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It’s the first week of March and the weather is already sunnier and warmer. Yay! It’s  a rare alignment of dates and weather. Shouldn’t get too excited – it’ll probably be snowing by the end of the week. We have broad beans in this week, a preview of summer to come. You can of course steam then toss them with garlic and chili and stir through pasta for a super quick meal. Go one calorie- tastic step further and sauté them with pancetta and stir in cream, pasta and plenty of pasta for absolute heaven on a plate.

As it’s nearly summer 😉 I made a salad with this week’s white cabbage. It’s a sort of coleslaw I suppose. I shredded the cabbage finely and mixed it with a few finely diced carrots – half and half roughly. Steam the beans and toast the same volume of pumpkin seeds. The dressing is yogurt based and instead of honey for sweetness I used maple syrup which makes a nice change. This quantity makes enough for 2 or 3 people to have as a side with say, fish or as part of a larger picky type meal.

A salad of Broad beans, white cabbage and toasted pumpkin seeds with a yogurt and maple dressing

You’ll need:

Half head white cabbage shredded finely and chopped

2-3 large carrots diced finely

500gr broad beans podded

100gr pumpkin seeds

For the dressing

2 tablespoon yogurt

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Pinch salt

Black pepper

First of all make the dressing – whisk all the ingredients together. Check and correct the seasoning if necessary then set aside.

Pod the beans then steam until tender. Allow to cool then pop each bean out of its pod.

Toast the pumpkin seeds by placing with on a frying pan and toasting over a medium heat til they change colour.

To put the salad together. Toss the cabbage and carrot into a serving bowl. Top with the beans and pumpkin seeds. Drizzle with a little of the dressing and serve the rest on the side.

Flat bean and cous cous salad
There were quite a few leftover flat beans after last Friday’s then last Monday’s delivery runs so we’ve been having them every which way since then. Steamed  with a drizzle of olive oil, steamed and smothered with garlic butter (nom!), raw and chopped up small and tossed into salads with toasted seeds, with noodles and Parmesan for a mega quick dinner, Asian style with ginger dressings…. All good but this week’s recipe is still one of my favourite ways to eat them – in a  cous cous salad with some pan fried chorizo, a couple of handfuls of chickpeas, a really big handful of flatleaf parsley and, optionally, some crumbled feta.  It’s a dish that makes perfect sense to me, everything complements everything else and the result is so satisfying.
Toasted cous cous salad with flat beans, chickpeas and chorizoYou’ll need:280gr-300gr flat beans (about what you have in your bag this week) topped and tailed1 cup cous cous

1 onion finely chopped

A piece of chorizo 3 inches long

1/2 tin (a large handful) chickpeas)

A bunch flat leaf parsley

Olive oil

Lemon juice

Red wine vinegar

Begin by cooking your beans. Cut them in three so you have pieces about an inch and a half long. Drop into boiling water and cook until tender. Drain, rinse under cold water and set aside.

Prepare 1 cup of cous cous. My method involves toasting the grains on a dry (i.e.. no oil) frying pan over a medium heat and this gives them a lovely nutty flavour which adds to your final dish. When they start to turn golden add 2 cups of hot water, turn off the heat and stir until all the water is absorbed and the cous cous is cooked adding more water if necessary. If you find the grains are still undercooked simply turn on the heat again, add more water and cook until absorbed and the grains are done.

Add the chickpeas and onion and mix through the still warm cous cous. Season and set aside.

Roughly chop the chorizo and gently sauté in a little olive oil for a few minutes before adding the beans. Toss everything over a medium heat for another minute then mix into the cous cous making sure to get as much of the chorizo oil from the pan as possible. Dress with a little olive oil, lemon juice and red wine vinegar to taste.

Just before serving roughly chop the parsley and add that in. This dish is great on it’s own is also beautiful served with fish or eggs (I’m thinking omelettes and quiches rather than sunny side up though!)

Enjoy,

Sarah

 

Fresh garlic and rainbow chard gratin

Yes folks, the summer is coming (are you listening weather gods? The summer IS coming) but it’s a little, ahem,sluggish (hailstones??????????) in asserting itself. It’s way too chilly for May and what about all that rain? If only I could make frizzy hair work…

The cold prompted me to plan a whole day’s cooking based round the oven yesterday. The house is warm and smells amazing. I’m slow roasting lamb shanks a la Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall with olives and white wine . He calls for Gas mark 3 for 2 hours but I’ve dialled this down and am going for an all dayer on Gas mark 1. I also have a tray of slightly over the hill tomatoes roasting away with oregano and chilli. Again, these guys will be in for most of the day but we’ve just had a few of the more done ones for lunch). Earlier on I made this week’s fresh garlic and rainbow chard gratin in from Denis Healy’s farm, in Wicklow which was set off nicely with the tomatoes.

