episode 134 | show notes & advice
For today’s episode, Sarah is joined by Chef and Food Editor, Blanche Vaughan, to talk about the best seasonal recipes from her brand-new cookbook ‘A Year in the Kitchen’. Feel inspired to grow your own fresh produce and turn it into delicious meals to be enjoyed by everyone.
in this episode, discover
- The importance of homegrown produce
- Recipe inspiration from Blanche’s new book
Episode 134 advice sheet
Blanche Vaughan: An introduction
Blanche Vaughan is the Food Editor of House & Garden. ‘A Year in the Kitchen,’ will be available to pre-order from Amazon from 7th September and is House & Garden’s very first cookbook, and Blanche’s seventh cookbook. Discover over 150 seasonal recipes for everyday pleasure!
The importance of homegrown produce (8:00)
Inspired by Allan Jenkins, then editor of Observer Food Monthly, Blanche was offered the opportunity to contribute to the Guardian’s website block on allotments.
Blanche recalls her mother’s vegetable garden in Herefordshire, which she says she would visit regularly, picking the produce, cooking with it, and writing about the results.
Blanche’s garden now (9:31)
Blanche explains that her home is now in Devon, on the edge of Dartmoor. When Blanche moved into the house, she says she set about creating a small vegetable garden, utilising the foundations of an old Nissen hut. The bed has a waist-height wall around it which is fantastic for keeping pests like deer and rabbits at bay.
Blanche only ever grows what she knows her household can eat to prevent waste, and this year, she’s chosen to grow wonderful, deep purple French beans, borlotti beans, courgettes, squash (on a compost windrow), salad leaves, and herbs. She also has a very small greenhouse, stuffed full of tomatoes and basil, which she simply adores.
There are many CSA community farms in Blanche’s local area, and every week, she receives a fabulous box of produce picked the very same day. This is a great option for those looking to be inspired by locally-grown vegetables.
Recipes from the book (11:45)
Inspired by her travels to Greece, which Sarah also identifies with, the book contains a delicious recipe for a ‘summer greens and soft cheese pie.’
Blanche says that you should find inventive ways to use up large quantities of vegetables. At present, Blanche is growing a lot of beetroot and chard. She’ll use the leaves for the summer greens, along with oregano, which is authentically Greek.
She will also use English cheeses, something like a Medita, that’s similar to feta but made in Sussex. These ingredients are then combined to make a lovely, filling, vegetarian pie that would be great to take on a picnic.
Whole roast cauliflower (15:22)
Another recipe that caught Sarah’s eye was the whole roast cauliflower, which works very well as a vegetarian main or an impressive side dish. Serving the cauliflower whole creates a wonderful showpiece at the table and is nice and easy to make. The sweetness of tahini mixed with the acid of the vinegar for the marinade makes an excellent combination.
Blanche also recommends roasting chickpeas in the oven until crisp and pairing with pomegranate, which she says is delicious. Put your spoons in and scoop out a portion for a wonderful dining experience.
Poached chicken with vegetables and aioli (17:38)
A perfect recipe for late summer or early autumn. Blanche loves to poach chicken as you can get up to three meals out of the chicken as supposed to one. Making a delicious chicken broth is an excellent way to utilise all the peelings from other meals too.
Infuse freshly picked garden veg with the intense umami chicken flavour by poaching it all in the broth. Aioli is a great addition to the dish, as it offers a punchy kick, but you can forgo this if you aren’t crazy about garlic. Blanche likes to poach the garlic cloves in with the chicken for a softer and less pungent flavour.
Blanche explains that this food doesn’t have to be served piping hot, so it’s ideal for transporting to the garden for summer dining.
Dessert inspiration (19:30)
Sarah loves the sound of Blanche’s fig and walnut tart. Blanche explains that her fallback dessert is always a galette, and this recipe is perfect for ending a meal. With slightly flaky pastry rolled out flat, Blanche likes to use a nut-based frangipane for added texture. Spread the figs over the top and they will caramelise in the oven when it comes to baking. Fig leaves add a delicious coconut flavour to the honey glaze on the top of the tart.
Another favourite is the blueberry or wild blackberry and honey cobbler. There are plenty of apple trees at Blanche’s home, so she is always very keen on using them up in creative ways. This recipe uses a delicious scone dough and when baked, the fruit bubbles through, almost like a traditional crumble. For another layer of flavour, Blanche also recommends slipping in a bay leaf, which elevates the taste of the fruit.