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Posts from the ‘Good and Green’ Category


Country Vegetable Soup/La Ribollita

From ‘The Glorious Soups & Stews of Italy’ by Domenica Marchetti.
‘This Tuscan specialty is two soups in one, a colourful, chunky vegetable soup, and when reheated with bread added to the mix, a classic peasant dish known as ‘La Ribollita”.

For the beans:
250g dried white beans suchas as cannellini, sokaed overnight in water to cover
1 onion, quartered
1 clove garlic, lightly crushed with the flat side of a knife blade
3 sprigs fresh flat leaf parsley
Sea salt
For the soup:
3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stick celery, trimmed and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
2 potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/2 head green cabbage, shredded (about 250g)
250g kale (red russian, curly or cavalo nero)
200g beet greens (chard or spinach)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the ribollita:
6 slices crusty white bread, cut 1/2 inch thick
1 to 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
Extra best quality oil to serve

To make the beans:
Drain the beans and put them in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, parsley and water. Bring to a boil over a medium heat. Skim off any foam that develops. Reducet he heat as needed to simmer and cook, uncovered for about 2 hours, until the beans are tender. Add salt to taste during the last 10 mins. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 mins.

Remove the onion, garlic and parsley. In a blender puree half of the beans with some of the cooking liquid.

For the soup:
In a large heavy bottomed saucepan with a lid, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the onion, celery and garlic. Saute until veg have begun to soften. Add carrots, potatoes, cabbage, kale and green and stir to combine well. Stir in the pureed tomatoes, season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, until the greens have begun to wilt and soften.

Add the whole and pureed beans along with any remaining cooking liquid. Cover and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 45 mins or until the veg are completely tender and the soup has thickened. Add water if it seems too thick. Serve with grated parmesan, or cool and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

To make ‘la ribollita’:
Heat the oven to 180c. Arrange the bread slices onto a baking tray and toast lightly in the oven for 15 – 20 mins. Allow to cool.

In a heavy bottomed saucepan heat 1-2 tbsp oil. Tear up 2 slices of the bread and place them in the bottom of the pan. Ladle 1/3 of the soup over the bread. Repeat this twice, finishing with a layer of the soup. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer, stirring gently from time to time until heated through. Taste and add more salt if necessary.

Ladle the ribollita into shallow bowls and drizzle each with best quality olive oil, or top with grated parmesan.


Parsnips & chickpeas in garlic, onion, chilli & ginger paste

From farmer’s market round the seasons cookbook

A warming combination of root, protein and spices that will wake your tastebuds for Spring

200g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained (or a tin if you don’t have time)
7 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
2in piece fresh root ginger, chopped
2 chillies, seeded and finely chopped (or a pinch of cayenne pepper)
450ml plus 75ml water
4 tbsp sunflower or rapeseed oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground tumeric
½ to 1 tsp chilli powder or mild paprika
50g cashew nuts, toasted and chopped
250g tomatoes, chopped
900g parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
1 tsp ground cumin
Juice of one lemon or lime
Sea salt & fresh ground black pepper

To serve
Fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves
A handful of cashew nuts, toasted
Natural yoghurt
Naan bread , chappatis or crusty bread – sliced

1. Put the soaked chickpeas in a pan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Boil vigorously for 10 mins, then reduce heat to a rolling boil. Cook for 1- 1.5 hours, or until chickpeas are tender – top up water if necessary. Drain and set aside.

2. Set 2 tsp of the chopped garlic aside, and put the rest into a food processor with the ginger, onion, and half the chopped chillis. Add 75ml water and process to a smooth paste.

3. Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the cumin seeds for 30 seconds. Stir in the ground coriander, turmeric, chilli powder and the ground cashew nuts. Add the ginger paste and cook, stirring frequently, until the water begins to evaporate. Add the tomatoes and stir-fry for 2-3 mins.

4. Mix in the cooked chickpeas and parsnip chunks with the 450ml water, a little salt and plenty of black pepper. Bring to the boil, stir, then simmer, uncovered, for 15-20mins until the parsnips are completely tender.

5. Reduce the liquid if necessary, by bringing the sauce to the boil and boiling until the sauce has thickened – ensuring that it doesn’t stick to the pan. Add the ground cumin with salt and lemon/lime juice to taste. Stir in the reserved garlic and green chilli/cayenne and cook for a further 1-2 mins. Scatter the fresh coriander leaves and toasted cashew nuts over and serve straight away with yoghurt and warmed naan bread, chapattis or sliced crusty bread. This dish could also be served with rice.


