Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Purple Sprouting Broccoli With Anchovy, Garlic and Butter Sauce

Now's the season for purple sprouting broccoli - one of my all-time favourite vegetables!
Like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli contains the phytonutrients sulforaphane and the indoles, which have significant anti-cancer effects. It is also incredibly high in vitamins C, K and A, dietary fibre and folate, as well many other minerals and B vitamins.

This is based on a recipe I saw in Country Living this month, and makes a really nice vegetarian lunch or starter. If serving as a starter, make sure it comes before a robust main course, because it is VERY strong-flavoured! I did mine for lunch with buttered, boiled potatoes.

Anchovy, Garlic and Butter Sauce:
3 Cloves Garlic
100ml Milk
6 Anchovy Fillets in Olive Oil
Softened Butter (cut into small cubes)

1) Heat the milk in a small pan with the garlic cloves until the garlic is tender

2) Carefully blend the milk, garlic and anchovy fillets in a food processor (I use the Herb attachment on my funky Braun hand blender set)

3) Add the butter and blend again until the sauce is smooth. Set aside and warm just before serving.

A Good Serving of Purple Sprouting Broccoli
- Try to get broccoli with stems no wider than 1cm but it this isn't possible, split the stems lengthways up towards the floret head to ensure even cooking.

1) Bring approximately 200ml water to the boil in a large saucepan and add broccoli stems. Put the pan lid on and boil for 5 minutes before turning off the heat and allowing to continue cooking in the steam until tender.

2) Drain and toss in a little olive oil.

3) Serve with a small ramekin of the sauce or pour a little over the broccoli prior to serving.

Monday, 26 February 2007

Your Local Harvest

As I'm sure you're aware, I do quite a lot using my weekly veggie delivery box from Slipstream Organics, and anyone who knows me, knows I'm a massive supporter of British farming and local food. I posted this as a link in response to one of the comments for a post, but thought it would be useful for everyone else to see as well.

For those who'd like to support their local community by buying fresh, local (and often organic produce), check out the links below. They're both really useful for finding Farmers' Markets, local delivery schemes and much more as well.

For anyone in the UK, have a look at Big Barn

For those in the US, Local Harvest is probably the biggest and best directory.


Sunday, 25 February 2007

Quinoa Salad with Chicken, Sultanas and Almonds

Having started a new job last week, I'm now in the unenviable position of dreaming up lunchboxes; a slightly more interesting task since going gluten free. Gone are the days of the sandwich and instead, I've been having fun experimenting with alternative lunchbox meals. Amongst other things, last week I tried various salads (the easiest being simple leaves topped with grated cheese, sliced ham, sundried tomatoes and pinenuts, topped with my own balsamic vinegar, mustard and honey dressing (see below), and I also tried Quinoa for the first time.

Quinoa (pronounced 'keen-wah'), is very high in manganese, and also has relatively high levels of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorous. Most importantly however, is that it contains a complete set of the amino acids that your body requires to build proteins. When cooked, it has a fluffy texture with a slightly nutty flavour which is useful in both savoury and sweet dishes.

Having roasted a chicken last weekend, I made a chicken stock with the bones and used it to make this really simple quinoa salad.

1 cup Quinoa
2 cups Chicken Stock
Shredded Chicken (as much as you like / have)
1 handful Sultanas / grapes chopped in half
1 handful Flaked Almonds
Spring Onions

3 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar (I use Aspall's Apple Balsamic Vinegar)
6 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Honey
1 tsp Wholegrain Mustard

Does enough for 2 / 3 lunchboxes

1) Rinse quinoa under cold running water and drain.

2) Bring the chicken stock to the boil and stir in the quinoa and chicken. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until quinoa is tender and all the liquid is absorbed. Uncover and let cool.

3) Stir in the almonds and sultanas / grapes.

4) Combine the dressing ingredients well and stir into the salad just before serving. Garnish with spring onions.

Sunday, 18 February 2007

Quick Update!

After having had my camera cruelly stolen last week, I've dug out my old one so I should hopefully be able to post more pics and recipies soon - unfortunately it's still got its old problem of turning itself off unexpectedly, but it'll do until we get the insurance money through...

Coming very soon: Chicken and Almond Quinoa Salad, Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Garlic and Anchovy Sauce, and the mother of all chocolate cakes based on a recipe by [Gluten Free] Goddess...

Friday, 9 February 2007

Cabbage and Bacon Gratin

One of the great things about having your veggies delivered is that you never quite know what you're going to be having for dinner that week - I struck it lucky this time with red onions and a savoy cabbage. Cabbage is extremely high in Vitamins, especially C, K, B1, B2 and B6. It is also very high in folic acid, omega 3 oils, dietary fibre and a whole host of minerals including calcium and potassium. Using the leftover bacon in the fridge after making soup, this has to be one of my favourite ways of cooking cabbage and it goes really nicely with sausages and gravy - mine were Waitrose gluten-free, 'Cambridge style' sausages!

1 Medium Cabbage (any kind would work, roughly sliced)
1 Red Onion (cut in half and sliced)
4 Rashers Back Bacon (sliced into thin strips)
3 Medium Potatoes (peeled and sliced into discs)
1 tsp Minced Garlic
2 tbsp Oil (I use Groundnut)
1 Handful Cheddar Cheese (grated)
Salt & Pepper

Serves 3-4
Preheat oven to 180 Celcius

1) Boil sliced potatoes in lightly salted water for approximately 5 minutes until slightly softened, drain and put to one side.

2) Fry garlic and onions in a little of the oil, add bacon and cook until just browning. Season and set aside.

3) Fry the chopped cabbage with the remaining oil until just starting to soften, add the onion and bacon mixture and stir well.

4) Tip into a well-buttered oven dish, arrange potato slices on top, sprinkle with cheese and pepper.

5) Bake for approximately 30 minute until the top is golden and the potatoes are tender (oven-bakes sausages should take about the same length of time so put them in together).

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

Cream of Celeriac Soup with Crispy Bacon

This week I had the most enormous celeriac in my organic delivery box! Because the potatoes I've been getting have been perfect on their own as 'mashers', I didn't fancy making a celeriac mash so I thought I'd make a soup of it! :-D
All amounts in this recipe are guesstimates because it was a real case of 'a little bit of this and a bit of that', so play around with it until you get the right consistency.

1 Large Celeriac (chopped into 1" pieces)
1 Medium Onion (diced)
1 Medium Carrot (chopped into 1" chunks)
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 tsp Thyme
500ml Chicken Stock
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tbsp Olive Oil
100ml Milk
3 tbsp Cream
Salt & Pepper
2 Rashers Bacon (cut into thin strips)

1) Fry the garlic and onion in a little of the oil until softened.

2) Add the carrot, celeriac, bay leaf, thyme, chicken stock and lemon juice; cover and simmer for approximately 30 minutes until the celeriac is tender.

3) Transfer to a bowl and blend in small batches, transfering the smooth soup back to the saucepan.

4) Stir in the milk and cream, seasoning, and reheat gently until hot (but not boiling).

5) Quickly fry the bacon in a little of the oil until crispy and pile on top of the soup.