Roast Cauliflower and Chorizo Rice

The combination of roast cauliflower, chorizo and rice is delicious, It doesn’t really matter what rice you use, although obviously the cooking method will change. You could use basmati and create a pilaf or Arborio rice for a risotto, but I chose paella rice as it has a clear connection with chorizo, whereas the others don’t.

Roast Cauliflower and Chorizo Rice

Serves 4

I large cauliflower, cut into florets

1-2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika

Olive oil, preferably Spanish

2 onion, finely sliced

2 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped

400g good quality chorizo, diced

2 chicken or vegetable stock cubes to make 750mls stock

1 pinch of Saffron

250g paella rice

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Toss the cauliflower florets in some olive oil, smoked paprika, salt and pepper and roast on a lined baking sheet in the oven at 180C for about 30 minutes until golden brown. Put a glug of oil into a large heavy bottomed shallow casserole or paella pan on a medium heat, add the onion and fry for around 10 minutes, stirring regularly until completely soft. Add the chorizo and fry to release the oil. Next add the garlic and fry for a minute more. Meanwhile dissolve the stock cubes in 750 of boiling water and add the saffron. Next add your rice to the onions with a good pinch of salt. Pour in the stock and let it bubble away gently, stirring from time to time to avoid sticking. Top up with more stock if it becomes dry and the rice is still raw. After 30 minutes, check the rice is tender and cook a little longer if needed. Season to perfection and serve straight away.

Chilli Con Carne with Roast Sweet Potato Chips

I have got obsessed about sweet potatoes, sour cream and sweet chilli sauce. It is more of a snack though, and not exactly a meal, so I decided to turn it into one.

Chilli Con Carne with Roast Sweet Potato Chips

Olive oil

1 large onion

1 red pepper or a few sweet baby peppers

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1 tsp spicy chipotle paste

1 tsp ground cumin

500g lean minced beef

400g can plum tomatoes

1 tsp dried oregano

410g can red kidney beans

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Soured cream, to serve

Roast Sweet Potato Wedges

Prepare your vegetables. Chop 1 large onion into small dice. Cut the red pepper in half lengthways, remove stalk and seeds and then chop. Peel and finely chop 2 garlic cloves.

Put a heavy based saucepan on the hob over a medium heat and add some oil and the beef.. Add the oil and the onions and cook, stirring fairly frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft, squidgy and slightly translucent. Tip in the garlic, red pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes or so. Add the ground cumin and chipotle sauce. Give it a good stir, then leave it to cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes and break up with a wooden spoon. Rinse out the tin with half a tin of water and add that too. Drain the beans and add too with the oregano. Add a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of pepper. Simmer it gently. Bring the whole thing to the boil, give it a good stir and put a lid on the pan. Turn down the heat until it is gently bubbling and leave it for an hour or two. (At this stage, you can tip the whole lot in a slow-cooker). You should check on the pan occasionally to stir it and make sure the sauce doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan or isn’t drying out. If it is, add a couple of tablespoons of water and make sure that the heat really is low enough. After simmering gently, the saucy mince mixture should look thick, moist and juicy.

Taste a bit of the chilli and season. It will probably take a lot more seasoning than you think. Now replace the lid, turn off the heat and leave your chilli to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with soured cream and sweet potato wedges. Or why not try as a filling for a baked sweet potato!

Eggs PSB

Purple Sprouting and Hollandaise is a classic and very delicious combination. There is a variation “Maltaise” – Hollandaise with blood orange which is famously paired with asparagus or purple sprouting broccoli but personally I prefer it without the orange.

Hollandaise is typically used in the classic “Eggs Benedict”, which got me thinking of trying to add the purple sprouting broccoli to an English muffin, as they are known in America, and create a new brunch dish. I replaced the ham with crispy streaky bacon (another great combo with purple sprouting broccoli) but apart from that and the purple sprouting broccoli the rest is the typical poached egg, and napped in Hollandaise. But what to call it.  The classic French names usually have little clues in them of origin or ingredient. Hollandaise sauce must have its routes in Holland, Maltaise sauce, as oranges come from Malta, Eggs Florentine as Florence was famous for spinach and Eggs Benedict originate from a famous wall street broker with a hang-over at The Waldorf Hotel in New York. This is the best I could do.

