Bunch of radishes

Radishes are in from Denis Healy this week and they are so nice to look at that it seems a shame to eat them. But don’t let that stop you for too long they are best super fresh. Crunchy, peppery and above all PINK, they make any salad look good. Famously they only have 1 calorie per piece so make the ultimate guilt free snack (summer is on the way you know and there will hopefully be some bearing of flesh).

The French eat them dipped in salty butter with crusty bread as a pre-dinner appetizer and on a lazy summer’s evening what could be nicer? But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet. The only trips to the garden I’ve been making recently have been mad dashes to get clothes off the line.

I really love  radishes with avocado where their peppery bite gets to play off the creamy perfection that is a  ripe avocado. This week’s recipe is very simple – finely sliced radishes and chopped avocado to start then with rocket from Denis,  toasted sunflower seeds and some crumbled feta. The perfect summer lunch or what? Even if you do have to eat it in the kitchen……..

Radish, avocado and rocket salad

An early summer salad with pink radishes, rocket, feta, avocado and toasted sunflower seeds

You’ll need:

A bunch of radishes washed and finely sliced

2 big handfuls of rocket (or any other salad leaves you fancy)

1 large ripe avocado

A handful sunflower seeds toasted

100gr feta cheese

For the dressing

The juice of 1 lemon

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

A large pinch Maldon salt crushed

First of all, make your dressing by mixing the lemon juice, olive oil and salt together then set aside. Wash the rocket getting rid of any really stalky bits. Chop up the avocado. To finish you can then toss everything together and dress or, as I did, dress the rocket then lay the feta, sunflower seeds, radishes and avocado on top. That way it looks prettier and you can kind of pick and mix as you eat. As you can see from the photo I also added a final grating of lemon zest for colour. Enjoy.

Sweet Potato salad

When the days are short and the weather cold it’s so easy to reach for heavier food in the evening. A warm salad is a way of bridging the gap between what the body seems to crave and what it actually needs (ie a bit of post Christmas restraint) Thankfully, my post Christmas back to  juicing habit seems to make resisting the stodge easier which is a start.

I used this week’s sweet potatoes last night to make a filling warm salad with some of my favourite middle Eastern flavours.First of all, I parboiled then roasted chunks of  potato then tossed them with a couple of handfuls of super fresh rocket. Then for crunch I made some garlic and cumin scented toasted breadcrumbs which I tossed in the pan with some sultanas before throwing them oven the sweet potato. With all that going on, I kept the dressing simple – extra virgin olive and sherry vinegar (but red wine or cider would have worked well I reckon as well). A final drizzle of pomegranate molasses gave a lovely sweet and sour finishing touch.

It’s the kind of salad that you can eat on it’s own but which works really well with lots of other bits – we ate it with a bowl of quinoa, a simple beetroot and blood orange salad and some parsnip fritters (more on those anon) other partners would be things like hummus, falafel, some simple pan-fried fish, goat’s cheese or feta, some lightly steamed broccoli tossed in sliced pan-fried garlic and chilli, cous cous, a Spanish omelette…. you know the drill.

Roasted sweet potato salad with rocket topped with garlic and cumin scented breadcrumbs and pomegranate molasses

You’ll need:

500gr sweet potato peeled and cut into cubes

Olive oil for roasting

70gr (2 handfuls) rocket or any other salad leaves you prefer

4 heaped tablespoons dry coarse breadcrumbs

1 fat clove garlic

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

A small handful sultanas

For the dressing:

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoon sherry vinegar

To garnish: A generous drizzle of pomegranate molasses

Heat the oven to gas mark 6 and parboil the sweet potatoes. Drain and toss in olive oil in a roasting tray then place in the oven for about 30 minutes (give them a toss half way through to make sure they roast evenly) while you get on with the rest of the salad. Wash and dry the rocket and set aside. If it’s very stalky,  you may want trim it a bit as you go.

