Recipes and facts – Parsley

Parsley has many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can provide important health benefits.

It is a particularly rich source of vitamin K. A single tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley provides more than 70% of the recommended daily intake.


Parsley and caper salad

Tagliatelle with parsley and hazelnut pesto

Parsley and Caper Salad – from BBC Good Food website

  • small bunch flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 lemon , juiced
  • 3 tbsp capers , drained and finely chopped
  • ½ shallot , finely chopped
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g cherry tomatoes , halved
  • 4 Little Gem lettuces , leaves separated

Finely chop the parsley stalks and roughly chop the leaves. Put the stalks into a large bowl and stir in the lemon juice, chopped capers and shallot. 

Whisk in the olive oil, season, then toss through the tomatoes along with the chopped parsley leaves and lettuce. Serve immediately.

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Tagliatelle with Parsley and Hazelnut Pesto – from Olive Magazine website

  • tagliatelle 350g
  • parsley 80g
  • toasted hazelnuts 100g
  • grated parmesan 50g
  • lemon 1

Cook 350g tagliatelle pasta following pack instructions.

Put 80g parsley, 100g toasted hazelnuts, 50g grated parmesan and zest and juice of 1 lemon into a food processor and whizz to a paste.

With the motor still running, gradually drizzle in 100ml olive oil, then season.

Drain the pasta, return to pan and stir in the pesto.

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Recipes and facts – Pak choi

A member of the cabbage family, it’s one of the highest nutritionally ranked vegetables, providing high amounts of more than 21 nutrients.

Even more brilliantly, as well as the usual benefits of cruciferous veg, pak choi boasts omega-3s, as well as the antioxidant mineral zinc, boosting immunity, anti-inflammatory processes and brain function.


Sticky green stir fry with beef

Perfect pak choi

Sticky Green Stir-fry with Beef – from BBC Good Food website

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • sirloin steaks , trimmed of fat and thinly sliced
  • 1 head broccoli , cut into small florets
  • 2 garlic cloves , sliced
  • 300g sugar snap peas
  • 4 spring onions , thickly sliced
  • 3 pak choi , leaves separated and cut into quarters
  • 4 tbsp hoisin sauce

Heat the oil in a large wok or deep frying pan, then sizzle the beef strips for 3-4 mins until browned. Remove and set aside.

Toss the broccoli and garlic into the wok with a splash of water, then fry over a high heat for 4-5 mins until starting to soften.

Add the peas, spring onions and pak choi, then stir-fry for another 2-3 mins, then stir in the hoisin sauce and beef.

Heat through quickly, adding a splash of water if it seems a little dry. Great with noodles or rice.

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Perfect Pak Choi – from

  • 1 tbsp. 
  • vegetable oil2 
  • garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2.5cm ginger, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks450 g 
  • baby pak choi, cut in quarters with core intact2 tsp. 
  • low-sodium soy sauce 1 tsp. 
  • toasted sesame oil, for serving (optional)1/2 tsp. 
  • toasted sesame seeds, for serving (optional)

Heat vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.

Add pak choi, soy sauce, and 2 tablespoons water. Cover and cook 1 minute, then remove lid and cook, stirring occasionally, until cores are tender and all liquid has evaporated.

Transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with sesame oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using.

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Recipes and facts – Lettuce

Lettuce is a leafy vegetable, famous for giving salads their base. There are multiple types of lettuce, and they all share the scientific name Lactuca sativa.

The nutritional content of lettuce varies across varieties. Almost all lettuces contain a significant amount of vitamin A, along with small amounts of vitamin C and iron.


Teriyaki beef and lettuce cups

Lettuce soup

Teriyaki Beef and Lettuce Cups – from BBC Good Food website

  • 350g trimmed sirloin steak
  • 2 tbsp teriyaki sauce marinade, (we used Kikkoman teriyaki marinade)
  • 1⁄2 cucumber
  • 2 tbsp coriander , roughly chopped
  • juice 1⁄2 lime
  • 6 Little Gem lettuces leaves
  • 1 red chilli , deseeded and thinly sliced
  • 1⁄2 red onion , thinly sliced

Put the steak between two sheets of cling film and beat with a rolling pin until half its original thickness. Thinly slice the steak, then mix with the teriyaki marinade in a bowl. Leave to marinate for 5-10 mins.

