Category: Vegetable

New Potatoes with Lardons in Mustard Sauce

Baby Potatoes with Mustard Sauce, Photo by Arnold Gamboa

New Potatoes with Lardons in Mustard Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1kg new (baby) potatoes, clean, no need to peel
  • 200 g bacon lardons
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth or 1 chicken bouillon dissolved in 1/4 cup of boiling or hot water
  • 1 half cup double cream
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp cooking oil

Method of preparation:

  1. Bring a large pot of salty water to a boil.  Add the baby potatoes and simmer until just tender.  (The potatoes can also be steamed.) Drain and put in a large serving tray or plate.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat the oil and then saute the bacon lardons, until golden and crispy.  Remove the cooked lardons and transfer into a bowl, set aside.
  3. Stir in the chicken bouillon into the frying pan.  Scrape the brown bits from the pan to mix in with the chicken broth for added flavour.  Leave to simmer for three minutes.
  4. Pour in the double cream and then add the Dijon mustard.  Give it a good stir.
  5. Season with salt and black pepper.
  6. Spread the lardons all over the baby potatoes.
  7. Finally drizzle generously with the mustard sauce.
  8. Enjoy with grilled or roasted meat.

Pako (Fern) Salad

Pako Salad, Photo by Ruben Ortega

Pako (Fern) Salad

Back when we were little children in Marag, Philippines, pako became a staple diet.  It was in our dinner table at least once a week.  We ate a lot of it so much that we kids 🙂 should have grown into goats 🙂 or hated it after a while. But I have always a vibrant and positive memory of pako.

Gathering pako is an adventure for us youngster.  We had to roam a dense growth of greens at the mouth of a forest and try to pick the young furling sprouts of pako.  Thank goodness they grow profusely together and therefore picking them one by one was not much of a chore.

Pako can be prepared in plenty of ways, it can be blanched and made into a salad, it can be left fresh as it is as a salad as well or cook and added into various kind of inabraw, an Ilocano way of cooking.

Below is another pako salad recipe.

Ingredients

 

  • 1 large bunch pako (fern)
  • 2 salted eggs or hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp patis (fish sauce)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • sprinkling of salt to taste

 Method of Preparation:

 

  1. prepare the pako by removing any tough stalk.
  2. Bring a large pot of boiling water. Blanch the pako by quickly dipping them into the hot water.  Leave for a minute and drain.
  3. Arranged the pako on a serving platter.
  4. Put the tomatoes and onion on top then garnish with the slices of salted eggs.
  5. Make a typical Filipino dressing by mixing the vinegar, fish sauce, black pepper, sugar and a very little salt.  Stir it in thoroughly for the granules to dissolve.
  6.  Pour the dressing all over the pako.
  7. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

 

Roast Fennel Recipe

Fennel by PH Morton

 

Sliced fennel, photo by PH Morton

Roast Fennel Recipe

This fennel recipe is really delicioous.  It bings out the natural sweetness of this aromatic bulb.

Ingredients

 

  • 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and sliced.
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

 

 Method of Preparation:

 

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 180ºC.
  2. Arrange the sliced fennel into a baking sheet, which is lined with aluminium foil.
  3. Generously drizzle the olive oil into the slices.
  4. Follow it up with the balsamic vinegar, which will bring out the fennel’s natural sweetness.
  5. Put in the middle shelf of the oven and roast for 40 minutes or until the edges start to caramelise.
  6. Serve immediately as a side dish.

 

Crispy Seaweed Recipe

 

Crispy Seaweed

Peter and I love crispy seaweeds.  We always order it as one of our starters when we dine out in Chinese restaurants.

There is something about its crispy texture that is rather pleasing to the tastebuds.

Of course we are well aware that this seaweed is not really seaweed as we know it.  It did not come from the sea. 🙂  In fact it is made from finely shredded spring green cabbage.

Peter asked me why is it then called a seaweed?!!! To hazard guest, I think because it does look like a seaweed when it is being prepared and cooked. Its corrugated crispy texture is like seaweed.

Anyway, as I have said, it is quite delicious and here a recipe for it.

Crispy Seaweed Recipe

 

Ingredients

  • 250 g Spring green cabbage (Kale is a good substitute)
  • 1½ tsp caster sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp shrimp powder (optional)
  • Oil for deep frying

Method of Preparation:

  • Prepare the spring green by washing it completely and ridding it of grits and little insects, you never know!  🙂 .  Trim off the tough stalks that run through each leaf.  Drain the leaves thoroughly with kitchen paper towels.
  • Using a good chopping board and an equally good and sharp knife, sliced the leaves into thin ribbons.
  • Spread them in a flat surface for 10-15 minutes to allow them to completely dry.
  • Heat the oil in a wok or a deep-fat fryer.
  • To cook the finely shredded cabbage evenly, they must be done in batches.  Carefully lower a bit of the spring green shreds into the hot oil.  When they have been cook they would crinkle and float.  Remove them with a slotted ladle and put them over kitchen paper towels to soak up excess oil.  Do the same thing with the rest of the batch.
  • For the topping, mix the the sugar and salt with the shrimp powder and sprinkle over the cabbage.
  • Serve immediately as a starter.

Delicious Home Made Pickled Beetroot

Delicious Home Made Pickled Beetroot

Our good friend and close neighbour Mick regularly supplies us with fresh vegetables grown on his allotment located across the road from us.

