Recipes and facts – Spinach

Spinach Soufflé – serves 4

  • 8 fl oz milk
  • half onion studded with cloves & bay leaf
  • bunch of spinach
  • 2 oz butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 4.5 oz goat’s cheese or any cheese you wish
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • nutmeg and seasoning

Place onion in milk, bring to boiling point, simmer 5–10 mins, strain (you can leave this step out if you wish).

Wash spinach, cook until tender, refresh with cold water; squeeze out excess moisture; chop finely.

Make white sauce using the infused milk.

Add chopped or grated cheese and spinach; season well.

Add egg yolks.

Stiffly beat egg whites; fold into sauce mixture; pour into buttered soufflé dish

Bake for 20–25 mins at 200C/400F/gas 6.

Serve immediately.

Recipes and facts – Parsnips

Parsnip and thyme quick bread – Dan Stevens’s River Cottage recipe from the Gaurdians website.

This loaf doesn’t use yeast and Hugh says it’s great if you want to whip up a quick loaf to go with soup.

  • 1 tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil, plus extra for oiling the baking sheet
  • 1 large onion, peeled, halved and sliced thin
  • 180g self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 50g hard mature goat’s cheese, strong cheddar or parmesan, finely grated
  • 180g grated parsnip
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2-3 tbsp whole milk

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-low heat, add the onion and sweat until soft and lightly coloured, stirring from time to time – about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, thyme, cheese, parsnip and some pepper.

Add the onion, then the egg and two tablespoons of milk.

Mix to form a soft dough, adding the extra milk only if needed. Be careful no to overwork the dough, though – just bring it together with a little light kneading. Shape into a round and place on an oiled baking sheet.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the loaf is golden and makes a hollow sound when tapped on the bottom.

Leave to cool for a few minutes on a wire rack, then slice and serve, still warm, spread thickly with butter.

Recipes and facts – Leeks

Leeks are part of the allium family and can be used to replace onions in many dishes.

Leeks are rich in flavonoids, especially one called kaempferol. Flavonoids are antioxidants and may have health benefits.

Leeks can be enjoyed either cooked or raw. They can be thinly slice and use raw as a salad topping. Add to mixed vegetables before oven roasting. Make mashed potatoes more interesting by adding leeks to boiling potatoes, then mashing them with the potatoes. Use leeks to season beans, soups, and stews.  

Recipes

Curried Lentil and Leek Soup

Leeks with Miso and Chive Salsa

Curried Lentil and Leek Soup – Lucy and Lentils website

  • 200 g pack precooked lentils substitute for 150g uncooked red split lentils
  • 1 large leek base and green end, finely diced
  • 4 large cloves garlic finely chopped
  • Large thumb sized piece of ginger finely chopped
  • 1 green or red chilli finely chopped
  • 400 g tin of chickpeas 240 drained
  • 400 ml full fat coconut milk
  • 550 ml veg stock water and a stock cube
  • Spices:
  • 1 tsp paprika smoked or hot
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp curry powder optional

Start by finely chopping the leeks, chilli and ginger then add to a large pot with 1 tbsp of plant based butter or olive oil, fry on a medium heat for around 6 minutes

Mince the garlic then add to the pot, cook for a few minutes before adding the chickpeas and dried spices

Toss together then add in the vegetable stock, precooked lentils* and simmer for 5 minutes before adding the coconut milk

Leave on a low- medium heat (you don’t want the coconut milk to bubble) taste testing along the way, season with salt and pepper

When it’s seasoned to preference, serve up and serve with fresh coriander, chilli flakes, pepper and a tsp of the coconut cream from the tin

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Leeks with Miso and Chive Salsa – Yotam Ottolenghi’s book Flavour

  • 12 medium leeks (2.1kg)
  • 300ml Sunflower oil, for frying
  • 1 1/4 tsp cornflour
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and flaked sea salt
  • 15g fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp mixed black and white sesame seeds, very well toasted
  • 15g chives, finely chopped, plus extra to serve
  • 1 1/2 tbsp white miso paste
  • 60ml mirin
  • 3/4 tbsp rice vinegar

Remove and discard the tough outer layers of the leeks then wash the leeks well to remove any grit. Cut off and reserve the darker green tops of the leeks so each leek is about 22cm long.

