Eat The Seasons: March

20130305-095338.jpg

March is a great month here in the UK – Spring is officially in the air, the sun is finally shining, it’s getting a little warmer outside and the seasonal veg is just fabulous. According to the Eat Seasonably calendar the best of the bunch at the mo are leeks, kale, cauliflower, savoy cabbage and spring greens. So much potential not to mention goodness. Here are five ways to get your 5-a-day.

– fry a finely chopped leek over a med-high heat in a little butter or olive oil until soft. Season to taste and add a handful each of finely shredded cabbage and spring greens. Turn the heat down low and cook with the lid on for about ten mins. Delicious side for any meat, fish or veggie dish.

– don’t discard cauliflower leaves! Thoroughly wash, then chop them up and use in stir fries, curries or see this recipe.

– instead of potatoes, try cauliflower mash. Chop up a whole head cauliflower into florets, place in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Cook for 5-10 mins over a high heat until tender then drain, return to pan and mash as you would potatoes. Season and add a little butter, cream or cheese to taste.

– when roasting up a tray of veg, add a handful of kale at the end for amazing kale chips. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, and season to taste then roast for the last five mins with the other veg. Make sure you set a timer though, as much longer than five mins and they will burn.

– sauerkraut is a great way to preserve cabbage when it’s at its best, and contains friendly gut bacteria so is very good for you. Sterilise a large glass jar and fill it with finely shredded cabbage. Sprinkle with a tbsp of sea salt and a tbsp of sugar then fill almost to the top with boiling water. Leave to ferment in a warm place for at least a month, and store in the fridge once opened.

 

Bangers & mash

20130222-213810.jpg

I work in an office on a Thursday and Friday, which for our little family affords us the best of both worlds. I’m very fortunate to get good quality time with the girls, plus adult interaction and of course a bit of extra cash. I love my job, the people are great and the work is well within my capabilities. It’s an early start and I’m out of the door by 6:45. When I get home, after collecting the girls from nursery it’s all systems go to get them fed, bathed and in bed.

As you can imagine, dinner on these nights for hubby and I has to be quick and easy. There are usually leftovers from Wednesday kicking around for Thursday and it doesn’t get much simpler or scrumptious than bangers and mash on a Friday.

I’m really enjoying farmers markets at the moment, and always try to be a bit more adventurous with my sausage selection than I would if I was doing an online grocery shop. Last week we had some really tasty ginger & spring onion bangers and tonight we’re having spicy pork, beef & chorizo from the awesome Brixton Village.

We don’t eat too many potatoes in our house these days but do still enjoy mash, so I always try and use veggies that are in season. As luck would have it, March is a great time for this as some of my fave veg is very hot to trot right now! Tonight’s concoction will be cauliflower, broccoli and leek. Yumsters!

Ingredients (to serve two):
4-6 good quality sausages
250g broccoli – chopped into small florets
250g cauliflower – chopped into small florets
Large leek – finely sliced
50g butter – I use goats
Salt & pepper
Splash of wine (whatever you have open)
Dollop of red onion chutney (optional)

Method:
– get a large non stick frying pan nice and hot, melt a small knob of butter into it, then chop the sausages into three or four pieces each directly into the pan coating each one with butter

– let them brown for a few mins, then pour over the wine, turn the heat down low and put a lid on

– in a large saucepan sauté the leek in a large knob of butter, until soft. Tip the contents of the pan into a bowl and set to one side

– place your cauliflower and broccoli in the pan your leeks have vacated and fill with cold water. Bring to the boil, then continue cooking over a high heat for 5-10 mins until nice and soft

– drain and return to the pan. Chop the remainder of the butter into six pieces and scatter over the veg. Give it a good mix with a potato masher (or whiz in a blender) then stir in the leeks and season to taste

– by now your sausages should be ready to serve, but always double check they are cooked through

– distribute your bangers and mash as required, along with the lovely gravy that will have accumulated at the bottom of the frying pan

– I like to serve ours with a big dollop of home made red onion chutney on the top. Check out this recipe for a quick version

 

Brussel sprout & cauliflower mash

20121014-195031.jpg

Ingredients (as a side for four):
200g brussel sprouts
200g cauliflower
40g pecan nuts
2 tbsp whole grain mustard
Large knob of butter (I use goats but cows would work just as well)

Method:
– wash and chop the cauliflower into florets and peel the outer layer from the sprouts

– boil the veg for twenty mins until very mushy

– drain the veg, put back into the pan and mash together with the mustard and butter

– chop the pecans up and stir them in

– alternatively once the veg has been drained, put all ingredients into your blender or food processor and whiz on a low setting for 10-15 seconds

 

Stir fried cauliflower leaves

20120506-121121.jpg

We’ve been eating a lot of cauliflower recently, and up until now I haven’t made use of the green leaves that surround the white florets. It started feeling very wasteful, and I hate waste, especially the food kind, so devised a simple, fast and (of course) tasty way of serving them up.

– take one cauliflowers worth of green leaves, clean and dry them thoroughly, then cut them in half

– melt a knob of butter over a med heat and sautée half a finely sliced red onion

– cook for a few mins and once soft add your leaves as well as a good twist of freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

– turn the heat down to low and cook with the lid on for 15 mins until nice & tender

– great as a side dish to be served with any meat or fish

 

Primal Sushi?

20120415-165702.jpg

I love Japanese food and completely adore sushi, but following a grain free diet means I’ve had to improvise massively in order to get my fix. Guess you could say this is the closest I’ll get to eating sushi now. This is a very yummy alternative to the white rice variety I have to say, and of course you can use any fillings you want… the possibilities are endless…

Ingredients for 12 pieces of mock-maki:

50g broccoli florets
50g cauliflower florets
Tbsp mayonnaise
2 pieces of seaweed nori – I like this
4 long strips of cucumber
Half a ripe avocado
Lashings of smoked salmon
Tamari, wasabi & freshly grated ginger to serve

Method:

– steam the broccoli and cauliflower for 8-10 mins until they are fork mashable

– once they have cooled down mash them up with the mayonnaise and avocado, and combine well

– take your sushi mat and put a sheet of nori on top, dip your fingers into a bowl of water and moisten the nori

– spread half the mixture over the nori, leaving a centimetre gap around the edges

– put an inch of smoked salmon to the left side of the nori all the way down, and top with cucumber

– roll up the nori very tightly from left to right

– cut into six with a very sharp knife and repeat

– serve with tamari, wasabi and freshly grated ginger