My South East London Kitchen

a blog by Gemma Thomas.

Cooking the Seasons: Spring Onions

I’m going to start this series of Cooking the Seasons in the same way that I started this blog: with a confession. Spring onions are one of the few vegetables I buy all year round.  There, I’ve said it, feel free to delete me from your RSS feed.  At Christmas, I shamelessly bought them out of season to accompany the Peking duck I made for Christmas lunch, although in my defence, you simply cannot have Peking duck without spring onions. True ‘dat.

You would think that the clue to when they are in season is in the name, right? Not so, for they are actually in season from March through to November; although the best ones will be found up until June.  Spring onions are most associated with Asian and Mexican dishes, but they are prevalent in a number of different cuisines and can be interchangeable with other members of the allium family, such as leeks, chives and regular onions.

This week, I have been using spring onions in a variety of different dishes:

Cheese and onion scones

Cheese and onion scones

Cheese and Spring Onion Scones

These scones have evolved from a plain scone recipe I have used for a number of years, loosely based on Dan Lepard’s scones from Short and Sweet.  The addition of yoghurt instead of milk gives a sourness to the base that works well with a number of ingredients.  Almost anything can be added with the cheese to make a solid savoury scone, but spring onions work best.

250g plain yoghurt
25ml whole milk
400g plain flour
½ tsp fine salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g salted butter
225g strong cheddar, grated
6 spring onions, finely sliced
1 egg, beaten
Finely grated parmesan, to finish

Preheat the oven to 220ºc.  Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
In a small bowl, mix together the yoghurt, milk and sugar and set aside.
Sift the flour, salt, cream of tartar and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl.  Rub in the butter with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Stir in the cheese and spring onions.
Using a palette knife, stir in the yoghurt mixture until a sticky dough is formed.  Use the moisture in the dough to pick up any loose bits of flour from the bottom of the bowl.  Turn out on to a floured work surface and pat into a round approximately 4cm thick – try not to knead the mixture as this will create a tough texture.  Cut the scones out using a metal cutter and place them on the baking tray.  This mixture should yield about nine scones, but it will depend on the size of the cutter you use.  Brush with the beaten egg and grind a little black pepper on the top and bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes until golden brown and risen.

Makes 12 scones

Scrambled eggs with spring onions on toast

Scrambled eggs with spring onions on toast

Scrambled Eggs with Spring Onions on Toast

Hardly revolutionary, but a different approach to a quick vegetarian breakfast.  Also goes well with smoked salmon.

4 spring onions, finely sliced
Knob of butter
2-3 eggs, depending on their size
3 tbsp milk or single cream
Sea salt and black pepper
Good toast

Heat the butter in a frying pan set over a medium heat until melted.  Gently sauté the spring onions for a couple of minutes.  Crack the eggs straight into the pan with the milk or cream.  Stir vigorously as the eggs start to cook, scraping up any that sticks to the bottom of the pan (I prefer to use a sturdy silicon spatula instead of a wooden spoon).  When the eggs are almost, but not quite, cooked, turn off the heat and allow them to cook in the residual heat.  Season with salt and pepper and serve atop good toast.

Serves one.

Spring greens, spring onion and pearl barley soup

Spring greens, spring onion and pearl barley soup

Spring Greens, Spring Onions and Pearl Barley Soup 

I was feeling a little under the weather this weekend, and always crave dark green vegetables when I’m poorly, so sent my husband out for some spring greens so I could make a soup.  Everything else came from the fridge and the storecupboard, including a little parmesan for the top to brighten it up.  Nobody is ever too ill for parmesan.

Olive oil
6 spring onions, finely sliced
3 sticks celery, finely chopped
300g potato, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
½ lemon, juice and zest
1.5l vegetable stock
150g pearl barley
Large bunch spring greens, leaves only, shredded
Parmesan, to finish

Heat the oil in a large saucepan set over a medium-high heat.  Saute the spring onions and celery until soft, about five minutes.  Add the potato and lemon zest and cook for an additional couple of minutes.
Add the stock and pearl barley and cook for about 30 minutes, until the pearl barley and potatoes are both cooked through.  Add the spring greens and cook for a further five minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
Serve in bowls topped with a little grated parmesan.

Serves 2-3.

Vegan spring onion pancakes

Vegan spring onion pancakes

Vegan Spring Onion Pancakes with Dipping Sauce 

I don’t actually think you’re supposed to eat these Asian pancakes with a ferociously hot dipping sauce for breakfast, at least not in this part of the world, but the heat was just what I needed to blast away any tiredness and my persistent and irritating cold. The pancakes themselves have few ingredients and can be made ahead and frozen.

