Cooking and using Garden Produce
by Frann Leach
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Having grown your beautiful organic vegetables, fruit and herbs, what do you do with them? Many of us get carried away and start growing stuff we've hardly heard of, and once we've got it, we don't know what to do with it.

Fear not! Here for your delight, the result of many months research, experiment and taste tests, are some of the best ways to use your crops for your delectation.

Chinese Artichoke
Always scrub the tubers, never peel them, and do not cook for longer then 20 minutes otherwise the flavour will be spoiled.
Fried Artichokes: Parboil, dip in egg and breadcrumbs and fry in butter. can be served as an accompaniment to braised chicory and cold meat.
Globe Artichoke
Always cut the heads before the scales open fully. Soak for 2 hours in salt water to remove insects. Trim off the tips, boil or steam for about 45 minutes until the scales will pull out easily. Drain and serve with e.g. melted butter, French dressing, basil vinaigrette or Hollandaise sauce. The hearts may also be served on their own. Always remove the central "choke" before serving. Individual leaves are then picked off and eaten one by one, starting at the outside. The thickened bottom portion of the leaf is traditionally dipped in melted butter and its fleshy part stripped between the teeth. When all the leaves have been eaten and the hairy "choke" at the heart removed, the meaty and delicious artichoke heart -- the best part of the plant -- reveals itself.
Jerusalem Artichoke
Boil or steam in their skins for 20-25 minutes and peel just before serving to preserve nutrients. After cooking, they are nice served cold in a salad with mayonnaise. Can also be fried or baked, make excellent soup or an interesting Gratin. Alternatively, cut in halves and fry in deep butter for 5 or 6 minutes, drain and boil in vegetable stock to cover for 20 minutes. Use the butter and stock to make a sauce and simmer until completely tender. Sprinkle with paprika and garnish with sliced sweet peppers or Welsh onions.
The season for asparagus is from mid May to mid July. Always try to cook and serve within two hours of cutting. Cut when up to ¾" thick. Tie in a bundle and prop up in a tall pan in 8-10cm (3-4") of water boiling water. Cover. Cook for 5-15 minutes according to stem size and serve with melted butter. Alternatively, coat in oil and lay in an oven proof dish. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for about 18 minutes. Any poorer sticks can be used for omelette aux points d'asperges (asparagus tip omelette).
Asparagus pea
Boil in minimum water, serve with sauce or butter, or cold in salads, but may also be stir fried.
Aubergine (Eggplant)
Traditionally prepared before use by layering with salt in a colander. Leave for 30 minutes, then rinse and drain. The fruits may be baked or cut up into slices and fried, with bacon or without. You can also stuff them with forcemeat or sausage meat. They are also fantastic in curries and good as Bhaji or Pakora.
Aubergine salad: Cook whole in boiling salted water for about 20 minutes. Cool, peel and cut in chunks. Mix with natural yoghurt or soured cream, chopped lemon balm or parsley.
Melansane alle acciughe: Take 3 medium sized fruits and slice crosswise into thin slices. Fry in a pan of oil, and when well cooked remove and drain. Place on a warm plate. Fry a clove of garlic in 4 tblsp butter for 4 minutes, then add 2 finely chopped anchovies. Remove from heat, add 1 tsp chopped parsley and ½ tblsp vinegar. Reheat and pour over aubergines.
Mixed aubergine salad: Mix the cooked chunks with chopped tomatoes, sliced spring onions, crushed clove of garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and seasonings. Chill for half an hour before serving.
Vegetable gougère: Make a cheese choux pastry by sifting 2½ oz flour, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp dry mustard and some pepper onto a plate. Bring ¼ pint of water and 2 oz butter to the boil, remove from heat and stir flour mixture in quickly with a wooden spoon, beating well until the mixture forms a ball. Whisk 2 eggs, beat into the mixture a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in 2 oz diced cheddar and place the mixture in an 8 in oven proof dish, spreading it to the sides to make a casing, leaving a thin layer in the centre. Bake in a preheated oven at 200ªC, 400ªF gas mark 6 for 15-20 minutes until risen and light brown. Meanwhile, chop 2 tomatoes, grate 2 oz cheddar, cut 1 large aubergine into cubes and fry very gently in 2 oz butter until all the butter has been absorbed. Stir in 1 oz plain flour, remove from heat and stir in ¼ pint milk, ¼ tsp dry mustard, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and half the cheese and pour into the pastry case. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Return to the oven for 10-15 minutes.
Aubergine casserole: Drain salted slices, wash and dry. Fry raw new potatoes in olive oil until brown, scoop into a casserole. Fry aubergines until brown and transfer. Soften onions and garlic in olive oil, add 2 lb skinned tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar. Add to the potatoes and aubergines with some raw garlic pieces. Cook for about 20 minutes. Serve hot or cold.
Aubergine stir fry: Deep fry prepared sliced aubergine until golden. Stir fry two dried red chillies, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tblsp grated ginger and a handful of chopped spring onions. Add aubergines, 1 tblsp soy sauce, 1 tblsp white wine vinegar, sugar, large pinch Szechwan pepper. After removing from the heat, stir in 1 tblsp sesame oil and fresh chopped coriander.
Goes into pasta sauces just at the end of cooking, fresh from the plant, torn into rough pieces for the best flavour.
Bean sprouts
Pick over and wash before cooking. Drop into boiling salted water for 2 minutes, drain and serve with a white sauce, or use for stir fry.
Broad Beans (Fava Beans): Broad beans taste completely different if the beans are skinned. Boil for 1 minute, slit the skins and pop out the bright green beans. The tops can be cooked, or used in salads. They need to be washed in several changes of water to get rid of the blackfly.
Broad bean and pesto soup: Boil diced carrots, onions and 1 lb skinned broad beans in sufficient water to cover. Liquidise. Stir in pesto just before serving.
Green velvet soup: Sweat onions and thinly sliced courgettes in oil until soft, add 8 oz bean tops and enough chicken stock to cover. Simmer gently for about 20 minutes and liquidise.
Dried Beans: Before using dried beans, they must be soaked in plenty of water, usually overnight, then drained. The smaller beans (haricots and red kidney beans, for example) can be soaked for an hour in boiling water, though this is not so good.
Cooking times for pre-soaked dried beans:
Boiled in salt water: small beans, 30-40 minutes, large beans 1-2 hours.
