Grow your (Perennial) Veg and Eat It!

It has been an odd day of contradictions. Our email provider phoned me about the feedback I'd left online about not wanting to communicate with them by phone. And the recipe I was loosely following to make tonight's tea instructed me to boil no-boil lasagne sheets. Ah well, perhaps it all fits together - my thoughts today were about another contradiction - growing veg and not eating it!

Of course we do eat it - but I find it quite easy to trip up on making the very most of it - due to the usual factors like lack of time or energy to pick it, or not having a recipe to mind that everyone will like, or forgetting to buy an accompanying ingredient for the dish I did have in mind. This won't do at all, I want to seriously shorten our shopping lists and eat delicious, home-grown, organic, sustainable food as much as possible.

And the food in the backyard larder is shouting to be used. The wild rocket is spilling over the path to the backdoor:

Wild rocket sprawling under bike and onto path

And the Caucasian spinach on the wall is putting forth lots of big juicy leaves :

Caucasian spinach growing up trellis on wall

I know it's all about planning really. Carl Legge has some good words on this in The Permaculture Kitchen, advice about making notes a week in advance about what you have ready to harvest in the garden or allotment or can source locally, who will need feeding and when, and ideas for what to cook. It's advice I once again committed to following today! So I made a token start with the lasagne. I picked a bunch of garlic chives and cooked them with the last of the leeks from the allotment, let them simmer in two tins-worth of chopped tomatoes from the cupboard and flavoured the resulting sauce with salt and pepper and oregano from a pot by the back-gate.

Pot of oregano

Then I collected big handfuls of Caucasian spinach, Daubenton kale and wild rocket from the backyard, steamed and chopped them and mixed them into 450g of cottage cheese I bought from the shop earlier in the day. The sauce and the cheese/greens mixture was layered up with the boiled no-boil lasagne - just 3 minutes boil - I almost dared leave out this step but thought it might be essential with the no-cook cottage cheese sauce (I did like that easy sauce!) And then the dish was covered and baked for thirty minutes. We ate it with a green dressed salad from the garden too: more wild rocket, mountain sorrel, musk mallow, apple mint, parsley, salad burnet and lettuce.

In a fit of exhaustion a few weeks ago I bought a jar of tomato sauce and a jar of white sauce to make a lasagne. It wasn't good, it was slimy and very salty - I would have been happier with marmite on toast! Tonight's meal was delicious - here's my son polishing off the last of it:

Serving of last portion of lasagne in dish

Nothing special, just an ordinary meal for an ordinary Monday - I'd love to be using home-grown tomato sauce, perhaps even home-made cottage cheese - or a home-grown vegan alternative. But this was enough for today, a small step towards a more consistent and mindful approach to sustainable eating.

N.B. I sell a range of perennial vegetable plants on my website.