Make some breadcrumbs with old bread or use your usual stash (I normally have some in the freezer but didn’t yesterday).I made them quite chunky so they wouldn’t soften too much when mixed with the dressing and lose their crunch. I also stuck them in the oven for a couple of minutes to dry them out a bit more.  Heat 3 – 4 tablespoons olive oil on a pan then push the clove of garlic through the crusher and add that along with the cumin seeds. After about a minute when you can see the garlic beginning to soften, throw on the breadcrumbs.Toss until they have absorbed all the oil and crisped up a little more then throw in the sultanas and mix everything together then take off the pan.

When the sweet potatoes are done, take them out of the oven and let them cool slightly. Make the dressing by whisking the oil and vinegar together with a tiny pinch of salt.

To put the salad together, toss the rocket and sweet potatoes together then add the dressing and toss again. Top with the toasted breadcrumbs and sultanas then generously drizzle with pomegranate molasses and serve.

Enjoy!

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

Oliver Kelly gave us a buzz last week to see if we’d take some of his Axona spuds. Yes please. Axona are a great all rounder. Brilliant just boiled up ( with the liberal addition of salty butter of course) they’re also great in mash and fried.
Last week was very busy at ours, we are STILL chasing wires, grouting and doing all kinds of little bits to finish off the kitchen. The weekend sunshine was a perfect end to the week and there was much lazing with papers. So, I haven’t had much of a chance to come up with anything earthshattering but I do think it will definitely hit the spot. Perfect for a Monday evening, this is one of my all-time favourite comfort foods – Leek mash which I usually serve with baked feta cheese. This part couldn’t be easier –  wrap a slab of feta topped with a drizzle of olive oil and some chilli in tinfoil and bake for 10 minutes.
Baked Feta
 A rocket salad completes the plate. For me it’s the dinner equivalent of a big hug until of course I remember that there’s still some tiling to finish ……….urgh!!!
Leek Mash

You’ll need:

5oogr leeks washed and trimmed

Butter

Olive oil

1k potatoes

A little milk or cream

Salt and pepper

After washing, slice the leeks and sauté in butter (with a drop of olive oil to stop the butter burning) until completely tender and caramelized. This is what makes the dish so be sure and do it nice and gently. It’ll probably take about 25 minutes.

Sauteed leeks

While the leeks are cooking, peel and boil about 1k potatoes. When they’re cooked, mash the spuds and season with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper adding a generous knob of butter and a little milk or cream to get the right consistency. Add the leeks, mix everything together well and serve.

A Variation: put the mash in a dish and add some slices of Chevre and toast under the grill until golden then serve with a simple tomato salad dressed in olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Another variation: serve with some pan-fried chorizo and greens

There’s a piece of ginger in all our bags this week. Mince it up with garlic and fresh chilli and add it for stir fries or use it to make a tea that’s brilliant if you’re feeling coldy which a lot of people seem to be at the moment despite all the nice weather – cut a knob about the size of your little finger into 4 or 5 pieces, bring to the boil then simmer for 5-10 minutes then drink with honey. Ginger tea is also brill for sick tummies by the way.

Next week we’ll have the first of this year’s Wicklow rhubarb in all our bags and I think ginger might come in useful for that too. Haven’t figured out how exactly but I have a feeling.

Have a great week,

Sarah

It’s one of those rare Dublin days where all you want to do is go outside. We’re just back from the an impromptu picnic in the park, the back door is open and the birds outside are really going for it out there. Everyone’s in a good mood. My recipes this week are an end of season last hurrah for blood oranges and a hello stranger for gorgeous Irish rocket (a mix of 3 varieties!!!) from Denis Healy’s farm in Wicklow.

Blood oranges seem to be a winner with pretty much everyone.  Apart from the amazing colour and flavour, they’re  just especially  lush. We make juice with them every morning maybe adding the odd grapefruit for tang. It is truly a great way to start the day.  Peeled and sliced with a little shredded mint is a very simple but really beautiful way to round off a meal. As you can imagine, this also works well with ice-cream. I also throw them into green salads and recently, as I wrote last week, I’ve had great success with cous cous, Feta and broad beans.

