Winter Garden Wandering II – Into the Vegetable Patch!

Hello there Beastie friends! It’s got a little chillier since we last saw each other, but that doesn’t seem to have dampened Paddy and Plunkett’s spirits. Here’s where I lost track of them last weekThrough the Archway - CrawCrafts Beasties… And look, I’ve finally caught up with them – in the vegetable garden!

There’s Paddy, reveling in the green glory of some particularly vigorous parsley. No wonder I didn’t spot him straight away!
Paddy in the Parsley - Vegetable Garden - CrawCrafts BeastiesMeanwhile, Plunkett is checking out his rhubarb for signs of life. Hmmm, looks like we could almost have an early harvest soon!
First Rhubarb - Vegetable Garden - CrawCrafts Beasties

Even beds that seem empty at first glance are already putting up shoots… Shoots that Beasties notice before humans do! Paddy is already excited about these future raspberries.
Future Raspberries - Vegetable Garden - CrawCrafts BeastiesBut, pleasant as the thought of hot summer days spent munching juicy raspberries may be, that’s not going to fill any Beastie bellies today! And the first rumblings of Paddy’s stomach add a sudden note of urgency to this vegetable garden foray… What can the boys find to eat right now? Surely there has to be something better on the menu than parsley and baby rhubarb stew?

Luckily, there is.
Kale! Vegetable Garden - CrawCrafts BeastiesHurray for kale! Super tasty, and super good for you… And very much in season, even right now! YUM!

Grab one of those big frilly leaves each, boys, and let’s get to the kitchen!

And here’s what I’ve been doing with my kale lately – a tasty, filling soup using dried stuff from the cupboard and the kind of veggies you can usually find stashed in the bottom of your fridge. I adapted this recipe from the River Cottage Veg Everyday cookbook – out of necessity at first, because I was missing a few of the ingredients, and had to substitute what I could find to bulk it out. Then, after making the “real” recipe, I decided I liked my version better! Give it a try, and see what you think…

Kale and Barley Broth

You will need:

  • 2 Stock Pots (or stock cubes) made up with 1 litre boiling water
  • 50g pearl barley, rinsed
  • 50g red lentils, rinsed
  • 2 big handfuls of kale leaves, washed and with tough stalky bits cut away, then cut fine
  • 1 big carrot, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 1 stick celery, cut into small dice
  • 100g frozen peas
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Bring the stock to the boil in a big ol’ saucepan, then add the lentils and barley, turn down the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Use this time to prep your vegetable ingredients!

The barley should now be almost tender, so add your diced celery, carrot and frozen peas to the mix, and wait for it to come back up to a simmer.

Then, add in your kale and cook for another 2-3 minutes. You want the kale to be tender, not soggy, after all!

Taste a spoonful, and season with salt and black pepper if you think it needs it.

Then grab a bowl, and feast to your heart’s content!

Well, hopefully that will keep you all going until next week, when I’ll have a new Beastie for you to meet! And if you do give the recipe a try, leave us a comment below to tell us how you got on!

22 thoughts on “Winter Garden Wandering II – Into the Vegetable Patch!

    1. Hahaha! That’s true… And I’m sure they wouldn’t appreciate being dropped into the soup pot either! Cheers for popping in, Mariss! 😊

    1. Thanks, Tierney! Everyone should have a Beastie or two knocking around in their garden πŸ˜‰ Let me know if you try out the soup… And if tierneycreates Beastie tries to hog it all to herself! πŸ˜‚

    1. Don’t worry, it did! Maybe the comment-processor thingummies are just a little slow off the mark at this time of year (a little like myself πŸ˜‚)!

  1. I see P&P must be sticking to some new year’s resolutions to eat healthier (although I’m sure they’d be easily distracted by a pint or cupcake). I’ve turned into a kale junkie and use it in everything from pasta dishes to soup to salads. Now it looks like I’ve got a new recipe to try out!

    1. Oooh, let me know if you like it! Kale is just so GOOD, I’m really not suprised that the boys have temporarily ditched the treats in favour of it! Cheers for stopping by – and if you have any kale recipes to continue the lads’ health kick, be sure to tell us where to find them! πŸ˜‹

      1. I’m not sure where/how I came up with it, but my favorite is to take kale and quickly sautΓ¨ it with a bit of olive oil and garlic. Then you stir the kale together with some cooked pasta (spiral/rotini works best). Then, the magic happens when you sprinkle it with the juice from one lemon, the zest from the lemon, and some parmesan just before serving. I like to have it with poached eggs on the side. Okay, now I’m hungry.

        1. Oh YUUUUUM! I’m doing that one next… Kale and lemon are a match made in heaven. Thank you, Tammie!

  2. Oh, yum! Look at the vigor in that parsley! And kale is one of my absolute fave things to cook (so many ways!). I now know what to do with the bag of barley I picked up on a hunch last week. πŸ™‚ This recipe sounds truly delicious, and daily veggie soup or stew has been the key to my survival this winter – anything with lentils, dill, onions, garlic… I’ve started to experiment with peanut butter and lemon zest (separately, lol). I can’t wait to try this!

    1. Oh yay! Please do, and let me know how it measures up to your usual soupy creations! You really can’t beat homemade soup for a tasty meal that helps keep those pesky winter bugs at bay. And does peanut butter work in soup? I know I have a recipe somewhere for a butternut and nut butter (ha!) soup, maybe it’s time to give that a try… πŸ€” Cheers for popping in, Shirley!

  3. Soup is indeed the best chaser-away of chills. The peanut butter was one answer to my quandary of how to thicken up a veggie broth. I think it helped, but will have to give it another try. ☺ Wishing you more tasty creations in the soup lab!

  4. YUM! The lads have me seriously longing for some greens to add to my nearly exclusively beige diet. Maybeeeee I’ll try to follow that recipe? I dunno, seems unrealistic though since it involves more instructions than ‘Turn on Oven. Remove all packaging. Heat for 25 minute. Stir.’

  5. Go on go on go on! I’m actually seriously into making soups, especially at this time of year. So warming and satisfying! You don’t even really need a recipe – make up a stock cube, throw some random veg in on top and let it bubble away for 20 minutes. VoilΓ ! Soup… Even quicker and with fewer instructions than an oven-cook ready meal 😁 Bon appetit!

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