Whole Roasted Brassicas

The brassica family which contains broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, mustard and turnips is a Root to Flower good mine. We eat turnip roots, cabbage leaves, brussel sprouts, cauliflower flowers, and mustard seeds but rarely do we explore the forgotten parts of each of these vegetables. But, in this recipe we do.

Serves 4

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Essentials

  • Any mix of brassicas (use all of them!)
  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 50g pistachios, roughly chopped
  • For the dressing
  • 3 tbsp Tahini
  • 1 Lemon, zest and juice
  • Seasoning

Method

Separate any Brussels tops from the rest of the Brussel stalks and set aside for later. Do the same with any cauliflower leaves too. Preheat the oven to 200.

Cut the stalk, leaving the Brussels attached, into 2cm slices. Break the other veg into thumb sized pieces and blanch all together for 5 minutes in boiling water. When ready and ok to handle, toss in a good drizzle of olive oil, with the seeds and sumac. Place in the oven to roast for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile mix together the dressing ingredients, loosing with a little water if needed.

When the roasted veg have about 10 minutes left, toss in any tops or leaves to crisp.

Roughly chop the nuts, dress the veg and sprinkle over the nuts to serve.

Stuffed courgette flowers and balls

If fried courgette flowers isn’t for you, this is. 

Serves 4

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Essentials

  • 4-6 courgette flowers
  • 2 medium courgettes
  • 120g cooked lentils
  • Small bunch mint
  • 100g feta
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 1 lemon
  • 300g ricotta
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 300g passata
  • Handful of toasted pine nuts to serve

Method

In a food processor blitz the lentils into a paste. Transfer to a mixing bowl then grate in the courgettes. Add in 100g of the ricotta, half of the feta, a handful of chopped mint leaves, the breadcrumbs, zest in the lemon and season. Mix well then divide into 8-10 golf ball size balls. Set in the fridge whilst you make the sauce.

Mix together the remaining ricotta, another handful of chopped mint, a squeeze of lemon and seasoning. Carefully open the flower slightly and spoon in the mix.

Finely slice the garlic and in a good glug of olive oil soften in a medium pan on a medium heat. Add in the passata and gently heat for 10 minutes or so.

Remove the balls from the fridge and in 2 tbsp olive oil fry the balls till they are golden all over. Remove and add in the tomato sauce. In the same frying pan fry the flowers.

Sprinkle over the remaining feta, top the balls with the flowers and finish with a few extra mint leaves and the toasted pine nuts.

Pineapple, core and caramel tart

Often we are told to remove the core of the pineapple, however it is entirely edible and especially delicious whenever cooked with, give it a go. 

Serves 6

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Essentials

  • 1 small super sweet pineapple
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 100ml water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pack ready rolled puff pastry
  • Creme fraiche to serve

Method

Take a 22cm non stick pan suitable for the oven and cut out a perfect circle about 4cm bigger in the pastry and set aside. Preheat the oven to 180.

Heat the sugar on a medium flame. You want the sugar to caramelise so resist the temptation to shake the pan at all. Whilst you are waiting for the sugar, skin the pineapple and then cut into 1cm slices, don’t worry about coring the pineapple, we can caramelise that too!

Once the sugar to golden add in the water immediately. Coat the pan so the caramel is covering it evenly. When ready, add in the pineapple and turn down the heat. Let the pineapple caramelise for about 4 minutes until it starts to soften. Turn and do the same on the other side.

Once all golden place the pastry over the top of the pan, tuck the pastry down the side of the pan and place in the oven to cook the pastry, about 20 minutes, until flaky and golden.

Careful take the tart from the oven and making sure not to touch anything hot, flip over into a serving plate so the pineapple is facing up. Serve the tart with a little creme fraiche.

 

Onion flower soup

Onions, leeks and spring onions can be used entirely except for any dried skins (but they make a great base for a veg broth) Toss in any onion flowers for a beautiful and delicate onion aroma or fry up the roots for some extra crunch.  

Serves 2

Essentials

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  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 4 medium onions
  • 2 good size leeks
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 300g british potatoes
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 80g british cheddar

Method

Preheat the oven to 180.

Place a large heavy based pan on a medium heat and warm a tbsp olive oil and the butter. Whilst this is melting, give the leeks, celery and potatoes a rinse but don’t peel or discard anything. Roughly chop the celery, onions and the potato and add to the pan. Give this a stir to coat, and cook down for about 15 minutes to soften. Then add in thyme holding back a few sprigs, and add in the stock.

Meanwhile, cut the whole leek into rounds and smash the garlic bulb with a knife, skins and all. Place on a baking tray and toss lightly in a little olive oil and place in the hot oven for about 25 minutes.

Once ready, add all, except a few perfect leek rounds, to the pot once boiling blitz until smooth.

Serve with crusty bread and top with the roast leeks and fresh onion flowers, a few thyme leaves and a good grating of the cheddar.

Beetroot tops and bottoms salad

If you grow your own beetroots, try leaving the root in the ground and occasionally trimming any leaf growth for your salads keeping the plant alive and granting you fresh leaves everyday.

Serves 2

Essentials

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  • 1 bunch of beetroot, leaves and all
  • Half a bunch of lemon thyme
  • 125g best quality halloumi
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 120g puy lentils
  • 1 lemon

Method

Heat the oven to 200. Rinse the beetroot for any mud then pick all the baby leaves and cut any larger ones, leaving in firmer stalks. Place the leaves in a sieve to rinse. Roughly chop the stalks and thickly slice the rest of the beetroot. Place all the slices and chopped stalks in a medium roasting tin and toss in a tbsp olive oil, the balsamic, thyme, paprika and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes until tender.

Wash the lentils and place in a medium saucepan with double the amount of water and a good pinch of salt. Bring to the boil then simmer for 30 minutes until tender but still with a bit of bite.

Place a medium nonstick pan on a high heat. Cut the halloumi into slices and once the pan is hot fry for a couple of minutes on each side till golden and oozy. When ready squeeze the lemon into the hot pan.

Toss the lentils in the tray with the beetroots and dress with a little extra balsamic, any remaining lemon juice and a tbsp olive oil. Transfer to a serving dish and toss with the beet leaves and cheese to finish. Zest the lemon and finish with a pinch of sea salt.

Pumpkin Parpadelle

An autumnal favourite to make use of pumpkin or any other squash seeds in one recipe. 

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Serves 2

Essentials

  • 250g pappardelle
  • ½ medium pumpkin, around 1kg
  • 100g soft ricotta
  • 3 sprigs sage
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed in their skins
  • 1 lemon
  • Nutmeg for grating
  • Parmesan to serve

 Method

Preheat the oven to 180. Scoop out the seeds and set on kitchen tool for later. Cut the rest of the pumpkin into 2½ cm pieces and toss with olive oil, the chilli flakes and the garlic. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until soft.

In a drizzle of olive oil fry the pumpkin seeds until they start to colour and pop. for the last 30 seconds or so add in the sage leaves to crisp, set aside. 

Cook the pasta al dente in salted water.

When the pumpkin is ready, remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly. Then place in the a blender with the garlic and a ladle of the pasta water to loosen, and blitz until smooth. Transfer to a medium pan and warm on a medium heat. Zest in the most of the lemon, and grate in half the nutmeg. Add in half the ricotta and stir.

Toss the pappardelle in the sauce with the remaining pumpkin chunks. Serve with small dollops of the ricotta and finish with the rest of the lemon zest, a grating of parmesan, the toasted seeds and crisp sage.