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,

Sarah

Chickpea and chorizo stew with celeriac and kale

There may still be a few tomatoes and scallions about, but there’s no denying that veg wise the season has changed. My oven is now on at least a couple of afternoons a week, roasting up parsnips and carrots, spuds, maybe a chicken and if I have any stewing fruit around, there’s usually a crumble in there too. At the moment I’m experimenting with quince and fig recipes but more on that when I’ve figured things out.

This week sees the return of celeriac which, if you haven’t seen it before, probably has you scratching your head. It’s the gnarly round thing at the bottom of your bag. No, it’s not much of a looker but it’s a great multitasker (just how we all want to be described right?). Like all roots, you can roast it, mash it, throw it into soups and stews or just boil it up (but don’t expect dinner to look anything but wartime if you go down this road – add a sprinkling of herbs at least).

As the name suggests, it’s a cousin of celery and the flavour is vaguely similar but there’s also a lovely nutiness so it goes really well with hazelnuts. Cream, bacon, anchovies, onions (especially when cooked down in butter) are also welcome additions.

This recipe started life as a soup at least in my mind, but as I turned it over in by head (yes, folks I probably do think about dinner way too much but it does drown out the white noise of children fighting) I decided a stew was needed. To kickstart things, chorizo was always going to be a key ingredient then chickpeas seemed a logical progression…. I love the mix of aniseed and celeriac together so I threw in some fennel seeds which brought things together nicely. Then for greens, kale in from the Healys this week was an obvious choice. It’s the Raggedly Jack variety which I haven’t bought before due to my allegiance to the Cavelo Nero kind. It’s pretty good – it doesn’t have the gorgeous forest green of its Tuscan cousin but tastes as good. If you don’t have kale, cabbage will work equally well in a recipe like this.

As celeriac is starchy, I served this with bread the first time but we had it with spuds last night and they went down a treat.  Rice or quinoa would work fine as well. Up to you….

Chickpea and chorizo stew with celeriac and kale

You’ll need:

Olive oil

3 medium or 2 large onions roughly chopped

4 fat cloves garlic chopped

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

2 bay leaves

175gr chorizo finely sliced

400gr celeriac diced into smallish bite size chunks

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tin chickpeas rinsed

600ml chicken or vegetable stock

Salt and pepper

Heat some olive oil in a heavy pot or casserole. Add the onions, bay leaves and a large pinch of salt then saute over a medium heat until they start to soften and change colour. Throw in the garlic and fennel seeds, mix everything together then continue cooking for another 2 or 3 minutes before adding the chorizo. Cook for a further 10 minutes or so, letting  the chorizo release its oil and flavour everything. This is a good time to peel and chop your celeriac if you haven’t done so already. When you’re ready, add this to the pot and stir well. Add the tomatoes and sugar and allow everything to fry for a few minutes before pouring in the stock and chickpeas. Bring everything to the boil then turn the heat down, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Wash the kale well and remove any tough stalks. Roughly shred it and add it to the pot. Continue cooking for further 30 minutes removing the lid for the final 15. Before serving check the seasoning, adding more salt if you think it needs it plus a decent grinding of black pepper. To serve, add a scattering of chopped parsley if you have it.

As you can imagine, this keeps very well and is possibly better on the second day.

Enjoy!

Sarah

Our local producers have kept us in courgettes, aubergines, basil and tomatoes over the summer months and beyond and now it’s more traditional Irish varieties that are starting to come through – we’ve already had gorgeous savoy cabbage a few weeks back from the Healy’s in Wicklow and this week it’s Cavalo Nero kale (my fav kind) and beetroot harvested fresh from their farm for us. It’s been a while since we’ve seen these guys so I thought I’d start with some simple ideas. Kale as you know is a green (duh!!) and as such is just bursting with all kinds of good stuff. It does however require a little bit more cooking than say, spinach but you can pan-fry it in a few minutes. I love it with lots of garlic and some chilli. This simple dish is tasty enough to eat  piled on toast (sour dough would really rock) or try it with a poached egg. With a bowl of  cheesy mash would be the ultimate comfort dinner if you’re planning on vegging out this evening….
Garlicky Kale with chilli

 You’ll need:

 A bunch of kale

5-6 cloves garlic roughly chopped

Olive Oil

Some fresh chilli finely chopped – leave out the seeds if you don’t like things too hot

Maldon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Begin by washing the kale and trimming the tougher end of the stalks. You don’t really need to cut more than an inch or so as it’s pretty tender. Roughly chop the rest and set aside. Heat some olive oil in a pan or wok and throw in the garlic and chilli. Toss until the garlic starts to soften then throw in the kale. Keep everything moving until the kale has wilted then take off the heat. Serve immediately and feel healthier already…


