Posts tagged ‘vegetables’

December 19, 2012

Recipe: Poricini and Cavolo Nero Risotto

Cavolo Nero. How I love it. There are other leaves and, maybe even elsewhere on ETP, I’ve lauded their many charms. But that was then. This is now. It’s December. Midwinter. The nights are cold and dark. Cavolo Nero, black kale, is the leaf for today.

We’ve done greens in risotto before, but I do like the look of this one from the Independent newspaper – with the addition of porcini. What a midweek wintery treat this is.

The recipe? Here.

September 7, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Gratin of greens with pink fir apple potatoes

Sunday 21 August

Having picked up some lovely pink fir apple potatoes (surely the most potatoey of small potato?) at the farmer’s market, and it being a Sunday, we decided to keep it simple for dinner. Now, here at ETP Towers we could quite easily eat variations on spuds and cabbage every day. Maybe that’s some Celtic/Northern/Peasant heritage creeping in, but a plate of potatoes and greens suits us just fine. Today however, Ella offered to ‘pimp her greens’ (cavolo nero and purple kale, but Savoy cabbage would be fine) by making a gratin of them.

Let’s not delay by recounting recipes in detail. If you want to make a proper cheese sauce, compare methods on the internet and go for it. You’ll need butter, plain flour, milk and cheese – unless you want a special variation (like our previous ‘cheat’ method, here).

At home we’ve discussed at length how to get a cheese sauce the right consistency – not to gloopy, not too watery – at the end of the gratin’s baking time. Sometimes a perfectly good sauce on the hob transforms itself into something less than perfect in the oven. Should you cover it, have less or more sauce, make it thicker or thinner on the hob? Does the type of cheese you use affect the outcome? Well, maybe they all do. Comparing notes, the ETP team would recommend not using too much sauce and perhaps not having it too hot in the oven. But that’s not a guarantee.

After all that, the rest of the method is easy. You make a cheese sauce, lightly steam some greens for 3-4 minutes, lightly fry a sliced onion and then add ’em all to an oven-proof dish. Bake until golden and bubbling. Serve with them lovely spuds.

March 29, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Pinto beans with kale and herbs

Monday 28 March

I’m not sure why but sometimes all I want for dinner – more than a flavour, more than a meal, more than food itself – is a big bowl of nutrition. In the summer this invariably means a salad full of amazing summer leaves. At other times of the year it’s more robust leaves and beans or pulses of one kind or another. And so this was the reason behind a new combination of the two for last night’s dinner. We occasionally cook pinto beans or borlotti benas, and frequently cook kale. But the two together? Well, they work a treat.

I soaked the beans in water during the afternoon then simmered them in some stock until soft (very important!), then refreshed them under the tap. Meanwhile I steamed a bag of curly kale for 6 minutes, ran it under the cold water to stop it cooking and set aside. Next you need to finely slice an onion and fry it in olive oil until softened and golden, add three cloves of chopped garlic and fry for a further minute or two, then add chopped fresh red chilli (to your own taste). Add the pinto beans, stir well, add a sprig of rosemary, chopped finely, and a few leaves of oregano, again finely chopped. Then add a glug of white wine vinegar. Simmer for two minutes, season with salt and pepper, add 3 tbsps of olive oil and the kale, stir in, then add a bunch of flat leaf parsley. Stir in again, leave for a minute, then serve.

We’ll make it again.

March 17, 2011

Denis Cotter vegetarian recipes for St Patrick’s Day

It was a Denis Cotter veg-fest in the Guardian today, as the vegetarian chef from Cork City delivered three recipes for St Patrick’s Day. Each is a vegetarian dish using some classic Irish ingredients. First up is a braised turnip galette of mushrooms and chestnuts (here), then there is a cabbage timbale with tomato sauce and parsnip gnocchi (here) and finally, and the one I think I’ll make first out of the three, blue cheese potato cakes with bean and cider stew (here).

There’s always a fair amount of work to do in Cotter’s recipes – he’s not a one-pot cook – but it’s the combination of elements in his cooking that sets him apart. So you know that with the potato cakes it won’t just be the way the blue cheese and cider hang together well, it will be the addition of the rosemary aioli that lifts it to unexpected places. With the galette it will be the red wine sauce that does the trick and with the cabbage timbale it will be the tomato and thyme sauce – or perhaps the fact that the gnocchi is made with parsnip, not potato. It’s the addition of third element on the plate that makes the difference.

Happy cooking!