I was flicking through Skye Gyngell’s brilliant “How I cook” recently and found a recipe for caramelized blood oranges which I had to try. It’s very easy, just sliced oranges drizzled with a light caramel. Both the oranges and the syrup are served chilled so it’s really refreshing. A dollop of Greek yogurt or a scoop of vanilla ice-cream is a great foil with a light dusting of cinnamon if you really want to impress. And of course chocolate is good too (but you knew that). This recipe is a slighted amended version of Skye’s.

Caramelized Blood Oranges

4 or 5 blood oranges

100gr castor sugar

160ml water

Put the sugar and 50 ml water in a heavy pot. Stir once then set over a low heat and leave until the sugar fully dissolves. This will take a good 5 minutes. Turn up the heat a bit and let the caramel start to form and change colour stirring occasionally. Be sure and keep an eye on things as the caramel can turn very dark very quickly.You want a golden colour and when that happens carefully pour in the rest of the water and stir well.

Be very careful when doing this as the syrup is very hot and will spit. A tea towel around the stirring hand is a good idea. When the water has been absorbed, stir for another minute then take off the heat. Let the syrup cool down before decanting it into a jug or jar. When it has fully cooled down you can store it in the fridge for a month at least.

When you are ready to serve simply peel and finely slice the oranges. Lay out on a plate. Drizzle with syrup and serve. Heaven..

This week’s rocket is what local seasonal eating is all about. Picked first thing at the Healy’s farm it’s spanking fresh and bursting with flavour. It hasn’t, however, been sprayed a million times so is fragile and should be eaten ASAP. Here are a few ideas…..

Split a warm ciabatta, drizzle the bread with a little olive oil then stuff  with any of the following:

prosciutto and mozzarella

sun-dried tomatoes and Tallegio

sliced chorizo and Feta

goat’s cheese and beetroot chutney

bacon and mustard

fried chorizo and garlic mayo (tomorrow’s brunch in our house methinks)

Salads – any of the sandwich combinations mentioned above will work as a salad but these are also pretty tasty:

blood orange slices and toasted pine nuts 

black olives and sun-dried tomatoes and Parmesan shavings

pan-fried chopped pancetta with croutons

toasted pinenuts and a dressing made with red (sundried tomato) pesto thinned out with olive oil and a small dash of balsamic

almonds and Parmesan dressing with a lemon dressing

toasted sunflower seeds and panfried courgette with a dressing made with pomogranate molasses

roasted red pepper and feta

Really the combinations endless. What are your favourites? Please share!!

Oh and one final thing, this week sees the last of the season’s celeriac (that big gnarly thing in your bag). Mash, roast or turn it into soup or there’s smashed with spud and green chili and crispy onions from a a few weeks back a recipe I’ve turned to again and again recently. Or there’s Hugh Fearnley-Whittingsdall’s moreish gratin with rosemary and cream.

Have a fantastic weekend,

Sarah

We might be enjoying a bit of sun at the moment but there’s no denying that summer (well what we had of it) is drawing to a close. We still have lots of summer produce – gorgeous Tomatoes, Courgettes, Grapes and Aubergines but the early autumn stuff is making it’s way into the bags – Butternut a few weeks ago, today there’s  lovely new Leeks and Damsons or Quetsche Plums to give them their full title. If you haven’t had them before, Damsons are plums that are generally used for cooking because they aren’t as sweet as the  plums we normally eat.

This week’s recipe is for a crumble with almonds. If you’re not a baker don’t worry, crumble-making doesn’t really count as baking as it’s just so easy. You literally crumble the flour, butter and sugar with your fingertips until you have something resembling large breadcrumbs. Even if you end up with something different it’ll still taste fine just as long as some attempt has been made to mix the ingredients. My son Dan (4) does all the crumbling in our house except of course when I have him polishing grapes for Home Organics (just kidding!!!). If you’re avoiding puds Damsons are a perfect stewing fruit. Rinse and put in a pot with 2-3 Tablespoons Sugar. Turn on the heat and give the pot an occasional shake to help the Damsons burst and release all their lovely juices. As you’ll see, these Damson are yellow on the inside but the  skin colours everything  that gorgeous plummy red after they’ve been the pot a few minutes.

halved damsons

halved damsons

Cook for about 10 minutes making sure all the plums break up so you can get at the stones afterwards. Allow to cool down a bit before you remove the stones and  you’ve got a compote which makes a  perfect breakfast with Greek Yogurt. This week’s crumble won’t take more than 15 minutes to  put together so if you do fancy dessert it’s an easy one and really tasty to boot….

