to produce the food it would be extremely disheartening to think the end result might be your produce being dumped in a bin. We have designed a food storage fridge magnet flyer to help you in the first step to avoid food waste – correct storage and using your delicate fruit and veg first is key. It’ll be packed in all the boxes next week. We hope you find it useful! Read our blog about food waste here for more ideas on how to cut your food waste.

Many growers of course have these rules imposed on them by the people that hold the keys to the kingdom: the supermarkets. Food does get rejected based on appearance and this is something that gets under my skin, it is wrong for so many reasons.

Many growers of course have these rules imposed on them by the people that hold the keys to the kingdom: the supermarkets. Food does get rejected based on appearance and this is something that gets under my skin, it is wrong for so many reasons.

I believe we are promised warmth and full sun tomorrow and that is good, it means we can get on with the work of growing food, and that makes me happy. Our carrots when they come later in the season may not be perfectly perfect in shape, but they are prefect in every other way.

Thank you for supporting our farm and know that in doing so, not only are you contributing to reducing your carbon footprint, and reducing your waste burden on our planet, you are also contributing to reducing food waste and supporting these cheeky potatoes and loving carrots!

Thank you


Kenneth

Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread

Ok, yes, it’s a lockdown cliché, but banana bread is one of the most useful recipes to have in your arsenal against the war on food waste! Got any over-ripe or bruised bananas? Please don’t throw them in the bin! My recipe is easy and adaptable, dairy and egg free, and oh so delicious! Liz x

Ingredients (makes 2 loaves)

  • 8-10 bananas
  • 1/2 mug oil
  • 1/2 mug milk (I use oat milk)
  • 1 mug sugar (I love our whole cane sugar for this)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 mugs plain flour (our organic spelt flour is delicious here)
  • 2 heaped tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 heaped tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100g dark chocolate (Or lave plain. Or add other optional extras, like walnuts, dates, peanut butter…)

Method

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 175C and line two tins with baking parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, mash 8 very ripe bananas.
  3. Add the oil, milk, sugar and vanilla and mix well to combine.
  4. Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt and mix into a sticky batter.
  5. Chop the chocolate (if using) and fold it through the batter. Here’s where you can fold through other optional extras too if you like. A swirl of peanut butter? Some chopped walnuts and dates?
  6. Divide the batter into two loaf tins. Add slices of banana on top and an optional sprinkle of brown sugar and bake.
  7. The loaves normally take around 30-40 minutes to cook through*. *TOP TIP – cover the loaves with a baking sheet or some foil or baking parchment after about 25 minutes in the oven to stop them colouring too much on top before they are cooked through in the middle.
  8. Serve in thick slices as they are or with butter or my favourite, peanut butter!

Pigs and Plastic

In 2018, we said goodbye to plastic for good in our boxes – we were the first company to do that in Ireland. We sourced compostable plant based bags, we launched our ‘Plastic Free’ shopping aisle and we made a commitment to never include any plastic wrapped produce in any of our set boxes ever again. Over the past three years, we have expanded this range, adding lots more sustainable ‘plastic free’ groceries and we introduced a new BULK section of plastic free groceries – even better value.

Supermarkets can’t have it both ways. They maintain their single use plastic packaging; they argue that it prolongs shelf life and therefore it is necessary to reduce food waste, and at the same time they reject perfectly good food on aesthetics leading directly to large amounts of food waste!

The pressure that below cost selling and rejecting produce based on how food looks places on growers can mean that farmers struggle to sustain their livelihoods. There is always a price to pay.

Ironically, the argument for food waste reduction has been used for the continued use of plastic in our food chain, at the very same time that produce not looking the part is dumped! Maybe It is the food system and how we produce and sell food that needs to change?

We used to supply supermarkets and we were told that we had to pay for any produce on their shelves that they did not sell. They also demanded that we lower our prices and stopped ordering until we complied. We pulled the plug ourselves and focused 100% on our home delivery business.

The plastic problem and food waste are issues of our time and as with climate change, they can only be solved by changing our behaviour and by making these issues the very centre of all decisions taken. Our pledge is to do just that.

I will never forget our very first season of growing veg here in the West of Ireland on my grand-dad’s farm. We were told we were mad it could not be done. Others told us that the only way to grow veg was to use a “touch of Roundup” our neighbour wanted to buy the family farm and pretty much laughed at our attempts to learn to grow veg. The local garda called up to see if we were growing strange things! That was 15 years ago.