Finely slice 60g of the reserved green leek tops into 8cm-long, thin strips. Rinse very well to remove any grit, then dry thoroughly and set aside.

For the salsa, pound the ginger and ¼ teaspoon of flaked salt into a paste using a pestle and mortar (or with the side of a knife). Put into a small bowl along with all the remaining salsa ingredients, stir well to combine, and set aside.

Half fill a pot (large enough to fit the length of the leeks lying down) with lightly salted water and place on a medium-high heat. Once simmering, add the leeks and reduce the heat to medium. Place a lid smaller than the saucepan on top of the leeks, weighing them down so they don’t float above the surface of the water. Simmer gently for 20 minutes, or until a knife goes through easily but they still hold their shape. Transfer the leeks to a colander and stand them vertically so they drain thoroughly.

While the leeks are draining, put the sunflower oil into a medium, high sided saucepan on a medium-high heat and line a plate with kitchen paper. Toss the dried, sliced green leek tops with 1 teaspoon of cornflour. Once the oil is very hot (170°C if you have a temperature probe), add the leek tops and fry for about 2 minutes, stirring with a fork, until golden and crispy. Transfer to the paper-lined plate with a slotted spoon and sprinkle with some flaked salt. Toss the garlic with the remaining ¼ teaspoon of cornflour and fry for about a minute, stirring frequently to separate the slices, until crisp and golden-brown. Add to the fried leeks and sprinkle with flaked salt.

Arrange the leeks on a large plate and spoon over the miso salsa. Drizzle over the olive oil and top with the fried leeks and garlic. Sprinkle with the extra chives and serve.

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Recipes and facts – Courgette

Courgette cake

  • 170g/6oz plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 170g/6oz sugar
  • 85ml/3lf oz sunflower oil
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 225g/8oz grated courgettes
  • 75g/3oz chopped nuts (walnuts recommended)

Heat oven to 170C/325F/gas 3.

Grease and line base of a 2lb loaf tin.

Sift flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and spices.

Beat eggs, add sugar, oil and vanilla essence.

Add courgettes and walnuts.

Make a well in centre of flour and pour in courgette mixture, mix well and pour into tin.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour 30 mins. Don’t check on the cake for at least an hour and a quarter or it will sink in the middle!

Check to see if it’s done – a skewer or sharp knife should come out clean.

Take out of oven and leave to cool in tin for 10 minutes, then finish cooling on a rack.

Delicious topped with cream cheese icing – just beat together some cream cheese and icing sugar and drizzle over the cake.

Recipes and facts – Celeriac

Celeriac has green leaves and stalks that grow above ground and roots with a rough, brown skin that grow underground. While farmers grow celery for its edible leaves and stalks, they grow celeriac for its roots.

Celeriac is a concentrated source of many nutrients, including:

  • vitamin C
  • vitamin K
  • vitamin B-6
  • potassium
  • phosphorus
  • fibre

Celeriac is particularly high in vitamins C and K, and it can make a significant contribution toward people’s recommended daily intake of these vitamins.

Recipes

Spicy Celeriac Bake

Whole Roasted Celeriac, Mushroom sauce and Pearl barley

Easy Celeriac Slaw

Celeriac Soup

Celeriac, potato & rosemary gratin

Spicy Celeriac Bake – Vegetarian Society website

An unusual variation to Potato Dauphinoise, this dish is great served with a green salad and baked potatoes

(or double cream for a treat)

Peel the celeriac and slice thinly just before you use it, as it discolours quickly.

Place the slices in a greased gratin dish.

Combine the cream/crème fraîche with the wine, garam masala and seasoning, and pour over the celeriac.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes.

Remove the foil and cook for a further 20 minutes, until tender and golden. Serves 4

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Whole Roasted Celeriac, Mushroom sauce and Pearl barley – Jamie Oliver

  • 1 large celeriac , (roughly 1.2kg)
  • olive oil
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 7 fresh bay leaves
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 30 g unsalted butter
  • 200 g pearl barley
  • 1 small onion
  • 800 g mushrooms
  • ¼ of an organic cube of vegetable stock
  • 150 ml single cream
  • 1 heaped teaspoon English mustard
  • extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5.