Roughly dice the cucumber and mix with the chopped coriander and lime juice. Season with a little salt.

Heat a frying pan until very hot, then fry the steak slices for 1½-2½ mins for rare to medium, turning the slices halfway through.

Pile the cucumber mixture into the lettuce leaves, then top with the seared teriyaki beef, chilli and red onion.

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Lettuce Soup – from Delicious Magazine website

  • 1 round lettuce (about 350g)
  • 3 tbsp salted butter
  • 3 shallots, finely sliced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 400g frozen petits pois
  • 1.5 litres hot fresh vegetable stock
  • Small bunch fresh mint, leaves picked
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp caster sugar

Separate the lettuce leaves and wash thoroughly to remove any clinging grit.

Melt the butter in a large, deep saucepan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and gently fry, turning the heat down if necessary (you don’t want them to brown).

When the shallots are tender, chop the lettuce up a bit and stir it into the butter.

When the lettuce has wilted, add the peas, stock and mint leaves and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down, season with salt, sugar and ground black pepper, then simmer for 7-10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and blend the soup using a stick blender.

Reheat gently, taste and adjust the seasoning, then serve the soup in big bowls. It’s best eaten straightaway, with warm buttered bread.

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Recipes and facts – Kale

Typically dark green in colour, kale is available in a variety of colours, including purple. The edges of the leaves are either flat or curly, it can be eaten raw or lightly cooked.


Kale and quinoa burgers

Kale pesto

Quinoa & kale muffins

Kale caesar salad

Turmeric fried eggs and kale salad

Kale and Quinoa Burgers – from BBC Good Food website

  • 140g quinoa
  • 500g hot vegetable stock
  • 100g kale , stalks removed, leaves roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion , finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves , crushed
  • 75g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 2 medium eggs , beaten
  • 50g sundried tomatoes , roughly chopped
  • 100g goat’s cheese , cut from a round log
  • green salad , to serve (optional)

For the pesto

  • ½ small pack basil , leaves only
  • ½ small pack parsley , leaves only
  • 2 garlic cloves , crushed
  • 50g pine nuts , toasted
  • 50g parmesan , grated
  • 150g olive oil
  • juice 1 lemon

Put the quinoa in a saucepan and pour over the hot stock. Simmer for 18-20 mins over a gentle heat until the grains have fluffed up and the liquid has disappeared. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the kale and simmer for 6-8 mins until cooked through. Drain, squeeze out any excess water and set aside.

Put 1 tbsp olive oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 mins until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 min more.

Tip the cooked quinoa into a bowl and add the kale, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, egg and sundried tomatoes. Season well and mix to combine. Set aside.

To make the pesto, put the basil, parsley, garlic, pine nuts and Parmesan in a small food processor. Pulse, slowly pouring in the oil, until you have a thick pesto. Squeeze in the lemon juice to loosen, then set aside.

Gently heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a shallow frying pan. Using your hands, form the quinoa mixture into 8 round patties. Add to the frying pan and fry for 4-5 mins each side until crisp and golden.

Heat the grill to high and put a slice of goat’s cheese on top of each patty. Place under the grill to brown and melt the cheese slightly – this will take a matter of seconds, so keep an eye on them. Top each patty with a generous spoonful of pesto and serve with some fresh green leaves, if you like.

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Kale Pesto – from Olive Magazine website

  • kale 75g, chopped, tough stalks discarded
  • garlic ½ a clove, chopped
  • parmesan (or vegetarian alternative) 50g, finely grated
  • extra-virgin olive oil 3 tbsp, juiced
  • pine nuts 50g, toasted
  • lemon 1, zested and juiced

Put the kale into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, then add the garlic, parmesan, oil, pine nuts and lemon zest and juice, and whizz until smooth.

