Seasonal local food recipe No.379 – Gujerati cabbage and carrot

This quick and easy dish is based on a recipe from Madhur Jaffrey and goes with any curry.  Savoy cabbage is best.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 7 minutes

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
1 dried chilli
1/2 cabbage, thinly sliced
2 carrots, coarsely grated
1 tbsp caster sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a wok and add the mustard seeds and chilli.  When the mustard seeds start to pop, add the cabbage and carrots and stir-fry for 5 minutes.  Add all the rest of the ingredients and cook for a minute longer.  Serve immediately.

Seasonal local food recipe No.372 – Pork stew with savoy cabbage and a smoked cheese crust

We had this tasty stew for tea on Friday, using the Savoy cabbage in this week’s veg boxes.  It’s from TV chef Tom Kerridge’s Dopamine Diet.  As I am not a fan of smoked food we used ordinary cheddar cheese for the crust.  It has a lovely liquor, delicious spooned over mashed potato.

Serves 4-6

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hours 30 minutes

vegetable oil
1kg shoulder of pork, skin removed and cut into 3 cm cubes
200g pancetta, diced
2 onions, halved and sliced
10 garlic cloves, grated
2 chicken stock cubes
200ml white wine
2 tsp cracked black pepper
A bunch of rosemary (about 6-8 sprigs), tied together with kitchen string
400ml chicken stock
3 tbsp medium-hot German mustard
1 Savoy cabbage, cored and finely sliced
2 x 70g packets of pork scratchings, packets bashed to coarsely crush
6 tbsp dried onion flakes
3 tbsp thyme leaves
250g smoked cheese, grated
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Set a large, lidded heavy flameproof casserole over a medium heat.  Add a little oil and saute the pork in batches until golden brown.  Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on kitchen paper.

Add the pancetta to the casserole and fry until it has rendered plenty of its fat and is lightly browned.  Reduce the heat slightly and add the onions and garlic.  Sweat gently, stirring occasionally for about 10-15 minutes until softened. Crumble in the stock cubes, then add the wine and cracked black pepper.  Bring to the boil and simmer until the liquor is reduced down to a rich glaze.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 150°C/Gas mark 2.  Return the pork to the casserole, add the herb bundle and pour on the stock.  Bring to the boil, put the lid on and cook in the oven for 2 hours.

Stir in the mustard and some salt and pepper.  Spread the sliced cabbage over the pork.  Cover and cook in the oven for a further 45 minutes. Remove the lid and return to the oven for a further 15-20 minutes to reduce the liquor.

In a small bowl, mix the pork scratchings with the onion flakes and thyme leaves.  Scatter the cheese over the casserole, followed by the crunchy pork mixture.  Return to the oven for a further 25-30 minutes.  Leave to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Seasonal local food recipe No.365 – Suspiciously delicious cabbage

Looking for a way to use this week’s cabbage I came across The 10 best cabbage recipes  in The Guardian.  Suspiciously delicious cabbage leapt out, partly because of the name, and indeed it was delicious (as well as being very easy to make)!  I served it with grilled sausages.

Serves 2-4

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes

2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 heaped tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 medium cabbage, cored and finely shredded
200ml double cream
salt and black pepper to taste

In a very large pan, heat the butter over a medium heat until it is melted and starting to bubble a little.  Stir in the onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened.  Stir in the ginger and cook for about a minute.

Then add the cabbage, stirring well to coat it with the butter and other flavours.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15-20 minutes until the cabbage is soft and caramelised. Turn the heat down to low and stir in the cream, making sure to scrape any browned bits up from the pan bottom.

Cover and continue to cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes. Uncover, add salt and pepper to taste. Then cook for a few more minutes, stirring once or twice, to let some of the liquid evaporate. Adjust the seasonings and serve.

Seasonal local food recipe No.320 – Hugh’s Asian-inspired coleslaw


This recipe looks interesting – I’ve had similar salads in Thai restaurants so now is the time to try it at home, using the spring onions in this week’s veg boxes.  It’s from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s book River Cottage Veg Every Day!

Serves 6-8

Preparation time: 20-30 minutes

‘Relaxing time’: 10-20 minutes

1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and sliced
4 medium carrots, peeled
1 small white cabbage
For the dressing:
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp clear honey
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
2 Tbsp white wine or rice vinegar
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp olive oil
To finish:
A handful of coriander, roughly torn
Lime juice

Put the sliced spring onions into a large bowl.  Cut the carrots into fine julienne with a mandolin or grate them coarsely and add to the bowl.  Remove any blemished outer leaves from the cabbage, then quarter, cut away the core and shred the leaves as finely as you can.  Combine with the spring onions and carrots.

For the dressing, whisk all the ingredients together, making sure the honey is dissolved.  Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss thoroughly.  Leave for 10-20 minutes to soften and ‘relax’.  Serve the coleslaw scattered with coriander and sprinkled with a few squeezes of lime juice.

Seasonal local food recipe No.298 – Colcannon

I like to serve Colcannon with grilled sausages for a quick and easy tea.

Serves 4-6

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

1 Kg floury potatoes such as Maris Piper or Cara, peeled and cut into chunks
100 ml milk
100 g butter
1/2 cabbage, finely shredded
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the potatoes in boiling water until tender.  While the potatoes are cooking melt half the butter in a pan and cook the cabbage for about 10 minutes until tender.  Drain the potatoes well then return to the pan with the milk and the rest of the butter and leave on a low heat until the milk comes to the boil and the butter has melted.  Remove from the heat, mash the potatoes then add the cabbage and mix well.  Season to taste and serve.

