I don't know if many amateur veggie growers would say that growing your own is less expensive than buying the same veggies in the grocery store. Maybe I'm doing it wrong, (probably) but the amount of money that we've spent on gardening tools, lumber to build raised beds, fencing, compost, seeds and young plants would probably take a few years to make back in commercial value.
That's not factoring in the amount of time and back-breaking effort involved in establishing a healthy veg patch, or the frustration when seedlings fail to thrive or are eaten by F*@&ing ba$t£rd caterpillars and pigeons.
These days, I think you'd struggle to find anyone growing veggies who doesn't do it purely for the love of the hobby and the pleasure of eating something that has traveled mere yards from the garden to the kitchen sink.
One of my favourite things about growing some of my own veggies is being able to eat parts of the plant that don't normally make it to the shops, like tiny, tender beetroot leaves or the side shoots of adolescent asparagus spears.
Just as we did last year, we're growing our potatoes in sacks on the patio, freeing up valuable veg patch for brassicas, corn, squash and so on. One of my favourite sneaky things to do at this time of year is feel around under the soil of some of the early cropping varieties to steal a few babies packed with sweet nuttiness and perfect for a summer salad.
I decided to roast the little potatoes in a little garlic confit oil and chill them to make a light and summery salad along with the peppery little radishes. We had ours with burgers, but it would be lovely by itself as a lunch or as part of a picnic or barbeque spread.
serves 4, takes approx 90 mins, including coking and cooling
500g (1 lb) tiny baby new potatoes, about the size of a 50p (half dollar)
500g (1 lb) French Breakfast radishes or other spicy variety, halved or quartered.
2 tbsp free range mayonnaise
2 tbsp plain yoghurt
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 stalks celery from the heart of the bunch, including the leaves, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely diced
2 tsp dijon mustard (Maille recommended)
2 tsp white wine vinegar
small handful parsely, finely chopped
2 tbsp garlic confit oil (*or olive oil plus 2 cloves of garlic in their skins)
Coarse sea salt
Black pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 180C (350F)
Wash the little potatoes well, dry them thoroughly and toss them in the garlic oil*
Roast them for 30-40 minutes or until thoroughly cooked, with golden, wrinkly skins. Cool to room temp before refrigerating completely.
Whisk the mayonnaise and yoghurt together well with a the mustard, vinegar, garlic and a little sea salt.
Stir in the potatoes, radishes, celery, parsely and shallot and preferably refrigerate for half an hour or so before serving to allow the flavours to meld.
I had the leftovers for lunch the following day and it was every bit as lovely, but I wouldn't leave it for longer than that, because the radish and celery would likely go a little rubbery.
What is you favourite Springtime salad??