Damson and Almond Crumble

You’ll need:

450 gr Plums (about what you have in this week’s bag)

3 Tablespoons of Sugar

100gr Flour

40gr Ground Almonds

75gr Butter

60gr Sugar

Prepare the fruit as I’ve described above and while it’s cooking get on with the crumble (or rope in a small child to do so). Put all the ingredients in a bowl and crumble (!!) This should take about 5 minutes (small children will take anything from 2 minutes to an hour and a half). Remove all the stones from the fruit and put into a baking dish and top with the crumble mix. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the crumble topping is golden brown and hopefully some of the ruby juices from below have bubbled up and speckled the topping. Eat with Cream, Ice-cream or Yogurt.

damson crumble

damson crumble

One other thing to do with Damsons is Damson Gin. Far easier than baking but there is a bit of waiting involved. Most recipes will tell you to prick the plums, add sugar then throw in the booze but Margaret (no doubt reliably)  informed me yesterday that the stones in Plums contain cyanide so should never be left after the fruit has been cooked or opened. So, rinse and halve about 450gr plums (what you have in this week’s bag) then add 150gr Sugar and 75cl Gin. Put the lot in a sterilized wide-necked bottle. Close the lid and shake well and continue to shake every day until the sugar has dissolved. Keep for at least 6 weeks and then it’s cocktail time!

This week’s Green Beans need very little done to them. A light steaming then toss them in Butter or Olive Oil with a little Maldon Salt. A step further is to crush or finely chop a couple of cloves of Garlic, saute gently on the pan then add the precooked Beans just before the Garlic is done. Toss for a minute or 2 more and you’ve got a very tasty side. Lot’s of Black Pepper is great with this too.

In case you’re wondering..

This week’s salad leaves are Rocket a beautiful peppery leaf that is great in salads and sambos. Have it with this week’s Cherry Tomatoes and some Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar for a very quick and tasty salad.

Have a great weekend,

Sarah

Butternut and Mirabelles

August 21, 2009

Hi there,

This week we have the start of Autumn varieties – Butternut Squash and New Parsnips. Seems unfair given we haven’t really had a summer but I suppose there’s always September (we Irish never give up the faith). This week’s recipe is a salad with Butternut Squash and Rocket. If you haven’t had it before, Butternut can be boiled, steamed or roasted (there are several recipes already on the blog including a really amazing soup).  When you roast Butternut it caramelises on the outside adding great flavour. Then I added some toasted Pine nuts and a little Goat’s Cheese. Perfect for a Saturday lunch…….

Roasted Butternut Salad with Rocket(Arugula)  and Goat’s Cheese

You’ll need:

300gr peeled Butternut cut into bite sized Cubes

60 gr Rocket (about what you have in this week’s bag) or any other salad leaves

A handful of Pine nuts

150gr Chevre Goat’s Cheese

Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar

Begin by preparing the Butternut. I find the best way is to quarter it remove the seeds and stringy bits and then chop it up.Put the Butternut on a roasting tray and with your hands smear about 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil on them then roast in a hottish oven (Gas mark 6 or 200 degrees) for about 30- 40 minutes or until the pieces are soft and starting to caramelize.

You can toast the Pine nuts in the oven (on a separate tray) so stick them in and toast until they’ve started to change colour (should take about 10 minutes but check on them after 5). When the Butternut is ready let it cool down a bit them toss it with the Rocket and Pine nuts. Dress the lot with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar. Eat with nice bread or a Cous Cous salad (try Cous Cous, Chopped Dates, some Sultanas and some toasted Cumin Seeds dressed in Olive Oil and Lemon Juice)

The tiny plums in your bag this week are Mirabelles and they’re only around for a couple of weeks every year. Completely delicious, they should be eaten asap and there’s no need to add anything – Yum!!!!

Have a great weekend,

Sarah