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!)




Chorizo and rocket sandwich

If you’re going out over the next week or so and I’m guessing you are, this week’s recipe sorts the what to eat the morning after the night before perfectly. Pan-fried chorizo with garlic mayo and rocket on ciabatta – heaven in a sandwich. It has not failed me yet. I used to get this from Ochos our local Spanish joint which sadly closed up a couple of months back. And while yes, after a hard night out it is always good to be served breakfast this one really is a cinch to put together yourself with the bonus that dressing is optional which is definitely a fair trade in my mind…..

Pan-fried chorizo with garlic mayo and rocket on lightly toasted ciabatta

You’ll need:

1 chorizo sausage weighing about 100gr – try to get a softish one

2 tablespoon of mayonnaise

1 fat clove garlic

A spritz of lemon juice

A large handful rocket washed and dried

A little onion very finely sliced (optional)

Ciabatta or any other soft crusty bread you prefer

Heat a little oil on the pan, slice the chorizo down the middle and fry over a very gentle heat until it softens and begins to darken on the outside. While the sausage is frying crush the garlic and mix it through the mayo along with a spritz of lemon juice. Taste and adjust as you like. To put the sandwich together, lightly toast the bread then spread with mayo, cover with rocket and a little onion if you’re using it then top with the chorizo and serve.

This week’s bags all have a massive head of kale in from Denis Healy’s farm.  Shredded and pan-fried with slices of chorizo then topped with a poached egg a la Nigella Lawson makes a great quick supper. Otherwise, gently fry it up in butter with lots of garlic then stir through creamy mash for a delicious colcannon.

This week’s fennel makes brilliant gratins or there’s a lovely soup with orange you might like to try while my beetroot will be slow-roasted then served up with a drizzle of walnut oil and balsamic – Yum!!

Don’t forget to let us know about any of the extras you might be needing for Christmas by next Friday and be sure to give us a call if you’re not sure about anything.

Have a great weekend,


Pasta with broadbeans and chorizo

Apologies for the hiatus – I was in Wales for the week eating way too many Welsh cakes and cream teas. This week has been all about catching up on all the things I blew off til after Easter so it’s been busy busy. We’re getting our website overhauled so there’s lots going on. Foodwise, summer is creeping in. We’ve got bread beans and courgettes in all our bags this week, two varieties that always say summer to me. I made pasta. While they are fab the yield on broadbeans is, shall we say, not huge. You get a big bag of pods, shell them and end up with a handful of beans – it’s the opposite of the loaves and the fishes! That’s where pasta comes in. To make things go a bit further I added a courgette and some chorizo for a bit of a kick. While shelling the beans is a bit faffy the rest of the dish takes about 15 minutes to put together. Perfect for a Friday evening….

Broad bean pasta with courgettes and chorizo

You’ll need:

400gr broad beans shelled

1 medium courgette sliced then cut into quarters

A piece of chorizo about 10cm long chopped into smallish pieces


Olive oil

Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Broadbeans and pasta

Begin by steaming the broad beans. This will take about 2 minutes. Rinse in plenty of cold water to cool them down and stop them going mushy. Then pop the beans out of their skins by making an incision with your nail and easing the bean out. Set aside then put the kettle on for pasta and heat some olive oil in a pan. Add the courgettes to the pan and stick on the pasta. Allow the courgettes to cook for a minute or two then throw in the chorizo. Cook for another few minutes until the courgettes are tender. Add the beans and a generous glug of olive oil and mix everything together.

Broadbeans, chorizo and courgette

Season with salt (don’t go too crazy – the chorizo is salty) and plenty of black pepper. At this stage the pasta should be ready, drain it then mix with the other ingredients adding some grated Parmesan. Serve immediately. Enjoy.

Cima di Rapa

May 14, 2010

Cima di rapa fresh from Denis Healy's farm

We don’t see these greens very often. Cima di rapa or turnip tops (much less glamorous but that’s actually what they are) have a very, very short season. Blink and they’ve gone to seed. I’ve been in almost daily contact with Duncan Healy about getting a supply this week and while it looked a bit touch and go on Tuesday the Healys managed to harvest enough for us. Thank you, thank you!!!

It’s just so nice to have something different. This time of year is called the hungry gap. Most of the winter stuff is finished and the summer varieties are starting to come through but just not as fast as we’d like!!!! Damned organics – why can’t they grow faster???

I’d had a single chorizo sausage in my fridge leftover from a barbeque at the weekend and I’m glad I resisted the temptation to snaffle it as a midnight snack during the week. I fried it up then tossed it with cima di rape, added a smattering of pine nuts and served it dressed in sherry vinegar. Bree Vandecamp would have made a reduction with the vinegar and you can too if you want to go fancy.I was just too hungry and really there’s no need. The spicy oil that oozes from the chorizo when you cook it  provides the dressing along with the vinegar which gives a lovely sharp relief. And it was all done in about 10 minutes……….

A warm salad of Cima di rapa with chorizo and pine nuts   (for 1 as lunch or 2 as a starter)

If you're in Spain get some of this


You’ll need:

1 bunch of cima di rape

100gr chorizo

Olive Oil

2 tablespoons pinenuts

Sherry vinegar

Finely slice the chorizo and throw onto a warm pan and saute slowly for about 5 or 6 minutes. To prepare the cima di rapa,  remove the tougher stalks and chop the rest of them into pieces about 1 inch long. The leaves you can leave a lot longer, just tear them in two. When the chorizo has released its oil and is starting to darken, add the pinenuts. Toss for a minute then add the greens. Keep tossing until they begin to wilt then remove from the pan. Drizzle with sherry vinegar and serve.