Scrub the celeriac clean, using a brush to clean away any soil from the root. Tear off a double layer of wide tin foil and place the celeriac in the middle, root side up.

Rub with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper, sprinkle over the thyme sprigs and 6 bay leaves, then bash 4 whole cloves of garlic and scatter over. Pull the sides of the foil up really tightly around the celeriac and scrunch around its shape, leaving it open at the top.

Place the butter on top of the celeriac so that it melts down and around it as it cooks, then fold the foil over really tightly to seal. Place in an ovenproof dish and roast for around 2 hours, or until tender.

Meanwhile, cook the pearl barley at the appropriate time according to packet instructions.

Peel and finely slice the onion and remaining garlic, place in a large frying pan on a low heat with a lug of olive oil, and fry for around 10 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally.

Finely slice the mushrooms and add (your pan will be very full, but trust me, they will cook down nicely). Cook for around 20 minutes, or until golden, continuing to stir occasionally.

Crumble in the stock cube, add the remaining bay leaf and pour in 200ml of boiling water. Simmer and reduce until the liquid has nearly gone, then stir in the cream and mustard and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Season to perfection and keep warm until needed, being careful not to let it get too thick.

Around 10 minutes before the celeriac is ready, carefully open up the foil and start basting every couple of minutes with the melted butter for extra colour.

Drain the pearl barley and dress it with salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil. Place the celeriac on a board and carve thinly, like you would a joint of meat. Drizzle with any juices from the foil, then serve with the mushroom sauce, pearl barley and lots of beautiful seasonal greens.

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Easy Celeriac Slaw – From one of our members

A very simple, but tasty celeriac slaw recipe.  

Peel the celeriac and then grate into a bowl, using the coarse grater. Then mix in half a tsp of caraway seeds (or more, depending on your taste.  In a separate jar mix 3 tsps rapeseed oil and 1 tsp white wine vinegar and 1/4 tsp salt and mix in with the celeriac.

(Depending on the size of the celeriac you may need. more dressing).  

Once dressed the celeriac slaw will keep for two days. 

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Celeriac Soup – From one of our members

Here’s our favourite celeriac soup recipe

Melt 25g butter in large saucepan and fry 2 large chopped onions, 500g or more of peeled and chopped celeriac, and 1 crushed garlic clove over a gentle heat 4-5 mins without colouring.

Add 1.25 litres chicken or vegetable stock and cook for 30mins.

Blend until smooth, and add 150ml double cream and 50g parmesan cheese.

Serve, with a further 50g parmesan , 150ml whipped cream, black pepper and chopped parsley.

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Celeriac, potato & rosemary gratin – From the BBC Good Food website

  • 6 rashers bacon , chopped (optional)
  • 420ml double cream
  • 350ml milk
  • 2 garlic cloves , sliced
  • 1 tbsp rosemary , finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli , deseeded and sliced
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 celeriac (about 500g) peeled, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 500g potatoes , peeled and very thinly sliced

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grill the bacon, if using, until cooked and lightly brown, then set aside.

Bring the cream, milk, garlic, rosemary, chilli and mustard to the boil in a medium saucepan, then turn off.

Pour a little of the cream mixture onto the bottom of an ovenproof gratin dish. Arrange a layer of celeriac, scatter with bacon, then season. Pour over some more of the cream mixture and repeat the same process, alternating potato and celeriac, finishing with a layer of potato. Cover with the remainder of the cream mixture, then bake for 1-1¼ hrs, until golden and vegetables are tender when a knife is stuck in. Leave to sit for 5 mins, then serve.

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Recipes and facts – Carrot

Carrot and Lentil soup – Sharron’s Own from the World Carrot Museum website

  • 1 large onion
  • a little vegetable oil
  • 4 large carrots. Scrubbed or peeled and chopped (cut in rounds for speed)
  •  4 ounces of orange lentils
  • 1 large tin of tomatoes
  • 2 pints of vegetable stock or water

Chop the onion into medium size pieces and place into a saucepan with the oil. Fry the onions until they are soft and translucent then add the carrots.

Add all the stock or water and bring to the boil.

Turn the heat down to a simmer and add the lentils, cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 15 minutes or until lentils are soft and have absorbed most of the liquid.