Mick has had his allotment for over fifty years, planting vegetables and even fruit trees.

One of my favourite vegetables he grows for harvesting each autumn time is beetroot. Mick grows a popular type called ‘Boltardty AGM’. Boltardy seeds can be sown at various times during the growing year and in most types of soil. It does not have excessive ‘bolting, a gardening term, which means premature sprouting of stalks flowering stem(s). Excessive bolting can divert resources & nutriment from the beetroot and reduce its quality.

All Photos By PH Morton

After harvesting, Mick then produces jars of delicious slightly sweet pickled beetroot for his family and us. We save a jar for Christmas time. Beetroot is perfect to accompany Christmas meals.  This year, Mick invited me to harvest some of his beetroot. He then showed us how to make his ‘signature’ pickled beetroot. I took various photos from harvesting to our jars filled with delicious picked beetroot. Under Mick’s tutelage and help, Jean & I enjoyed producing our own jars of this delicious vegetable. Making pickled beetroot is quite simple & straightforward. 🙂

If using homegrown beetroots from garden or allotment etc., a good time to harvest is from 50 to 70 days after planting. Avoid letting the beetroot get too big. A hand or tennis ball size is ideal. Do not let the stalks/stems bolt or grow above 6 inches (15cms). Dig around the beetroot and pick up avoiding breaking the stalk/greens from the beetroot.

Thoroughly clean & wash the dirt off and trim the stalks/stems short. Again do not pull out the stems, as water can get into the beetroot and damage it when boiling prior to pickling.

Harvested fresh beetroot can be stored in a refrigerator for about seven days.

Depending how many beetroots you are pickling, you will require:-

  1. Pickling /preserve jars with airtight lids. The normal size is around 500ml, or as large as you want. Most hardware stores will supply.
  2. Pickling vinegar, which comes in 1.4 litre size. Most larger supermarkets etc supply.
  3. Brown or white sugar granules to sweeten the vinegar taste to your choice.

Place the beetroots in a suitably sized saucepan(s) and cover with water.

Boil for two hours.

Carefully strain off the water and either allow air cooling or running cold water over the beetroots then dry.

Completely remove remaining stalks/roots etc.

The boiled soft skin of the beetroot does not need to be peeled with a knife as can be easily removed by hand.

Cut or slice the beetroot to whatever size you prefer.

Pour in small amount sugar, then add a small measure of the pickling vinegar, enough to cover the first layer of the slices of beetroot into the bottom of the jar.  Sprinkle with a teaspoon of sugar (to taste) then add another layer, pour pickling vinegar, then another layer, sugar, pickling vinegar until it reaches the top of the jar.

Close the jar, gently shake it then turn it upside down and leave for about 30 minutes. This will allow the vinegar and sugar to seep through the beetroot. Top up with the pickling vinegar if needed to completely cover the sliced beetroot in the jar.

If you want you can label the jar with day & month of pickling.

Home made pickled beetroot can be kept for 6 weeks to 3 months, refrigerated.
In practice, it can be longer.

But if you store them beyond 3 months and you’re worried, check for signs of spoilage (rising bubbles, cloudy liquid, unnatural colour) and don’t eat or taste.

Chow Mein with Seasonal Vegetables

Chow mein, photo by JMorton

Chow Mein with Seasonal Vegetables

Today is my son, James’s birthday.

There is Asian tradition to serve noodles on birthdays for long life.  Added to this, I saw in a Korean drama that one must eat the first spoonful or chopstick-ful of noodles without chewing or biting on to the strands so that one life span is not cut short.  🙂

James said that he might choke on the noodles if he swallowed them whole.  🙂  He’s got a point but I told him I have got my mobile phone ready to call an ambulance and while waiting for them to arrive, I will give him the Heimlich manoeuvre.

🙂

To report, he was fine and had a good time at his birthday dinner.

Ingredients

  • 500g egg noodle (miki)
  • 4 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 carrot, peeled, julliened
  • 125 g bean sprouts
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, julliened
  • 1/2 Chinese cabbage, finely shredded
  • 125 g baby corn, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sherry
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Method of Preparation:

  • Prepare the noodles.  Cook it according to the packet’s instruction.  Drain and run it under cool water to prevent it from cooking further.  Drain and set aside.
  • Heat the oil using a large pan or better yet a wok over high heat.
  • Stir in the onions and then the carrots and baby corn. Fry for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the bell pepper, cabbage, bean-sprouts and the noodles.
  • Tip in the soy sauce, sherry, salt, sugar, cornflour and sesame oil.
  • Stir-fry until the seasoning has been mixed in thoroughly.

Serve hot!  Enjoy!

 

Minted Mushy Peas Recipe

Battered Fish, Mushy Peas & Roasted Sliced Potatoes, photo by JMorton

Below is a very easy recipe that will delight the family.

Minted Mushy Peas Recipe

Ingredients

  • 500 g Frozen Peas
  • 25 g butter
  • 3 sprigs of mint, chopped finely
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt

 

Method of Preparation:

  • Bring a large pan of water to a boil.  Add the peas.  the peas can also be steamed.  Cook until softened.
  • Drain using a sieve.
  • Put in a sturdy bowl.
  • Add the butter and mint
  • Mash with a potato masher and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
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