Pressure cooked at high pressure: small beans 10 minutes, large beans 20 minutes
IMPORTANT NOTE: Even though some beans may seem to be edible after soaking, without cooking, NEVER eat them without boiling in water for at least 10 minutes. Some beans (particularly red kidney beans) contain toxic amounts of a chemical which can poison you when raw. As few as 6 or 7 beans can cause very serious effects. Don't take the risk, ALWAYS cook your beans, however soft they may be beforehand.
Vegetarian sausages: Soak kidney beans overnight, bring to the boil in fresh, salted water, then allow to fast boil for at least 10 minutes. Cool, drain, mince and pound to a smooth paste. Add a pinch of salt, finely chopped parsley, crushed garlic, some bread which has been soaked in water, and 1-4 tsps mushroom ketchup or yeast extract to taste. Mix together well and roll the mixture into a sausage. Cut into suitable lengths and fry to a light brown.
Jersey (Channel islands) bean crock: Best made using a mixture of different dried beans, which should include white haricots, scarlet runners and broad beans, but can be made simply with haricots if preferred. Soak the beans overnight, rinse and place in the bottom of a large, heavy, lidded casserole (a marmite is traditionally used). For 1 lb of dried beans, you would then add 2 or 3 whole onions (skinned), about 8 oz thickly sliced carrots, and a couple of pigs trotters or 1 lb of belly pork rashers, cut into biggish pieces. Then add about a rounded dessertspoonful of salt, fill the casserole to the top with hot water, and place into a cool oven, where it needs to bake for at least 2-3 hours, overnight if possible (families used to take their crocks to the local baker iin the evening, and collect it the following morning). It is a good idea to check it every hour or so to make sure that it hasn't boiled dry, topping up with boiling water to just cover, f necessary. On a cold winter's evening, this dish is indescribably wonderful, served with plenty of bread and butter, and glasses of cold Jersey milk.
Cassoulet: is almost the same as the recipe above, except for the addition of chunks of saucisson, and the fact that it is made from haricot beans only.
Golden Butter Beans: This is not the tinned or dried butter bean you get in supermarkets. The pods are golden all over, and all you have to do is to top and tail them, and steam them or cook them in stock with a knob of butter. Alternatively, serve with a cheese sauce, or try cooking half a pound of them with a large peeled and cored Bramley Seedling apple. Put the tiniest drop of water in the bottom of the pan, slice the apple and cook slowly until the apple froths. Then put in the beans with a walnut-sized knob of butter and continue cooking.
Flageolet Beans: Flageolets à la poulette: Boil the beans, warm up in butter, then stir in some white sauce, chopped parsley and cream. Season with salt and serve hot.
French Beans: Haricots verts à la Liégeoise: Steam in a bowl with a little butter, or serve with a flavouring of onion and a little potato.
Jersey Beans: If picked on the young side, they only have to be topped and tailed before being boiled for 20 minutes and then served hot with a little butter; or they can be left until the beans inside turn brown, after which they are stored and used in the winter as a dry bean. The third method is to pick the pods when the beans inside are swollen, but still green, and then to boil the beans (haricots) and serve with pepper and salt and a knob of butter, just like peas.
Pencil-Pod Wax Beans: The pods are golden yellow and should be picked when they are about 15cm (6") long. All they need is topping and tailing. They may be steamed or boiled, or laid out flat in a fireproof dish, covered with a little stock and a knob of butter, and baked in the oven.
Robin Beans, British Pea-Beans: Pick the pods on the young side, steam or boil for 20 minutes. They lose their colour after cooking.
Runner Beans: Beans in wine: Either fresh or dried beans may be used. Soak dried beans and cook until tender. Brown a chopped onion and a clove of garlic (optional) in butter and add tomato purée. Add beans and simmer for a few minutes. Then tip in two glasses of red wine and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Soya Beans: Shell fresh beans, boil in salted water until tender, drain and dress with melted butter, salt and paprika. Soak dried beans in water for 12 hours, boil in salted water until tender (about 2 hours) add a small joint of bacon or salt pork and 2 chopped onions during the last hour of cooking.
Beetroot takes from 30 minutes for thinnings to 2 hours for golf-ball sized beets to boil. Alternatively, pressure-cook on high for one-third of the boiling time. When using beet as a salad, some salad oil with the vinegar helps to smooth the taste. As a hot vegetable beet can either be served with melted butter or with a white sauce.
Beetroot and orange relish: Bring juice and shredded rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon to the boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Cut up the pith and cook separately with 12 cloves and ¾ pint water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain into the juice mixture. Add ¼ pint more water to the pith, bring to the boil and simmer for a further 30 minutes. Strain into juice and discard pith. Add 1 lb sugar and ½ pint malt vinegar to the juice, heat gently, stirring continuously until sugar is dissolved and add 1 lb cooked beetroot, cut into cubes. Bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, place a little on a saucer and leave until cold. If it has a skin, bottle up, otherwise, re-boil and re-test.
Beetroot tartare: Mix 6 sliced gherkins, 8 sliced stuffed olives, 2 tsp chopped capers, 2 tsp chopped parsley and 3 tblsp mayonnaise into ¾ lb cooked white beetroot, cut in cubes.
Creamed beetroot: Cook beetroot, peel and keep warm. Bring ½ pint milk, a sprig of thyme and the rind of half a lemon to boil slowly. Remove from heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes and strain into a jug. Make a white sauce with 1 oz of butter and 1 oz flour and the seasoned milk. Cook for 2 minutes, remove from the heat and whisk in the juice of half a lemon, 4 tblsp salad cream and seasoning. Pour over the beetroot.
Borschch: (Russian beetroot soup) Shred half a head of celeriac, 1 large parsnip, 1 lb beetroot. Chop 2 tomatoes. Fry onions and garlic in butter, add vegetables, ½ tsp sugar, 1 tblsp vinegar and ½ pint stock. Cook together for about 30 minutes until soft. Cook ½ lb chopped potatoes and half a shredded cabbage separately. Mix the two together and add 2 chopped tomatoes. Reheat and add sour cream and parsley to garnish.
A blood cleanser. Chop fine and mix into mashed potatoes.
Cabbage may be eaten raw, or boiled either very lightly or for at least half an hour, to avoid the sulphurous fumes. Well cooked cabbage can be fried with crispy bacon for a quick snack.
Colcannon: (Irish) Boil 1 lb potatoes in their skins. Boil 1 lb shredded green cabbage for 30-40 minutes. Simmer 2 chopped onions in butter and 1 cup of cream for about 15 minutes. Drain cabbage and mix with creamed onions. Peel potatoes and mash. Mix all ingredients together. Traditionally served with boiled bacon.
