On Friday a master gardener is coming to visit. I have asked her not to be shocked and horrified by the state of my garden, but I’ve since realised that I am constantly shocked and horrified by it, so it’s unfair to expect her not to be. At least the landslide in the back garden is a talking point; the less said about the neglected state of what we call ‘the allotment’ the better. But, as I discovered in the weekend, there are things growing down there where the wild things are. I have terraces of parsley, proud rows of rainbow chard and a transplanted bay tree (which would not have survived the slip if it hadn’t been moved). But before I discovered these things I found a big bag of baby spinach in the fridge that needed to be used before I could harvest our greens in good conscience. This is what I did with it.
Spinach and garlic hummus
If your children – or other members of your household – are resistant to eating their greens, this may convert them. If it doesn’t, then there’s all the more for you. I ended up throwing in some parsley, because we have it in such abundance at the moment we could start selling it at the market. Actually, there’s an idea…
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
7-8 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
a pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
100g baby spinach (most of one of those bags you get from the supermarket)
salt and pepper
a couple of juicy lemons
a couple of handfuls of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Put two tablespoons of the olive oil in a high-sided frying pan and place it over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute until just beginning to turn golden. Tip in the chilli flakes, the spinach and the chickpeas and saute for a couple of minutes, until the spinach wilts and the chickpeas colour slightly. Transfer the mixture to a food processor, along with the juice of one lemon, five tablespoons of olive oil, a good pinch of salt, some black pepper and the parsley. Whiz, stopping to scrape down the sides of the processor as necessary. Taste and add more oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper if needed. Scrape into a bowl and drizzle with oil before serving. Store any leftover in the fridge, well covered, for a couple of days.
Throwing in the parsley also means this hummus makes the cut for Lavender and Lovage’s Cooking With Herbs challenge (you can read more about that here). If your garden is looking a little bare and you need any encouragement to get out in it, watch this. I can’t wait to see it.