|A trugful of treasures|
Just look at all this glorious vegetable bounty. It's the result of a visit to my friend's allotment where she invited me to help myself to anything and everything that needed harvesting.
So, I have a trugful of green beans, Swiss chard, kohlrabi, curly kale and ruby chard to take home.
I feel inspired- and about time too as I have been suffering from blogger's block recently.
What did I make? A stir-fry, 3 soups, fritters, stuffed leaves, lasagne and a gnocchi bake. Not bad eh? Here's how.
First things first- a super fresh summer stir fry is in order- radishes, spring onions, kohlrabi, beansprouts, chard stems and green beans.
Freshly picked, the kohlrabi can be sliced and stirfried as it is- but if you prefer, you can steam or boil it until tender first. Do so in its peel though, to keep its delicate flavour (and then peel it afterwards)
Once prepped, the veg can be simply cooked in some hot oil in a wok, then some cooked noodles, sweet chili and soy sauce mixed in.
|Veg all prepped|
|Super Summer Stir Fry|
The leftovers make a substantial soup, added to miso or chicken stock.
|Leftover noodle soup|
Kohlrabi has been described as 'part veg- part alien' because of its otherwordly colour and knobbly appearance.
Shred the raw kohlrabi in a food processor. (Incidentally, it would make a great slaw like this with shredded carrot, apple and spring onion).
|Fry in hot oil|
Next- the Stuffed Ruby Chard leaves. (The red stems went into the stir fry).
These are steamed for a few minutes and then drained on kitchen towel.
|Steam the chard leaves quickly|
|Stuffed Ruby Chard Leaves|
The green chard leaves I blanched for 2 minutes in boiling water, then into cold water to preserve the colour. I squeezed them out in a J Cloth and used them as a layer in a lasagne: leftover bolognaise ragu, then pasta, then chard leaves
|layers of leaves, pasta and ragu|
|Meat and 2 Veg lasagne|
Time for another soup- this time using the chard stems. Chop these and use them exactly as you would celery. I softened some onion and garlic in a soup pan, added the chard stems, a few chopped new potatoes and 1 1/2 litres of chicken stock. Simmer until the veg is all tender, then blitz with a stick blender, add 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley and adjust seasoning to your taste.
Now, the gnocchi.
Cook these little potato dumplings according to the instructions on the packet- usually for just 2-3 minutes or so in boiling water. Drain and set aside with a tea towel over the top.
Make a bechamel sauce, season well and add 100g of grated spicy cheddar with chilli.
Meanwhile blanch and squeeze the kale as for the chard leaves above, and then chop and fry with a crushed clove of garlic in a deep frying pan or wok.
Add the gnocchi and toss together, then mix in the chilli-cheese sauce.
|Ready for the oven|
|Chilli-Chard Gnocchi Bake|
Last, but not least- if you have leftover cooked veg I often put it all into my Use-it-Up minestrone- vegetable stock simmered with tomatoes (or leftover pasta sauce) soup pasta, any cooked veg such as green beans, courgette, peppers, kale or spring onions and- the secret ingredient- any leftover baked beans. Season well- a kick of hot sauce goes well with it too, I am told.
Phew! I think it's time to stock up on some more veggies!