Thursday 31 May 2012

Red and green fruity salad, and Compost heap soup.

Whatever the season, I love salad. As much as I love salad, I really hate waste. So when I chopped the roots and stalks off the spinach leaves to make a red and green salad and broke the end off asparagus stalks that I'd got half price on the vegetable market because they weren't the most delicate tiny spears; I had to make some Compost Heap Soup too. Well that's what I call soup made from food whose destiny could well be the compost heap...It's the tastiest soup ever. And there are always plenty of peelings left over to feed the hungry compost bin.

Here is my recipe for Compost Heap Soup but I think you'll agree that the ingredients could well vary...

Ingredients for a starter for two people
  • The stalks and roots of two bunches of spinach reserving the tender leaves for something else
  • Three spring onions
  • The stalks of a bunch of asparagus...Just snap them where they naturally break with no pressure. Reserve the spears for something else and use the stalks 
  • The stalk of a head of broccoli (ditto reserving the florets)
  • Olive oil
  • A little turmeric
  • A clove of garlic, either crushed or chopped finely
  • Sea salt and crushed black pepper
  • A bay leaf or two

  1. Fill the kitchen sink with plenty of cold water and wash all the vegetables very well. Spinach is grown in sandy soil and if you don't wash it all out the soup will be gritty and inedible, so it's worth the effort to do this well.
  2. Drain and chop the spinach and spring onions removing the tip of the root.
  3. Peel the asparagus and broccoli stalk and chop.
  4. Pour a little olive oil into a saucepan and saute the vegetables until beginning to soften but still have a vibrant colour.  
  5. Add the garlic and turmeric and cook out a little.
  6. Season with sea salt and black pepper.
  7. Add boiling water, give a good stir and bring to the boil
  8. Reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender enough to blend.
  9. Remove the bay leaf and blend well.  
  10. Check seasoning and adjust if necessary. 

The resulting soup is velvety smooth and really flavourful, takes minutes to make and cooks within half an hour.  

This is the salad I made with the spinach leaves.

 Red and Green Salad

Ingredients for two people:

  • Two handfuls of Baby salad leaves 
  • Two large radish per person
  • Ten ripe cherries
  • One large ripe salad tomato
  • A couple of spring onions
  • Feta cheese
  • A scant handful of walnut halves
  • One small beetroot, pre-boiled and dressed in balsamic vinegar
  • Honey mustard dressing.  I simply make this with balsamic vinegar, grainy Dijon mustard and honey, adjusting the quantities to suit my palate. 

  1. Wash all the fresh salad ingredients well
  2. Drain.
  3. Place the salad leaves into a serving dish or directly onto the plates
  4. Chop off the tip of the salad onions and radishes and slice into small pieces.
  5. Add to the salad along with the cherries which I like to leave whole. You can de-stone them if you like but I love to see the little stalk and use it as a handle to bite the sweet cherries. 
  6. Crumble up the feta cheese and place on top along with the walnuts.  
  7. Finally slices of the cooked beetroot. I love the way the rich red juice bleeds onto the crumbly white cheese.
  8. Dress with the honey mustard dressing. You may want to season a little remembering that Feta cheese is often vary salty. 
Oh and the asparagus tips?

...well they were made into little tarts...I'll show you later... 

I'm linking over to The Botanical Baker and Fabulicious for 'simple and in season' today...

are you coming over too?


  1. Debby, this is perfect timing, thank you.
    I usually just add everything to the compost bucket, but will all the fresh vegetables coming in my kitchen right now the scraps have been over whelming. I love the idea of making soup and getting more use out of everything, besides not having to turn the oven on!

  2. Oh I'm so glad Tracey... I've seen a country recipe by a contributor to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's RiverCottage Bites...who made 'Compost Heap Jelly' or jam...which is what gave me the idea for the soup. I think she was his neighbour and used the peel from oranges and lemons boiled to get all the intense flavour out and then strained through a jelly bag which gives a really clear jelly. I'd love to make it but I'm trying not to use too much sugar so may experiment when I have time. We go through lots of lemons every week so I'd love to be able to use them in this way.

    II'm glad to hear that you are having a good harvest of vegetables...

  3. Both sound delightful. I hate wasting food. Often I blend the stalks into smoothies or reserve them for morning egg omelets.

    1. Those are both really good ides Heather...thank you for sharing them.


  4. You know me, I hate waste too. I use all the tops roots outer leaves etc. in my cooking. Haha and though it may not sound the most appetising, that compost heap soup is just brilliant to me! Been adding a dash of turmeric to a lot of my soups lately too, as I hear its very anti-inflammatory and great for the digestion. So, yes, SUPER post.

  5. Oh thanks Shu Han. I've heard how good turmeric is for us too. I didn't know that it's good for your digestion though. It's used a lot in my lovely husband's traditional Persian food but we don't always cook Persian food so I find I keep adding it to other foods. I love the earthy taste and amazing colour...but just have to make sure I don't spill any as it dyes everything it touches...!