Does your fridge suddenly ‘grow’ lettuces? Mine does
Because it does, this little gem (sic.) came to pass. It is adapted from a Little Gem, pea, avocado and mint salad I make in the summer.
But this is winter. Take two little gem lettuce and slice lengthways into eight. Snick the bitter end off (but not too much). Chop a small bunch of spring onions including the green bits. Add a little olive oil to a shallow pan on a medium heat. Add the onions then the lettuce then two cups of frozen peas, 50ml water and a squeeze of juicy garlic. Turn the heat up high. Clamp on the lid and when it is steaming, give it 3 minutes. Then remove from the heat and stir in two tablespoons of coriander chutney (seebelow). Swirl around a bit.
It is divine.
Green coriander chutney
Take one bunch of fresh green coriander. Two cloves of garlic. Half a green chilli. A teaspoon of sugar. A squeeze of lemon juice. The thick residue of a tin of coconut milk (just drain the fluid from the tin, you should have a good half tin of coconut if not dilute it slightly with the fluid you’ve just drained).
Put the garlic, chilli and coriander in a small food processor or Nutribullet. when finely chopped add the sugar, lemon juice and the coconut. Whizz madly. Check to see if it needs salt. Pour about half of it onto your Little Gem with peas. Keep the other half for when you have a curry tomorrow!
Stir fried sprouts
Slice your sprouts into 1cm thick slices. Chop some onion and a clove of garlic. Grate the rind from half a washed lemon. Heat some oil in a wok or wide pan until it is smoking. Add the onion first, swirl around for about 30 seconds. Then add the sprouts. Add the garlic last. Stir around for no more than a minute. Then add the lemon rind, seasalt and lots of black pepper. Take off the heat. Add a little more olive oil. Serve.
Carrots with caraway
Sweat half an onion in the bottom of the pan in olive oil (be generous). After five minutes add carrots cut into chunks, a dessert spoon of caraway seeds, half a teaspoon of sugar and half a chopped preserved lemon. Don’t add salt. Pour in a cup of water and bring it all to the boil then put a ring of greasepeoof paper on top of the carrots (it’s called a cartouche) and then the lid. Now turn the heat to barely on and cook for about an hour either on the ring or in the oven. Don’t remove the lid or the cartouche until you are ready to serve. The carrots will be meltingly soft and suffused with sweetness, countered by the bitterness of the lemon and warmed by the caraway.
I love cauliflower but this is one of my favourite ways of cooking it. (No, it is not cauliflower ‘rice’ although that has its place, to be sure). This cauliflower is roasted. Take a whole cauliflower and break it into large-ish florets. Then cut each floret into slices about 1.5cm thick. The idea is that you want to make them lay flat on the surface of a baking sheet. Put the florets in a bowl and mix with the following: 5ml seasalt flakes, a good grind of black pepper, two teaspoons of cumin seed, one teaspoon of turmeric powder, one onion chopped (but not too fine), a few chilli flakes, 30ml olive oil or rapeseed oil. Mix well. Put a sheet of greasproof paper on the baking tray and pre-heat in the oven set at 200C. Then turn out the contents of the bowl onto the baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes. Some of the florets should look a bit charred – this adds to the flavour in my opinion. If you don’t like ‘a bit charred’ then take out of the oven a bit sooner.
We get through a lot of courgette but I don’t ever give them the star treatment. They are a good workhorse in the kitchen. And sometimes they have to stand alone as a vegetable. Chop courgettes into rough chunks. Don’t make them into smooth circles, but alternate the direction of your chopping so you get irregular shapes. Try and make them a good 2cm at the thickest part. Dredge with seasoned coarse semolina. Put a little oil in a wide pan and heat it smoking. Then add a small chopped onion, lots of chopped garlic, fresh thyme leaves. Have some chopped fresh parsley and chopped fresh basil ready. Then throw in your courgettes and keep moving them around so they stir fry but never ‘catch’. After four minutes or so, add cherry tomatoes that you’ve cut in half. Toss these into the pan and leave for two minutes. Then add seasalt and black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Take off the heat and then add the parsley and basil.
So many ways with celeriac. One of my favourite and simplest ways is to make mash with equal amounts of potato and celeriac. Or to slice it into 2cm thick slices, slather it with oil, chilli flakes and coriander powder then roast it till it is soft on the inside then slightly charred on the outside. Eat it as a burger, slapped in a bun with red slaw and horseradish.