Asian Style Adzuki Bean Salad with Hot Smoked Salmon

Have you ever wondered what to make when you have several guests and they all have different dietary needs? There are so many allergies and preferences that everyone has these days that it can make it tricky to feed a crowd. Here is the solution and it is absolutely delicious.

So this salad is vegan, gluten free and dairy free. I do serve it with hot smoked salmon in it but you can just serve the salmon on the side if you have guests who don’t eat fish. If you can’t get hot smoked salmon than freshly grilled bit of salmon would be lovely too.

This recipe serves 4 – as you can see from the photo I posted with this recipe I didn’t use the rice noodles and I added steamed leaks. I am big on using things up and so you can really put anything in this salad, if you don’t feel like steaming the veggies then do them raw & thinly sliced. I do like the crunch of fresh cos lettuce instead of spinach sometimes too.


½ cup of Lime Juice

¼ cup Soy sauce

4 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 small shallot finely chopped

Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper

The Salad

Top tip: Adzuki beans are not hard to come buy but they certainly aren’t stocked our highland groceries stores, buy them dried, they are cheaper and soak the night before when you need them.

1 cup of cooked adzuki beans (⅓ cup dried)

1-2 sliced roasted red pepper from a jar

Lightly Steam the following (you can play around with the veggies, this salad is great for using things up)

Large handful of purple sprouting broccoli or half a head of broccoli cut, sugar snap peas, baby corn

200 grams of spinach (after steaming squeeze out the liquid and chop to make tossing it into the salad easier)

200 grams of vermicelli rice noodles (cook and then run under cold water and leave to drain well – some rice noodles and very long so sometimes I will cut them with scissors to make them easier to mix in)

To Serve

Mix all your salad ingredients in a big serving bowl and then toss in the dressing but don’t let it sit dressed for too long before serving.

Depending on how you are serving this you could break the fish up and scatter on top of the salad or serve it on a separate dish.


Tablespoon each of toasted black onion seeds and sesame seeds


Finely chopped spring onions

Grilled Green Bean, Courgette & Shallot Salad

I love grilled vegetables in my salads and recently my sister suggested using green beans which I have to admit I would have never considered but we had a big crowd and a big bunch of beans that needed using up. If you have read some of my previous posts you will also know I love roasted garlic and that is what makes up the dressing of this delicious summer dish.

I recommend using a cast iron griddle pan to make this dish, you don’t want to loose your green beans in the BBQ. The roast garlic doesn’t take long in the oven but it something you can make ahead and you can roast several bulbs as before you know there will so many things you want to add roasted garlic to such as Romesco Sauce, Garlic Mayo, Cesar Salad dressing… trust me the list goes on.


2 large courgettes cut into 1.5 cm oval slices

As many green beans as you can hold in two hands, topped

5 shallots skinned and sliced in thick rings

For the Dressing

1 bulb of roasted garlic

1/4 cup of olive oil

Optional – handful of parsley or two sprigs of rosemary leaves picked (these impart very different flavours but both work well.


Get you griddle pan heating up and start slicing your courgette, lay the pieces on a plate and brush with olive oil. Put the oiled side down on the griddle pan and then brush the side facing up before you flip them. I like my courgette to be warmed through but still have a bite so just 2-3 minutes each side on a hot pan. If things are burning then adjust your heat. You can put them whole into the salad bowl or slice them. Then then griddle your onions and beans. Once everything is grilled toss together with the dressing and add salt and pepper to taste.

This makes a great side dish or a wonderful lunch on grilled sourdough bread with herby cheese spread.

Simple Slaw

We love cole slaw around here and warm days bring back the craving for quick refreshing food for lunch. If you think that you don’t like cole slaw but have only ever bought it from a shop then at least try this once because it is a completely different experience. One of the things I hate the most about a store bought cole slaw is the mayo to veg ratio so you will find my recipe to be lighter and more flavour focused. So here is a fast easy recipe that will be enjoyed with any summer BBQ, leftover cold meat or as a great picnic side.


2 medium carrots grated

Half a sweetheart cabbage thinly sliced

Large handful of coriander roughly chopped

1/2 tablespoon of toasted blank onion/nigella seeds

For the dressing 

1/2 a lime squeezed

1 tablespoon of mayonnaise 

1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt 

Salt and pepper 


I like to make my dressing in a bowl and then pour over but if you are trying to use less dishes then just put it all in a bowl a mix. 

If you don’t have lime you could always use vinegar, I would go for a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar for this recipe.

Slaw is usually best when it has sat for at least 20 minutes to let the veggies soften. The thing I really love about it is that you can put anything in. I will be posting more slaw recipes as the summer goes on with a variety of delightful combinations. Watch this space!

Preparing the Vegetable Garden

The weather has been fabulous and has provided a boost to us and all of the the wonderful wild things living up here. We decided the best way to get the garden in shape for the season was a family day of weeding, digging and planting. We reshaped the whole vegetable garden two years ago when we moved the poly tunnel and it is really coming together now. With all the changes we have made we are hoping to have a bumper crop of food this year. There have been many mistakes but we have learned from them which is all part of the process. If you have been following our blog you will know that wind is a big issue but we now have more wind breaks around the whole garden then we ever have before so that is also a battle we hope we have at least half won!