Fresh garlic is mild, tender and almost onioney so you use lots more of it than the regular kind. It’s lovely in omelettes and fritattas and gently fried with chilli will make a great pasta sauce. The rainbow chard is a favourite of mine. Tastewise, it’s like spinach but you get all those lovely colours as a bonus. I tossed the two in olive oil until tender then layered them up with some finely sliced spuds, grated cheddar and Pecorino. Yes, it was as tasty as it sounds.

Fresh garlic and rainbow chard

Fresh garlic and rainbow chard gratin

You’ll need:

1 bunch rainbow chard

1 bunch fresh garlic

Olive oil

1k potatoes

200 ml single cream

200 ml milk

Salt and pepper

100gr cheddar cheese grated

75gr Pecorino cheese (Parmesan will also do)

Begin with the spuds – peel then slice them thinly (about 2 mm thick) If you have a mandolin this works brilliantly for this. Put them in a pot of salted water and bring to the boil and get on with things.

Fresh garlic

Wash and trim the garlic. You can keep the green parts. Roughly chop it all and begin to sweat in a generous glug of olive oil. Wash the chard and chop the stems to lengths about 1 cm long. After about 5 minutes you can add these to the pan. Shredded the chard leaves and add this to the pan after a further 5 minutes. Toss everything together until the chard wilts then take off the pan and allow to cool down a bit.

When the potatoes have come to the boil, drain them and set aside. Combine the milk and cream adding a generous pinch of fine salt and lots of black pepper.

To put the dish together lightly grease a  gratin dish with some olive oil and add a layer of potatoes (about 1/5 of what you have). Follow with about 1/3 of the chard and garlic and 1/4 of your cheese.

Fresh garlic and rainbow chard gratin

Continue layering like this ending with a layer of spuds and a final sprinkling of cheese. Pour over the cream and milk then cover with tinfoil and put in the oven at Gas mark 5 and bake for about 50 minutes removing the tinfoil after the first 25 minutes. It’s ready when the spuds are super tender and the crust is golden. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

As I mentioned rainbow chard makes lovely fritatta. Try this recipe with Parmesan if you want to give that a try. Or there’s stirfried with lemon, chili and garlic which makes a great sidedish.

Have a great weekend,

Sarah

Quinoa Salad

My love affair with quinoa continues and it’s not just about the amino acids (it has them all – unheard of unless you’re talking animal/fish protein). No, the attraction lies in the texture (crunchy yet tender ), the nutty flavour, the versatility (it does everything cous cous can plus it’s not wheat) and of course the simplicity of the cooking (20 minutes, not much stirring or attention and it always works out). If you haven’t had it I urge you to give it a go. It can be hard to track down but a good deli or your local healthfood shop should have it or you can have it delivered with your veggies from Home Organics.

My latest favourite quinoa dish is a salad with slow-cooked leeks, toasted pumpkin seeds and feta with a lemon balsamic dressing which you can serve warm or at room temperature . It seems to go with everything – falafel, fish, meat especially lamb, tortilla, roasted veg, hummus, guacamole and of course any salad but it’s particularly good with a beetroot one I’ve been making recently with blood orange and toasted hazelnuts, ….. basically it has slotted right into easy midweek eating. I make double quantities of the recipe below, we have half for dinner then the rest is on standby for the next day’s lunch, dinner and general munchies.

Quinoa salad with caramelized leeks, toasted pumpkin seeds and feta cheese with a lemon balsamic dressing

You’ll need:

1 cup quinoa

1 bunch leeks (about 3 or 4 decent size ones) trimmed of roots and tougher dark green bits

100gr feta cheese

A handful pumpkin seeds

For the dressing:

The juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

5 tablespoons olive oil

Maldon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

I cook quinoa the same way I do cous cous – lightly toast it on a dry pan then add water and allow it to cook. The toasting adds flavour and colour. It takes longer to cook than cous cous – about 20 minutes or so but unlike cous cous you don’t really have to watch it so it kind of takes care of itself allowing you to get on with the rest of the meal.

