Thai Salad with Peanut Dressing

I love the sweet and sour combination of this crunchy salad. Adjust the dressing until you have the perfect balance.

Thai Salad with Peanut Dressing

You can use any cabbage in this salad even red cabbage works.

For the Thai Peanut Dressing

2 tbsp creamy peanut butter

1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, from one lime

1 tablespoon soy sauce (use gluten-free if needed)

1 tablespoons sugar

1-inch square piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

1 Nam Pla

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

For the Salad

½ pointed cabbage, shredded

3 carrots, peeled into ribbons

1  cucumber, halved lengthwise, de-seeded, halved lengthways again and chopped into 1cm chunks

1 cos lettuce, sliced into 1cm slices and broken up

2 medium spring onions, thinly sliced

1 bunch freshly chopped coriander

For the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a blender and process until completely smooth. Use to dress the vegetables and serve straight away.

Thousand Island Slaw

When I was a kid one of the first things I ever learnt to make for myself to eat, apart from of course countless cakes and biscuits, was a salad that I recreated from Tootsies burger restaurant in Wimbledon village. They had the highly sophisticated, so I thought at the time, salad mix of red cabbage, grated carrot and most exciting of all – sweetcorn. I suppose that the influence had come from an American slaw, but to me it was revolutionary. And most exciting of all was there was a choice of four dressing. This was back in the day before the idea of “choice” was really embraced in restaurants. French Dressing, Vinaigrette, Blue Cheese or my absolute, total favourite Thousand Island Dressing. I loved the stuff! I still knock up “Thousand Island Slaw” as I have now named it using whatever I have at hand. My kids love it too!

Thousand Island Slaw

A selection of what you have to hand. I recon fresh sweetcorn would be lovely. Just boil the cobs and then cut down the husks to remove the kernels.

Pointed cabbage, red cabbage, savoy cabbage etc. very finely shredded

Carrots, peeled and grated

Thousand Island Dressing

5 tbsp. mayonnaise

2 tbsp. tomato ketchup

Juice of half a lemon

Dash of tobacco

Mix up the dressing ingredients and adjust to your taste. Dress the salad and serve.

Grilled Sweetcorn Slaw

Another salad featuring the wonder cure Apple Cider vinegar. This is quite an unusual recipe in that the slaw is lightly pickled and if there is one thing more fashionable and fashionably good for you it is pickled food.

Grilled Sweetcorn Slaw

Makes tonnes so feel free to half the recipe. Yotam Ottelenghi

100 apple cider vinegar

200ml water

¼ white cabbage, shredded (300g net)

3 carrots, julienned or grated (175g net)

1 small red onion, thinly sliced (140g net)

4 corn cobs, lightly brushed with olive oil (600g gross)

2 red chillies, finely chopped

20g picked coriander leaves

20g picked mint leaves

Olive oil

Salt and black pepper

Dressing:

50g mayonnaise

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1½ tsp sunflower oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 clove garlic, crushed

Place the vinegar and water in a small saucepan along with 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat. Place the cabbage and carrot in a bowl, pour over two-thirds of the salty liquid and set aside to soften for 20 minutes. Pour the remaining liquid over the onion and, again, set aside for 20 minutes. Rinse the vegetables and onion well, pat dry, place together in a large bowl and set aside.

Place a ridged char-grill pan on a high heat and, when it starts to smoke, lay the corn over it. Char-grill for 10-12 minutes, turning so that all sides get some colour (this will create quite a lot of smoke). Remove from the heat and, when cool enough to handle, use a large knife to shave off the corn in clumps and add to the salad bowl.

Whisk together all the dressing ingredients, pour over the salad and stir gently. Add the chilli, coriander and mint, along with a grind of black pepper, give everything another gentle stir and serve.

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.

