Our Allotted Vegetables
My neighbour Nancy and her allotment keep me well supplied with vegetables. And the occasional fruit. Thanks Nancy!
Since her glut of beetroot and rhubarb, I've been inventing things to do with beetroot and rhubarb. And carrots.
Getting some courgette flowers to stuff made a nice change.
Rhubarb and Beetroot Fool
Yes that's right - a rhubarb and beetroot fool!
Partly because I had a lot of beetroot and rhubarb to eat up, partly because it seemed like they might just work together, partly just 'cos they were there...
- fresh ginger
- 4 sticks rhubarb
- 1 beetroot
- berry coulis
- double cream
Heat the oven to 180-200°C, put the whole unpeeled beetroot on an oven tray and bake until it is soft and easily pierced with a knife (up to 2 hours).
Roughly chop the rhubarb, scatter with a little sugar (perhaps a dessertspoon), moisten with a little apple juice, liquor or water and cook gently in a covered pot until the rhubarb begins to collapse.
Check the sugar level and set aside to cool.
Whip the cream until it begins to thicken, but is still pourable.
Peel and finely
grate the beetroot and mix with the rhubarb. Lightly stir together the cream and rhubarb mixture (so they form distinct swirls)
and serve with a drizzle of fruit coulis
Beetroot and Rhubarb Salad
My neighbour Nancy had a glut of beetroot and rhubarb in her allotment this year. So I thought I'd try ways of combining them.
This is Yotam Ottolenghi's idea, and I think it works better than my fool
. But you could always have a meal with both!
The dressing proved so good I gave it a recipe all of its own
- 800g various beetroots (or, if you can't get them, one type is fine)
- 300g rhubarb, cut on an angle into 2.5cm pieces
- 30g caster sugar
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 20g picked parsley leaves
- 100g creamy Gorgonzola or similar blue cheese, torn into small chunks
- salt and black pepper
- 2 tsp sherry vinegar
- ¾ tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp ground allspice (pimento)
- a handful of pomegranate seeds
Set the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Wrap the beets individually in foil and bake for 40-70 minutes, depending on size.
To check, push a sharp knife through to the centre of each one - it should be soft all the way through.
Set aside to cool, then peel and cut into a rough 2cm dice.
Toss the rhubarb with the sugar, spread it over a foil-lined oven tray and roast for 10-12 minutes, until soft but not mushy. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar, molasses, maple syrup, oil, allspice and some salt and pepper.
Add the onion, set aside for a few minutes to soften, then add the parsley and beets.
Stir to combine, season to taste and, just before serving, gently fold in the rhubarb, its juices and the cheese.
Beetroot and Carrot Poriyal
curry veg vegan side
So this dish went a bit wrong - I shaved the coconut using a vegetable peeler along the coconut edge,
due to the following confusing suggestions of my cute landlady Aline:
- 2 medium beetroots
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 green chili, chopped
- 1 tsp urad dal
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1 green chili
- 10-12 curry leaves/kadi patta
- a pinch of asafoetida/hing
- a pinch of turmeric/haldi
- 1 tbsp oil
- 3-4 tbsp shaved coconut
- salt as required
Rinse, peel and chop the beetroots and carrot very finely, the more fine, they faster they will cook.
You can also grate the veggies if you prefer.
Heat the oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and urad dal.
Fry till the mustard seed make a popping sound and the urad dal get maroonish golden. make sure you don't burn them.
Add the green chilies, curry leaves, turmeric powder and asafoetida. Fry for 10-12 seconds.
Now add the chopped veggies. sprinkle salt and stir. Cover and let the veggies cook till they are done.
Sprinkle some water if the moisture dries in the pan. Keep on checking during intervals and sprinkle water whenever required.
When the veggies are cooked well, lastly add coconut and give a stir.
Before adding the coconut, if there is moisture in the pan, then dry it by simmering on an open flame for a few minutes.
Sprinkle the coconut and then switch off the flame and cover.
curry veg side
So here's the very nice Cabbage Thoran that Aline's friend Laly from Kerala made.
If you have a coconut shaving tool, now's the time to dust it off. Otherwise use a fine cheese grater.
- 1 cabbage, finely grated
- ½ coconut, finely grated
- 2 tsp mustard seeds
- ½ onion, roughly chopped
- ginger, grated
- 1 tsp turmeric
- fresh green chillies, chopped
Crack open the coconut, remove the brown skin with a vegetable peeler (though you can eat it), and finely grate the white flesh.
Heat the oil and fry the mustard seeds until they pop.
Add the roughly chopped onion and fry over high heat until they are quite browned around the edges.
Add the turmeric, if using.
Add the grated cabbage, grated coconut, grated ginger, chopped chilli and a little salt,
cover, lower heat and leave to steam stirring occasionally until cooked through (20-30 minutes).
Stuffed Courgette Flowers
starter snack veg
The male flowers may have a short stalk on them, but the females can have small courgettes attached.
It's difficult, though, to cook flower and the attached courgette the right amount, so attractive as they may be,
probably better just to cook the flower.
If you're serving lactose intolerants you can probably work up something of the right stuffing consistency with yoghurt and some kind of tofu.
- courgette flowers
- soft cheese (cream/ricotta/goat's)
- a little hard cheese, grated
- herbs, chopped
- lemon zest
- flour and egg, milk or water batter mixture
Carefully open up the flowers, check for bugs, and pinch out the stem at the base of the flower.
Give them a clean if necessary.
Mix your chosen soft cheeses with some chopped herbs (basil, parsley, mint, etc), a grating of stronger cheese like Parmesan or hard goat's cheese
and grate in some lemon zest.
Spoon the mixture into the flowers, then fold them back up giving a little twist at the tips to hold them closed.
Make a light batter - I like a tempura-style version with 50/50 regular flour (or rice flour) and cornflour
with a sprinkling of bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt,
mixed to the consistency of thick cream with really cold sparkling water.
Heat half an inch or so of oil in a pan.
Roll the flowers in the batter to coat them lightly, then fry quickly in the hot oil, turning to make them golden all over.
If the filling starts to ooze out it's a sign they're done.
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