Cooked quinoa

For this dish I like the leeks super- tender and almost at melting point and you’ll need about 20 minutes for this. Wash them carefully as they can be quite gritty – I usually cut down the centre a few inches then swish them around in cold water before I chop them in discs.

Chopped Leeks

So, first of all start toasting the quinoa on a dry pan over a medium heat. Within about 2 minutes the grains will start to change colour and take on a golden hue. When this happens, turn down the heat slightly and add 3 cups of hot but not boiling water and a generous pinch of salt. Stir everything then leave things gently bubbling while you get on with the rest.

Heat a generous glug olive oil on another pan and add the leeks. Toss so the leeks are all coated in oil adding a generous pinch of salt as you go.  Heatwise you want things hot enough for the leeks to cook and soften but not so hot that they start to darken and burn unless you are constantly stirring them.

With the leeks and quinoa cooking, take (yet another pan) and toast the pumpkin seeds til golden then set aside. Make the dressing by whisking the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar with some crushed Maldon together.

Quinoa salad dressing

When the quinoa is ready (tender with the little “tails” sprouted) take it off the heat and stir in the leeks. Allow things to cool a bit then add the pumpkin seeds and dressing. Taste then add more lemon juice/vinegar and/or salt along with a very generous grinding of coarsely ground black pepper. Crumble in the feta, mix once more and serve.

Marketwatch

It’s Seville orange season and we’ll be getting a delivery in next week. If you’d like to make marmalede or cake (that tang works so well with almonds and/or dark chocolate) be sure and give us a shout and we’ll you name on a few kilos. They’re €3.50 per kilo.

Avocado and Grapefruit Salad

Avocados are really starting to peak and are amazing with ruby grapefruit. This week’s salad is a cinch to make, looks gorgeous on the plate and tastes fab to boot….

A rocket salad with grapefruit and avocado

You’ll need:

A perfectly ripe avocado

1 ruby grapefruit

80gr rocket

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Maldon salt

Wash and dry rocket removing any stalky bits if necessary. With a sharp knife peel the grapefruit removing as much pith as possible. Cut into segments then slice each segment into two or three. Cut the avocado in half and  remove the stone. Peel each half then cut into small bite-size chunks.

Toss the avocado and grapefruit with the rocket then dress with 3 parts olive oil to 1 part balsamic vinegar with a tiny pinch salt.

This is heaven with some grilled fish or with a cous cous and chickpea salad.

In case you’re wondering………

The gnarly thing in your bag is celeriac and it makes great soup, gratins, is lovely roasted and is pretty amazing in a stew with chorizo. The choice is yours.

There are 2 kinds of greens in this week’s bag – rocket and cima di rapa (the leaves with some yellow flowers attached). These are actually turnip tops and can be tossed on the pan with garlic for a simple but very tasty side or served with pinenuts and chorizo as a very moreish salad.

Have a great week,

Sarah

Quinoa salad with runner beans, feta, cherry vine tomatoes and pumpkin seeds

Quinoa. You’ve heard of it, mispronounced it even (next time say “keen-wah”). So just what  is it? Well, it’s a seed that you eat like a grain, sort of like cous cous or, indeed, rice. It’s texture is curiously tender yet crunchy and tastewise it’s  gorgeously nutty. The really big news though is that it is a nutritionist’s dream, with an almost perfect  balance of amino acids and a high protein content (12%) which makes it a brilliant food for vegetarians and vegans. The combination of manganese and copper make it a brilliant antioxidant (it makes you look younger!) plus it has tons of iron. I could go on but really the bottom line is that you need to get this into your weekly repetoire. As soon as.

Don’t panic about how to cook it – it’s quick and very easy (David Lynch in a wonderfully out there quinoa cooking class advises a glass of wine while “all the little quinoas” bubble away) plus you can make it in advance. I cook it in the same way I prepare cous cous  – I lightly toast it on the pan then add hot water and let it bubble way for about 15 minutes until tender. Each seed sprouts a little “tail” and when that happens it’s cooked.

For a very healthy yet surprisingly moreish lunch,  I often have a bowl with a couple of onions pan-fried in butter til golden and almost mushy stirred through then topped with a handful of  steamed broccoli florets with lots of black pepper and a generous pinch of Maldon.  Salads are another way to go and everything you can do with cous cous you can do here. Last night I took what were probably the last of this summer’s runner beans, cherry vine tomatoes, black Greek olives, some salty feta and a handful of toasted pumpkin seeds and put them together to make a very satisfying side to go with a courgette omelette. Today, I’ve just finished a bowl of the leftovers  for  lunch.

