Seasonal local food recipe No.367 – Egg fried rice

This is an old favourite from Ken Hom‘s classic Hot Wok, using the cucumber from this week’s veg boxes.

Serves 2-4

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 12-15 minutes

Cooked rice – see below
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp groundnut oil
225g onions, coarsely chopped
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
175g cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
100g fresh or frozen sweetcorn kernels
1 tsp chilli oil

Combine the eggs with the sesame oil. Heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat until it is hot. Add the oil and, when it is hot and slightly smoking, add the onions, salt and pepper and stir fry for 2 minutes. Then add the beaten eggs and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the cooked rice and continue to stir-fry for 3 minutes. Finally add the cucumber, sweetcorn and chilli oil and continue to stir-fry for 5 minutes. Turn on to a warm platter and serve hot or cold as a rice salad.

Enough rice to fill l measuring jug to 400 ml level
600 ml water
Put the rice into a large bowl and wash it in several changes of water until the water becomes clear.  Drain the rice and put it into a heavy pan with the water and bring it to the boil.  Continue boiling until most of the surface liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. The surface of the rice should have small indentations like pitted craters.

At this point, cover the pot with a very tight-fitting lid, turn the heat down to as low as possible and let the rice cook undisturbed for 15 minutes. Allow to cool thoroughly and then put it in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Seasonal local food recipe No.293 – Bread and butter pickles

This recipe has been recommended by CSA member Sarah Brown.  It is taken from Rick Stein’s Food Heroes but there are references to these pickles back as far as the Great Depression and earlier.  A great homemade version of gherkins for burgers, cold meats, cheeses and as the name suggests just bread & butter.

Makes 4 x 450g (1lb) jars

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 25-30 minutes

750g / 1 1/2lb cucumbers
450g / 1 lb onions
1 green pepper
50g / 2 oz salt
Pickling liquor
350g / 12 oz light soft brown sugar
475ml / 16 fl oz cider vinegar
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1/2 tsp celery seed

Trim the ends off the cucumbers, scoop seeds with a teaspoon (optional) and cut them into thin slices about 3-4mm thick. Finely slice the onion and slice the pepper. Put the cucumber, onion and pepper in a large bowl and sprinkle over the salt. Cover and leave for three to four hours, or overnight – this will remove excess water and help to keep the vegetable crisp when pickled.  Rinse, drain and dry the vegetables thoroughly.  Put all the remaining ingredients in a large, stainless-steel pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Add the cucumber, onion & pepper and simmer for three to four minutes – the cucumber will turn a slight yellowy-olive colour.  Pack into warm, sterilised jars right up to the brim, and cap immediately with vinegar-proof lids. These will keep for a year, preferably in a dark place to preserve the colour. Once opened, refrigerate and eat within three or four weeks.

Seasonal local food recipe No. 282 – Radish and cucumber salad

This simple recipe appeared in issue 29 of the FoodLover magazine which celebrates West Country food.

Serves 4
Cooking and preparation time: 15 minutes

1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 cucumber
20 radishes
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
rock salt
handful of rocket leaves

Heat a small frying pan, add the oil then add the mustard and fennel seeds and cook for a few minutes until they become fragrant and start to pop but don’t burn.  Set aside to cool.

Slice the cucumber and the radishes into thin disks and arrange on a platter.  Combine the cooled oil and seeds with the red wine vinegar and season with rock salt to taste.  Drizzle the dressing over the cucumber and radish and then scatter with the rocket.

Seasonal local food recipe No.236 – Spicy cucumber salad


This is a dish for hot weather from BBC Good Food. It’s perfect for barbecues. Janet, who normally posts our recipes, says: “It was really tasty when we had it for lunch.”

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes – No cooking involved

1 large cucumber, peeled
1 tsp golden caster sugar
1 tbsp rice white wine vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
small knob of ginger, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large red chilli, halved, deseeded and finely sliced
2 spring onions, finely sliced
large handful coriander leaves

Slice the cucumber in half lengthways and use a teaspoon to scoop out the seeds. Slice cucumber into thick diagonal chunks. Tip it into a bowl and sprinkle with the sugar, vinegar and large pinch of salt. Leave for about 30 mins in the fridge. Meanwhile, tip the other salad ingredients into a bowl. Drain the cucumber and tip in with the rest.