Blend the soup in the saucepan with a hand blender and then add any extra liquid (either water or stock) to the thickness you want.

Add the tin of tomatoes and carry on blending until you have a smooth orange soup. The soup is now complete and should be brought back to the boil for a few moments to ensure the tomatoes are heated through.

If you wish add any extra flavourings that you like, such as garlic or herbs, but do taste the soup beforehand as the flavour is so good it doesn’t really need much else.

To garnish you could add chives and a little blob of crème fresh but again that is optional.

Serve with your favourite bread either hot or cold.

Recipes and facts – Cabbage

Cabbage may look a lot like lettuce, but it actually belongs to the Brassica genus of vegetables, which includes broccoli, cauliflower and kale.

It comes in a variety of shapes and colors, including red, purple, white and green, and its leaves can be either crinkled or smooth.

This vegetable is loaded with vitamins and minerals.

It can be found in a variety of dishes, including sauerkraut, kimchi and coleslaw.

Recipes

Bengali chilli cabbage or greens with coconut cream

Halloumi & red cabbage steaks

Bengali Chilli Cabbage or Greens with Coconut Cream and Mustard Seeds, serves 4–6

This is a very handy recipe that uses any type of cabbage

  • 2 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp black mustard seeds
  • 1-2 green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 600g shredded spring greens, savoy cabbage or curly kale 200ml coconut cream

Heat 1 tbsp of the ghee or oil in a pan over a medium-low heat and gently fry the onion until lightly caramelised.

Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and the mustard seeds and fry a little longer to release the fragrant mustard oils.

Set aside and keep warm.

Heat the remaining ghee or oil in a large, heavy pan over a medium-low heat.

Gently fry the chilli for a few moments, then add the greens.

Salt lightly, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the leaves wilt.

Add the coconut cream and simmer for a few minutes until the greens absorb most of the cream and the whole mixture is piping hot.

Heap the coconut-flavoured greens in a dish and serve them topped with the caramelised onions.

From Waitrose via the Earth Share website

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Halloumi & red cabbage steaks

  • 1 small red cabbage (about 900g/2lb), cut into 4 x 2cm/3/4in-thick ‘steaks’
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
  • 2 x 250g pouches ready-cooked quinoa
  • juice 1 orange
  • small pack flat-leaf parsley , chopped
  • small pack dill , chopped
  • 50g dried sour cherry , roughly chopped
  • 250g pack halloumi , cut into 8 slices

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Line a baking tray with baking parchment and put the cabbage steaks on top.

Mix together the balsamic, oil, fennel seeds and sugar, then season and spoon it over the cabbage.

Cover the cabbage with foil and roast for 20 mins, then remove the foil and cook for a further 10 mins until softened.

Heat the quinoa following pack instructions, then stir through the orange juice, parsley, dill and cherries, and season with black pepper.

Fry the halloumi in a dry pan on a medium heat for 2 mins each side until golden. To serve, place a spoonful of quinoa onto each cabbage steak and top with the halloumi.

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Recipes and facts – Broccoli

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable related to cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.

These vegetables are known for their beneficial health effects.

Broccoli is high in many nutrients, including fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and potassium. It also boasts more protein than most other vegetables.

This green veggie can be enjoyed both raw and cooked, but recent research shows that gentle steaming provides the most health benefits

Recipes

Pasta with broccoli pesto

Roasted broccoli

Pasta with Broccoli Pesto

This is a lovely way to use broccoli as a main component rather than a side dish – and a great way to encourage children to eat greens.

Preparation time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 15 minutes.

Serves: 4

  • 350g pasta
  • 350g broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp Pine Kernels, toasted (substitute other nuts such as almonds if these are too expensive)
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • 4 tbsp freshly grated or shaved Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large pan of boiling water, cook the pasta according to the pack instructions. At the same time, cook the broccoli in a separate pan of boiling water for 10-12 minutes, or until very soft.

Meanwhile, in a small pan heat the olive oil, add the garlic and cook gently for 2-3 minutes until softened but not coloured. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Thoroughly drain the broccoli, return to the pan and mash roughly with a fork.

Thoroughly drain the pasta and return to the pan. Stir in the mashed broccoli, garlic, pine kernels and lemon juice, and season to taste. Season generously and serve immediately scattered with Parmesan.