Add a splash of water to achieve a dressing-like consistency, and season.

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Quinoa & kale muffinsJamie Oliver Website

  • olive oil
  • ½ a small shallot
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 50 g kale
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • 200 g cooked leftover quinoa
  • 100 g ground almonds
  • 85 g feta cheese
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 small bunch of chives

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Line a muffin tray with paper cases and grease them with oil.

Peel and finely chop the shallot. Peel and crush the garlic, then finely chop the kale.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl, then add the shallot, garlic, kale, quinoa and almonds. Crumble in the feta. Mix well, then season to taste.

Spoon the mixture evenly into the cases and bake for 20 to 25 mins, or until golden brown.

Halve and destone the avocado, then scoop out and mash the flesh. Season. Finely chop the chives.

Serve the muffins topped with mashed avocado, chives and a pinch of black pepper.

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Kale caesar salad – BBC Good Food Website

  • 400g kale, tough stems removed and leaves torn into large pieces
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 thick slices sourdough, torn into chunks
  • 2 Little Gem lettuces, leaves separated
  • 1 avocado, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 30g parmesan, shaved

For the dressing

  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 2 anchovies in oil, finely chopped
  • 15g parmesan, finely grated
  • 5 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar

Combine the kale with 1 tbsp of the olive oil and a good pinch of salt in a large bowl, and massage the oil into the leaves for a minute before setting aside to tenderise a little.

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Scatter the bread on a large roasting tray, then drizzle over the remaining 1 tbsp oil. Toss to coat the bread, then bake for 10 mins until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Toss together the kale, lettuce, avocado, if using, and shaved parmesan until evenly mixed.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix together until well combined. You can also do this in a jar – put the lid on and shake well. Loosen with a little water (it should be the consistency of yogurt), then pour over the salad. Scatter over the sourdough croutons and toss again, then grind over some black pepper and serve.

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Turmeric fried eggs and kale salad – Olive Website

  • 50g tahini
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced to make 3 tbsp
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp rose harissa
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 70g kale, tough stems removed, chopped
  • 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 chargrilled red pepper, cut into strips
  • small handful of flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, plus extra to garnish
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • pinch of dried chilli flakes

In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, 1 tbsp of the lemon juice, the honey, 1 tbsp of the olive oil, the harissa and 40ml of hot water. Season to taste and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining lemon juice, zest and garlic. Drizzle in 1 tbsp of olive oil, whisking as you go, until emulsified. Add the kale and toss in the dressing, massaging for 2 mins to soften the leaves. Add the chickpeas, pepper and parsley, season lightly, and toss together.

Drizzle the remaining oil into a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the turmeric and chilli flakes, briefly whisking together, then leave for 30 seconds until fragrant. Once hot and sizzling, gently crack in the eggs, trying to keep them separate. Cook for 2-3 mins, carefully and occasionally spooning the oil onto the whites, until the yolks are soft and the whites are crispy. Remove from the heat.

Divide the kale salad between two bowls, top with the fried eggs and drizzle with the tahini sauce, finishing with the remaining parsley.

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Recipes and facts – French Beans

Green beans are native to North, South, and Central America. Today, however, they grow all over the world.

While they may be low in calories, green beans contain many important nutrients that provide several health benefits. The legumes are full of antioxidants, including vitamin C, flavonols, quercetin, and kaemferol. 


Green Bean Mac n Cheese

Sri Lankan Green Bean Curry

Green Bean Mac n Cheese – from BBC Good Food website

  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 3 tbsp wholemeal flour
  • 500ml milk
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 350g macaroni (or other pasta tubes)
  • 185g pack sliced runner beans
  • 220g pack fine green beans
  • 140g mature cheddar , half chopped, half grated
  • 25g pumpkin seeds
  • peppery salad (such as rocket & watercress), to serve (optional)

Put the oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat, add the flour and stir well. Still stirring, slowly pour in a little of the milk and mix well until smooth. Add a little more milk, repeating until all the milk has been added and you have a smooth sauce. Stir in the nutmeg, season, then take off the heat while you cook the pasta.

Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the macaroni and boil for 8 mins. Add the runner beans and green beans, and boil for a further 3 mins.

Drain the pasta and the beans, and tip into a large gratin dish. Pour over the prepared sauce and tuck the chopped cheese in among the pasta, then top with the grated cheese and pumpkin seeds. Bake for 10-15 mins or until the top is bubbling and golden. Serve with a peppery salad, if you like.

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Sri Lankan Green Bean Curry – from Great British Chefs website

  • 250g of green beans, trimmed and cut into 5cm pieces
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 2 banana shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick, 5cm long
  • 1 tomato, small, diced
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves, plus extra to garnish
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 400ml of coconut milk, (1 tin)
  • salt
  • crispy shallots, to garnish


  • 1 bunch of curry leaves
  • 50g of rapeseed oil

Begin by making the curry leaf oil, as this will take a few hours to strain.

Place the curry leaves and vegetable oil in a blender and blitz at a high speed for several minutes until the oil turns green. Pour the contents of the blender into a muslin cloth hung over a bowl and leave to strain.

Add a dash of vegetable oil to a saucepan and fry the shallots, garlic, chillies, cinnamon and sprig of curry leaves for 5 minutes until soft. Add the diced tomato and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Add the green beans, chilli flakes, cumin, turmeric and pepper and cook gently for 5 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk and simmer for a few more minutes. If you’d like a drier curry with a thicker sauce, simply add less coconut milk.

Season to taste, then transfer to a serving bowl. Top with crispy shallots, extra curry leaves (ideally fried in a little oil until crisp) and finish with a drizzle of the curry leaf oil.

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Recipes and facts – Fennel

Fennel has a pale bulb and long green stalks. It can grow almost anywhere. All parts of the fennel plant, including the bulb, stalk, leaves, and seeds, are edible. They add flavour to other foods.

To prepare fennel, cut the stalks off the bulb at the base where they sprout and slice the bulb vertically. Prepare the fennel leaves, stalks, and bulb in a variety of ways, including:

  • using the stalks as a soup base or stock
  • sautéing the leaves and stalks with onions for a quick and easy side
  • mixing sliced fennel with a variety of your favourite fresh vegetables for a light, crisp salad


Sausage & fennel orecchiette

Marinated fennel and courgette salad with basil

Fennel, leek and garlic confit with lentils

Pickled fennel jam with burrata and grilled bread

Sausage & fennel orecchiette – BBC Good Food website

  • 1 leek, halved and finely sliced
  • 1 small fennel bulb, halved and finely sliced, fronds reserved
  • 250g long-stemmed broccoli, larger stalks finely sliced
  • 300g orecchiette or any short pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 sausages
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes

Boil a large pan of salted water, turn the heat down to medium, then add the leek, sliced fennel and broccoli, and simmer for 3 mins until tender. Lift the veg out of the water using a slotted spoon, drain and set aside. Keep the pan of water on the heat, add the orecchiette and cook for around 11 mins, or until tender but still retaining some bite.

Meanwhile, put a large frying pan over a high heat, add the olive oil and squeeze the sausagemeat out of the skins, tearing it into small pieces in the pan using a wooden spoon. Fry for 3-4 mins until golden brown and almost cooked, then add the garlic, fennel seeds and tomato purée, and fry for 30 seconds until aromatic. Add the blanched veg and grated carrot, and cook for another 4 mins. Tip in the tomatoes, bring to the boil, then simmer for around 4 mins until reduced slightly.

Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of pasta water, and toss the pasta in the pan with the sausage and tomato sauce, adding a splash of pasta water to loosen. Season and serve with the reserved fennel fronds scattered over the top.

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Marinated fennel and courgette salad with basil – Delicious Magazine website

  • 1 large fennel bulb
  • 6 baby courgettes or 3 big ones
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 50ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt flakes
  • Basil leaves

Slice the fennel bulb as finely as you can (set the fronds aside), and spread out in a wide, non-metal dish.