Seasonal local food recipe No.201 – Hugh’s melon, cucumber and courgette salad with olives and red onion


Camel CSA’s growing skills don’t quite extend to melons, but there are some beautiful ones on sale at the moment at The Vine in Wadebridge. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in The Guardian suggests partnering them with cucumbers and courgettes in this side dish. Luckily we’ve got plenty of those.

He says: “All that delicate, juicy flesh is pointed up beautifully by the assertive flavours of olives and onion.”

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 5-10 minutes

½ large cucumber (about 200g)
1 medium courgette (about 200g)
¼ small charentais or galia melon (about 200g)
50g pitted black olives, such as kalamata
½ medium red onion, peeled and finely chopped
Juice of ½ small lemon
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Quarter the cucumber lengthways, scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon and slice into thin quarter-moons about 2mm thick. Put the slices in a large bowl. Top and tail the courgette, quarter it lengthways and cut into pieces the same thickness as the cucumber. Add to the bowl.

Scoop the seeds out of the melon. Carefully slice the melon off its skin, then cut it first lengthways into two to three slender wedges, then crosswise, as with the cucumber and courgette, and add to the bowl.

Roughly chop the olives and add to the salad with the onion. Squeeze over the lemon juice, trickle over the oil, give it a good seasoning and stir together gently. Taste, add more salt, pepper or lemon juice if needed, and serve straight away.

Seasonal local food recipe No.200: Cucumber relish and cucumber pickle

Photo: Harriet Smith

What do you do with a glut of cucumbers? One caller to BBC radio suggested always taking a cucumber on holiday in case it’s needed to replace a missing bath plug!

For those of us who’ve spent the summer at home in Cornwall, here’s a quick cucumber relish from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall via the Guardian and an easy cucumber pickle from Simon Hulstone of The Elephant Restaurant in Torquay. Both are delicious with barbecued or roasted meat and fish, or patés.

Hugh’s marinated cucumber with mint
1 medium-large cucumber (350-400g)
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
2 tbsp finely chopped mint
Pinch of sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Peel the cucumber (or leave the skin on, if you prefer), halve it lengthways and scoop out the seeds. Slice into thick half-moons. Put in a dish with the vinegar, oil, mint and a pinch each of sugar, salt and pepper. Toss together thoroughly, then set aside in a cool place (but not the fridge) for 15-30 minutes. Toss again before serving.

Simon’s cucumber pickle
1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
600ml water
2 cloves
1 cardamon pod
4 black peppercorns
½tsp caraway seeds, toasted
½tsp mustard seeds
small bay leaf
1 sprig tarragon
30g salt
50g chardonnay (or white wine) vinegar

Heat the water up to boiling point with all the ingredients except the cucumber and vinegar. As soon as it boils, remove from the heat and allow to cool. Once the liquor is cold, add the vinegar. Put the sliced cucumber into a kilner jar and cover with the vinegar mix. Leave until required, keeping longer will improve the taste.

Seasonal local food recipe No.196 – Nigel’s strawberry and cucumber fruit salad


There are lots of cucumbers in the polytunnel, so we’re on the lookout for different ways to prepare them.

Nigel Slater says: “I know this sounds extraordinary, but [this] is the crispest, most refreshing fruit salad imaginable… summer in a bowl. And if you really can’t handle the idea of cucumber, then it is jolly good with strawberries and banana.” (via The Observer)

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 10 minutes + 30 minutes in fridge

For the syrup:
3 tbsp honey
10 mint leaves
5 tbsp elderflower cordial

2 cucumbers
450g medium strawberries


Put the honey, mint and elderflower syrup into a blender and blitz to a thick, fragrant syrup. If you don’t have a blender, chop the mint very, very finely, mix it with the honey and cordial, then leave it for an hour. Strain through a fine sieve or muslin to remove the mint.

