Eat your greens

With winter well and truly taking hold here, I start to yearn for spring and all things green. Well luckily you don’t really need to wait at all, there are so many delicious winter greens to keep you going until the first shoots of spring announce the beginning of the new growing season, just a few weeks away.

Here are a few of my favourite winter dishes using a selection of cabbages, leeks and spinach.

Kale ribollita with chargrilled sourdough

A hearty spring soup full of green vitality makes the perfect supper dish with slices of chargrilled garlic bruschetta.

Serves 4

Prep time: 1 hour (includes cooking beans)

Cooking time: 50 minutes

Soaking time: overnight

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle

1 onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, 2 chopped 1 left whole

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 large leek, trimmed and sliced

1 large carrot, finely chopped

1 large celery stalk, finely chopped

400g can chopped tomatoes

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock

500g kale, trimmed and shredded

4-6 slices sourdough bread

For the beans

125g dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight in cold water

1 onion, quartered

1 garlic clove, peeled

1 sprig fresh rosemary

6 black peppercorns

Method:

Start by cooking the beans. Drain the soaked beans, rinse and place in a saucepan with the quartered onion, garlic clove, rosemary stalk and peppercorns.  Add 1 litre of cold water and bring to the boil, skimming the surface. Cover and simmer gently over a low heat for 50-55 minutes or until the beans are tender.

Drain the beans, discarding the the onion quarters and rosemary stalk. Transfer half the beans and liquid to a food and puree until smooth. Return to the pan.

Make the soup. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion, garlic, rosemary and a little salt and pepper for 10 minutes until softened. Add the leek, carrot and celery and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes, the cooked bean mixture and stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently over a low heat for about 20 minutes until the carrots are tender. Stir in the kale and cook for a further 10 minutes until wilted

Meanwhile, heat a ridged grill pan until hot and grill the sourdough until lightly charred on each side. Cut the remaining garlic clove in half and rub over the toast. Drizzle liberally with extra virgin olive oil. Spoon the soup into bowls and serve topped with the bruschetta.


Quinoa salad with broccoli, preserved lemon and avocado oil 

The preserved lemon adds a lovely zing to this salad dish with the combination of dried fruits, nuts and green veg. Perfect for lunch.

Serves

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Cooling time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

200g quinoa

350g broccoli

3 spring onions

1 small avocado

2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as coriander and mint

50g dried cherries

30g pumpkin seeds, toasted

4 tablespoons avocado or extra virgin olive oil

1 lemon, squeezed juice

2 tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon

2 teaspoons honey

salt and pepper

Method:

Rinse the quinoa under cold water and drain well. Heat a frying pan until hot, add the wet quinoa and stir over a high heat, firstly until dry and then continue for a further 1-2 minutes until lightly toasted and starting to crackle.

Add 450ml cold water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the pan. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer over a very low heat for 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat but leave undisturbed for a further 5 minutes. If there is any liquid remaining drain through a sieve and leave to cool.

Trim the broccoli, discarding the stalk and cut into florets. Place in a steamer and cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes until al dente. Remove and let cool.

In a bowl, lightly whisk the oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, the preserved lemon, honey and some salt and pepper.

Combine the quinoa, broccoli, spring onions, pumpkin seeds and cherries. Add the avocado and herbs and toss together. Add the dressing, stir well.

Tip: if you prefer serve this salad warm, rather than allowing the quinoa and broccoli to cool completely.


Orecchiette with softened spinach, Dolcelatte and hazelnuts

A classic combination of spinach and dolcelatte cheese is given a modern twist with the addition of toasted hazelnuts

Serves: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 shallots, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 lemon, grated zest

500g spinach leaves, washed

50g hazelnuts, roughly chopped

50g butter

350g dried orecchiette pasta

150g dolcelatte cheese

4 tablespoons mascarpone cheese

salt and pepper

freshly grated Parmesan, to serve

Method:

Heat the oil in a large frying pan or saucepan and gently fry the shallots, garlic, lemon zest and a little salt and pepper over a low heat for 5 minutes until softened. Add the spinach leaves and stir well, then cook over a gentle heat for 2-3 minutes until wilted.