Very finely slice courgettes (set any flowers aside and leave them whole or slice in half carefully if they’re big), then put them in the dish with the fennel.

Squeeze over the juice of both lemons and drizzle over 50ml extra-virgin olive oil. Season with sea salt flakes, then gently toss everything together and leave to marinate for 30-60 minutes.

To serve, transfer the veg to a serving platter (leaving any excess marinade behind), add the courgette flowers, a handful of basil leaves and the fennel fronds (or a few dill sprigs), then drizzle with a little more olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, then serve.

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Fennel, Leek and Garlic Confit with Lentils du Puy, Parsley and Dill – From A Pinch of Saffron Website

  • 2 medium leeks, white and light greens cut into 2-centimeter-thick rounds
  • 1 whole fennel, green fronds kept aside, the rest sliced into 5 mm slices
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
  • 10 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 150 grams dried French (Le Puy) lentils, washed (or regular green lentils)
  • 100 ml heavy / double cream
  • 1 tsp teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Lemon juice from 2 medium lemons (± 5 tbsp)
  • 3 tbsp parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsps fresh dill leaves, roughly chopped
  • Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Cut the leeks lengthwise down the middle, leaving the stem on at the bottom. This makes it easier to rinse the leeks. Rinse them well and then slice into 2 cm thick rings. Use both white and green part.

Add the leeks, fennel, garlic, thyme and a good grind of pepper and salt to 30-by-20-centimeter baking tray. Mix gently to combine, then pour the oil on top, making sure everything is coated and a bit covered. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 35 minutes.

Remove the baking tray from the oven and gently mix everything around.

Cover again with foil and return to the oven to bake until completely softened, about 35 minutes more at 200°C.

In the meantime cook the lentils until just tender but not at all mushy, about 12 minutes. Drain and set aside.

When ready, remove the confit leeks and fennel from the oven and transfer 1/2 heaped cup of the cooked leeks and fennel and 4 of the garlic cloves to bowl and set aside for later (we’ll be using this to make the sauce).

Add the cooked lentils to the baking tray, season with salt and a good grind of pepper; mix gently to combine.

Cover again with the foil and return to the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a final 10 minutes.

In the meantime make the sauce: Add the reserved leeks, fennel and garlic to a food processor along with the heavy cream, mustard and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Blitz until smooth, taste and season with pepper and salt to your liking.

Remove the baking tray from the oven and let settle for 5 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs.

Stir the remaining 4 tablespoons lemon juice and the chopped herbs into the lentil and vegetable mixture.

Transfer to a rimmed dish and serve with the leek cream in a bowl alongside.

Serve hot as is or even cold the next day. Great to prepare ahead of time!

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Pickled fennel jam with burrata and grilled bread – from

  • 500g fennel bulbs, stalks trimmed, fronds reserved
  • 500ml (2 cups) white wine vinegar
  • pinch cooking salt
  • 100g caster sugar
  • sourdough bread, sliced
  • burrata, to serve
  • extra-virgin olive oil

Using a mandolin, thinly slice the fennel lengthways, placing in a bowl of cold water as you go to prevent oxidation.

Place the vinegar and a good pinch of salt in a wide, heavy based saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer until reduced by about three quarters. Add the sugar, stir to dissolve, then return to the boil. Move the pan to the largest burner on your stove top.

Drain the fennel, then add to the boiling vinegar mixture. Stirring continuously, cook until the vinegar evaporates. When the vinegar has nearly evaporated, the fennel will begin to glaze and colour so you must stir the fennel continuously to allow for even cooking and caramelisation. Cook until the fennel is golden, glassy and has a jam like consistency. Transfer to a dish immediately to stop the cooking process. Stand to cool slightly.

Drizzle the bread with a little oil and chargrill on both sides until lightly browned. Spread the pickled fennel jam over the base of a serving dish and top with the burrata. Drizzle generously with olive oil and season with salt, then scatter with the reserved fennel fronds.

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Recipes and facts – Cucumber

Cucumbers are technically fruits, from the same family as watermelons and pumpkins, but most people consider them to be veggies.