Eggs PSB

Serves 2

For the Hollandaise sauce

1 small onion or shallot, very finely chopped

50mls white wine vinegar plus a splash for poaching the eggs

125g good quality butter, cut into cubes

2 free-range egg yolks

Sea salt

Squeeze of lemon

 

2 English muffins, split in half horizontally, toasted

Large handful of purple sprouting broccoli

6 rashers of good quality streaky bacon

4 very fresh free-range eggs

 

Put a large saucepan of salted water on to boil.

Make the hollandaise: In a small pan, heat the onions, vinegar and a little water. Boil until the liquid has reduced to around a tablespoon (keep an eye on it, as the liquid will suddenly reduce very quickly). Take off the heat immediately and strain through a fine sieve. Reserve the liquid, discard the onion and leave to cool. Put the egg yolks in a large bowl (one that fits snugly over the pan of barely simmering water) and add the vinegar reduction.

Whisk the yolks vigorously until pale in colour and voluminous (this will take a good few minutes, so be patient and keep the heat really low to avoid over-cooking and scrambling the eggs).

Still whisking constantly, start adding the butter, drip by drip initially. Keep adding and whisking, so the mixture emulsifies and looks glossy; this will take about 5 minutes. Don’t add the butter too quickly, or the mixture will split. If it does split you can rescue it by putting another egg yolk in a clean bowl and gradually whisking it into the split mixture. If it has scrambled, unfortunately you won’t be able to save it.

Once the butter is all incorporated, add a good squeeze of lemon juice and add salt to taste. The hollandaise can be kept warm but not hot.

Trim the purple sprouting broccoli into nice tender stems. If the stems are too thick cut them in half lengthways.  Add to the pan of boiling salted water and cook for 3 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Add a dash of vinegar to the same water and watch it turn pink and at a gentle rolling boil, carefully crack in your eggs. Cook until your liking and remove with a slotted spoon onto some kitchen paper.

Meanwhile fry your bacon until crisp on both sides in a frying pan with a little veg oil. Drain on kitchen paper and cut in half so that they fit on the muffins.

Spilt the muffins and toast. Arrange the muffins halves on a plate, top with crispy slices on bacon, plenty of purple sprouting broccoli and  then place a poached egg on top of each and pour the Hollandaise sauce over the top. Serve straight away.

Sautéed Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Grilled Polenta

We made wet polenta a few weeks ago and as much as I love it, I also wanted to give this grilled variety another try. The grilling toasts the cheese in the polenta and adds loads of flavour. You could serve it up alongside any veg, but it looks particularly pretty with this purple sprouting broccoli. Unfortunately, it has a tendency to loose most of its purple colour in the cooking water, so you don’t want to cook it for two long. It is important, therefore to make sure all the pieces of broccoli are roughly the same size and that you have removed all the tough stem pieces, otherwise you will have to cook it longer. Just keep the more tender stems.

Sautéed Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Grilled Polenta

Polenta

100g polenta

50g butter

50g grated parmesan

A good handful of purple sprouting broccoli

Extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, very finely sliced

Extra parmesan for shaving

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Blanch the purple sprouting broccoli in plenty of boiling salted water for three minutes. Remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon and plunge into plenty of cold water. Drain really well in a colander.

To make the polenta, bring 400mls of water to the boil. Quickly whisk in the polenta. Turn down the heat and allow to gently bubble for five minutes until thick and smooth. Stir well and remove from the heat and season well with sea salt. Add the butter and parmesan and stir in until dissolved. Pour the polenta into a pile on a flat plate. Smooth out on top to create a thick circle or polenta and allow to cool completely.

When cold, cut into wedges. Heat a griddle, a bbq or a frying pan until really hot. Heat some olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan and fry the garlic until light golden brown. Add the purple sprouting broccoli and fry for a few minutes, seasoning with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Lightly brush both sides of the polenta with olive oil. Place the polenta of the hot surface and allow to lightly char. You want the taste of the toasted cheese. Do not fiddle with it too much. When the polenta has formed a crust, it will be easy to flip it over with a metal spatula. Grill the other side. Place of a large plate and top with the broccoli. Top with another drizzle of olive oil and some parmesan shavings.