Melt the butter in a small frying pan and add the hazelnuts. Stir over a medium-low heat until the nuts and butter turn a lovely nutty brown colour.

Meanwhile plunge the pasta into a large saucepan of lightly salted, boiling water and cook for 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain well reserving 3 tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Return the pasta and liquid to the pan.

Stir in the spinach mixture, dolcelatte, mascarpone and all the Parmesan. Stir well over a low heat for 1 minute until the pasta is well coated with the sauce. Divide between bowls and serve topped with the hazelnut butter and some extra, freshly grated Parmesan.


Baked savoy cabbage with Emmental and breadcrumbs

A fabulous way to bake cabbages in a creamy, cheesy sauce topped with crispy breadcrumbs and Parmesan. You can use any cheese you like.

Serves: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

1 medium savoy cabbage. About 650g

25g butter, plus extra for greasing

1 whole nutmeg

500ml single cream

150g Emmental, grated

50g freshly made breadcrumbs

25g freshly grated Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200c/400f/ gas mark 6 and grease a 2.5 litre baking tin with a little butter. Remove any really large tough outer leaves from the cabbage and very carefully cut into 6 wedges making sure you cut through the stalk so that the wedges remain attached at the base.

Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a rolling boil. Add the cabbage wedges and blanch for 4-5 minutes until vibrant green. Using tongs or a slotted spoon remove the cabbage from the pan. Shake off excess liquid and drain on kitchen towel.

Arrange the wedges in the prepared baking tin. Season with freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper and dot over the remaining butter. Scatter the Emmental between the cabbage pressing some down into the leaves and pour over the cream. Scatter over the breadcrumbs and the Parmesan and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30-25 minutes until bubbling and golden.


Recipes © Louise Pickford 2019

Images © Ian Wallace 2019 ( ianwallacephotographer.com )

First published by Sainsbury’s magazine March 2016

Recipe of the week……………….spelt.

Mushroom spelt risotto with melted camembert

Spelt is one of the world’s oldest wheat grain varieties. It is great as an alternative to rice in a risotto as it retains a wonderfully crunchy texture and unlike rice, you can add the stock all at once and let the risotto simmer away on the stove – making it low maintenance as well as delicious.

Spelt and Mushroom risotto 2

Serves: 4

300 g spelt grains

15 g dried porcini

150 ml boiling water

100 g butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tbs chopped fresh thyme

500 g mixed mushrooms, wiped clean and chopped

150 ml red wine

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock

50 g Parmesan, grated

150 g Camembert, sliced

salt and pepper

freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

Soak the spelt grains in boiling water for 20 minutes. Soak the porcini in the boiling water for 15 minutes. Drain spelt and shake dry. Drain and chop the mushrooms, reserve the liquid.

Melt half the butter in a saucepan and gently fry the onion, garlic and half the thyme over a low heat for 10 minutes until soft but not browned. Add the mushrooms and porcini and stir-fry until starting to soften. Add the spelt and stir for 1 minute then pour in the wine and boil until it is all but absorbed.

Meanwhile bring the stock and reserved porcini liquid to the boil in a separate pan. Add 750 ml to the risotto and cook gently over a low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the stock is almost absorbed and the spelt, tender. Add a little more stock if needed (any left over stock can be reserved, chilled in the fridge for up to 3 days).

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the Parmesan and half the Camembert, cover and leave to melt for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a small frying pan and add the remaining thyme leaves. Cook gently over a low heat for 2-3 minutes until the butter turns a golden brown. Serve the risotto topped with the remaining camembert and drizzled with the thyme butter.

Tip: Spelt is available from larger supermarkets as well as health food stores.