Hannah and Gavin came along nice and early on Saturday morning to give us a hand getting some of the big jobs in the garden done so we could start planting things. We started off by weeding and digging over a small mounded bed which we then planted out with our first batch of potatoes. Then we moved the layers of old carpet that we had covering two of the 3 long mounded beds and piled in all on the centre bed which we won’t use this year. Hannah and I planted the edge bed with some of the seedlings from the propagator and with a selection of seeds. James and Gavin stood around chatting a posing for photos.

After all of our hard work we had a lovely lunch of pasta with garlic and fresh greens from the garden. Of course there is tons more work to do but overall it is starting to come together.

We have chickens

It has been a long time coming but we finally have 3 chickens and a rooster. We built them a chicken run in the vegetable patch where we had put a 3 sectioned compost pile. We used a bunch of repurposed materials including the old poly tunnel door frames, small sections of wind fencing and some bits of salvaged wood. Now we can all get to know each other while we work in the vegetable garden and they work on fertilising our compost.

Easter Family Fun

My cousin and her family came up to a visit this Easter and I always take their visit as an opportunity to do a project with them that is something meant for kids but that I really want to try myself! So last year we made fairy gardens in small trays and pots and this year we made Unicorn Bark!!!

What is Unicorn Bark you say!? It is basically white and coloured chocolate melted and poured on baking paper with sprinkles on top. I am not even sure how I discovered this but as soon as I did I knew I needed to make some. The most challenging part was melting the chocolate, not that we don’t have lots of experience doing that (we make chocolate truffles every year for xmas) but we were all feeling a little impatient. Our top tip would be to leave plenty of time for this and make sure you don’t get the chocolate too hot. The best way to melt chocolate is in a dish over a saucepan with a little water in the bottom. I am sure there are a bunch of videos out there all about it so I won’t say any more on that part.

The best part of course is the decorating and you can use anything edible that you want. I was amazed by the choice of sprinkles out there in the world today and of course you can use gummy candies, marshmallows, popping candy, pretzels and more. Everyone really enjoyed making it and eating it too. With the colour scheme you could have called it Easter bark but unicorns are just so in right now!!

A world of sweetness!

Planting Out

We have had success getting seedlings started in our propagator and we are preparing beds for planting out. The weather is really warming up and we are still getting some strong winds but our new addition to the wind fencing in the form of pallets is working well. Several of the beds are made with old corrugated tin that we have half filled with compost so that the high sides give extra protection as the young plants are finding their roots. We haven’t had much success with beans yet because of the wind and slugs but we have a few ideas in mind to tackle these issues so hopefully we will get a healthy harvest this year. A new addition to the veg patch is the asparagus bed which we are all very excited about however it can take as many as 2-3 years to produce so we will have to be patient. For now though here is hoping for another hot summer.

Boston Baked Beans

We were recently invited to a pot luck and I decided to take Boston Baked Beans thinking that it is a great one pot dish and that it may not be familiar to all of the folk at the event in the local village hall. I found a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe which I would happily recommend with a slight variation which was thick cut smoked bacon chunks instead of the pork belly. A week later we were back at the butchers and spotted a very inexpensive cut of beef which was a short rib so we selected the meatiest pieces and put mum’s famous Carolina rub on them and slow cooked them in the oven for about 2 hours. Upon tasting the meat we immediately decided it would make a great addition to the Boston Baked Beans instead of pork. When the ribs had cooled a little we pulled the meat and set it aside to cool while I got to work on a batch of beans. This time I decided to add some big chunks of carrot just cause I had pulled a few from our remaining supply in the poly tunnel, a stick of cinnamon and a tablespoon of mustard seeds. If you are a fan of beans on toast and have never had Boston Baked Beans then you are in for a real treat! Get yourself a nice crusty bread (there are certain occasions where white bread wins and I personally think this is one of them) toast it, smother it in butter and serve with whatever version of this recipe you decide to make. Heaven!!

My variation on this recipe – add chunks of carrot, cinnamon sticks and mustard seeds

Here is the link to the recipe

What’s Blooming

It’s the first day of Spring so I thought I would document what was blooming on this day of 2019. Having such a hot (for Scotland) summer last year and another mild winter has had an effect on the growth of many of our favourite plants. We were all surprised to see the first heads of Red Hot Pokers already showing. There are two pink Camellias by the house and one is losing it’s blossoms while the other is just at it’s peak. The daffodils have been up for a while and at the big old pink cherry tree at the bottom of the house garden had never looked so beautiful. Spring is always an exciting time of year and despite having some pretty wild storms blowing through we have had some fabulously warm calm days in-between.

Red Hot Pokers
Pink Camellia

Wind Fencing the Garden

Trying to protect the vegetable garden from the wind is an ongoing job around here so recently we started adding pallets since most of the thin windbreak material we had stapled to the fence posts had ripped loose. The pallets have been pretty effective although after putting a few in place some strong winds came and pushed the back door of the poly tunnel through. We have since finished a solid run of pallets on that side which gets the worse of the winds so this will hopefully help increase food production of the garden. The finishing touch was some repourposed green material which has tidied up the look a little. Now we just need to get some more pallets, more stakes and more material to complete the job and keep the pigs out!