With the cold harsh weather of winter officially behind us, it’s time to begin enjoying outdoor living and outdoor entertaining once again. Continuing on from our last post showing you how to make your own veggie patch, we’ve found a great spring vegetable and herb to start off your veggie patch.

Pumpkin and Coriander are great starting points for your veggie patch as they will both allow for a versatile range of cooking options and recipes.

Then once your vegetables start to flourish, we’ve got just the perfect recipe try out! What better excuse to invite your loved ones over for some great outdoor entertaining on your patio or deck and cook up your spring veggies.

Pumpkins

Plant: From August to February

Location: Plant in full sun or partly shaded area. Cultivate a small pocket of soil for each plant.

Care: The vines grow very quickly, so water plants regularly and keep well mulched.

Harvest: 12 weeks or more.

Ready to Pick:  Once the vines have withered and stalks turn brown and dry. When picking, cut off 4cm of the stem.

Watch For: Fungal diseases caused by excessive humidity, and mildew on older leaves is particularly common. This can be prevented by growing plant in full sunlight and only watering in the mornings.

Coriander

Plant: From September to December. Coriander grows better in the Winter, Autumn, Spring period, and will stay leafy for a number of months.

Location: Plant in a sunny spot in well-drained soil. Plant coriander seeds 6mm deep in rows that are 24cm apart.

Care: Ensure your plant receives plenty of water and fertiliser, and soil remains slightly moist. Continue to sow every few weeks to ensure supply.

Harvest: Any time after your plant has grown approx 10cm in height.

Ready to Pick: Depending on what your use is, you can pick the leaves, stems or roots.

Watch For: In the summer heat, a coriander plant can change from leafy to seedy, so keep moist to prevent this ‘bolting to seed’.

When the time does come to test out your home-grown pumpkin and coriander, why not give this great recipe a go on the barbecue. Super tasty and not too heavy, perfect for the warmer months!

Butterflied Lamb With Pumpkin & Couscous Salad

(Courtesy of Taste)

Barbecue Lamb Recipe

Photo courtesy of Taste

Serves 6

Preparation time: 25 mins

Cooking time: 35 mins

Ingredients

  • 1.4kg butterflied leg of lamb
  • 1 tbs sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 800g butternut pumpkin, peeled, seeded, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 red onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 1/2 cups pearl couscous
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup chopped coriander

Dressing

  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground tumeric
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Method

1. Place lamb in a large roasting pan. Combine paprika, cumin seeds, garlic and 1 tbs olive oil in a small bowl. Spoon paprika mixture over lamb and, using your hands, rub into lamb. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour to marinate.

2. Preheat a barbecue or chargrill pan to high. Brush pumpkin and onion with remaining 1 tbs oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook for 3 minutes each side or until tender. Transfer to a large bowl.

3. Add lamb to barbecue and cook for 5 minutes each side. Reduce heat to medium–low, cover and cook for a further 10 minutes for medium-rare or until cooked to your liking. Transfer to a plate, cover with foil and rest for 15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, cook couscous in a saucepan of boiling salted water for 8 minutes or until tender. Rinse under cold running water, then drain well. Add to pumpkin mixture with almonds and chopped coriander.

5. To make dressing, combine spices in a small frying pan over low heat. Cook, tossing, for 1 minute or until fragrant. Remove from heat. Whisk in juice, then, whisking continuously, gradually add oil. Season, then drizzle over couscous mixture and toss gently to combine.

6. Thickly slice lamb. Spoon couscous mixture onto a large platter and top with lamb to serve.