Save

Save

Teriyaki Stir-fry with Cashew Nuts

This is such a great use-up dish at the end of the week, when your fridge is still full of veg and you know your next veg box is coming. You can throw in whatever you like and haven’t even padded it out with noodle, it is just veg, veg and more veg and you can be sure you have got your 10 a day

Teriyaki Stir-fry with Cashew Nuts

Serves 2

Teriyaki sauce varies hugely. My favourite is Waitrose home-brand.

Large knob of fresh ginger

2 cloves of garlic

1-2 fresh red chillies

1 red onions, peeled and thinly sliced

1 red onions, peeled and thinly sliced

Handful of purple sprouting broccoli, sliced finely

Head o Bok, Choi shredded

Few sticks of celery and its leaves, shredded

2 carrots, peeled and then peeled into ribbons

Sweet mixed peppers, sliced, seeds removed

Teriyaki (for gluten free a mixture of Mirin, gluten free soy and Chinese cooking rice wine)

Handful of fresh coriander, chopped

Chopped cashew nuts, toasted

Sea salt

Cut the chilli in half, remove the seeds and finely chop. Scrape the ginger with a teaspoon to remove the outer layer and grate. Peel the garlic and grate it. Heat a large wok or saucepan and add some sesame oil, the  garlic, chilli and ginger. Fry for a few minutes. Add all the rest of the vegetables and stir fry for 5 minutes or so. It is important to keep the veg moving all the time as the name stir fry implies. When the veg is well wilted, add the teriyaki to taste and a pinch of salt if necessary. Remove from the heat and add a little more sesame oil to taste. Add the freshly chopped coriander and chopped cashew nuts and stir well and serve straight away.

Cut the chilli in half, remove the seeds and finely chop. Scrape the ginger with a teaspoon to remove the outer layer and grate. Peel the garlic and grate it. Heat a large wok or saucepan and add some sesame oil, the  garlic, chilli and ginger. Fry for a few minutes. Add all the rest of the vegetables and stir fry for 5 minutes or so. It is important to keep the veg moving all the time as the name stir fry implies. When the veg is well wilted, add the teriyaki to taste and a pinch of salt if necessary. Remove from the heat and add a little more sesame oil to taste. Add the freshly chopped coriander and chopped cashew nuts and stir well and serve straight away.

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Jerusalem Artichokes are the most unpromising looking vegetable. When I dig them up on the allotment they look like little more than clods of earth and take some serious cleaning before they are identifiable. Even then, they still look uninspiring, like a knobbly, dirty potato. And not only that, they are difficult to peel and once peeled discolour quickly unless submerged in cold water with a squeeze of lemon. But they are worth the effort as this simple, yet delicious soup confirms.

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Don’t add the cream for a vegan variation. Delicious with a swirl of white truffle oil, if you are feeling indulgent.

Extra virgin olive oil

2 onion, chopped or 2 leeks, sliced and washed

1kg Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed and cut into 1-2cm chunks

1200ml chicken, vegetable stock or water

Bunch of thyme

200ml single cream (optional)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions or leeks and fry gently for 10 minutes. Tie your thyme into a bundle with an elastic band or a piece of string. Add it to the onions. Add the artichokes and carry on cooking slowly for about 20 minutes until the Jerusalem artichokes begin to break down and the flavours intensify.  Do not brown. Add stock, bring to the boil and simmer until the artichokes are tender. They are a bit impenetrable, but you should be able to break them up with a wooden spoon. Remove the thyme bundle and squeeze out as much juice from it as you can.  Add the cream and blend the mixture until smooth, and then season to taste with plenty of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Reheat gentle and serve with a swirl of extra virgin olive oil or truffle oil.

Mushrooms and Chard with Baked Eggs and Parmesan

I love baked eggs. This is a really healthy version with plenty of veg and makes a quick lunch or light supper.