Cook’s tip

To toast pine kernels, dry-fry in a pan over a gentle heat for 2-3 minutes, shaking occasionally, until golden, or scatter on a baking sheet and bake at 190°C, gas mark 5, for about 5 minutes.

This recipe was first published on Waitrose.com in July 2002

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Roasted Broccoli

  • 2 medium to large heads of broccoli , about 1 kg / 2 lb
  • 2 garlic cloves , finely sliced or minced
  • 2 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt (adjust to your taste)
  • Black pepper
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese , plus more for garnish

Preheat oven to 220C/425F (standard) or 180C/350F (fan/convection).

Cut/break broccoli into florets and pile onto baking tray.

Drizzle all over with extra virgin olive oil, scatter with garlic, salt and pepper. Toss with fingers or tongs, then spread out over tray in a single layer. 

Roast for 20 to 25 minutes until the tips of the florets are slightly browned and crispy. The broccoli should be “tender crisp”, meaning just cooked through, not soft and floppy.

Remove from the oven and immediately drizzle over the lemon juice, lemon zest, and parmesan.

Toss quickly, transfer to serving plate and garnish with a bit more parmesan. Serve warm!

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Recipe and Facts – Broad Beans

Broad beans are green legumes that come in pods.

They have a slightly sweet, earthy flavour and are eaten by people all over the world.

Broad beans are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein. They’re thought to offer impressive health effects, such as improved motor function and immunity.

They’re rich in plant protein, folate and several other vitamins and minerals. They’re also loaded with soluble fibre that can aid digestion and lower cholesterol levels.

Recipes

Broad bean and bacon risotto

Broad bean and mint dip

Broad bean and bacon risotto from Olive magazine

  • 1½l chicken or vegetable stock – if you cook your veg in water freeze it for risottos
  • 400g broad beans Or what you have! After cooking these can be skinned, but it’s not necessary with fresh beans.
  • 50g butter
  • 1 onion , finely chopped
  • 8 rashers bacon , about 200g , finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove , crushed
  • 300g risotto rice
  • 1 glass white wine
  • pecorino shaved or grated, to serve

Heat the stock in a pan and add the broad beans, cook for 3 minutes then scoop them out.

Melt a large knob of butter in a large pan and fry the onion and bacon for about 5 minutes until the onion is tender, add the garlic and cook for a minute.

Stir in the rice, coating every grain in butter.

Add the wine and stir until it has been absorbed, then add the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring until it has been absorbed but so that the risotto is still wet enough to just hold its shape.

Season. Stir in another knob of butter and half of the broad beans.

Spoon the risotto into bowls and top with more broad beans and pecorino.

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Broad Bean and Mint Dip

  • 500g frozen podded broad beans (use fresh if they’re in season)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 7-8 sprigs fresh mint, leaves picked and chopped
  • Small bunch fresh flatleaf parsley, chopped
  • 100ml light olive oil

Cook the beans in a pan of lightly salted boiling water for 3-5 minutes, then drain, reserving 150ml of the cooking water, and leave to cool.

Peel the broad beans, then whizz in a food processor with the remaining ingredients until smooth, adding a little cooking water to loosen as needed. Season to taste and serve.

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Recipes –

Broad bean and bacon risotto from Olive magazine

1½l chicken or vegetable stock – if you cook your veg in water freeze it for risottos

400g broad beans Or what you have! [they tell you to skin them but see above]

50g butter

1 onion , finely chopped

8 rashers bacon , about 200g , finely sliced

1 garlic clove , crushed

300g risotto rice

1 glass white wine

pecorino shaved or grated, to serve

Heat the stock in a pan and add the broad beans, cook for 3 minutes then scoop them out.

Melt a large knob of butter in a large pan and fry the onion and bacon for about 5 minutes until the onion is tender, add the garlic and cook for a minute. Stir in the rice, coating every grain in butter. Add the wine and stir until it has been absorbed, then add the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring until it has been absorbed but so that the risotto is still wet enough to just hold its shape. Season. Stir in another knob of butter and half of the broad beans.

Spoon the risotto into bowls and top with more broad beans and pecorino.