Recipe of the week…………..pearl barley

Warm salad of roasted vegetables and barley

A great time of year to serve this warm salad – still cold enough outside, but it will soon be time to start looking forward to warmer days.

roasted-vegetable-and-barley-salad-copy-2-e1517819870381.jpg

Serves: 6

6 large shallots, halved

6 large garlic cloves, left whole

750g carrots, roughly chopped

750g beetroot beetroot, cut into wedges

2 sprigs each of fresh thyme and rosemary

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 litre chicken stock

2 tablespoons fresh coriander

finely grated zest and juice 1lemon

2 tsp cumin seeds

100g Greek yogurt

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 c/fan forced 180c and line a roasting tin with baking paper. Place the shallots, garlic, carrots, beetroot, herbs and some salt and pepper in the prepared tray. Add half the oil, 3 tablespoons of the stock and stir well. Cover with foil and roast for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and roast for a further 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, rinse the barley in a fine sieve and place in a saucepan. Add the remaining chicken stock and a pinch salt. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 30 minutes until the barley is al dente. Strain off and discard any remaining stock. Place barley in a large bowl.

Remove the vegetables from the oven and stir into the barley with the coriander and lemon juice, season to taste.

Heat the remaining oil in a small frying pan and gently fry the cumin seeds and lemon zest for 1 minute until fragrant. Spoon yogurt over the salad and drizzle over the cumin scented oil. Serve at once.

 

 

Copyright Food & Travel magazine, published 2017

Recipe and styling Louise Pickfordf

Photography Ian Wallace

Recipe of the week……….chicken

Honey roasted chicken with lemon, olives and herbs

A great mid week meal, ready to pop into the oven in minutes. The roasted lemons infuse the chicken as it cooks and the honey is a lovely balancing of flavours. Serve with green beans or any other green veg.

Honey Baked Chicken

Serves: 4

1.5 kg chicken, jointed into 4

1 lemon, quartered

2 tbs olive oil

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

1 tbs clear honey

1 tsp Tobasco

1 tbs each chopped fresh thyme and rosemary

500 g small potatoes, scrubbed and halved

50 g pitted black olives

1 tbs chopped fresh parsley

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200c/fan 180c and line a large roasting tin with baking paper. Place the chicken pieces in the prepared tin. Squeeze the lemon juice into a bowl and reserve the skins. Add the oil, garlic, honey, Tobasco, herbs and some salt and pepper to the lemon juice and stir well.

Add to the chicken with the potatoes and the reserved lemon quarters and stir well until evenly combined.

Transfer to the oven and roast about 45-50 minutes until the chicken and potatoes are brown and tender. Add the olives and roast for a further 5 minutes. Scatter over the parsley and serve with some French beans.

 

Recipe of the week……….cod.

Chinese-style steamed cod with ginger

After the excess of the Christmas period this is a light yet comforting Chinese steamed fish recipe. I use cod but you could use any firm white fish such as bream, snapper or ling.

Steamed Cod with pak Choi

Serves: 4

2 tbs light soy sauce

1 tsp white sugar

1/2 tsp sesame oil

5 cm piece root ginger, peeled

4 x 200 g white fish fillets, such as cod, snapper or ling

100 ml chicken stock

3 tbs Shaoxing Chinese rice wine

4 baby pak choi, quartered

4 large spring onions, very thinly sliced

2 tbs peanut oil

coriander leaves, to garnish

plain boiled rice, to serve

Combine the soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil in a jug. Stir well to dissolve the sugar and set aside.

Cut the peeled ginger into thin slices and then into thin strips or julienne. Place the fish on a deep heatproof plate (an enamel plate is ideal – or use foil to shape into a bowl) set in a large bamboo steamer. Scatter over half the ginger and pour in the stock and rice wine.

Top the steamer with a lid and place over a saucepan of lightly simmering water. Cook for 5 minutes and then carefully pop the pak choi into the steamer over the fish. Cover and cook for a further 2 minutes or until the fish is cooked.

Place the peanut oil in a small pan and heat gently until the oil is hot and starting to shimmer.

Transfer the fish and pak choi to serving plates, scatter over the remaining ginger and the spring onions and immediately pour over the hot oil, to soften the ginger and onions. Sprinkle over the coriander and serve with small bowls of rice.

Recipe of the week…………lamb

Roasted lamb shoulder with pumpkin salad

Roast Lamb and Pumpkin Salad

Bored with the same old Sunday roast, well why not get inspired by this delicious alternative? Succulent lamb shoulder rubbed with earthy spices and served with a lovely autumnal pumpkin and toasted almond salad. I far prefer lamb shoulder as it often has more flavour than leg. It’s great for roasting as the fat running through it leaves the meat succulent and tender. Ask your butcher to bone the shoulder for you. This recipe nods it’s head to the flavours of Spain with smoke paprika and sherry vinegar – it is really lovely. I like to serve it with chunky potato wedges and aioli.