A serving of cucumber (one-half a cup) is about 8 calories. They have small amounts of vitamin K and vitamin A and are about 95% water. They also have several phytonutrients (plant chemicals) called lignans.

All that water in cucumbers can help keep you hydrated. Plus, the fiber boost they give you helps you stay regular.


Cucumber, pea and lettuce soup

Cucumber and mint raita

Cucumber, pea & lettuce soup – BBC Good Food website

  • 1 tsp rapeseed oil
  • small bunch spring onions , roughly chopped
  • 1 cucumber , roughly chopped
  • 1 large round lettuce , roughly chopped
  • 225g frozen peas
  • 4 tsp vegetable bouillon
  • 4 tbsp bio yogurt (optional)
  • 4 slices rye bread

Boil 1.4 litres water in a kettle.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and cook the spring onions for 5 mins, stirring frequently, or until softened.

Add the cucumber, lettuce and peas, then pour in the boiled water.

Stir in the bouillon, cover and simmer for 10 mins or until the vegetables are soft but still bright green.

Blitz the mixture with a hand blender until smooth. Serve hot or cold, topped with yogurt (if you like), with rye bread alongside.

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Cucumber and mint raita

  • 400g plain Greek yoghurt
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and stir well. Serve with your favourite curry or Indian dish.

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Recipes and facts – Chard

Dark, leafy green vegetables are among the most nutrient-dense foods.

A small serving of cooked chard covers your daily need for vitamins A and K and nearly fulfils the RDI for vitamin C.

What’s more, chard is a good source of calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, sodium, phosphorus and vitamin E.

This green is not only loaded with nutrients but also extremely low in calories.


Polenta and chard chips with a rich tomato sauce

Chard, roast cherry tomatoes and ricotta bake

Polenta and chard chips with a rich tomato sauce – Zita Steyn’s recipe on the Delicious Magazine website

  • 200g swiss or rainbow chard, or dark leafy greens
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 280g medium or coarse polenta (we used quick-cook)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Rapeseed oil for brushing

For the tomato sauce

  • 1kg vine tomatoes, halved
  • 2 large red onions, finely chopped
  • Olive oil for roasting
  • 2 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1 whole garlic bulb, skin on, cut in half horizontally
  • Pinch cayenne pepper or clear honey to taste (optional)

Cut the stalks off the chard leaves, chop them into small pieces and set aside. Chop the leaves into bite-size pieces and set aside separately.

In a large, deep saucepan, melt the butter, then fry the onion with a pinch of salt over a medium heat. Add the chard stalks and cook for 5-10 minutes until tender, then add the leaves and sauté for 1 minute.

Bring 1.4 litres water to the boil in a large saucepan, then stir in the polenta. Whisk with a balloon whisk until thickened, then stir in the salt and some pepper. Cover and cook over a low heat for 10-20 minutes until the polenta thickens and begins to come away from the side of the pan as you stir. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and smooth with the back of a spoon. Leave to cool, then chill for a few hours to set – it needs to be completely cold before cutting.

To make the tomato sauce, heat the oen to 150°C/130°C fan/gas 2. Toss the tomatoes and onions in the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then season with salt and pepper and arrange in a baking tray, cut-side up. Roast for 2-2½ hours.

Rub some oil on the cut sides of the garlic halves, then wrap in foil and roast for 1 hour or until soft.

Scrape the tomatoes and onions into a blender, squeeze out the soft garlic from the skin and blend until smooth. Taste and season; add cayenne pepper if you want spice, honey if you want sweetness.

Turn the oven up to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Cut the polenta into chips about 1.5cm thick and 8cm long. Put on a baking sheet and brush all over with rapeseed oil. Roast for 1 hour or until golden, carefully turning after 30 minutes. Warm the sauce to serve with the chips.

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Chard, roast cherry tomato and ricotta bake – Olive Magazine website

  • cherry tomatoes 150g
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • butter
  • chard 200g, shredded
  • nutmeg a good grating
  • ricotta 125g
  • eggs 3
  • parmesan 50g, grated

Heat the oven to 220c/fan 200c/gas 7.