Cabbage and lemon: Chop cabbage, add to 4 oz melted butter, salt and pepper, a little sugar and a whole lemon zest without pith. Cook gently, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour. Allow liquid to boil off, stir in lemon juice to taste.
Chinese cabbage
Always use Chinese cabbage fresh from the garden. Like other brassicas they may be plainly boiled, but this is the quickest way to ruin the delicate flavour. A better method is to wash, slice crosswise, melt 1 oz butter in a pan and simmer for a few minutes, adding a tablespoonful of water and a little extra butter if necessary. A portion of cooked shrimps may be added if desired. Chinese cabbage is ideal for stir fry, and is enjoyable in late summer salads.
Tie in bundles of three or four and steam for about 15 minutes. Some people serve the side shoots as a delicacy, laid out on strips of hot buttered toast. Another method of cooking calabrese is to cut it up into small pieces, parboil, put into a fireproof dish and cover with white sauce and grated cheese. Bake in a very hot oven for 15 minutes.
see Sweet peppers.
Eaten uncooked, after being cut into thin slices, or diced, as a salad accompaniment to meat, the flavour is distinctive, smooth and rather peppery. When boiled, they have a pleasant vanilla-like odour, not unlike hard boiled eggs and are rather watery. In South America, the tubers are boiled and then frozen, after which they are considered a delicacy, or eaten in a half dried state, after being hung in nets and exposed to the air.
A six foot tall vegetable with the texture of celery and the flavour of globe artichokes. Remove leaves and cut stems into 5cm (2") strips. Blanch for 10-15 minutes in acidulated water. The blanched pieces can be used in salad or wrapped round forcemeat in pairs, dipped in egg and coating and fried.
Cardoon and bacon casserole: Cut stems into 4 or 5 inch lengths and drop them into boiling water to which a table spoonful of vinegar has been added. Keep the stems in the water until they are half cooked, then drop them into cold water and rub off the stringy skin. While they are boiling, half fill a casserole dish with stock. Add salt and pepper to taste. Into the bottom of the dish place a good sized piece of bacon with herbs and crushed garlic to taste. Place cardoons in the dish and cook gently in the oven for 2 hours, then drain and thicken the remaining mixture into a sauce and pour over.
Glazed carrots: Cut carrots into lengthwise slices, as thin as possible using a knife, about 5-8cm (2-3") long, ½cm (1/8") thick, 1cm (1/4") wide. Put into a small lidded saucepan. Add about 1cm (½") water, a pinch of sugar, a pinch of salt and a large knob of butter. Bring to the boil, then cover tightly and turn the heat down and simmer for about 10 minutes, shaking occasionally, until the carrots are well cooked and there is no liquid remaining.
Puree du Barry: Mash equal quantities of cauliflower and potato together, make into a creamy puree with milk or cream. Season with salt, pepper and grated nutmeg.
Italian cauliflower: Soak small heads in salted water for 30 minutes, then cook until tender. Drain, reserving liquid and use ½ pint to make a white sauce with 1 oz butter and 1 oz flour. Beat 2 egg yolks and 1 dstsp lemon juice together and then into the sauce. Pour over cauliflower, reheat and serve.
Celeriac not only makes a delightful vegetable dish, but can also be the basis of delicious soups and stews where a light celery flavour is required. It is also good made into a puree and mixed with mashed potatoes, and can also be used to make an hors d'oeuvre after being lightly cooked and marinaded in French dressing for a few hours. When preparing, be sure to remove all external fibres and roots, cutting fairly deep to remove the coarse bottom flesh. Peel the roots, boil them and serve with a white sauce, or cut up after cooking, put in a vegetable dish, sprinkle with grated cheese and a knob of butter and brown in a hot oven. Slices of cooked celeriac can also be fried in vegetable oil. Alternatively, peel them, grate them or cut into match sticks and use them raw in a salad, perhaps with mayonnaise. The leaf stalks are also quite edible boiled and served like sea kale.
Braised celeriac: Cook until tender in a little vegetable stock adding a generous knob of butter, a sprinkling of salt, chopped chives and parsley. Remove from stock, add a little cream and thicken the mixture. Pour over.
Viennese celeriac: Wash 4 roots and cook until just soft. Peel, cut into neat pieces and moisten with French dressing while still warm. Serve with a sauce made from 1 small onion, 1 tsp chopped parsley ½ tsp finely chopped tarragon, 3 finely rubbed anchovy fillets, 3 chopped hard-cooked egg yolks, 2 cups mayonnaise, 1 tblsp of chopped capers and 3 finely chopped gherkins. Chill well before serving.
Celeriac fricassee: Make a thin sauce with vegetable stock and milk (50:50), simmer the sliced cooked celeriac and a pinch of mixed herbs in it for about 15 minutes and serve with golden-fried onions, with the onions in the middle of the dish, the celeriac arranged around it and the sauce poured over.
Young leaves can be eaten raw in salads, older leaves cooked like spinach. Stems should be peeled and sliced lengthways before cooking lightly.
Celtuce au Gratin: Remove leaves and skin, cut into 2.5cm (1") slices and boil for 3 or 4 minutes in a small amount of water. Place into a baking dish cover with a cheese sauce and sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cheese, then brown in a hot oven.
Bulbous chervil
Never cut or peel chervil before cooking, just scrub. Partially cook in boiling salted water, drain and finish cooking in butter or place around a joint of meat to roast. In France chervil roots are used as a garnish to game and sometimes mashed into a puree. To boil chervil takes about ¾ hour.
Chick peas
Soak for 12 hours, boil for 2 hours with grated onion, garlic, salt, sage and paprika.
Chicory must be prepared at the time it is needed, or it will discolour. Never leave soaking in cold water or it will become bitter. Use the leaves in salad, or remove the outer leaves and boil whole in salted water with 1 tblsp lemon juice for five minutes only, then drain, add butter and sweat for an hour and a quarter. Serve with melted butter.
Braised chicory: Place chicons in a fireproof dish. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with a little lemon juice, add 1½ cups of meat stock and dot with butter. Cover with greaseproof paper and cook in a moderate oven for 1 hour, turning occasionally to avoid browning. Serve with a good sauce or meat gravy.
Chicory rolls: Beat 3 oz butter with 1 tblsp made mustard. Add 4 oz cheese to half the mixture and spread onto 4 slices bread (crusts removed). Wrap each slice of bread around a cooked chicon, cheese inwards. Put the wrapped chicons in an ovenproof dish, spread with reserved butter mixture. (Freeze at this point, if desired) Cut 2 tomatoes in quarters and sprinkle over. Bake in a preheated oven at 190ªC 375ªF gas mark 5 near the top for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and crisp. If frozen before baking, cook from a cold oven at the same temperature, allowing 50 minutes from attaining the temperature.