March 14, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Chickpea, Greens and Coconut Soup

Monday 14 March

Is there any limit to how many ways you can combine chickpeas and green veg? Last night’s dinner was a spicy soup made with an onion, chopped spring greens, a tin of chickpeas and a tin of coconut milk. To make it, lightly fry a medium, finely sliced onion in sunflower oil in a large, deep pan. Add a clove of garlic, crushed, some chopped chilli (to your liking), a finely sliced red pepper and two inches of fresh ginger, grated. Roughly chop the leaves of a small cabbage head (we used spring greens but any leafy greens will do, really) and add to the pan. Then add the chickpeas and the coconut milk. Add in a teaspoon of turmeric and half a teaspoon of ground cumin. Season with a little salt and pepper. Add just under a litre of water (or thereabouts) and simmer for 15 minutes. To serve, add a little chopped spring/salad onion, some fresh coriander leaves and squeeze the juice of half a lime into each bowl. Should serve four – or two very hungry people. Sssshhh!

March 9, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Tuesday 8 March

Last night’s dinner really was last night’s dinner. We had plenty of our Savoy Cabbage, Chickpea and Fennel stew left over from Monday… so, what to do with it? Slice some new/salad potatoes into 5mm discs and sautee in olive oil until tender – you might need to put a lid on the pan so they half fry, half steam (BTW, potatoes and olive oil? Yes please!) Then add yesterday’s stew. The result was less loose than the previous day’s as the potatoes soak up the juices nicely. We’ve not tried this before but will do it again. A success.

March 8, 2011

Tom Aikens exclusive recipe

Sometimes the ‘work’ inbox here at Earth To Plate fills up with press releases from all kinds of things we’re not expecting. Today, for example, we’ve had (among many) an invite to a ‘Street Art’ gallery show opening, information about palm oil, an invitation to take tea at the German Historical Institute in Lower Saxony, and a press release regarding a ‘revolutionary new skin care system called SQOOM’.

We also received an exclusive recipe from Stilton cheesemakers Clawson and Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens – for Broccoli and Blue Stilton Soup. It seems the collaboration between Aikens and Clawson comes in celebration of the cheesemaker’s centenary year. In fact, Long Clawson Dairy has created a recipe book, ‘Cooking Creatively with Cheese’ in collaboration with the star chef. The book takes you through the decades of the dairy’s history, starting from the 1910s – from which this recipe is selected. The book is available to buy on Amazon priced at £7.95.

Anyway, we thought we’d share the recipe with you (because we’re here to cook and eat, not to plug products!) We have some broccoli in the cupboard, so maybe we’ll give this a go later in the week. Watch this space!


(Serves 4 as a starter)

400g broccoli florets and stalks cut into small pieces

500ml white chicken stock or water simmering

50g butter

1 onion thinly sliced

6 spring onions thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic finely chopped

100g Blue Stilton

100ml double cream

2g salt

12 turns of freshly ground black pepper

1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Extra Stilton for the garnish


Place a medium pan onto a low to medium heat, then add the onion and garlic, salt, nutmeg and pepper with the butter, cover with a lid and cook slowly so they sweat in the steam until they soften.

This will take approximately 5 minutes, then add the pieces of broccoli and spring onions, cover with a lid again and cook for a further 3-4 minutes, then pour over the hot stock.

Cover with a lid and bring to the simmer, then remove the lid. Add the cream and cook for five minutes until the broccoli is tender. Add the Stilton and then place into a blender and puree coarsely. Serve straight away, placing some extra pieces of cheese into the soup.

March 6, 2011

If you’re vegetarian, what do you eat?

What do you eat?

This is a question that us vegetarians get asked all the time. What do meat eaters imagine we eat? A bland diet of Quorn burgers and penne pasta?

The truth is, at Earth To Plate Towers, we don’t like Quorn all that much – haven’t had it for years. And we don’t even tuck in to that much pasta.

So what do we eat? Well, just about everything – as long as it isn’t a corpse. We eat Mexican, Italian, Szechuan, Punjabi, Polish, French, Japanese, Irish and British – and more.

What do you eat?

To enlighten the ignorant, we’ll be listing some of the things we’ve made in our little kitchen in blog posts headed ‘Last Night’s Dinner’. We’ll also report back if we’ve eaten out – and include some pics, links and recipes if we feel they’d be helpful. Hopefully it will demonstrate that as vegetarians we can eat well – eat tasty, varied dishes from all over the world that don’t call for meat at all. Why not follow us and see what we’ve been eating?