Serves: 6

1.5 kg boned lamb shoulder

1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp ground cumin

grated zest and juice 1 lemon

4 garlic cloves, grated

2 tbs each chopped fresh rosemary and thyme

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

salad

1 kg wedge pumpkin

1 red onion, thickly sliced

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

75 g un-blanched almonds, toasted

50 g raisins

2 tbs sherry vinegar

1 radicchio, separated into leaves and torn

a few fresh parsley leaves, torn

Preheat oven 200 c. Make a paste with the oil, spices, lemon zest and juice, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper and rub all over lamb, cover and leave to marinate for 2 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare the salad. Cut the pumpkin into 1 cm wedges leaving the skin on. Combine with the onion, 1 tablespoon of oil and some salt and pepper and place in a baking tray lined with baking paper. Roast for 40-45 minutes, turning half way through until the pumpkin is charred and tender. Set aside until required. Reduce oven temperature to 180 c.

Place the lamb in a roasting tin and roast on the middle shelf for 1 1/4 to 1/12 hours depending on how you like your meat cooked. Remove from the oven, cover with foil and leave to rest for 20 minutes. Drain off as much of the fat from the pan as possible and reserve any lamb juices, keep warm.

Return the pumpkin and onion to the oven for 10 minutes to warm through. Transfer to a platter and top with the almonds, raisins, parsley and radicchio. Whisk together the remaining oil and the sherry vinegar, drizzle over the salad. Slice the lamb and serve with the salad and reserved lamb pan juices.

 

© Recipes Louise Pickford. © Photo Ian Wallace. Image first published in Grazia UK

Recipe of the week…………beef and chocolate!

Winter is most certainly upon us, with frosty mornings and log fires. It is just the time of year when I begin to crave comfort food. This rich beef stew flavoured with cinnamon and chocolate was inspired by a classic Catalan dish Estofado de Ternera a la Catalana. A little dark chocolate is added to the stew towards the end of cooking giving it a unique flavour.  It is likely that the dish originated in Mexico, where chocolate is added to counteract the fiery heat of the chillies in the classic Mexican stew,  Mole poblano.

It can be served with rice, but I love it spooned over potatoes, mashed with olive oil.

Beef stew with chocolate and cinnamon

Beef Stew

Serves: 6

1.5 kg beef chuck steak, cubed

200 g panchetta, diced

4 tbs extra virgin olive oil

75 ml red wine vinegar

2 onions, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 carrots, roughly chopped

2 cinnamon sticks, crumbled

4 large sprigs fresh thyme

3 strips orange peel

300 ml red wine

750 ml beef stock

4 tbs tomato puree

2 tbs dark 75% or higher chocolate, finely chopped

salt and pepper

flat leaf parsley, to garnish

olive oil mash, to serve

Preheat the oven to 160c. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Heat a large frying pan and dry fry the panchetta for 2-3 minutes until golden. Transfer to a flame-proof casserole. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the frying pan and fry the beef in batches for 5 minutes until evenly browned, adding more oil if necessary. Transfer to the casserole.

Pour the wine vinegar into the frying pan and stir over a medium heat to deglaze the pan and reduce slightly. Add to the meat.

Add the remaining oil to the casserole and fry the onions, garlic, carrot and some salt and pepper for 10 minutes. Add to the meat with the cinnamon sticks, thyme and orange peel and then stir in the wine, stock and tomato puree. Place some foil over the pan and then seal with the lid. Bring to the boil, transfer to the oven and cook for 11/2 hours or until the meat is tender.

Place the chocolate in a small bowl and stir in 2-3 tablespoons of the meat juices until smooth. Then stir this back into the stew and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve with olive oil mash.

Tip: Olive oil mash compliments the stew perfectly. Make mash potato in the usual way but substitute a fruity extra virgin olive oil for butter along with a splash of milk for the perfect consistency.

© text and recipe Louise Pickford/© photo Ian Wallace

First published in Grazia UK.