Chinese Broccoli
Peel skins if skin has become tough. Steam, use in stir fries, or cook like sprouting broccoli.
Chop Suey greens
Young leaves can be used in salads, but older leaves are best cooked lightly, for example, steamed, stir-fried or cooked like spinach. May become bitter if overcooked. Flowers also edible. Apart from their use in stir fry, the best cooking method is to boil them lightly for five minutes and serve with butter.
see Sweet corn or Popcorn.
Courgettes, pumpkins and squashes
Pumpkins and squashes can be made into a puree by baking the de-seeded halves face down on a greased baking sheet for about 45 minutes, scooping out the flesh and draining well. This freezes well, or can be used as a vegetable served with melted butter and black pepper.
Courgettes (Zucchini): Older courgettes can be greatly improved by salting before cooking. Cut into slices, sprinkle heavily with salt and leave for a couple of hours in a colander. Rinse and drain thoroughly before use.
Courgettes provençales: Cook a small chopped onion, a clove of garlic and a sliced tomato in a little butter. Add 1 lb sliced courgettes and seasoning, cover and cook slowly for about 15 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally.
Courgette raita: Used as an accompaniment to Indian food. Cut into thin slices and layer with salt in a colander or sieve. Leave for 30 minutes to drain and pat dry. Mix 1 small carton of natural yoghurt with 2 tsp wholegrain mustard. Stir in courgettes.
Ratatouille: Slice 2 onions and cook gently in 2 tblsp oil with 2 crushed cloves garlic and 2 tsp salt for 5 minutes. Add 2 chopped green peppers, 1 chopped red pepper, 1 lb sliced courgettes and ½ lb of chopped tomatoes in layers. Sprinkle well with salt, cover and cook over a low heat for 30-40 minutes and serve. Can also be served cold or used to fill a savoury flan.
Courgettes can also be used for fritters or parotha.
Pumpkins: Pumpkin marmalade: Any orange-flesh winter squash can be used. Peel and deseed 2 lb pumpkin. Dice. Soak overnight with 2 lb sugar, stirring occasionally. Cut 2 whole oranges up and leave overnight. Mix the two together and boil down together for 30-40 minutes. Bottle with wax discs over the hot marmalade and seal while still hot.
Pumpkin pie: In a bowl beat 2 eggs, mix in 12 fl oz pumpkin puree, 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp ginger, ½ tsp allspice, ½ pint double cream and 8 fl oz maple or golden syrup. Pour into a large flan case and bake until set round the edges, but still wobbly in the middle.
Summer squashes: Zapallito de tronco can either be served hot, or cold with mayonnaise. It does well with cold French beans and cos lettuce. Cocozelle should be picked at 15cm (6") and cooked whole. Spaghetti Squash is picked at 20cm (8") long. Make a hole in one end with a large knitting needle and cook whole for 35-40 minutes in boiling water. Cut in half to remove the "spaghetti". Pick Golden Summer Crookneck when 10-12cm (4-5") long and steam or boil in their skins. If you leave them until they are 25cm (10") long and 8cm (3") thick, they can be cut into slices and fried, or baked with or without sausage stuffing. Prolific Straightneck can be treated as the previous type, picked from 15cm (6") long. If left for frying, they grow to 35cm (14") long and 10cm (4") thick. Butternut should be about 20-25cm (8-10") long when picked. Cut in half lengthwise, remove seeds and add a knob of butter, place on a baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes until tender.
Winter squashes: Hubbard is excellent for pies and as a vegetable, and stores well. Banana squash has the texture, rather than the taste, of a banana. Baby Blue and Buttercup are other recommended varieties.
Stuffed marrow: Cut the marrow crosswise into slices about 2-2.5cm (¾-1") thick: 1 or 2 per person to be served. Remove skin and seeds from each slice and place into a buttered baking tray. Mix 2 oz minced beef, turkey or soya meat per marrow slice with finely chopped onion (and garlic if liked), seasoning and stock. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Divide evenly between the slices of marrow. Pour well-seasoned stock around the marrow slices until about 1cm (½") deep. Bake for 35-40 minutes at a medium heat until the stock has been absorbed and the marrow is tender. Serve (easiest using a fish/egg slice) with sautéed potatoes and glazed carrots to provide plenty of contrast in taste and texture.
Cheesy stuffed marrow: Prepare marrow slices as above. Cut some parsnips, carrots and leeks into chunks about 1 cm (½") across and parboil in salted water. Make a sloppy white sauce and stir in plenty of cheese. Fill the marrow slices evenly with drained vegetables, pour in the cheese sauce. Any left over sauce can be poured around the dish. Sprinkle each marrow slice with a good portion of grated cheese. Bake as above. Serve with jacket potatoes and fried mushrooms.
All squashes can be baked by wrapping in greased paper. When tender, the seeds can be removed and the pulp can be mixed with other ingredients if liked. You can add cheese, a little tomato, some sweet pepper, or for a sweet dish, a handful of sultanas and some sugar. You can also serve baked squash with a puree of cooked pears and apples.
Squash risotto: Fry onions in 1½ oz butter until soft, add 1 lb squash in half inch dice, sage leaves, risotto rice, tomatoes, ¼ pint stock, seasoning. Stir until stock is absorbed. Keep adding ¼ pint quantities of stock and stirring in until the rice is nicely cooked but still slightly firm at the centre. Add a large knob of butter and 1-2 tblsp parmesan. Allow to stand for a few minutes before serving. Can be varied by using a mixture of squash and aubergine, with the skin left on.
Couve Tronchuda (Portuguese cabbage)
Caldo Verde: Chop 1 medium sized onion and fry until brown with 2 dstsp lentils. Cook 2 medium sized potatoes until soft, mash and add to 2 pints of milk together with the onions and lentils. Simmer for ½ hour and during the last 5 or 6 minutes add 3 cups of finely shredded Couve Tronchuda heart.
Braised Portugal cabbage: Cut a medium sized heart into 4 pieces. Place in boiling salted water until half cooked. Drain well and braise in a casserole dish with a knob of butter and a liberal sprinkling of pepper. Serve hot.
American and Australian Cress
Cress Soup: Boil 2 lb potatoes, 2 medium sliced onions and 2 bunches of cress in 2 pints of water. Liquidise. Reheat, adding ½ pint of milk, plenty of black pepper and a pinch of grated nutmeg. Finely chop 2 bunches of cress and 2 skinned tomatoes and add to the soup just before serving. Add a dash of white wine at the last moment (optional).