Toss the tomatoes with a little olive oil, season and roast for 10 minutes. Take out but leave the oven on.

In the meantime, melt a knob of butter in a large frying pan then fry the chard for 5 minutes or until wilted and tender. Season with the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Press against the pan with a wooden spoon to squeeze out excess juices and pour them away.

Beat the ricotta with the eggs and most of the parmesan. Season, then stir in the chard.

Pour into a buttered baking dish about 20cm square, spoon on the tomatoes and sprinkle on the rest of the cheese.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until just set in the middle. Grill for 2 minutes until golden if you want more colour. Serve with a crisp green salad.

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News from the farm

When the season starts there is always part of me that is wishing for the perfect year. A year when the weather treats us kindly and we get everything right! Of course this never happens but we’ve got a few things to be pleased about so far.

For the first time in several year we have had a good amount of rainfall on the farm. This means we have had the biggest onion harvest yet. The onions are huge, perhaps too big for some people, but we should have more than enough to see us through until next spring. We can give a generous share of onions each week and we may even have some spare to wholesale. Our potato crop has also benefited from the rain and we are hoping for a good harvest of them after a couple of disappointing years. We now have an ex supermarket insulated lorry trailer for crop storage. This should give us plenty of space to keep the crops frost and rodent free for the Winter.

The down side to the rain has been the slugs which came out in force. We normally use an organically approved slug pellet, but since the crows got a taste for it and started to destroy our fleece crop covers to get to it, this became harder to rely upon. I’ve realised they make a home in the soil bags we use to weigh down crop covers so we’re switching to sand bags which are less favourable to them. Encouraging ground beetles which can feed on slugs and slug eggs can also help. The slugs have meant that some of our winter cabbage beds are looking a bit sparse and the parsnips also took a bit of a hit, but on the whole we’ve planted enough for this not to be a major problem. 

The overall picture of the farm is that the main crops which we rely on for the autumn and winter – potatoes, carrots, onions, beetroot, celeriac, leeks, kale, brussels etc are all looking good so far. This means we can feel confident of a good veg bag each week through the colder months. Our attentions now turn to the poly tunnels where we’ll plant a selection of winter salad leaves, spinach, chard, pak choi and spring greens to keep the veg shares fresh, green and leafy through until the spring.

Volunteering at the work weekends at Bennison Farm – By Chris Wagland

I have always loved organic gardening.

Having been a keen advocate of organic growing methods for several decades and, due to many career related house moves, we have found much joy over the years in turning each newly acquired garden into a wildlife friendly and chemical free zone. Accordingly, having moved to Wivenhoe, I had Bennison Farm on my radar for a while, as well as carrying out house improvements and starting on another garden.

With the arrival of the first “lockdown”, our thoughts focused more towards supporting local growers rather than using supermarkets and so we decided to join the Bennison Farm scheme.  We have been very happy with the results. It’s been so nice to nip down to the pub and pick up our bag of fresh veg every week, saying hello to the chickens on the way in.  I’ve been very impressed at how clean and slug free Danny’s cabbages are, as my home grown ones usually have passengers that need to be rescued from the sink, however hard I have tried to deter them.  I clearly still have a lot to learn! 

Despite getting on a bit in years, we have, hopefully, kept reasonably fit and so we were up for helping out with the work days on the farm, where possible. So far, we have managed the June and July days and enjoyed both of them despite the weather on each day being diametrically opposed to the other! The June day was warm and sunny and Danny made us very welcome.  The time went quickly as we worked with a lovely family and could chat whilst weeding. (This can get complicated as both my husband and I are called “Chris”, but we have had to get used to that one). 

The July day was wet underfoot but dry-ish from above, so that worked out well. We were quite a large group of people, all very friendly and welcoming.  With the soil being soft and friable, the weeds came up easily, often revealing all sorts of interesting little critters to observe while working. 

It beats a gym membership any day, as far as I’m concerned.