Savoy Cabbage Braised with Chorizo

This week, like everyone else, I am thinking of Christmas and here is a way to jazz up your cabbage for those of you who are not Brussel Sprout lovers. We always think of braising red cabbage but forget that this is a really good way of cooking any sort of different cabbage from spring to pointed to savoy. There is no need to cook it for ages either. Just wilt it down and leave it a little crunchy. Much more delicious. I’ve been using rather a lot of bacon recently so I tried it out with Chorizo. Remember that the result will only be as good as the ingredients. You have chosen the best, organic cabbage you could so make sure that you source some chorizo which is just as good. There are some super ones out there nowadays, the acorn fed Iberico pigs producing some of the best. You can even buy it ready diced if you are short on time which, lets face it, you are bound to be if you are cooking on Christmas day!

Savoy Cabbage Braised with Chorizo

Olive oil

2 medium sized onions, peeled and thinly sliced

150g good quality chorizo, finely diced

½ savoy, or other cabbage, shredded

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the onion and cook really slowly until just turning golden brown. Add the chorizo and fry until it has rendered its fat. Add the cabbage and season with salt and pepper. Stir well and add a splash of water. Cover and leave to cook for 10 minutes or so. Remove the lid and check for tenderness. It is nice to keep a little texture. Check seasoning and serve.

Carrot and Pointed Cabbage Asian Slaw with Peanut and Ginger Dressing

Finally for this week, another slaw. Nut butters were all the range last year and a huge range has become available in our local supermarkets from cashew, to almond to coconut butter.

High in protein, packed with vitamin E and magnesium, and usually free from sugar and gluten, nut butters are good for those on vegetarian, vegan and paleo caveman diets.

But let’s not forget we have actually been eating nut butter for years, only peanut was the only available option. Nowadays this too is available in much healthier varieties from organic to sugar-free. It works fabulously in salad dressings and really works well in this delicious Asian inspired slaw.

Carrot and Pointed Cabbage Asian Slaw with Peanut and Ginger Dressing

Carrot and Pointed Cabbage Asian Slaw with Peanut and Ginger
I love all sorts of “slaws”, especially with barbecued food. This salad does not look that beautiful but it really tastes great. I like to use savoy cabbage when in season but you can use pointed cabbage, January king cabbage or even red cabbage.
1 small white cabbage or 1/2 a large one, finely shredded
3 large carrots, peeled and grated
Handful of finely chopped coriander
Dressing:
3 tablespoons good quality crunch peanut butter
2 teaspoons wasabi paste
2 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
Large knob of ginger, peeled and grated
2 small clove garlic, grated
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Mix together all dressing ingredients. Dress the carrot and cabbage with the dressing and stir through the chopped coriander. Adjust seasoning to taste.

pointed cabbage

Roasted Cabbage with Black Bean Sauce

I am a great fan of roasting veg. I think it intensifies the flavour and brings out the natural sweetness in veg but for some reason I never thought of roasting cabbage. Sometimes it makes veg taste too vegetal as, I think, is the case with broccoli, so I assumed cabbage would be the same. I reluctantly gave it a go and was really pleasantly surprised. It came out sweet and crunchy with crispy edges. A real treat. You can cut the cabbage into more attractive “wedges” if you like or even just in halves, but I think it makes it more difficult to eat and although it is not as picturesque, cutting it smaller makes it cook much quicker too.

 
I decided to combine this new discovery with my home-made Black Bean Sauce. This is one of my favourite, quick and easy sauces which can transform stir-fries in minutes. But is also great with pork, chicken or fish, especially scallops. It is so superior to any ready-made black beans sauce that you have ever bought, that you will not believe how easy it is.

Black Bean Sauce

Do not get your beans confused. You need to find salted, fermented black beans, known as Douchi, in a Chinese supermarket. These will keep forever in a sealed Kilner jar, so by a big bag and you will always have them to hand. The sauce, once made, will also keep for at least a week or two in the fridge, so you can make up a large batch and use it for other dishes.

 
And since it is still January and we are all focusing on health eating and ways to improve our health, don’t forget that it is important to include some fermented foods into your diet because they are super good for you. They act to aid digestion, support immune function, and benefit overall nutritional status by increasing B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.

 
Finally, another great plus for fermented beans, is you get all the benefits of the nutrients of beans but without their notorious, disagreeable side effect. I can’t promise the same for the cabbage though!