As well as using them raw in salads, cucumbers can be served cooked, by cutting into pieces 5cm (2") long, stuffing with sausage meat and braising.
Rohrsalat in Saurem Rahm: Take 2 lb of dandelion leaves and wash thoroughly. To reduce the bitter flavour lightly boil in two lots of water, subsequently draining them and chopping very fine. Heat some sour cream and season. Add the chopped leaves and over a low heat bring to boiling point. Sprinkle with a dash of paprika and serve.
see Aubergine
Best used fresh, but in the event of a glut serve braised: wash and drain well, place in a large dish and pour meat stock over, season and dot with butter, cover and cook for 20 minutes over a gentle heat.
Evening primrose
The roots are fleshy and are cooked in the same way as salsify, but are not particularly renowned for their flavour.
Florence fennel
Leaf bases can be used raw in salad, served lightly grilled (goes well with lamb), or boiled and served with melted butter, white sauce or cheese sauce.
Braised fennel: Remove outer leaves and cut into quarters. Place in boiling water for 15 minutes, drain and lay in a casserole dish with minced onion, chopped garlic and 1 lb sliced tomatoes. Add a cupful of meat stock and braise in a moderate oven for 1 hour.
Because of a complicated chemical reaction (which is explained here, garlic gets stronger the finer it is chopped. It is easier to chop finely if you first squash it flat with the blade of the knife.
Provençal Chicken: Stuff a chicken with salt and as many whole cloves of garlic as will fit. Smear with butter. Cook slowly at Gas mark 1½ for 3½-4 hours, basting regularly. When brown, baste again, sprinkle with tarragon and cook at Gas mark 6 for about 10 minutes.
Cook roots like salsify.
Good King Henry
Use shoots like asparagus, leaves like spinach. Well wash some flower buds or young shoots and cook for 5 minutes in just sufficient water to cover. Drain well, and pour some melted butter over. Serve on toast.
(see also Basil, Bistort, Mint, Salad Burnet, Sorrel).
Bouquet garni: Tie together a sprig each of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, or put in a small muslin bag if you've got any. This is the traditional French herbal "tea bag" used for flavouring many dishes.
Herb cheese: Make a few days before use, to give flavours time to blend. Crush 1 clove of garlic with ½ level tsp salt, beat well with ½ lb soft cheese, 1 tblsp chopped parsley, 1 tblsp snipped chives and 2 tblsp chopped thyme. Cover in foil and leave in the fridge for at least 12 hours. Store for up to 1 week.
Herb butter: Cream 4 oz butter until smooth, add 2 tblsp chopped parsley, rosemary, mint or chives, 1 tsp lemon juice and ½ tsp salt and mix well. Wrap in greaseproof paper and leave to harden in the refrigerator. For garlic butter, use 1 clove of garlic to each 2 oz butter.
Parsley and Thyme stuffing: To stuff one chicken (or half a turkey) mix 4 oz fresh white breadcrumbs, the rind of 1 lemon, 2 tblsp chopped parsley, 2 tblsp chopped thyme and 1 oz shredded suet. Mix with sufficient milk or egg to make a soft mixture.
Only very tender newly formed young shoots are suitable. Cook in boiling water until tender, drain, fry lightly in butter and after a few minutes place a cover on the pan and continue cooking for a further 6 minutes. Alternatively, cook in salted water with a little lemon juice. Drain well and pour a thick tomato sauce over. Add melted butter and serve hot.
An old Kentish way: Boil in just sufficient broth to cover and serve on rounds of hot buttered toast. Hop shoots may also be served cold with French dressing.
Horseradish sauce
Wash and grate horseradish finely. Lightly whip 1½ cups of cream, add 1 tblsp white vinegar, ¼ tblsp mustard, a little salt and a sprinkling of sugar. Mix in the horseradish according to taste.
Note that it is the roots that are edible; the seeds are poisonous. Peel, slice and sprinkle with sugar or salt, use as a substitute for water chestnut in stir fries, add raw to salads as served in California, or serve the Mexican way marinated in lime juice and then sprinkled with chili powder.
Kohl rabi
Can be boiled or steamed as a turnip, but preferably without peeling first. The roots can also be grated and used raw in salads. If the roots are steamed first, they can then be stuffed or sliced, dipped in a little batter, and fried.
Stuffed kohl rabi: Wash and remove leaves. Cut tops off, scoop out centres and grate. Mix with chopped chives, minced meat, grated carrot and the yolk of an egg. Stuff, replace tops and cook in a moderate oven for 30 minutes.
Creamed kohl rabi: Boil gently in a small amount of vegetable stock until tender. Prepare a sauce with the remainder of the stock, using butter, flour, cream, salt and pepper. Slice kohl rabi and pour sauce over. Garnish with chopped chives and curly endive.
Use young leaves, young stems, flowering shoots and shredded older leaves raw in salads. Otherwise cook as greens/kale.
Leek pudding: Quarter 4 very large leeks, clean and cut into 8cm (3") lengths. Cook without seasoning. Line a pudding bowl with suet crust, fill with the cooked leeks, roughly drained, salt and pepper to taste. Cover with crust, wrap and cover in foil. Either boil for 2 hours or pressure cook on high for 20 minutes. Let pressure reduce slowly at end of cooking time.
Creamed leeks: Sizzle shredded leeks in butter, add the juice of 1 orange and sweat for 10 minutes. Add flour, stir in milk and a squeeze of lemon juice. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
Lettuce soup: Cook 8 oz chopped onions and 8 oz potatoes in 2 oz butter until onions are soft. Add 1 lb shredded lettuce and ½ pint stock. Cook 15 minutes, sieve or liquidise. Thicken with 1 tblsp cornflour, stir in ½ pint milk and a small can of evaporated milk. Season to taste and serve with a swirl of soured cream to each bowl.
see Courgettes, pumpkins and squashes
Mint jelly: Chop enough mint leaves to make ½ pint when pressed down lightly. Dissolve 1 lb sugar in ¾ pint water and bring to the boil. Add all but 1 tblsp mint, bring back to the boil. Remove from heat and add ½ pint malt vinegar. Cover and leave to stand for 15 minutes. Dissolve 1 oz gelatine in 3 tblsp water and 3 tblsp of mint liquid. Mix into the remaining mint liquid. Cool until slightly thickened, stir in reserved mint and pour into jars, avoiding bubbles. Cover with lids or polythene and store in a cool, dark cupboard for up to 6 months.