How to make dinner fast is the big challenge for most of us during the week. With the best will in the world I never seem to have  the time to cook ahead and often find myself opening the fridge and scratching my head when everyone’s already starving (especially me!!). August sometimes climbs into his high chair and waves spoons at me while I go from fridge to cupboard trying to come up with the answer – I think he finds it all quite amusing… Dan has taken to the old “what’s for dinner?” and  “when’s it ready?” x 100 followed by vomiting noises when I pull anything green out of the fridge (then of course he wolfs it all when the time comes) .  In short it can be a bit high pressured round at ours at dinnertime.

As I’ve mentioned previously, having a stash of precooked rice in the fridge regularly saves the day and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Last night we had that crazy, everyone starving /no one thinking straight thing going on so I just pulled out some random bits from the back of the fridge hoping that seeing on the kitchen table would provide inspiration. Out came broccoli, eggs, goat’s cheese, a pepper, some leftover rice from a stir fry Paul had made the day before, a piece of chorizo and a bag of greens. Mmm.. When you’ve got eggs and everyone’s starving it’s really got to be an omelette so I started by slicing the pepper into strips for  a filling. I threw them on a hottish pan with some olive oil then started thinking about the rice – fried with an onion and some chorizo (a little bit of this stuff gives a lot of flavour so it’s a great standby). I decided to steam the broccoli and toss it  with the rice to give it the benefit of the chorizo hit too. The  goat’s cheese went into the omelette with the pepper and to round it all off I made a salad with the greens, throwing in slices of  a perfectly ripe avocado from the fruit bowl. I dressed this with balsamic vinegar and a tiny bit of salt. Start to finish took 15 minutes. Sounds good? Well, just follow these steps……….

An omelette with red pepper and Goats’ Cheese (for 2)

You’ll need:

4 Eggs (or 5 if you’re really starving)

Olive Oil

1 Red Pepper

100gr soft goat’s cheese (Chevre is what I used)

Salt and Pepper

Fried Rice with chorizo and brocolli (for 2)

You’ll need:

200gr cooked short grain brown rice

1 medium onion

A piece of chorizo about 10 cm long

A head of broccoli (about 400gr)

A handful pumpkin seeds

A simple green salad of rocket and avocado

60-70gr rocket

An avocado (if you don’t have one don’t worry)

Balsamic vinegar

A little salt

Right, get the pepper in the pan as I described above first then chop the onion and put it on another pan with some olive oil. As the pepper and onion start cooking break the broccoli into bite sized florets and put it on to steam. While the broccoli is doing, chop up the chorizo into smallish chunks and add it to the onions and cook for a further 5 -6 minutes. When it’s ready (this should take 2-3 mins), take off the broccoli and set aside for a moment. Wash the rocket and set that aside. Add the rice to the onions and chorizo. Mix well and continue to toss every minute or so adding in the broccoli after 3 minutes. To fully heat the rice will take about 5 minutes of tossing which gives you enough time to make the omelette. Remove the peppers which by now will be nice and tender. Beat the eggs with a generous pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Heat a little oil in the pan (I’d use the same one I fried the peppers in). Add the eggs and move them around until  they start to set then add the goat’s cheese and pepper. When the cheese has softened, fold the omelette and turn off the heat. Toast a handful of pumpkin seeds on a dry pan then mix them through the rice. Chop or slice the avocado into the rocket, dress with balsamic vinegar and a little salt. That’s it, dinner’s made!!!!

So you may have noticed that this week’s garlic is a bit different. Well, it’s the fresh or wet kind and it’s pretty much the same as the regular stuff except it’s that bit sweeter and quite a bit milder. Follow this link  http://wp.me/p7YZu-7x for a lovely aioli recipe that you can eat with roast veg and spuds aswell as one of fresh garlic bhajis with green chilli and coriander, while this one http://wp.me/p7YZu-8m will bring you to a really nice (and very fast) pasta recipe. Yay for links – I’m new to them so am very pleased with myself at the moment. Stop smirking!! Anyways, I’ll have some fresh ideas on this kind of garlic in weeks to come but these will get you started.

Have a great and hopefully very sunny weekend,


Apart from beetroot (which most most people come round to when they learn how good it is  roasted) celery is possibly one of the least loved of all the veggies we (very occasionally!!) put in our bags. While it does make good soup (amazing with Cashel Blue toasts) salads and can be braised (in white wine with a Gruyere topping) to very good effect it really prefers to take a back seat in the kitchen. Celery, you see,  is what’s called a flavour builder.  Used, a stick or two at a time, it gives depth to pretty much any sauce, soup or stew. In France, along with onion and carrot it’s part of the holy trinity known as Mirepoix- diced up and fried in butter (what else?) it’s the starting point of a millon dishes. They do the same in Italy although they saute in olive oil and in the markets it’s very common to see sticks of celery for sale instead whole heads and this makes a lot of sense because generally that’s all you really need. Luckily it lasts well so as long as you don’t forget it’s in the fridge you can use it up over time. Try adding it to any dishes you’re cooking over the next while and see if you notice a difference… Read the rest of this entry »