Peel the cucumbers, slice them in half down their length, then scrape the seeds out with a teaspoon. Dice the flesh finely and put it in a large bowl. Remove the leaves from the strawberries, slice the fruit in half and toss gently with the cucumber.

Pour the mint and elderflower syrup into the fruit, stir very gently, then leave for about 30 minutes, in the fridge and covered, before serving.

Seasonal local food recipe No 157: Cucumber and poppy seed salad

As cucumbers are so plentiful at the moment, here’s another idea for using them – it’s from Yotam Ottolenghi’s book Ottolenghi. 

With large cucumbers (as opposed to the mini ones found in the Middle East), he advises halving the cucumber along its centre and scooping out the watery seedy core with a teaspoon.

Serves 4

Preparation: 10 minutes

6 small cucumbers (about 500g) – or 1-2 of the CSA ones
2 mild red chillies, thinly sliced
3 tbsp roughly chopped coriander
60ml white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
125ml sunflower oil
2 tbsp poppy seeds
2 tbsp caster sugar
salt and black pepper

Chop off and discard the end of the cucumbers. Slice them at an angle, so you end up with pieces 1cm thick and 3-4cm long.

Mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl. Use your hands to massage the flavours gently into the cucumbers. Taste and adjust the amount of sugar and salt according to the quality of the cucumbers. The salad should be sharp and sweet, almost like a pickle.

If not serving immediately, you might need to drain some liquid off later. Adjust the seasoning again afterwards.

Seasonal local food recipe No 156: A salad of potatoes, mustard and cucumber

A tasty-sounding salad from Nigel Slater’s Tender Vol I: “At first rich, then intensely warm and piquant, this is a perfectly balanced salad for accompanying fish or maybe a grilled steak. It is just the job with freshly dressed crab or smoked trout or eel.” The potatoes should be warm when you dress them.

Serves 4

Preparation: half an hour draining the cucumber
Cooking: 20 minutes

half a cucumber
500-750g new potatoes

for the dressing:
a good pinch of caster sugar
1 tbsp white wine or cider vinegar
generous tbsp Dijon mustard
4 tbsp olive oil
6 lightly crushed juniper berries
2 tbsp chopped dill (or substitute parsley)

Peel the cucumber, halve it down its length and remove the seeds with a teaspoon. Slice the cucumber into chunks about 2cm in width. Sprinkly lightly with salt and leave in a colander in the sink for about half an hour.

Put a pan of water on to boil. Scrub the potatoes. Salt the water, add the potatoes and let them boil for about 15 minutes, until they are tender to the point of a knife. Drain and briefly set aside.

While the potatoes are boiling, make the dressing. Put the sugar and vinegar in a small mixing bowl and stir till the sugar has dissolved. Add some black pepper. Mix in the mustard, then gently whisk in the olive oil. Stir in the juniper berries, the cucumber and the chopped dill and set aside.

Slice the warm potatoes, letting them fall into the dressing, then fold them together gently. Leave for no more than 20 minutes, then serve.

Seasonal local food recipe No 106: Sweet cucumber pickle

A great way of using the cucumbers that are growing so well in the CSA’s polytunnel. I halved the quantities of this recipe (from Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook) for three of the cucumbers we had in this week’s boxes. It made three mustard-size jars. It should store for up to a year, but keep in the fridge once opened.

Ingredients for 5 small jars

3 large cucumbers
2 onions
50g salt
600ml white wine or distilled white vinegar
450g granulated sugar
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp celery seeds
5 cloves
½ tsp ground turmeric

Peel the cucumbers and cut lengthways into thinnish sticks about 6-7cm long. Thinly slice the onions into half moons. Put the cucumber and onions and salt into a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with salt. Cover with a weighted plate and leave for 2-3 hours.

Rinse the cucumber and onion in cold water and then let stand to drain. While they are draining, put all the remaining ingredients into a pan and stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the cucumber and onion, bring to the boil and simmer for 1 minute.

Remove from the heat and lift the cucumber and onion out of the liquid. Put into warm sterilised jars. Return the liquid to the heat and boil rapidly for at least 10 minutes to reduce it. Pour the liquid over the cucumber in the jars and cover.

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