To keep things light I used a lemon dressing with a little balsamic thrown in for a depth. If you’re making this to have for lunch the next day you can dress it in advance but you might want to add a little extra lemon juice before you eat as the citrus bite tends to dissipate over night.

Quinoa salad with runner beans, cherry vine tomatoes, olives and feta topped with toasted pumpkin seeds

You’ll need:

1 cup quinoa

250gr runner beans – topped and tailed and cut into narrow (1.5cm) diagonal stripsChopped runner beans

300gr cherry vine tomatoes washed and quartered

A large handful black olives very roughly chopped

200gr feta cheese

A handful pumpkin seeds lightly toasted on a dry pan

For the dressing:

The juice of one lemon (slightly less if it’s a really big one)

1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Begin with the quinoa – toast it on a pan over a lowish heat until it starts to change colour slightly. Add 3 cups of hot water, stir well adding a generous pinch of salt. Allow things to settle down to a simmer. Cook for about 12 minutes until the quinoa is almost tender and the aforementioned tails are starting to appear. Add the beans and cover for about 2 minutes to let them steam. At this stage the water should be completely absorbed, the quinoa grains light and  fluffy and the beans al dente. Let things cool down a bit while you put the dressing together. Mix the juice, balsamic and oil together and add a generous pinch of salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. To finish things off, add the tomatoes, olives and most of the pumpkin seeds to the quinoa and beans. Stir in the dressing and, finally crumble in the feta. Top with the rest of the pumpkin seeds and you’re ready to serve.

Can’t track it down?

You can get some with your next fruit and veg delivery if you’re having trouble finding quinoa locally. A 500gr pack costs €3.35. Just give us a shout .

Have a great week,

Sarah

Corn, roasted pepper, tomato and lime salsaThis one’s simple but really packs a punch. Until this summer I only really boiled or barbecued sweetcorn on the cob. A slathering of  butter and maybe a little honey was as far as I went in terms of adding flavour and really that is still a great way to go.  This year however, I’ve branched out and been making fritters on a regular basis (they’re pretty addictive)  and, recently, I’ve been using them in salads. I’d always thought that you had to cook sweetcorn but you don’t (unless it’s really ancient) so it’s actually a great one for putting a dish together fast. This week’s recipe is for a salad that could also be called a salsa.  Last night we had it with some pan-fried pollock and it totally rocked and I’m looking forward to having it with barbecued fish and a little sour cream in corn tortillas over the weekend. The roasted pepper adds a lovely smokiness to the other ingredients and all the lime juice keeps things very fresh. A tiny bit of chili minced very finely gives a little undertone of heat which you can off course turn up if you choose. Delish!

Sweetcorn, pepper, tomatoes and lime

Salad with sweetcorn, tomatoes, roasted peppers, chilli and lime

You’ll need:Roasted pepper

1 corn on the cob

1 red pepper

1 small onion

2 vine tomatoes

A small piece of red chilli very finely minced

A little extra virgin olive oil

1 lime

A small bunch of flatleaf parsley chopped – Coriander is an obvious substitute if you prefer

Begin by roasting the pepper. I do this over a naked flame on my gas cooker. Sit the pepper on the flame and let the skin blacken, turning the pepper round so all the sides char fully. Take off the flame and put in a plastic bag for a few minutes. The steam created in the bag helps to lift off the skin. When you take the pepper out of the bag you should be able to rub the skin off the flesh with your fingers or a knife.Remove all the seeds and when the flesh is clean with all the skin removed dice it up quite finely. Dice the tomato and onion and toss with the pepper in a bowl. To remove the corn from the cob simply slice it off in strips.

Corn off the cob

Add to the salad along with the juice of a lime, a pinch of salt the chopped parsley and a little drizzle of oil. Mix everything well, taste to check the seasoning then serve.This keeps well in the fridge for a few hours so can be made ahead of time

This week brings another special treat – purple sprouting broccoli. It’s always a big hit but very tricky to source the quantities we need for all our bags so a big shout goes out to Duncan Healy for sourcing this week’s supply. This evening I’ll be making one of my alltime favourite dishes with it – polenta topped with goat’s cheese, red pesto, leaves and purple sprouting broccoli. I know I’ve mentioned it before but it really is so good.

Have a brilliant weekend,

Sarah