Cabbage with Black Beans Sauce 2

Roasted Cabbage with Black Bean Sauce
1 head cabbage, can be pretty much any sort, cored and cut into 1-inch squares
A little sunflower oil
50g salted black beans
Generous knob of ginger
2 cloves garlic
1 large fresh red chilli
1 tbsp. Shao Hsing rice wine, or dry sherry
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. soy sauce
½ lime (optional)
Fresh coriander (optional)

Preheat oven to 200°C. Toss cabbage in a little sunflower oil, tip on to a large roasting tray and spread out in an even layer. Roast until beginning to wilt and brown, about 15 minutes.

 
Meanwhile make your sauce. Peel the garlic and grate on a course microplaner or a fine box grater. With a spoon scrape the outer skin from the ginger. Grate on the course microplaner or finely chop. Cut the chilli in half and remove the seeds, and finely chop. Then chop all three together with the black beans until you have a brown mush. Put into a bowl and stir in the wine, the sesame oil and the soy. Add a little water to get a nice consistency. You can add a squeeze of lime if you like. Adjust to taste.

Remove the cabbage from the oven and mix through the sauce. Return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes. Add fresh chopped coriander if you like. Serve hot.

Roast Cabbage

Christmas Slaw

I accidentally somehow ended up watching a Nigella Christmas special last night. I think she is an intelligent and beautiful woman but she always comes over as somewhat smug and rather revoltingly, overtly sexy for me to watch for very long. It was long enough however, to catch her version of a Christmas Slaw which I thought might be particularly fitting for all you veg box lovers, to use up some of those winter veg. This is a great dish for boxing day with cold meats and chutney. You can add what you like, but I went for a very pleasant combination of celeriac, fennel, pointed cabbage, red cabbage, carrots and pear, which is very attractively colourful as well. Almost jewelled with its striking combination of purple and orange, so bear this in mind when choosing your veg. The spicy, caramelised pecans add a seasonal note. A mandolin is best for the job of quickly shredding your veg, so if you haven’t got a good one, why not treat yourself to one this Christmas. A food processor will not produce such pretty results although I am sure it will taste just as good.

Christmas slaw 2

Christmas Slaw
2 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
1 medium fennel, trimmed and very thinly sliced
¼ pointed or savoy cabbage, shredded very thin
¼ red cabbage, shredded very thin
¼ a celeriac, peeled and coarsely grated
1 pear, very finely sliced
Dressing
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp maple syrup
3 tbsp olive oil
Juice of one orange
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the spiced pecans
120g cashew nuts, roughly chopped (or other toasted nuts)
2 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp chilli flakes

Heat the oven to 160C/320F.

Mix the nuts with the syrup, the cinnamon, the chilli and a good pinch of salt. Line a baking sheet with grease proof paper and tip on the nuts. Spread out and roast for 10-12 minutes, until golden and crunchy. Stir from time to time to ensure even cooking. Remove and set aside to cool.

Put all the vegetables in a large bowl.

For the dressing, whisk together the mustard, maple syrup, olive oil, orange juice, a quarter-teaspoon of salt and an eighth of a teaspoon of pepper. Pour this over the vegetables and mix well. Add the spiced nuts, stir to combine and serve.

Fennel

Caldo Verde

Finally, for this week, my final cabbage recipe. Another hearty soup this time from Portugal, Caldo Verde literally translates as hot green, consisting traditionally of potatoes, a local kale and Portuguese spicy sausage. I have adapted it for cabbage, but you can only use the dark outer leaves so it does not lack its deep, famous green colour. This makes it a great use-up dish when using the paler greener inner leaves for slaw, or even for my Keralan cabbage Thoran recipe this week. But it obviously works very well with any kale or Cavalo Nero too.

When it comes to the sausage, it really is hard to find good quality Portuguese sausage such as Linguica, however good chorizos are easily available now a days – Unearthed do spicy or oak smoked or Waitrose do their own brand Iberico Chorizo which comes with the added bonus of being already diced.