Hens in the Spring grass

Our hens love nothing more than fresh greens – grass, old beds of spinach from the garden, cabbage leaves, beetroot tops… they particularly enjoy scratching up roots, insects, grubs and all manner of pickings from a patch of fresh ground.

We move them around the smallholding regularly – our current henhouse is on wheels to allow it to be towed as necessary.

It is very enjoyable to see them scratch, step back and inspect the ground for what goodies it holds, and reinforces why hens are happiest outside and in the field.


Restarting orders for 2012

We are restarting weekly orders for 2012, with first orders on Friday 3rd February. Please see list under ‘ this week’s produce’ for details.

Orders to be sent in by email, text or phone on Thursday please for Friday collection. Contact Elaine on or 087 6187908


Rebecca the lamb and her friend Bailey

Rebecca was an orphan twin lamb that we were given to bottle feed in 2011. She provided much entertainment and frolics around the garden and was great to see growing and getting strong. Cathal and Oisin fed her faithfully, from four bottles a day down to one over a couple of months until she was fully weaned onto meal and eventually onto grass.

It did turn out, however that Rebecca (named after a special first cousin of the boys) didn’t see herself as a lamb at all. She resented having to stay in the field on her own. We had heard that she would probably want to be with the family, but it was her attachment to Bailey (our golden retriever) that surprised us really. She broke out of the field regularly – her coat was immune to the electric fence, and was outside the back door waiting for Bailey most mornings. On occasion she made her way into the house, but generally got overexcited and peed on the floor.

In the end she returned to her original flock to graze on the hillside as a young sheep should – it didn’t seem fair to keep such a social animal on her on her own. And it is said that sheep don’t have personality? No way!


Spring meadow

A blast of Spring colour from miniature daffodils and mascari bulbs in early Spring up in the meadow.

And for the GAA minded – in the Clare colours, you will note.


The geese in action…

Well, most of the animals we have had here have been very cute/productive/appealing, but I must note one quite cantankerous exception.

We handreared a small number of alyesbury ducks and two geese over summer 2010, who we thought we had a pretty good relationship with. The geese grew into two lovely looking birds – we didn’t know if male or female… until just after Christmas, when it turned out that one was a gander – and he developed the worst case of bad attitude ever!

From then on we generally saw him coming with his head stretched out, ready to bite whoever he could sink his (surprisingly sharp) teeth into. We tried to see it as protecting his lady, but he gave her a rough time too, and even the ducks suffered a couple of unspeakable attacks.

I still don’t know if all ganders are like that or what we did wrong. I do know, however that he tasted great and that his lady is now a very peaceful and elegant leader of the ducks around the garden and noone seemed to miss him much!


Spring colour

The tulips in 2011 gave a lovely mix of vibrant colours by Eastertime. They are coming up now – hopefully it won’t be long before we will have a similar show. Roll on Spring!


With alot of help from wwoofers, family & friends

As we have gone through a few seasons in the garden as small scale commercial growers the one thing that has struck me most is how labour intensive market gardening is on our scale. We are too small for a mechanised system and yet one person in the garden feels like a David and Goliath battle when you are trying to keep up with hoeing, planting and harvesting by early summer.

It is with this in mind that I would like to sincerely thank all of the helpers that have come through our garden and spent time helping us to develop our garden and to share in the food that we have produced. We have been amazed at the number of people who willingly give their time and effort to grow and it has always been a positive experience to work alongside others in the garden. It lends itself to team effort and two people working together undoubtedly do the work of three on their own.

Many of our helpers have said that they feel better just for working in a garden – and there definitely seems to be a therapeutic effect, aside of the obvious benefit of eating fresh produce. I know that the simplicity of hoeing in the tunnel on a rainy day or planting a new bed of lettuce relaxes me away from other worries. It is always a positive thing to grow, and to grow food feels like an all round winning way to spend the day.

So, to all the wwoofers, friends, volunteers, trainees and of course family members who have given us their time and shared the effort to make our garden grow – thank you so much for your help. You all are a big part of the engine of Good & Green!


Good & Green and tasty too

A selection of our garden harvest for Friday orders in 2011.

In early summer there is an array of colour and shades of green in the garden – roll on summer 2012!