Friday, 11 January 2013

Veggie Makeover

Doing something different with veg!
So, did you make a New Year's Resolution?

Are you stopping smoking/drinking/eating chocolate?

Have you resolved to trim your budget or your waistline?

Our NYR here is that we've decided to eat even more fruit and veg-  to eat in season, and to try something different as often as we can.

Different shouldn't mean exotic or imported or weird- just veg or fruit that we don't usually think to buy, or regular staples cooked different ways.

For example, as a child growing up I don't remember often being served cabbage or spring greens- and so didn't cook them much myself. But now I've discovered them- I love them and am always looking for new ways to cook them- stuffed, wilted, mashed or steamed.

Potato,cabbage and leek ready for mashing into Colcannon cakes

Colcannon cakes with Sticky Sausages
Cabbage leaves with stuffing

It's the same with mushy peas- I'd never had them, but when I discovered them pureed with a little stock or cream and maybe some mint or dill, there was no going back. They are lovely with scallops or, as here, with home made fish fingers. chips and tomato sauce:

Fish fingers, chips, mushy peas and sauce

Knowing what is in season though is not always easy- supermarkets stock imported fruit and veg all year round- and price is not always a good indicator either as these are artificially manipulated to get us to buy what the supermarkets want us to buy.

 There are many good websites which can give you that information though- try this one:

For January, there's a fair choice of root vegetables and leafy greens.

So, for me,  today's vegetable vedette is celeriac- fat and ugly - but definitely shouldn't be left on the shelf!

Celeriac- or Doctor Who monster?

One of these misshapen roots goes a long way- cooked or raw.

It can be grated and coated in mustardy mayonnaise for a remoulade or the grated flesh can be shaped into floured patties and fried as a rosti:

But I began by peeling the beast, chopping it into cubes and placing it straightaway into acidulated water (ie with lemon juice) to stop it going brown. It is then boiled until tender (15 minutes or so). I passed it through a potato ricer, added one cooked mashed Maris Piper potato and lots of seasoning. The mash was a lighter alternative to potato puree and went really well with  roast chicken.
Celeriac Mash

This used about 1/3 of the mash.
The second third was mashed with cabbage, leeks and carrots to make Bubble and Squeak the next day.

Bubble and Squeaky Celeriac

The final third made a rich celeriac soup- cooked with 1 leek, some celery stalks and leaves,
parsley and chicken stock.
I served it with smoked bacon lardons and croutons.

Celeriac Soup with Lardons

I've already bought my next unusual veg- cavolo nero or black kale. I've never cooked it before and certainly never eaten it- so I'm looking forward to being creative with it.
I'll let you know how I get on next week.

In the mean time- why not try some new vegetables  and give me some ideas? After all, they can't bite!


  1. Dear Leftover Liz

    One of my New Year's Resolutions is to keep a Food Diary to make sure that I'm eating a balanced diet over the course of a week. We all lead such busy lives that it's so easy to miss out on a particular vitamin, or not eat enough protein or iron, without even realizing. So I've bought a little pocket diary which I keep in my handbag, and note down what I eat (with rough quantities). So far so good!


    1. Good for you! I keep a food diary too but just to remind me of all the lovely meals I've eaten!