Mushrooms and Chard with Baked Eggs & Parmesan

Serves 2

I head swiss chard, leaves and stems separated

Extra virgin olive oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

300g mushrooms, roughly sliced

100ml double cream

Pinch of chilli flakes

4 medium organic free-range eggs

100g grated parmesan

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chop the chard stems and boil with the leaves in a large pan of salted boiling water for about 3 minutes. Remove the chard with a slotted spoon and spread out to cool in a large colander. Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan over a medium heat, then add the onion. Cook, stirring, for 5-10 minutes until softened. Next add the mushrooms and cook until the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated and they begin to fry. Season well with salt and pepper.  Then add the garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Squeeze the excess water from the chard and roughly chop. Add to the mushrooms and stir well. Add the cream and the chilli and bring back to the boil. Remove from the heat and check the seasoning. Tip into a gratin dish.

Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Make 4 indentations in the mixture and crack an egg into each one, gently pushing the yolks down with the back of a spoon so they’re covered by white. Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake for 15-20 minutes until the eggs are just set. Eat straightaway with sourdough toast.

Parsnip, Carrot and Apple Juice

It suddenly occurred to me that parsnip juice might be nice. After all it has such a delicious sweet and nutty taste, I thought it might really add interest to my recent juicing craze, so I tried it out with a few carrots and some apples to see how it turned out, and I recon it is one of my favourite juices yet.

And would you believe it, parsnips are really good for you too. I seem to have had a cough that has lasted for ever, so I was pleased to hear that they contain phosphorus-chlorine elements which bring particular benefits to the lung and bronchial systems. They are also contain a high level of potassium, which gives the brain cells a boost, which is something else I can always do with. Parsnips are also packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties and rich in phytonutrients that may prevent certain types of cancers. Finally, if that was not enough they contain Vitamin B, C, E, K and Folic Acid and high levels of Potassium, Manganese, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Zinc, and Iron. So get juicing!

Parsnip, Carrot and Apple Juice

Makes one large glass

2 parsnips

2 carrots

2 apples

Chill the veg and fruit. No need to peel. Top and tail the carrots and parsnips and quarter the apples. Juice and drink.

Conchiglie with Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Anchovy and Chilli

I love this time of year. Your vegbox evolves from, let’s admit it, something which sometimes over the winter might have been just a little bit of a chore, to complete pleasure. Suddenly there is a burst of spring, with new vegetables emerging every day. They return to our boxes like old friends and have us reminiscing recipes of years gone by. I realize, slightly worryingly, that I have probably cooked this recipe every spring for some 25 years now!

Conchiglie with Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Anchovy and Chilli

Serves 2

200g Conchiglie

400g Purple sprouting broccoli

2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

4 anchovy fillets

A generous amount of extra-virgin olive oil

A pinch of crushed dried chilli flakes

large handful of grated parmesan

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

A dash of double cream (optional)

To prepare the purple sprouting broccoli, you do not want the stems to be too big and it is important that all the pieces are a similar size and tender. Keep the smaller shoots whole but cut the heads in half or even in quarters length-ways. Boil the purple sprouting broccoli in plenty of salted boiling water for about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and refresh in cold water. When cold, drain well in a colander.

Meanwhile cook the pasta in boiling, salted water. (You can use the same water as the purple sprouting broccoli.) Two minutes before it is done, heat a frying-pan over a medium heat, add the garlic and oil, and fry until starting to colour. Remove from the heat and add the anchovies and a little water. Mash the anchovies up with a wooden spoon until they almost dissolve. Add the chilli and the drained purple sprouting broccoli. Sauté briefly, seasoning with salt and pepper, then add a few tablespoons of the pasta water or a dash of cream. Next add the cooked pasta and a large handful of grated parmesan. Stir and serve.

Pear, Apple and Rosemary Juice

Riverford are running their juicing  box at the moment so it is time to make the most of it. I have been experimenting with herbs in my juices recently. I know it is a bit kooky but I believe that we all have a herb which we identify with.

Rosemary is my kind of herb – robust, assertive and gutsy. I also believe that when you instinctively crave something, it may be because it contains something that you might be deficient in. Rosemary is high in vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, a good source of antioxidant vitamin C and very high in iron. This Pear, Apple and Rosemary Juice was delicious. But try experimenting with your own choice of herbs and see how you get on.

Pear, Apple and Rosemary Juice

Makes one glass

3 pears

2 apples

Generous sprig of rosemary

Chill your fruit. Cut into suitable sized pieces. Put the rosemary into the juicer first. That way, when you add the fruit it will help extract the most from the herbs.