For the pancakes
200g plain flour
125ml boiling water
50ml sesame oil
8 spring onions, finely sliced
Vegetable oil
Sea salt

For the dipping sauce
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp finely chopped spring onion greens
½ tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
2 tbsp light soft brown sugar
1 dried red chilli, crumbled

Place the flour in a food processor and, with the motor running, gradually dribble in the hot water until the dough starts to come together.  You may only need about three-quarters of the water.  Turn out on to a floured surface and knead a couple of times until smooth.  Place the ball of dough in a bowl and cover with clingfilm.  Leave to rest on the side for 30 minutes.
Divide the ball into two halves and roll each into a smooth ball.  Working one ball at a time, roll the ball out into an eight inch circle and brush with a small amount of the sesame oil.  Starting with the edge closest to you, tightly roll up the dough into a cigar shape.  Then wind the cigar into a tight spiral, so it looks like a Chelsea bun.
Flatten the spiral with your hand and roll out again to an eight inch circle.  As before, brush with a small amount of the sesame oil.  Top with the spring onions (use half for each ball) and roll up and work into a spiral in the same way as before.
As before, flatten the spiral with your hand and roll out to an eight inch circle.  The pancakes are now ready to be cooked.  Heat a small amount of oil in a large frying pan over a high heat, cook each pancake for 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown.  Drain on kitchen paper, cut into six pieces and sprinkle with sea salt.
To make the dipping sauce, combine all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Serve with the pancakes.

Adapted from a recipe by Serious Eats.  Serves two.

Stir-fried purple sprouting broccoli with chestnut mushrooms and spring onion

Stir-fried purple sprouting broccoli with chestnut mushrooms and spring onions

Stir-Fried Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Chestnut Mushrooms and Spring Onions

A very quick weeknight supper with the best of the early spring veg bag.  There are fewer vegetables in season at this time of year than any other, so it pays to make the best of what we have.

Olive oil
6 spring onions, finely sliced
Large bunch of purple sprouting broccoli, cut into florets
500g chestnut mushrooms
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp Shoaxing rice wine
½ lemon, juice only
1 dried red chilli, crumbled
Black pepper
Basmati rice, to serve

Heat the oil in a frying pan or wok over a high heat, add the spring onions and garlic and cook for two minutes.  Add the broccoli and cook for a further two minutes.
Add the mushrooms and cook until they have caramelised, then add the soy sauce, Shaoxing rice wine, lemon juice and chilli and cook for a further three minutes.  Season with black pepper and serve with rice.

Adapted from a recipe by Riverford. Serves 2-3.

Spring onion and rocket risotto

Spring onion and rocket risotto

Spring Onion and Rocket Risotto

I made this dish one evening to be packed up and taken to work in tupperwares the next day, something I am trying to do whilst I am not eating bread during lent.  These ingredients are always the very first hint that warmer weather is on its way, the allium tang of the spring onions pairs well with the peppery rocket.

Olive oil
8 spring onions, finely sliced, greens reserved
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
250g arborio rice
175ml dry white wine
1l vegetable stock
Large bunch rocket
Sea salt and black pepper
Handful finely grated parmesan

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, or chef’s pan, set over a medium heat.  Cook the spring onions and garlic until soft and translucent but not browned, about five minutes.  Add the arborio rice and stir to ensure that all of the grains are coated in the oil.
Turn the heat up to high and add the white wine.  Let it bubble up and cook until it has evaporated.  Start adding the stock, a ladle at a time, adding each ladle only once the previous addition has evaporated.  Stir the risotto constantly.  Keep adding the stock until the rice is al dente, you may not need all of it.  This should take about 20 minutes.  About half way through this process, roughly chop the spring onion greens and add them to the risotto.
Remove from the heat and stir in the rocket until wilted.  Season and stir in the parmesan.  Serve in bowls.

Serves 2-3.

Champ with smoked haddock, purple sprouting broccoli and chive butter

Champ with smoked haddock, purple sprouting broccoli and chive butter

Champ

An old-favourite Irish dish of mine.  You get your mashed potatoes and stir in some spring onions. That’s it.

Other Recipes Using Spring Onions:
Beetroot and Feta Salad
Chicken Curry Noodles
Stir-Fried Lamb with Sprout Tops
Cabbage and Bacon Risotto

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2 comments on “Cooking the Seasons: Spring Onions

  1. Sneaky Veg
    March 28, 2015

    Well you have been busy! I haven’t tried spring onions on sneaky veg yet but you’ve inspired me. Those scones are bound to be a winner x

    Like

    • gemmathomas7
      March 31, 2015

      I’m doing the Eat the Seasons seasonal food of the week, so hopefully I’ll manage to get round most fruit and veg over the course of the year! Plus, I do love a good savoury scone x

      Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on March 27, 2015 by in Uncategorized.
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