Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Meadows and red clover risotto

Weeds. Chances are you've got them growing in your garden. I think they have a bad rap;  people often spend a huge amount of time removing them from their gardens in order to get that 'manicured' lawn look. I can understand the allure of a tidy lawn-  it certainly makes playing garden golf and ball games easier with the children... but... there are a gazillion reasons why you could let your garden re-wild and become a meadow!

  1. As you don't have to spend so much time keeping the lawn trim, you can simply be enjoying the great outdoors instead :)
  2. Your garden will become a haven for bees and butterflies and other insects which are under threat
  3. It is so pretty. Your green grass with have yellow, white, purple, pink and blue blossoms all over, a truly beautiful picture to look out onto...
  4. You can eat the weeds! Dandelion, plantain and clover to name a few. These wild plants and flowers are packed with so much nutrition, you don't need to eat that much of it to get benefits. Free superfoods!
  5. If you have cats, they like to hide in the grass. It is the perfect hiding place for them to lie in wait to attack your feet when you're out putting the washing on the line....
Ok so maybe not a gazillion reasons, but needless to say, our garden frequently looks like a meadow. Until we are forced to mow it sporadically so we don't breach our tenancy agreement that is! Right now we have so many wild plants growing, it really is beautiful, the lawn is awash with clover, and we have many many little miner bees buzzing around.

As there is so much of it, I thought the bees wouldn't miss a few flowers so I decided to make a red clover risotto with it - and it tasted divine! 

Red clover risotto serves 4

2 handfuls of red clover flowers, rinsed well and chopped roughly
1 large red onion
2 cloves garlic
1 red bell pepper
2 handfuls of fresh parsley, chopped fine
vegetable stock
2 cups of short grain brown rice
2 cups of fresh broad beans or peas
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
Sea salt and black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a pan over a very low heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute on a very gentle heat for 10 mins. Add the rice, clover and vegetables and enough stock to cover the rice and come above 2cm over the top, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer.
Simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender - keep an eye on the rice and if it is getting too dry add more stock.
When the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked (with a little bite left to it), add the parsley, salt and pepper. If you are making the non-vegan option, add the cheese now. Stir to mix and serve with a green salad.


  1. oh wow this sounds yummy, what a great idea!

  2. Fantastic idea! i didn't know you could eat weeds!?

  3. Thanks :) Yup you can! Though be reeeeally sure what it is first as some are toxic... Dandelions and red clover are a great starting point as they are easy to identify and easy to find :)