Midsummer Veg Garden

Vegetables and herbs are growing faster than they can be eaten now, a sure sign that it's mid-summer. It's a great time to take photos and draw outside to capture the wonderful forms of the vegetation.

Fresh pea pods growing in the garden

There's also one recipe that I look forward to making at this time of year in the short period when young fresh peas are on the plants and the mint leaves are tender. Full of fresh flavours, this risotto is a real treat and I hope you'll give it a try. 

Mint leaves

Midsummer Risotto

Mint Pesto ingredients (makes enough for 2 meals)

  • 50g fresh baby mint leaves
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 25g pine nuts, toasted and ground
  • 25g parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

In a food processor, first chop the mint with salt. Add garlic and lemon juice and blend. Add nuts, cheese and oil and blend to a sauce. Place into a sterilized glass jar (200ml). Important: cover with extra oil if not using immediately because mint quickly oxidises.

 Homemade pesto

Risotto ingredients (serves 3):

  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup risotto rice ( e.g. Arborio), about 160g
  • 400g courgette (about 2 medium), grated
  • 125ml white wine
  • 1 stock cube
  • Boiling water
  • 200g peas, freshly podded
  • Half a jar / approx. 2 Tbsp mint pesto (see above)
  • 50g cheddar cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper

In a large non-stick pan, heat the oil then fry the onion and garlic until softened. Add the rice and stir to coat in the oil. Add the grated courgette and mix. Add the wine and bubble for a minute. Crumble in the stock cube then add a little boiling water so that the rice is covered. Simmer the risotto, adding boiling water regularly so it does not dry out, and stirring every few minutes so that the rice creates the creamy texture. After 15 minutes, mix in the fresh peas and mint pesto, and then simmer gently for a further 10 minutes. Before serving, stir in the grated cheese and season with freshly ground black pepper.