Champignons Provençales: Fry a crushed clove of garlic in 1 oz butter and 1 tblsp oil over a low heat for 2 minutes. Add 12 oz sliced mushrooms, the juice of half a lemon and ½ tsp salt. Cook gently for 2-3 minutes. Stir in 4 tblsp chopped parsley and serve.
Cream of Mushroom soup: Chop 1 medium sized onion and 1 medium sized potato, cook gently in 1 oz butter until soft. Add 8 oz mushrooms, 1 stock cube and 1 pint of water. Bring to the boil, stirring, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Liquidise or sieve. Thicken ½ pint milk with 1 tblsp arrowroot, stir in soup and bring to the boil. Taste and adjust seasoning. Stir in half a small carton of soured cream or single cream. Serve with a swirl of cream or soured cream in each bowl.
The oca can be boiled, baked or fried, included in soups and stews, served like potatoes or as a sweet. In Mexico it is eaten raw with salt, lemon and hot pepper.
Punjabi Bhindi Sabji: Fry onions and garlic until soft. Add 1½ tsp salt, 1 tsp grated ginger, ½ tsp turmeric, 2 chopped green chillies and 6 tsp chopped tinned tomatoes and stir well. Add 1 lb sliced okra, cover tightly and leave over a low heat for about 15 minutes. Stir in 2 tsp garam masala and a squeeze of lime or lemon juice. The sliminess should disappear during cooking.
Gumbo: Cover 2 lb okra, ½ lb peeled sliced tomatoes and 4 oz diced belly pork with good stock, season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and chives just before serving.
Japanese bunching onion and Welsh onions
Chop finely and fry in bacon fat. Beat an egg, and when onions are cooked drain off excess fat and pour the egg over. Season and serve with grated celeriac.
Tree onions and potato onions
Skin onions and place in a saucepan with enough good vegetable stock to cover to a depth of 2.5cm (1"). Cook very slowly, remove onions and put aside. Make a white sauce including the stock, add onions, reheat. Good and served with cold meat.
Melt a little butter in a frying pan, add washed orach and a sprinkling of salt. Cook for 3 minutes, turning over and stirring gently.
Light Sardinian snack: combine 3 cups of finely chopped cooked orach with 1 cup boiled rice. Beat 2 eggs, salt and pepper, 3 tblsp grated cheese and a little melted butter together and mix with the spinach and rice. Make flat cakes with it, brown in the frying pan and swerve with a garnish of curly endive.
Pak Choi
Leaves, stems and flowering shoots excellent raw, steamed or stir-fried.
Hamburg Parsley
The flavour is reminiscent of a combination of celery and parsley, but nuttier. Just scrub the roots before cooking, they discolour if peeled, then boil or steam them in the same way as carrots. They can also be used grated raw in salad, when they have a nutty flavour, roasted with the joint, fried as chips and mashed with swedes. They also make an excellent ingredient for soups, stews and curries. The leaves can be used as a parsley substitute and the roots may also be dried to use as flavouring.
Balkan parsley: Prepare 3 medium sized roots, slice and sprinkle with lemon juice. Mix a smooth batter using 1 cup yoghurt, ½ cup flour, chicken or vegetable stock, an egg white, a little olive oil and a crushed clove of garlic. Dip the sliced roots in the batter and fry.
Steam or boil them, cut them into slices and fry them, or bake them round the joint. They make a good addition to a vegetable curry or a stew.
Pease pudding
Soak 4 handfuls of dried peas overnight. Boil until tender, drain and liquidise. Beat an egg. Mix 2 tblsp melted butter, salt and pepper and add to the peas. Tie in a floured cloth, allowing room for expansion. Boil gently for 45 minutes, then turn onto a plate, garnish with chives and serve with boiled bacon or pork.
Carlin peas
Used as a dried pea for soups and stews. Soak for 24 hours, add a little brown sugar, and either simmer for 1½-2 hours or pressure cook for 20 minutes.
Mange tout peas
Creamed mange tout peas: Fry 1 medium onion in 2 oz of butter until a golden brown. Add a little vegetable stock and 2 lb mange tout peas. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove peas and thicken the mixture into a sauce. Pour over the peas and garnish with chives.
Sweet Peppers
To skin peppers, grill until black. Drop into a plastic bag until cool enough to handle. The skin will then come off very easily. To stuff peppers, blanch shells for 5 minutes in boiling water first. In Bulgaria, cooked peppers are served with mustard sauce and chopped onions.
Baked peppers: Deseed and chop 3 peppers roughly. Fry onion, garlic and peppers until softened. Add a tin of tomatoes and break up. Add salt, pepper, mixed herbs and cook gently for 10-15 minutes. When thickened, turn into an oven proof dish, crack two eggs on top carefully and bake until the eggs are set, about 10-15 minutes.
Stuffed peppers: Deseed and stuff with minced pork cooked with garlic and mashed tomato. Bake for 1 hour and serve with fried mushrooms.
Petits pois
The approved French method of cooking is by boiling the pods and shelling them afterwards.
Petits pois à la françaises: Shell peas as soon after picking as possible. Line a saucepan with lettuce leaves (the outer leaves are best). Add the peas, a pinch of salt, a bouquet garni or ½ tsp dried mixed herbs and a small onion stuck with 2 cloves. Cover with more lettuce leaves to make a lid. Sweat over a low heat for 10-20 minutes until the peas are tender. Discard onion, lettuce and herbs before serving.
Use only fresh tender shoots and be sure to wash them well. Cooking time is 10-15 minutes, but be sure to change the water twice, otherwise unpleasant stomach disturbances may result.
Sugared popcorn: Melt 2 tblsp butter in a saucepan, add 1 cup brown sugar and ½ cup water. Boil about 10 minutes, tip in the popped corn and stir until well coated.
Potato apple cake: Boil 1 lb potatoes in salted water until tender. Drain and dry over a low heat. Mash, mix in 1 oz butter, 1 tsp castor sugar and 4 oz flour a little at a time, beating well. Turn out onto a floured board and knead until smooth. Cut into 2 pieces, one slightly larger than the other and roll into one 19cm (7½") and one 23cm (9") circle. Place smaller circle on a greased baking sheet. Peel and slice 1 lb cooking apples thinly and arrange onto pastry, 1cm (½") in from edge. Sprinkle with 2 tblsp granulated sugar. Brush edge of pastry with water and place remaining circle over apples. Seal. Make a slit in the centre to enable steam to escape. Bake in a preheated oven at 190ªC, 375ªF, gas mark 5 for 35-40 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven and carefully cut out a circle from top of cake. Place 1 oz butter and 2 tblsp granulated sugar inside and replace lid. Bake for a further 5 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar and serve.
