This week our bags have lovely baby spinach from the Healy’s farm in Wicklow. It cooks in a minute so is a great fast food. Serve it straight up with a knob of butter or a drizzle of olive oil. For a really delicious side dish sauté a few chopped cloves of garlic in butter then throw on the spinach, mix everything together well and serve. For a main course add some cream and Parmesan and you’ve got a very quick pasta sauce. This week’s recipe is a pasta dish but without the cream as I’m sure that we’d all like to hit the beach at some stage this year…………..

Pasta with baby spinach, garlic and black olives

You’ll need:

120gr baby spinach

5 cloves garlic – if you’re using the fresh stuff from last week use more


Olive oil

Handful of stoned black olives roughly chopped

Pasta – whatever you like, kids shouted for shells so I went with those

First of all stick on the kettle for the pasta (this dish is that fast) Wash your spinach then roughly shred it. Stick on the pasta.
Chop the garlic then gently sauté it in a large knob of butter and some olive oil. When the garlic has softened (don’t let it change colour as it’ll start to burn very quickly after that) add the spinach and toss it until it has wilted and is well coated in butter and garlic. Add the olives and when the pasta is cooked, drain it and mix into the pasta adding some more butter and olive Oil aswell as a couple of tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Spinach is, of course, fab in all kinds of salads and sambos. Try it with this week’s cherry vine tomatoes, toasted pine nuts and goat’s Cheese or with walnuts and feta. Dress with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and serve with a simple omelette or some fish.

Have a great weekend,


Swedes and Baby Spinach

March 13, 2009

If vegetables were people swede is the one that would never get any valentine cards. I’ve been running a box scheme for 8 years now and I can safely say that it’s one of the varieties most dreaded by people signing up to an organic delivery service. Some people love it of course but for most bad, bad memories of overcooked soggy orange puree served in times past (and still in urban Sunday carveries in times present) make it difficult to approach this variety with anything other than trepedation.
Well fear not, my first recipe this week this week is going to change your feelings about this humble variety forever. It has been a recent revelation and definitely puts swede on the cooking map for me. It turns out that swede goes really really well with onions and bacon (let’s face it, doesn’t everything?) and by frying up smallish slices with plenty of these until everything is crispy you have a dish that works a treat with roasts but can also stand alone with the addition of some goat’s cheese. Vegetarians can leave out the bacon and add more onions………

Refried Swede with Caramelized Onions and Bacon

You’ll need:

1 swede

2 medium onions


Olive olive

5 streaky rashers finely chopped
Begin by peeling your swede – it’s probably best to half and even quarter it before you attempt this. Now, slice it into pieces about 2-3cm square. Bring to the boil,  simmer until tender then drain and set aside. While the swede is cooking, chop the  onions and start to sauté in about a tablespoon of butter and a dash of olive oil (this stops the butter burning) over a gentle heat until they start to darken and caramelize (about 15 minutes). Throw in  the bacon and continue cooking for a few minutes before adding the swede. Keep cooking adding a little more butter if necessary until everything starts to change colour and crisp up. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
As I said. you can serve this dish as is but if want to use it as a main I suggest topping it with rounds of goat’s cheese and placing the lot under the grill until golden.

Another approach is of course the gratin, always welcome at this time of the year…….

Swede and Potato Gratin with Goat’s Cheese.

You’ll need:

500gr potato

500gr swede


125gr. goat’s cheese

1 medium onion

150ml double cream

150ml milk


Peel and finely slice the potato and swede (celeriac can be substituted for either ingredient or a mix of the three works very well). Crumble the goat’s cheese and finely slice the onion. In a buttered gratin dish (about 25cm ox 25cm) layer the potato and swede, onions and goat’s cheese. Pour over the cream and milk seasoned with salt, pepper and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. Cover and bake in a medium oven (gas mark 5) for 30 minutes then uncover and bake for a further 30 minutes or until the top is bubbling and golden brown. Eat with a simple green salad.

For greens try Rocket. You can use it in all kinds of salads (Walnuts and Goat’s Cheese are fab with it)

There are also jerusalem artichokes (they’re those knobbly thingsyou’ve probably been wondering about) in all our bags this week. If you’re not sure what to do with them. Try panfried with bacon  or in a warm salad with smoked cheese and rocket (there’s also a lovely soup recipe in that post too). Whatever you do don’t let them languish in a corner of your fridge because you’re no familiar with them. They’re well worth checking out and all the recipes are quick.