Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Turning Over a New Leaf

Everyone starts a new year with new hopes and sometimes new resolutions. I start each new year now with a feeling of anticipation of new adventures to come.
No more so than this year, which promises to be full of new experiences and hopefully plenty of good things.
The market bursting with green veg
For one thing, we are back in the land of lovely fruit and veg, markets and salads so where better to begin this year's blog posts but with a leafy green theme.

'The land of lovely fruit and veg, markets and salads'
Salade Italienne in a local cafe
I came back from last Friday's market with a good haul of veg- all of it still with it's leafy tops on as you can see.
My vegetable shopping
The turnips, radishes and heritage carrots were going to be roasted to have with chicken but their green tops (radish and turnip tops that is) are a much underused ingredient.
Just wash them thoroughly, chop and steam. I like to add spring onion tops or leeks to this and pop a teabag (Earl Grey or Lapsang Souchong) into the steaming water for a sweet and aromatic accompaniment.

Tea steamed greens

Roasted roots and radishes
Any leftover radishes, onions or greens went into a Miso Noodle Soup the next day: cook a nest of egg noodles per person, drain and reserve the cooking water.
Add a heaped tablespoon of miso paste and another of soy sauce to the water and place to heat.
Stir fry the veg you want to use- radishes, peppers, carrot, spring onions, green tops or even lettuce, add leftover chicken if you have it and then assemble your dish.
In the bottom of each soup bowl, put noodles, chicken and veg and then spoon over the hot broth. Serve with extra soy sauce on the side.

Miso Noodle Soup
Whilst we are talking about cooking lettuce, here are a few ideas for using up tired salad leaves:

Fry an onion with some garlic and then add the lettuce to the frying pan and cook until wilted.

Meanwhile, put a few potatoes on to boil (or use up any leftover cooked ones), warm up some chicken or vegetable stock (I still had leftover miso broth from last night), add the potatoes, the lettuce and onions, some chopped parsley or any other leafy green herb you have, blitz with a stick blender or in a liquidiser, add a little milk or cream to serve.

McGregor Soup
I've called this McGregor Soup, as it has the flavour of sorrel and parsley, or even watercress - delicate but very tasty - and would appeal to the discernng human or rabbit alike!

Cooked lettuce is quite cheffy these days. I saw them serving it on Professional Masterchef. Cos or Little Gem seem to be the thing, blowtorched to give them a caramelized look and then added to other veg. Just mix it into peas or leeks for a fresh tasting dish- and no leafy greens wasted!

Quiche aux Blettes
I have finished up the week with some old favourites: Endives with Ham and Cheese Sauce ( I promised my husband that I would make this as soon as we were back in France) and Quiche aux Blettes (Swiss Chard tart). Click on the link below the pictures for the recipes.
Endives with Ham and Cheese Sauce

I hope this has inspired you to eat up your greens, and certainly not to throw them away. If any of you resolved to try to lose weight in 2016, then I hope these recipes help with that too.

Perhaps not the ones smothered in cheese sauce though.