Colombian Ajiano Bogotano: Brown 3 or 4 chicken breasts with garlic and thyme in oil. Cover with a half and half mixture of milk and water. Add 1 lb each of at least three different types of potatoes, cubed: red potatoes, white potatoes and new potatoes is fine. Cook gently for about 30 minutes. Take out chicken and shred, add 2 corn cobs cut into 5cm (2") pieces. Cook for a further 10 minutes, add chopped coriander and shredded chicken. Garnish with cream and capers.
French potato salad: Mix together 4 tblsp French dressing, 4 tblsp mayonnaise, 2 tblsp sour cream, ½ tsp made mustard, 2 chopped sticks celery and 2 chopped spring onions with 1½ lb diced boiled potatoes, still warm if possible, and serve.
Potato sticks: Mix 4 oz mashed potato, 4 oz butter, 4 oz flour, 1 oz grated Parmesan into a soft dough. Season to taste and chill for half an hour. Roll out to about 1cm (¼") thickness, brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds. Cut into sticks and bake in a 350ªF oven for 10-15 minutes.
Pommes Lyonnaises aux Anchoises: Fry 1 sliced onion with 1 lb finely sliced cooked new potatoes in 2 oz butter until evenly browned. Sprinkle with 1 tblsp chopped parsley, 6-8 chopped anchovy fillets and 2 tsp tarragon vinegar, season with freshly ground black pepper and serve.
Pommes Dauphinoises: Peel and slice 1 lb new potatoes thinly and soak in cold water for 10 minutes. Dry thoroughly and put a layer in the bottom of a buttered casserole dish. Coat thinly in double cream, sprinkle with grated Gruyere and Parmesan, salt and pepper. Continue layering up until all the potatoes are finished. Dot with butter and cook in a 325ªF oven for about an hour.
Potato Balls: Fry a finely chopped onion in a little butter until soft. Mix together 1 lb mashed potato, 1 egg yolk, 3 tblsp Parmesan, 1 tblsp chopped parsley, the onion, and salt and pepper to taste. Roll into small balls, roll in flour, coat in egg and breadcrumbs and deep fry until golden.
Sautéed potatoes: Cut good quality raw potatoes into small wedges (skin on if the potatoes are not too old). Crush & chop one or 2 cloves of garlic very finely. Heat some oil in a frying pan, add a single layer of potatoes and the garlic and fry together, turning them as they brown until nicely golden on all sides. Drain off on kitchen paper, and fry the next batch of potatoes, if necessary.
see Courgettes, pumpkins and squashes
Winter radishes can be cooked as turnips or grated and served in salads. All types of radish can be used in curry and other dishes, though they lose their heat on cooking. The tops can also be cooked, like spinach. Radish pods make a good addition to Chinese stir fry.
Pickled radish pods: Drop into hot brine and allow to stand until cool. Drain and pack into jars. Fill with white vinegar, add spices if desired and put caps on.
Cook like skirret or use raw in salads.
A distinctive, spicy, almost meaty flavour excellent in salads or with cold meat. It is also pleasant when made into a puree.
Salad ingredients
The following vegetables may be added raw to the salad bowl: leaves of Brussels sprouts, American (Land) cress, Australian cress, chicory, Chinese cabbage, Chop Suey greens, Corn salad, blanched dandelion, endive, fennel, New Zealand spinach, rampion, rocket, salad burnet, sorrel, spinach and watercress; roots of Jerusalem artichoke, celeriac, bulbous chervil and onions (all types), all radishes, rampion, scorzonera and skirret; chives, bean sprouts, young shoots of calabrese and Nine Star broccoli; sugar pods and radish pods; celtuce (stems); ground cherry, cucumber, gherkins, komatsuna, sea kale, sweetcorn, young squashes, tomatillo (better cooked), tomato and tree tomato. After being cooked and chilled, the following may also be used: asparagus peas, calabrese, chick peas, all beans, okra and pokeweed tops; roots of capucine, Chinese artichoke, beetroot, Hamburg parsley, salsify, sugar beet.
Salad Burnet
Young leaves make an ideal early spring salad.
The roots bleed if injured. When slicing either rub the roots with lemon juice or drop straight into acidulated water to avoid discoloration. Steam or boil in its skin, rub this off with a cloth, then serve with a white sauce. Alternatively, bake the cooked and peeled roots in a pie dish with white sauce, breadcrumbs and grated cheese. You can also slice and fry them in good quality oil and serve on toast. The shoots produced in spring ("chards") can be used as asparagus at about 12-15cm (5-6").
Salsify pie: Cook salsify and put into a pie dish. Make a white sauce and add enough anchovy sauce to give it a nice pink hue. Pour over salsify and cover with mashed potato. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 30 minutes.
Baked salsify: Cook roots thoroughly, mash and season with salt, pepper and herbs. Mix cream and an egg into the mixture and shape into little flat cakes. Put in a baking dish, dot with butter and bake until brown. Serve with cold meat garnished with chives.
The best method of cooking scorzonera is by steaming or boiling the roots in their skin, which can be rubbed off afterwards. Use the same recipes as for salsify. It is also excellent au gratin.
Scorzonera fritters: Take 1 lb cooked roots, remove their skins and lay in a mixture of lemon juice, salt and pepper, chopped chives and parsley for 2 hours. Dip in batter and fry.
Sea kale
Sea kale should be harvested just before use, at about 15cm (6") long. Either slice thinly and serve in salad, or steam for about three quarters of an hour. Good served with Hollandaise sauce.
It is the root which is eaten. Often has a woody core which must be removed, but the rest of the root can be eaten raw, boiled, baked, in soups and stews or roasted as a coffee substitute. Remove roots individually from base of stem, scrub, stew and serve with butter or white sauce.
Skirret snack: Clean roots and slice them. Boil in a little milk, adding salt and pepper. When the milk is somewhat reduced, add grated onion and cheese. Serve on hot toast as a light snack.
Fresh sorrel leaves add piquancy to a salad. They also add their distinctive flavour to an omelette. Do not eat to excess: contains acetic acid. Sorrel may also be cooked in the same ways as orach, but the water should always be changed at least once. Also makes excellent sandwiches with cream cheese.
Green sauce for fish: Chop with equal quantity of parsley or watercress and an onion. Soften with a tablespoonful of olive oil and a few drops of vinegar over a gentle heat, stirring until the whole has a cream-like consistency.