We have shown it is possible and viable to rekindle a sustainable food production industry in the West of Ireland, to relearn the lost skills of generations and apply them to growing food, but also to innovate and to do it in a truly sustainable way.

Maybe there is hope after all that the bigger issues will be addressed and we can live a cleaner greener future.On food waste there is one thing is for sure: our two pet rescue pigs never complain when they see us coming, they get the truly unusable food and recycle it back into nutrients for the land!

Thanks as always for your support.

Kenneth

PS Reuse is so much better than anything else and we have always championed this, our boxes are the ultimate reusable container. We collect them and reuse them every week.

5 Ways to Stop Food Waste

At the farm , rescue pigs George and Florence enjoy any food waste we incur.

When we think of food waste, throwing out a wobbly carrot or a bruised apple, we usually just think of it as a waste of a few cents. But food waste is actually one of the largest contributors to climate change. Growing, processing and transporting food uses significant resources, so if food is wasted then those resources are wasted too. It is estimated that globally, around 1.4 billion hectares of land is used to grow food which is then wasted. That’s a lot of land that could be returned to the wild and a lot of wasted food emitting methane as it rots. If food waste was a country, it would be the 3rd biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world.

A brilliant article on the subject of food waste has just recently been published in the Irish Times. Read it here. The article was sponsored by the brilliant initiative, Food Cloud which redistributes food waste in Ireland to those in need. Please do check them out and see how you can get involved.

I’ve been asking you for your food waste prevention tips and tricks over the last few weeks (thank you for those – can you spot your tips below?) and after collecting them all I’ve realised that they boil down to 5 main themes.

Here are some of your brilliant food waste tips, thank you! Please add anything I’ve missed in the comments.

1. Planning & Preparation

  • Write a menu for the week before shopping and only buy what you need. Or if you get a weekly veg box delivered then write a menu as you unpack the box and stick it on your fridge.
  • Plan to use up delicate ingredients with a shorter shelf life first. Things like salads, herbs and greens first, save the hardier root vegetables for later in the week.
  • Before you buy even more fresh food, shop from your own fridge, freezer and pantry. How many more meals can you make with what you already have? Delay the next shop as long as possible.
  • If you know you don’t have much time for cooking, spend some time meal prepping:
  • Cook batches of soups/stews/bakes, freeze them in portions to be taken out when you need them.
  • Make yourself a sort of ‘fridge buffet’ which you can dip into for lunches – separate boxes of cooked grains, roasted veg, dips, dressings – for food safety, only do 3 days worth at a time.
  • Pre-wash and chop all the veg you need for your menu so that when you come to cook it’s much quicker. But be careful doing this kind of prep as chopped veg doesn’t last as long as whole. Only do this 3 days in advance maximum.

2. Storage

  • Learn how best to store different fruits, herbs and vegetables so that they stay fresh longer. 
  • Should they be in the fridge or in a dark cupboard or a fruit bowl? Do they need to be in water to stay fresh longer? Are they better in or out of their packaging? Is it better to store them muddy or clean?
  • Always rotate! Put new ingredients behind older ones and use up the old ingredients first.
  • If you don’t eat a lot of bread, store sliced bread in the freezer and just take out a few slices at a time when you need it.

3. Eating ‘Root to Shoot’

  • Think to yourself, ‘does this really need to be peeled?’. Probably not. Especially if you are using our organic produce. Also by not peeling you get the maximum nutrition and fibre out of the veg.
  • Question which parts of the vegetables you are discarding. Cauliflower and broccoli leaves and stalks are all edible and delicious. Carrot tops are a brilliant parsley-like herb substitute. Beetroot leaves can be eaten like chard. Mushroom stalks are edible. The core of cabbages can be finely sliced and added to stir fries. The dark green tops of leeks and spring onions are edible…
  • Any clean peelings and offcuts you do have can be collected in a box in the freezer. When you have enough to fill your largest pot you can simmer them in water to make a tasty and nutritious stock.

4. Loving Your Leftovers 

  • Have a strict rule that any leftovers from dinner must be eaten for lunch the next day (or frozen for another meal).
  • Find imaginative ways to repurpose your leftovers into another meal. Can it be turned into a soup or a curry or a pasta sauce? Can it be baked into a pie or a frittata? Would it be nice in a wrap or a sandwich? Can it be bulked out with some more fresh veg and simply eaten again?
  • Make croutons or breadcrumbs with stale bread or the bread ends you would otherwise throw out.

