Out of all the seasonal crops I’ve grown this year cucumbers have been most successful. As a result I have been busy thinking of ways to eat them. So here are the things that I like to eat with cucumber.
1. Mint – I may have mentioned before that I am fairly obsessed with mint. Love it, love it, love it. Fortunately it goes well with cucumber, particularly in Middle Eastern dishes. I’ve recently joined Eat Your Books after a recommendation from Diary of a Tomato and I have to say I love it. For those who are unfamiliar with it, it is a site that indexes recipe books. What that means is that once you join – it costs $25 per year – you tell it which books you have and then you can search for recipes within your cookbook library (they haven’t indexed every recipe book but they had indexed enough of mine to make it worthwhile). I put in cucumber and was reminded that I have a recipe for a fabulous Cucumber, Mint, Feta & Pomegranate salad in the book Saraban by Greg Malouf. A brilliant combination, especially as Miss 5 is currently very into eating Pomegranates.
2. Chilli - When I was in India I was surprised to see people selling whole peeled cucumbers as a snack food. This was particularly at bus stations in the south of the country. Eventually I tried one, when you asked for it the vender got out a little shaker and sprinkled it with a mixture of chilli and salt. The cucumber was cool and fresh, the salt and chilli gave it an kick. The result was fabulous, especially on a hot, dusty bus ride. In fact there are quite a number of Indian and South East Asian salsas & dipping sauces that combine cucumber with chilli and an acid either: rice wine vinegar or lemon juice. Fabulous, refreshing and a lovely side dish for serving with a large range of curries or fried snacks.
3. Feta – One of my favourite cucumber salads is the Cucumber & Radish salad with Feta Dressing that I posted a while ago. I think the saltiness of the cheese really works well with the the fresh coolness of the cucumber. I have been eating this salad and variations of it that include pomegranate most weeks this summer.
4.Vinegar – Dill pickles, refrigerator pickles, pickled gerkins, bread & butter cucumbers – all lovely, all with vinegar. I like pickled cucumbers and eat them quite a lot. This is in part because I eat my home made bread & butter cucumbers regularly and in part because they put gerkins in the Falafel’s at the The Half Moon Cafe in Coburg Mall. I go there at least weekly, after swimming, to eat lunch. If you’re ever in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, hmmm scratch that – no one other than locals would ever be in the Coburg mall, if you’re local to Coburg then I highly recommend the falafel at the Half Moon Cafe, only you do have to ask for chilli sauce as they don’t automatically include it.
5. Yoghurt - Throughout the Middle East & Eastern Mediterranean they make dips or salads with cucumber and yoghurt and usually flavoured with lemon juice & garlic. They also tend to include herbs but which herbs seems to vary according to region. Some include dill, others dried mint, still others fresh mint, or indeed a combination of all three. Whichever way you make it it it is delicious, refreshing and a lovely dish for a mezze or to accompany cooked meats.
I was going to put a photo of some tzatziki here, only I ate it all before I remembered to photograph it. Oh well you’ll just have to imagine its silky loveliness…..
And that is this weeks Top 5, I would like to that every one who commented on last weeks – I really appreciate your thoughts and solutions to my gardening questions. I think I will write a follow up post at some point highlighting what everyone said – particularly about pruning tomatoes & Diggers club.