Seasonal local food recipe No.275 – Spring greens with coconut and chilli

This is quite a rich dish and makes a lovely accompaniment to spicy grilled chicken or fish.  It can be found in the Riverford Organic Farms cookbook.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

1 bunch of spring greens, thinly sliced
1 dessertspoon sunflower oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste with a pinch of salt
2 dried chillies, chopped
400 ml coconut milk
juice of 1/2 lemon

Blanch the spring greens in boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain, refresh in cold water and squeeze out the excess.  Set aside.  Heat the sunflower oil in a pan, add the garlic and chillies and fry over a low heat for a minute or so.  Add the coconut milk and simmer over a high heat for 10 minutes, until reduced by about half.  Stir in the spring greens and cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the coconut milk is just coating the greens.  Finish with the lemon juice.

Seasonal local food recipe No.217 – Baked cabbage with nuts and cheese

Known in our house as cabbage and peanut bake, this recipe is from an old Sainsbury’s cookbook, Vegetarian Meals by Rosamond Richardson.  It is a main course in its own right or could be served alongside another dish.   I first tried this recipe to see how the rather odd combination of ingredients worked and it has become a winter favourite.

Serves 2

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

1 small white cabbage chopped fairly coarsely
300ml white sauce made with 40g butter, 2tbs plain flour and 300ml milk
50g salted peanuts, chopped
100g cheddar cheese, grated
nutmeg, finely grated
salt and pepper

Boil the cabbage until it is cooked but still crunchy.  Thin out the white sauce with a little of the cooking water and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Make layers in a greased baking dish of cabbage, sauce, grated nutmeg, peanuts and grated cheese (I usually have two layers of each ingredient), finishing with grated cheese. Bake at Gas mark 6/200°C for 15-20 minutes or until the top is a golden brown.  I serve it with baked potatoes.

Seasonal local food recipe No.214 – Hugh’s pasta with greens, garlic and chilli

A quick and easy tea that warms you up on a cold night! It’s from River Cottage veg every day! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

2-3 heads of spring greens or kale or a savoy cabbage
6 tbs olive oil
1 onion, finely sliced
1/2-1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped or 2 good pinches of dried chilli flakes
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
300g pasta shapes such as penne or fusilli
sea salt and finely ground black pepper
To serve
extra virgin olive oil
parmesan cheese

Remove the core and thick stems from the greens or cabbage and shred the leaves.  Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a low heat, add the onion and cook gently for about 10 minutes or until soft.  Add the chilli and garlic and some salt and pepper and continue to cook for about 3 minutes.  At the same time cook the pasta until al dente, adding the greens to the pan about 3 minutes befrore the end of the cooking.
Drain the pasta and greens thoroughly and toss with the onion mixture in the frying pan.  Check the seasoning, then serve, with extra virgin olive oil for trickling and lots of grated cheese.

Seasonal local food recipe No.204 – Ideas for coleslaw dressings Ⓥ

Workers’ cooperative Organiclea provides this week’s recipe. Its members are doing a grand job growing food at the edge of Epping Forest in the Lea Valley, once known as the bread basket of London.

Hannah says: “Red cabbage, white cabbage, carrots, cox apples, left over sprout tops or cavolo nero, florets of raw cauliflower, a handful of pumpkin seeds – any combination of these early winter vegetables grated or finely sliced will give you a delicious coleslaw.

“Other good additions include beetroot, a handful of sultanas, pine nuts or a small amount of finely sliced red onions.” [And of course the kohlrabi in this week’s boxes from Camel CSA!]

These are Hannah’s ideas for coleslaw dressings:-
• 3tbsp olive oil, 1 tbspn white wine vinegar, 1 tsp whole grain or Dijon mustard, salt & pepper

• ½ cup crème fraiche, 1 tbspn horseradish, 2 tsp honey, squeeze lemon, salt & pepper.

 grated fresh ginger, 3-4 tbsp rice wine or white wine vinegar, 2 tsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp soya sauce, chopped coriander, salt & pepper.

• 2 tbsp tahini, 1tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp cider vinegar, 2 tbsp agave syrup or maple syrup, 1 tsp wholegrain or dijon mustard, 1 clove of garlic finely chopped, salt & pepper.

• 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp maple syrup, salt & pepper


Seasonal local food recipe No.202 – Caldo verde (Portuguese greens soup)

I first came across this nourishing national dish when exploring north Portugal on the back of a motor bike. We were on a tight budget, so cooked this soup often on our camp stove.

Every village market had a stall heaped with dark green leaves of couve galega (collard greens) – an open, flat-leaved cabbage that’s not dissimilar in texture and flavour to spring greens or kale. Behind this stall a woman was cutting the leaves into fine strands using a hand-operated shredder, ready to cook.

How do UK cooks make a reasonably authentic version of this traditional poor man’s soup?  Answer: with kale. So here’s my own version, with thanks to food writers Jamie Oliver and Nigel Slater. For advice on how to make a proper Portuguese caldo verde, go to Azelia’s Kitchen.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 or 4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 litre water or stock
300g red Russian kale or Tuscan kale (cavolo nero) or spring greens, finely shredded
150g chorizo or spicy sausage, sliced (optional)
black pepper

Cook a finely chopped onion and clove of garlic in a little olive oil for 2 minutes. Add 3 or 4 large potatoes, peeled and diced, cook them for a minute or two, then pour in a litre of water or stock. Simmer for 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft then crush them gently.

Meanwhile prepare the kale. Cut out the stalks and roll the leaves up tightly like a cigar before cutting them into wafer-thin strips. Thickly slice the chorizo or spicy sausage.,

Stir the kale into the soup and simmer for barely five minutes. Fry the sausage briefly in a nonstick pan. Remove it, leaving the fat behind, and drop it into the hot soup. Serve immediately with a small pool of olive oil floating on the surface.

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