5. Preserving Any Excess

  • If you have a glut of a certain fruit or vegetable, find out the best way to preserve it:
  • Make chutney, jam or pickles? There are endless recipes online for inventive ways to make delicious jars of tangy chutneys and pickles and sweet jams. 
  • Lacto-ferment? Using just salt and a little know-how, transform your unused cabbages into sauerkraut or kimchi or your cucumber into sour dills. Any vegetable can be fermented. 
  • Freeze? Find out the best way to freeze your excess. Does it need blanching first?
  • Dry? Use a low oven or a dehydrator to dry out excess fruit or veg. Then rehydrate it when you need it (garlic, mushrooms, carrot slices…), eat it dry as a snack (apple rings, mango, kale crisps…) or blitz into powder and make your own bouillon (celery, onion, garlic, carrot, herbs, mushrooms…).

Please tell us how you avoid food waste in the comments. We’d love to share these top tips with our community. Liz x

Wonderfully Wonky

Last year Joe my son found a potato and I don’t know if I should be alarmed or encouraged by the fact he wanted me to put it “online”. Joe is 7. He found this unusual potato and he wanted everybody to see it and funnily enough it tasted just as amazing as any other potato, but it certainly would not have made it onto supermarket shelves.

Finding unusual shaped vegetables for me is like a bonus, if we harvest carrots and find one that looks like it has two legs, or one like this potato we found last year, then we are delighted. They are funny and unusual and like nature are not uniform. Is there anything wrong with mishappen or “wonky” veg? Absolutely not, they taste the same, they were grown in the same sustainable way. Then why do supermarkets reject pallet loads of them because they do not meet “specifications” of “size” of “shape” or of “visual appearance”? They do, and it is a tragedy of modern times that we feel it is ok to dump food based on appearance.

A recent report on the factors that are most important to consumers when it comes to deciding on whether they will buy fresh produce or not is how it looks. I fault not a single person for this, it is hard not to be conditioned in this manner with our current supermarket led food chain.

A very involved and complex system has been developed to give us picture perfect produce at the lowest possible price. The look of the produce, no blemishes, straight carrots, no knobbly bits, shiny apples, picture perfect tomatoes is one of their major criteria when deciding whether to accept or reject a batch.

The reality of working with nature and growing food of course is that it comes in many shapes and sizes. There is so much beauty to be found in producing food, and not just on the surface, certainly Joe’s potato makes the cut every time in my book.

What is more important? How something was grown, or how something looks?

Here is the thing then, supermarkets make a massive deal about selling wonky veg, eliminating food waste etc but in reality they do very little! There should be “no wonky” veg, no grading out based on how something looks, knobbly bits and all. But that is not the way things are. If all we ever see is clean shiny picture-perfect produce, how will we react when we see something that is different, will we think possibly there is something wrong?

What about dirty veg? We send out our carrots, potatoes and parsnips with dirt on the roots. It makes sense, it keeps the produce fresh and therefore requires less packaging, because we have you, we can do it, we like it, and we get the impression you just might like it too! Please tell us if you do or if you do not!

As always thank you for your support, the wonky veg say thank you too!

Kenneth

Vegetable Values

What do you think about a major supermarket sending 12 pallets of pineapples (nearly 12,000 pineapples) to waste because they had some blemishes, where is the right in that?

Thankfully, charities such as Food Cloud exist and they stepped in to rectify the situation in this case. If they did not exist where would this food go then?

Fresh food is so devalued by supermarkets, it makes me want to cry! It does not benefit the consumer, we think it does but ultimately it does not. How can a supermarket sell onions for 49c? It is not possible to grow a kilo of onions for 49c.

It is the retailers whether it be Tesco or Amazon that hold the keys to the kingdom, they set the prices, they hold all the power, and we the consumer give it to them. They only care about the bottom line driven by profit. But when the damage is done, when the soil will no longer produce the food, what good will all the money be then?

Did you know that supermarket buying practices force the last few cents from the farmer? New supermarket buyers get targets to improve margins, they go straight to the farmer and demand better discounts. Is it really any wonder that young farmers might be disillusioned with the trade? There is a strike next week by farm workers in Spain demanding fairer working conditions and wages, all of this is driven by our cheap food system.

This practice of selling produce below its value, once unthinkable, makes cheap fresh food acceptable in the eyes of the consumers, and how would we be expected to think otherwise? It is everywhere we look, it has effectively been normalised.

On our farm this year we produced just short of a quarter of a million-euro worth of produce. We broke even, and that is with the farm team working flat out, and having crops grow well, it was a good year. If we had to sell all our produce at supermarket prices, we would have been gone a long time ago, so would the jobs and the people.

