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LEEKS, CABBAGE & CHARD

Some recipe ideas from the Fresh Food Co.

Vichyssoise

Peel potatoes, and wash and trim leeks, and slice up roughly. Melt a good lump of butter in a pan and soften the vegetables in it. Don't let them catch. Add chicken or vegetables stock and cook until the veg is soft (about 20 minutes). Puree, and make more liquid if necessary with milk. Season with pepper, salt and lemon juice. Now either eat it hot with a dollop of cream or plain yoghurt, or chill, and when cold check the consistency. Stir in single cream to taste, and serve very cold and topped with snipped chives for a dinner party. This is the ultimate conversion of peasant basic food into something smart and grand without missing a beat or spending much money.

Middle Eastern Cabbage, Dill and Chickpea Soup

Peel and dice a couple of potatoes. Cut half the cabbage into ½ inch squares. Dice and peel an onion. Cut up a couple of tomatoes. Fry the onion in olive oil, add the other veg, and vegetable stock, and a squeeze of tomato paste to the veg plus a tin of chickpeas and either a tblspn of dried dill or 2oz fresh dill chopped small. Bring to the boil, turn heat to low and simmer until all is soft. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste and serve with warmed, butter pitta breads for a substantial supper.

Bengal Cabbage with Coconut

CabbageHeat mustard oil, which goes well with cabbage, bring related, or other vegetable oil in a heavy casserole pot. When hot, put in tsp of black mustard seeds and 2 bay leaves. As soon as the bay leaves darken and the seeds begin to pop (seconds), put in the whole cabbage cored and finely shredded. Turn down the heat and stir and cook for 5 mins. Add salt, a pinch of sugar, and a hot green chilli, seeded and cut into strips (do this wearing rubber gloves to prevent painful eyes if you rub them, even after washing your hands). Stir and cook for another 3-5 mins. Sprinkle with desiccated coconut previously lightly toasted in a hot pan or a handful of freshly grated coconut if you have won one recently.

Chinese Cabbage with Carrots

Cut half your cabbage into slender strips after coring and removing any tough outer leaves. Julienne a carrot or two (can be done with special Magimix attachment, or by slicing lengthways several times, and then across). Slice spring onions into thin strips lengthways and then across as well. Heat sunflower oil in a wok, and add a tsp of pureed ginger or a slice of slightly squashed fresh ginger. Stir-fry for about 20 seconds. Put in all veg with big pinch of salt. Stir fry for about 3 mins. Add 2 tblspns dry sherry or Shaohsing wine and cover to cook for another 4 mins, until cabbage is tender but still retains some crispness. Uncover, turn heat to high, stir and cook for one more minute.

Chard au Gratin

Separate stalks and leaves, trim and clean. Slice stalks in ½ inch pieces and simmer for 20 minutes in 1 cut of water into which has been carefully mixed 1 tbslpn of flour, juice of ½ to 1 lemon and salt & pepper. Separately, steam or boil the green leaves until tender. Remove the white stalks; add 2 tblspns of double cream to t he cooking liquor and adjust the seasoning. Lay the white and green parts together in a buttered baking dish and pour the liquid over them. Top with a mixture of breadcrumbs and a grated mild cheese and bake in a medium oven until golden brown and bubbling. Pass the white wine!

Orzotto with Chard

Orzotto is risotto made with pearl barley instead of rice, but you can use rice if you like. Barley takes a bit longer to cook, but has an intriguing bite and flavour and is well worth adding to your grain store, and not just for lamb stews. Heat olive oil and butter mixed in wide frying pay with steep sides. Soften an onion and pour in barley or ice, stirring round to make it shiny with the oil. Pour on stock, white wine and water in all or any combination to the measure of about 1½ pints to 8oz barley, but you might need more. Stir it around and cover and leave to cook, checking from time to time. When all is nearly cooked, add finely shredded chard to the pan and stir in, adding a little more liquid if necessary to cook the chard. When the stem bit is soft, stir in a couple of tblespns Parmesan and a lump of butter and serve.

[ Vichyssoise ] [Middle Eastern Cabbage, Dill and Chickpea Soup ] [ Bengal Cabbage with Coconut ] [Chinese Cabbage with Carrots ] [ Chard au Gratin ] [ Orzotto with Chard ]

Thanks to Josa Young - Recipes Editor, Fresh Food Co.

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