Caldo Verde in Pan

Caldo Verde
Extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 potatoes, peeled and diced
200g good quality chorizo, diced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
ground black pepper to taste
1 large cabbage, the outer leaves only or couple of heads of kale or  Cavalo Nero, shredded and washed
Smoked paprika

In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook onion with plenty of olive oil for 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and chorizo and fry gently to release the fat. And potatoes and cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes more. Pour in water to cover, season well with salt and pepper and bring to a boil, and let boil gently for 20 minutes, until potatoes are soft all the way through. When the potatoes are ready, mash them into the broth. Add smoked paprika to taste and more seasoning. Meanwhile blanch your cabbage or kale into boiling, salted water for about three minutes. Remove and drain well, allowing to cool quickly. Add to soup and simmer. Stir in some more olive oil and serve at once.

Cabbage

Zuppa d’Aosta

So on to cabbage recipe two. This is one of the oddest soups ever. It comes from Aosta which is in Northern Italy, right up high in the Alps, so as you would expect it is very hearty soup and typically packed full of carbohydrates, bread and cheese. Like Fondu, Raclette or Tartiflette and other mountain recipes, it is affectionately known as rib-sticking, the dictionary definition being- to last long and fortify one well; [for food] to sustain one even in the coldest weather.

Obviously there is nothing strange about that, if you live in an extremely cold climate, which of course in London, we don’t. But what is a little extraordinary about this soup is that it is baked, and then what tips it over the edge of unusual recipes, is the combination of stale bread, loads and loads of cheese and cabbage along with anchovies! The anchovies act as an amazing sort of seasoning, which brings this whole soup into a world class of its own so don’t be tempted to leave them out.

Fontina

I first made Zuppa d’Aosta at the River Café and it even features in their first book. Jamie Oliver rewrites it by adding loads more ingredients including the quite nice, but I think unnecessary addition of bacon. Good, strong bread is essential – I used Gail’s Sourdough, the cheese – should strictly be Fontina d’Aosta but even I struggled to find this, having to make do with a Fontina from Alpeggio (which describes the region rather than the town), which I got from Ocado.  Another place to try, if you are in Wimbledon on a Saturday morning, is the wonderful Vallebona,  Please do go,  if you have not been, because you will find the most amazing selection of mainly Sardinian delights, in the most unlikely setting of an industrial car-park.

If, however you just can’t find any Fontina, another mountain cheese will do such as Gruyere, Emmental or Gouda. Strange or not, as the weather turns colder,  this soup is guaranteed to warm you up.

Zuppa D'Aosta in Bowl

Zuppa d`Aosta
1 savoy or other hearty cabbage, Cavalo Nero or Kale works too
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 loaf stale sourdough or ciabatta bread
large garlic clove peeled and halved
10 anchovy fillets
250g Fontina cheese
2l chicken stock, can be made up from good quality stock cubes
100g parmesan freshly grated

You will need a casserole or saucepan that can be put in the oven.
Preheat the oven to moderate 180C/350F/Gas 4.
Remove the leaves from the cabbage heads one by one and cut out the thick stems from each leaf keeping the leaves whole. Use a mixture of the dark outer leaves and brighter green inner leaves. (The leaves are traditionally kept whole but you can roll them up and shred them, the advantage being that it makes the soup easier to eat.) Blanch the cabbage in boiling salted water for 1 minute then drain well. Cut the bread into slices on an angle to give them as much surface area as possible. Cut off any very tough exterior crusts. Toast the slices on both sides and rub with the garlic. Cut the anchovy fillets into slithers lengthways. Slice the Fontina into slivers. Bring the stock to the boil and season it.
In your casserole or pan make a first layer of cabbage and season with salt and pepper. Place 4 or 5 anchovy slithers evenly spaced on top, then a layer of Fontina followed by one third of the toasted bread. Sprinkle over some Parmesan and add stock to cover this layer. Make a second layer in the same way and then a third finishing with a top layer of bread, sprinkled with the last of the Parmesan. Make sure the stock just covers the top layer.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes until golden brown on top.

zuppa d'aosta in bowl 2