This week we’ve got beetroot that comes attached to its leaves. Don’t chop them off and definitely don’t throw them away. They are actually more nutritious than the roots with lots of folate (folic acid), calcium, iron and caratenoids which function as antioxidants. Treat like them spinach – steam them then finish off with a knob of butter or stir-fry with garlic and chilli. As for the beetroot itself, it has exceptionally high levels of potassium which regulates the heartbeat and maintains normal blood pressure and nerve function, folic acid for cell division, vitamin C a great antioxidant and B6 which keeps our immune and nervous systems healthy. And if all that wasn’t enough this vegetable has long been famed for stimulating the immune system, cleansing/detoxing the blood and our digestive system and acting as a fantastic tonic if you’re under the weather.
Tastewise, beetroot works very well with things like apple, lemon and orange, parsley, potatoes, bacon, sour cream, crème fraiche and walnuts. In a salad it is sensational with walnut oil is and it also goes especially well with sherry, balsamic and white wine vinegars.
You can cook beetroot by either boiling and/or roasting it. Roasting allows the sugars to caramelize and gives a lovely dimension especially if you add a splash of balsamic towards the end. After that eat straight up with maybe a drizzle of olive oil or add to salads…
Balsamic roasted beetroot

You’ll need:

 4-5 heads of beetroot
Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Scrub your beetroot well but don’t trim them – of course detach the leaves but don’t break the skin of the heads by trying to cut back any roots as this will make the lovely colour leech out when you cook them. Now, boil the beetroot until cooked. Cooking time will vary according to size but about  30 minutes should do it. The beetroot is cooked when you can pierce the flesh with a knife. Drain and leave under running water while you rub off the skin with your fingers. If this proves tricky you can just peel them with a knife. Trim any of the tough bits then quarter each head. Put on a tray with some Olive Oil and ensure each piece is coated in the oil (hands are best for this). Place in a hot oven (200 degrees or Gas mark 6) and roast until the pieces start to crisp and caramelise. Add 1-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and toss with the beetroot. Return to the oven and roast for a further 5-10 minutes.
Want to go further? Some of the most popular posts on this blog are for beetroot dishes. Check these links if you’d like to give them a go..
Honey and balsamic roasted beetroot with puy lentils and feta  http://wp.me/p7YZu-eE
Roasted with parsnips and served with cous cous and baked goat’s cheese http://wp.me/p7YZu-18
A salad with beetroot, feta, walnuts and lambs lettuce http://wp.me/p7YZu-2S

I’m just in from work and boy it’s been a hell of a day. More computer problems(don’t even ask!), driving rain and wind that meant I just had to leave the bike at the office and blag a lift home. When I got in I wanted something very easy and very fast (Paul came in after me and he had cycled against the wind all the way from Smithfield and could barely speak he was so cold and hungry). Yesterday morning in yet another attempt to get organised I peeled and chopped a pumpkin which I then completely forgot about when making dinner last night (urgghhh!) so this was definitely on the menu. I made the simplest soup by combining my prepared pumpkin (oh, organisation!)with a tin of coconut milk, vegetable stock and a little red curry paste. Yep, that was pretty much it but then at the last minute I had yearning for a bit of crunch and noticed this week’s Kale. Hmmm.. Kale, as you know can be tough so I took about half the head destalked it then quickly tossed it in hot oil, added a spritz of Lime and suddenly dinner seemed more complete. To serve I left a bowl of precooked brown rice on the table and everyone added their own. The rice is my one actual successful attempt to get organised – I cook up about a kilo at the beginning of the week and use it to complete any number of meals during the busy week. In this case it made a bowl of soup a complete meal. I thought Dan (5)would find it too spicy but he loved it and we were pretty pleased too!

Butternut Soup with Red Curry spices and Coconut Milk topped with Lime scented crispy Kale

You’ll need:

800gr Peel and chopped Butternut or any kind of Pumpkin

2 Teaspoon Red Curry Paste

1 Tin Coconut Milk

500ml Vegetable Stock

Vegetable Oil

To garnish – this is optional

1/2 Head Curly Kale chopped fine

Juice of half a Lime

Heat a dash of oil in a pot and add the curry paste and gently saute allowing the spices to permeate the oil (and your kitchen). Add half of the coconut milk and reduce a little. Toss in the butternut, the rest of the coconut milk, the stock and a pinch of salt.Bring to the boil then turn down the heat and cook for a further 15/20 minutes until the butternut is tender. Take off the heat and blitz until smooth with a hand blender.

To make the kale garnish, heat some oil on the pan and when it’s hot throw on the kale and toss until wilted and crispy if possible (may take a bit of practice but it’s not essential). Spritz with lime juice, toss well then take off the heat and use to garnish the soup. Eat and feel yourself defrost!!