Imagine, instead of a race to the bottom, a system that allows for investment in the farms, in the people on the farms, in the biodiversity. A system that does not allow 12 pallets to be dumped because of a blemish on a few pieces, that does not require workers to strike for fair working conditions.

All we need, is to say “no more” to loss leading fresh produce.

I do feel a little better now for getting that off my chest and thank you for listening.

Thank you for your support, thank you for buying our produce, thank you for supporting local jobs, thank you for supporting local food production, thank you for supporting sustainable food production and thank you for sticking with us all year.

You make our farm possible.

Have a magical and safe Christmas.

Kenneth

Festive Food Waste

Food waste is a huge environmental problem all year round, but over Christmas, it seems we throw out about 30% more than usual. According to Stop Food Waste, here in Ireland we generate at least 1.27 million tonnes of food waste each year! Food waste is one of the largest contributors to climate change. Growing, processing and transporting food uses significant resources. And so if food is wasted, then of course these resources are wasted too.

Globally, around 1.4 billion hectares of land is used to grow food which is then wasted. That’s a lot of land that could be returned to the wild. While some food waste is anaerobically digested to make biogas, composted, or rendered for animal food, a lot of the food waste produced is still going to landfill where it doesn’t just harmlessly break down, but it emits methane, a gas 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide. According to Project Drawdown, an international group of experts, reducing food waste is the 3rd most effective action we can take to reverse climate change.

Home composting is a great solution if you have the space, but you should only compost uncooked vegetables (known as green matter) along with brown matter like tea leaves, coffee grounds, shredded card/paper, tree leaves etc – successful compost has a balance of brown and green matter and is incredibly beneficial to your soil health. Cooked food waste should not go into your home compost as typical home composters don’t get hot enough to safely break down the food and it also attracts rodents. Put your cooked food waste in a council provided food waste bin where it will be taken to a commercial compost site to be anaerobically digested. Or better yet, don’t waste the food at all! Try to use up your cooked food waste in inventive dishes and show your leftovers some love!

Here are a couple of recipes to get you started. Please ask questions and share your favourite Christmas leftover meal ideas in the comments too and have a waste-free feast! Let me know if you made these leftover-loving meals and tag us on Instagram or share your meal on our Facebook page. We love to see what you are cooking! Liz x

Festive Farinata

A farinata is a bit like a frittata but made with chickpea flour batter instead of eggs. Simply whisk together one part chickpea flour (also known as gram flour) with one part warm water (I like to thin it out with an extra splash of water too), season the batter really well with salt, pepper and a splash of olive oil. Then let it rest while you pre-heat the oven and prepare a roasting dish with your leftover Christmas vegetables.

Put a little olive oil into the base of the dish, then chop up whatever leftover veg you have from your roast. Potatoes, parsnips, beetroot, red cabbage, squash, sprouts… pop them into the roasting dish then pour over the chickpea flour batter.

Drizzle a little extra olive oil over the farinata and crack over some black pepper. You could also add some crumbled tofeta (I used the leftover bit from making my cranberry and tofeta cigars) or other odds and ends of Christmas cheeses. Then put the dish into a hot oven (200C) and bake it until the batter is set. The time depends on how big or deep your dish is, just keep an eye on it. It’s done when it’s golden brown on top and with minimal wobble.

Allow it to settle for a few minutes out of the oven and then ease it away from the sides of the dish with a palette knife or spatula. Slice it into portions and eat it hot or cold with salads, ferments, dips and chutneys or sauces to your liking. Enjoy!

Swedish-style Stuffing Balls

Leftover stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce? Make my Swedish style meatballs dish, it’s delicious. Swedish meatballs are typically served with boiled or mashed potatoes, a rich, creamy gravy, lingonberry jam (cranberry sauce is a brilliant substitute) and steamed greens. It’s a hearty and satisfying winter dish so I tend to make this rather than Italian style meatballs with leftover stuffing from our Sunday Roasts, or in this case Christmas Dinner, in winter.

Get some potatoes on to boil for mash and some greens ready for steaming or wilting.

Then simply squish your stuffing together into little balls (if it’s gone dry add a splash of stock, if it’s too wet add some oats or breadcrumbs) and fry them in a large pan with some melted butter and olive oil. Turn them regularly with tongs to get them browning on all sides.

Keep the stuffing balls warm in a dish in the oven while you finish making the mashed potatoes, steam some greens and heat up and enrich your leftover gravy.