Sorrel soup: Take 1 lb fresh sorrel, remove stalks and wash thoroughly. Place in a saucepan with 1 oz butter. Set the pan on a moderate heat and when the sorrel has reduced gradually add 1½ pints of milk. Season with salt and pepper, add a beaten egg, bring to the boil and serve.
Pick over the leaves and wash thoroughly in salted water, checking both sides of all the leaves. Remove any very tough ribs, then fill a large saucepan with the washed spinach, but with no added water, Cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes only with the lid on, turning once or twice to cook evenly. Reduces to very much less than its original volume. Drain off excess liquid. Serve with plenty of melted butter, unless the meal you are serving it with has a good quality gravy or sauce.
Mediterranean spinach tarts: Make pastry with 6 oz flour and 3 oz fat. Use to line 4 individual flan tins. Prick bases and chill for 30 minutes. Peel 8 oz tomatoes and chop. Cook 1 lb spinach, drain and chop. Return to pan, add butter, salt and pepper. Peel and chop 1 small onion, crush 1 clove of garlic, slice 6 olives. Fry onion and garlic in oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook 3 minutes. Add spinach and half the olives. Bake pastry cases in a preheated oven at 200ªC, 400ªF gas mark 6 for 15 minutes. Fill, sprinkle with 2 oz grated Emmenthal or Gruyère and remaining olives. Return to oven for a further 15 minutes and serve warm or cold.
Esfinag-o-aloo: (Iranian) Cook and chop spinach. Drain. Fry gently in butter and add well-browned onions, crushed garlic, mushrooms, salt and pepper, 2-3 oz chopped dried apricots or prunes and water to cover. Cook very slowly with the lid on for 2-3 hours.
Spinach with anchovies: Prepare 4 cups of finely chopped spinach. Heat 1 oz butter in the frying pan, add 5 finely rubbed anchovies, 1 clove of garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the spinach and when hot serve on rounds of toast.
Ouefs Florentine: Make a bed of cooked spinach, place 2 poached eggs on top and cover with cheese sauce. Sprinkle with grated cheese, brown under grill and serve.
see Courgettes, pumpkins and squashes
Strawberry foam castle: Rub a large clean orange all over with 3 sugar cubes to remove zest, then squeeze. Liquidise 12 oz strawberries with the orange juice, sugar cubes, 2 oz castor sugar and 1 oz gelatine dissolved in 4 tblsp water. Chill until half set, then liquidise again to double in size. Pour into a fluted mould, chill until set. Remove from mould, decorate with reserved strawberries, orange slices, etc.
Strawberry whirls: Cream 8 oz butter with 2 oz castor sugar, add 8 oz flour and mix well. Pipe into 12 star shapes with an icing bag onto a greased baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 180ªC, 350ªF, gas mark 4 for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Leave until cool. Keeping 6 whole, cut 8 oz strawberries into quarters. Whip ½ pint extra double cream with 1 oz icing sugar until thick, mix in strawberries and sandwich between pairs of biscuits. Top each with a little cream and a strawberry.
Sugar beet
Useful as an addition to soups, stews and curries. A little grated sugar beet added to vegetables brings out the flavour. Also excellent diced and cooked with apples or other fruit.
Sweet Corn
Harvest just before use for the sweetest flavour. Boil in salted water for 10-15 minutes and serve with melted butter. You can vary the flavour by using seasoned butter. They can also be barbecued either in their husks or brushed with olive oil as they cook.
Succotash: Cut the kernels from four large cobs and scrape out the little bits left on the cob, add 4-6 chopped spring onions, a large knob of butter and a very small amount of water to prevent sticking. Stir over a medium heat until the butter is melted, then cover and leave to cook over a fairly low heat for about 15 minutes. Add 1 lb lima or flageolet beans and cook for a further 10 minutes. Stir in 2 tblsp cream and sprinkle with parsley to serve.
Swiss Chard or Spinach Beet
A teaspoonful of lemon juice in the water in which the stalks are being boiled helps to keep the bright white colour of the midribs. The leaves are boiled as spinach.
Baked Chard stalks: Wash and trim. Put in a casserole dish with a knob of butter, 1 grated onion, salt, pepper and 2 tblsp water. Cover and cook for 1 hour. Make a cheese sauce and add chopped garlic. Pour over, sprinkle with grated cheese and bake for a further 20 minutes to brown.
May be used to make jam, eaten raw in salads or cooked as a vegetable. They are also excellent in stews and curries.
Fresh tomato sauce: Peel and chop an onion, fry gently in a little butter until soft. Add some celery leaves, 1 lb quartered tomatoes, ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp sugar and a little pepper. Cook gently, stirring occasionally until thick. Sieve and adjust seasoning.
Pomodoro farciti: Halve tomatoes, remove middle, add parsley, capers, breadcrumbs, tomato juice, salt, pepper and olive oil. Stuff tomatoes, sprinkle with grated parmesan, drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes and serve with bread.
Tomato sugo: Fry chopped tomatoes with chopped garlic until almost dry, add torn fresh basil just before serving with cooked pasta.
DIY "sun dried" tomatoes: Oil a tray very thinly. Cut tomatoes in half and lay on tray cut side up (a greeny colour inside is good). Drizzle thinly with olive oil, a little salt and pepper. Dry at the very lowest heat, ¼ regulo, or with door open for about 10 hours. Put in jar, cover with olive oil, seal and refrigerate.
Tomato tart: Dissolve ½ oz yeast in tepid water and make a dough with flour and butter. Put 2 lb tomatoes in a saucepan with a knob of butter and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes, add 4 finely rubbed anchovies and 1½ cups grated cheese. Season and cook for 30 minutes. Roll out dough and line a baking dish. Cover with tomato mixture and bake for 15 minutes in a hot oven.
Tomato cups: Prepare tomatoes for stuffing, bake in a hot oven for a few minutes, then drop an egg into each cup. season with salt and pepper, dot with butter. Bake until eggs are set. Warm the seeds and pulp which remain and serve as a sauce.
Tree tomatoes
These can be eaten raw or cooked, in both fruit and vegetable salads. They are fairly tough skinned and it is advisable to peel them before cooking (dip alternately in boiling & ice cold water). They may be stewed and eaten in any of the ways usual with fruit.
Turnip tops
Leaves may be cooked as spinach. Young shoots may be blanched and used as a substitute for sea kale.
see Courgettes
©2004 Frann Leach. All rights reserved.

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