In fact, it's quite bizarre and even disturbing how much I love my veggie garden. I rush outside in the mornings before work to check on my seedlings and I want to cry when I see my baby Asian greens have been the victims of a seven-course snail supper.
When I get home, the first thing I do is kick off my shoes and do a garden walk-through to enjoy the green-ness of it all. It's actually a little embarrassing. But my garden just doesn't cease to amaze me. Seriously! Planting seeds and watching them grow into big, healthy plants that give me delicious food is an awesome process indeed.
We have been our house for almost a year now and in that short space of time, my veggie garden has given me the following:
- Green beans
- Tomatoes (cherry ones and the juicy big ones)
- Spinach (two different varieties)
- Peppadews (before Ches craps on me, the plant was there when I arrived. It was a present from the Peppadew folk. Apparently.)
- Mielies (or corn, for non-South Africans)
- Sweet potatoes
- Asian greens
- Assorted herbs (mint, thyme, lemon thyme, parsley, various types of basil, sage, bay leaf, chives, chamomile and fennel)
I have also recently planted baby marrows, asparagus, eggplant, strawberries, beetroot etc, along with lots of non-foodie but useful plants (like comfrey, catnip, artemisia and marigolds) and am waiting (not very patiently) for them to grow up ;-)
But I digress...
The point of this post was actually to write down that recipe for vegetarian cannelloni. So here it is (Tamara-style, which means there are no proper measurements. Sorry):
Forgot to take a picture, but it looks something like this. Pic from here.
- Bunch of spinach, washed thoroughly (gritty spinach will ruin the nicest of meals) and cooked
- Half a readymade box of cannelloni pasta (normally about 8 - 10 tubes)
- 250 ml tub of fat-free smooth cottage cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- salt and pepper
- 250 ml tomato pasta sauce (I make my own by cooking fresh skinned tomatoes with a little salt, pepper, spoon of sugar and Italian herbs like oregano, basil and thyme)
- A little bit of grated cheese to top
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Mix cooked spinach with the cottage cheese, nutmeg and sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Pop this mixture into a food processor and blitz for a few seconds (I prefer to just use a stick blender - less mess, IMO).
Now, the fun bit: Line up your pasta tubes in an ovenproof dish and fill each one with the spinach mixture (it will be messy, but I find that using my piping bag is the easiest way of doing the filling. Just make sure your spinach is finely blitzed, or it will end up on the ceiling when you squeeze the bag. Trust me on this).
Top the tubes with your tomato-based pasta sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese. Cover (either with a lid or tin foil) and pop in the oven. Bake for 35 min. Serve with a green salad and some nice wine ;-)