Heat up your leftover gravy with a splash of water, then when it’s nice and hot enrich it with a generous splash of oat/soy cream. Gently bring it back up to heat, but don’t let it boil. Then taste it for seasoning and adjust it if needed with more salt/pepper.

Serve the stuffing balls with mashed potatoes, creamy gravy, steamed greens and a big dollop of cranberry sauce on the side.

Barleyotto, Roasted Carrots & Carrot Top Pesto

I’ve been cooking so much with the gorgeous, super-fresh carrots from the farm recently. Carrots are one of those staple vegetables that often get overlooked as ‘boring’ and sent to the side of the plate or the base of the meal. I love elevating these humble vegetables and making them the star of the show. Once you taste the difference between watery, bland supermarket carrots and the real deal from the farm, you’ll see why I bang on about showcasing each vegetable in its own right.

Root to Shoot

I’m sure most of you already know that the carrot tops are edible too. In this recipe, and in many of my recipes, I show you how to make a meal using the whole vegetable, root to shoot! I hate waste, not just because I don’t have the cash to splash, but also because of the environmental impact. Did you know that reducing food waste has been identified as one of the most effective ways to fight climate change? According to Stop Food Waste, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted each year. This directly contributes to food shortages, water stress, biodiversity loss and increased greenhouse gas emissions. Globally, more than one quarter of food produced is wasted: with food loss and waste contributing 8-10% of total emissions. So we should all do our part in reducing food waste by learning how to use the entire vegetable and putting as little as possible in the compost bin (and certainly never put food waste in the general waste heading for landfill). Apart from the environmental issues regarding food waste, it is surprising how much important dietary fibre and incredibly powerful nutrients are found in the peels and other parts of vegetables we often throw away. Good for your body, your pocket and your planet, what’s not to like?

Ingredients (to serve 4)

Method

Start by removing the leafy tops from the carrots. Roughly chop them and put them in a food processor with the blade attachment. Then slice the carrots lengthways into halves or quarters, put them in a roasting dish, dress them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and pop them in a hot oven (180C) to roast while you get on with the barleyotto/risotto.

Peel and dice the onion and start sautéing it in a heavy bottomed pan with a little olive oil. You could also add a knob of dairy free butter to the pan for extra flavour at this stage.

Dice the celery and garlic. Add 3 cloves to to the pot (along with all the celery) and one garlic clove to the food processor where you’ll make the carrot top pesto.

Season the onion, celery and garlic with a little salt and allow it to cook down and soften a little. Then add the mug of barley grains, the glass of wine (you can replace this with a small splash of cider/white wine vinegar or the juice of a lemon), the stock cube/bouillon and 3 mugs of water. (If you are using risotto rice, add the liquid gradually, stir often and allow it to soak in before adding more). Add the drained butterbeans and let the barleyotto simmer until the grains are cooked through. Stir regularly and keep an eye on the liquid levels, you may need to add more.

While the carrots and the barleyotto/risotto are cooking, focus on the pesto.

Toast the sunflower seeds in a hot, dry frying pan until they are fragrant and start to pop and colour. Then add them to the food processor with the carrot tops and garlic.

Add the juice of half a lemon or a tbsp of cider or white wine vinegar, a few tbsp of nutritional yeast (this brings an irresistible, rich, cheesy flavour to the pesto), a pinch of salt, some freshly ground back pepper and enough olive oil to blend the pesto into a bright green sauce. If you don’t have very many carrot tops you can also add some chopped kale or spinach to the blender.

Pulse the pesto until it comes together into a loose green sauce. Then taste it and adjust the seasoning if needed with extra salt, pepper, lemon juice or olive oil as you like and blend again until you are happy with the flavour and consistency.

When the barley or risotto is cooked through, taste it and check the seasoning, adjusting it if necessary. Then serve in bowls topped with roasted carrots and carrot top pesto. Any spare pesto can be kept in a jar in the fridge for up to one week. Use it in sandwiches, to top crackers or dip vegetables in, stir it through pasta or drizzle it over steamed greens or roasted vegetables.

Enjoy! 💚 Liz

Did you make this recipe? Let us know how it went in the comments and share it with us and your friends on your Facebook or Instagram. We love to see the recipes leave the blog. If you like this recipe, you’ll love my book. And don’t forget to support your local, organic farmers here by signing up for a regular veg box delivery and adding our carefully curated groceries to your order as and when you need them. Thank you!