Red, red, cabbage

Red cabbage is a fine vegetablred cabbagee that does not deserve to be placed in the swap box. I’ve got two favourite ways to serve red cabbage. The first is to make my normal coleslaw but replacing the green cabbage with red cabbage and adding apple, dried cranberries and blue cheese.

I grew up eating this braised red cabbage recipe which is from my Dutch grandma. It’s great with meat dishes or any veggie main course made with winter squash. You can tell it’s Dutch from the quantity of butter in it. It freezes beautifully – I always make a batch ahead of time for Christmas.

Grandma Jo’s red cabbage

2 oz butter
1 cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium head red cabbage, shredded
4 fl oz water
2 fl oz red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons soft light brown sugar
1 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1 bay leaf

In large, deep, frying pan, heat cook apples and onions in butter over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes.

Add cabbage and the remaining ingredients; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes or until cabbage is very tender and a little caramelised, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaf.

You can also bake it covered if you’ve got the oven on for something else. Take the cover off for the last 20 minutes or so to let most of the liquid evaporate.

You say rocket, I say arugula

small potatoesRocket and new potatoes (in the share this week) are two key ingredients for one of my favourite recipes of all times – Roast chicken with potatoes, arugula and garlic yogurt.

Arugula is the way Americans say rocket, which they think is quaint. You can get away with quite a lot with a British accent, like the time my son had one of his American aunts convinced that the Brits say grape to rhyme with wrap not tape.

For this recipe I use new potatoes, sriracha rather than harissa, ignore the comment about not using Greek yogurt and consider dill optional. If you follow the instructions about not crowding the pans and use sriracha, I guarantee that this will be one of your favourite recipes too.


New ideas for new potatoes

New PotatoesNew potatoes in the crop share – summer must be around the corner! Here are a couple of my favourite ways to prepare them.

Garlic smashed potatoes.  Boil, smash, top with olive oil, garlic and herbs and roast until crispy. This a great recipe when you’re having guests over as you can have the tray of potatoes prepared up until the roasting bit for a couple of hours before you finish them off in the oven.

I made buckets of this potato salad every week when I ran Bradley Gardens in the early 2000s. There are two tricks for fabulous potato salad. The first is that you need to cook the potatoes specifically for the salad. If you use cold ones from the fridge you won’t end up with the lovely creaminess that comes from some of the edges of the potatoes slightly dissolving into the mayonnaise. The second is that you have to use Hellman’s mayo – others are just pale imitations.

Potato Salad

If you are going to chill it, let it come back to nearly room temperature before you serve it. Some people like to put a couple of chopped eggs into it as well though I could never convince my family that it was a good idea.

Combine and let sit for around 20 minutes at room temperature before serving:

  • New potatoes, cooked, sliced and cooled to just warm
  • Hellmans mayonnaise
  • Red wine vinegar (to taste)
  • Chopped red onion
  • Chopped celery
  • Salt & pepper


Kale for breakfast?

Poached egg with greens

Poached egg with greens

We’ve been making a conscious effort to reduce our meat consumption – in particular we have virtually cut out processed meat completely. Unfortunately, I’m a savoury breakfast sort of gal and love nothing better than a bap with quality sausages, beans and brown sauce. So facing a weekend breakfast we’ve got a double dilemma – no bacon or sausages but mountains of kale.

Our current favourite veggie breakfast is buttered sourdough toast with greens and a poached egg covered in cheese sauce. If you’re using kale, slice it thinly, boil or steam until tender, drain very well, toss with olive oil or butter and season with salt and pepper. Cheese sauce in our house is made with whatever cheese happens to be lying around, though I’m partial to a Emmentaler or mature cheddar, and a little mustard and a shake of Tabasco. If you’ve got a hot grill, flash it under for a lovely brown top, but don’t overcook the runny yolk.

To make the perfect poached egg, use the clingfilm technique shown here. I simmer gently for five minutes because I loath runny egg whites. Be sure to oil the clingfilm though. If you’ve got some truffle oil sitting around (what? don’t we all?) and you’re wondering what to do with it, add a drop to the egg before poaching and the aroma will blow you away.



A Sea of Greens

spinachAs a newcomer to Go Local, I’ve been both impressed and challenged by the volume of greens included in the share. We love greens, so the challenge has been an enjoyable one.

I’ve discovered some delicious recipes from Melissa Clark of the New York Times.  I rarely look elsewhere on the internet for recipes these days as quality of the recipes at the NYT are second to none. Melissa, if you haven’t heard of her, is a brilliant young chef whose recipes never fail to impress. You can access the recipes for free though you have to make an account.

I’ve also rediscovered how delicious barely-tender greens with high quality olive oil and sea salt are. I’m an olive oil snob. Get a good peppery olive oil from Sicily that makes you cough a little when you have a teaspoonful of it and see for yourself. The selection at Mmmm at Grainger Market is excellent and you can try before you buy.

This week, try Melissa’s Spicy Pan Fried Noodles, which uses spinach and spring onions. I’ve made it a few times and here are my comments:

  • This tastes like pad Thai if you use peanuts and rice noodles.
  • Cilantro is fresh coriander.
  • Scallions are spring onions. This recipe calls for a cup, which is a largish bunch.
  • We go through loads of sriracha sauce in this house. If you love spicy stuff, get some – all of the big supermarkets sell it.
  • Leave out the salt as it really does not need it with all of that soy sauce.
  • This recipe calls for around 120g of spinach. You can use at least twice as much, just use a big pan!