A swede is for supper…not just for Christmas!

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Swede is such a sexy veg!

Pan fried swede – a magical accompaniment

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This is a terrific side dish to go with roast chicken or pork chops. My two kids didn’t miss potatoes one bit with this!

For 4

Ingredients

3 smoked bacon rashers snipped into small pieces or 75 gm lardon

1 tbsp olive oil

1 swede. peeled and cut into small cubes

1 tbsp of fresh thyme

2 whole cloves, peeled and sliced

3 tbsps red wine vinegar

1 tbsp of runny honey

Method

Pan fry the bacon or lardon in a non stick frying pan over a medium heat until crisp and golden.

Spoon out of the pan into a warm dish and put to one side.

Return pan to heat and add the olive oil, along with the swede, thyme and garlic. Season well.

Cook for 15 – 20 minutes until the swede is soft and golden.

Add the vinegar, honey and the bacon / lardon and cook for a further 5-10 minutes until the vinegar is absorbed.

I cannot recommend this dish highly enough – humble but hearty – plain but perfect – take the lead –

feed ’em with swede!!

If there is anyone out there from the Swede Marketing Board – I am your man for swede slogans!!

Creamy Kale and Bacon Pasta

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Kale is such a favourite green of mine….makes me feel good every time I eat it. It has a wonderfully deep green earthy flavour and a real crunch to it. And it just looks so beautiful too!

Anyway, the other night I had several leaves left over and loitering in the fridge with little to do from a previous meal so I fancied a pasta dish and i fancied kale – a marriage made in heaven!

I pan fried a clove of garlic chopped finely in olive oil with three strips of good smoked streaky bacon chopped into small pieces. You could use lardon also or pancetta.

When it was cooked, I turned the heat down, sliced the kale leaves into small strips and added them to the pan, stirring them round over a medium heat to let them wilt a little – just a minute or so. I had already cooked my pasta. I drained it and left to one side whilst I stirred 150 ml of single cream into the bacon and kale mixture, added a grind or two of black pepper and turned the heat down low whilst I stirred all the ingredients together.

I then tipped the drained pasta into the pan and stirred it all round to coat each piece – I used rigatoni.

You could add a little dried chilli to it with the kale if you fancied a little zing.

It really is a fab way to eat your greens, I have to say!

Coriandered tomatoes in cream

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Coriandered tomatoes in cream

Supper had to be swift tonight. I was hungry. I had tomatoes. Manzanos – but baby plums would be fine. In a large frying pan in olive oil I added around 150 gm of superb toms. Then a clove of garlic chopped very finely. I added three strips of smoked bacon chopped up roughly. All fried gently for about 10 minutes. Next a teaspoon of dried rosemary and a large handful of chopped fresh coriander. The pasta was popped on – rigatoni. 400 gm.

Into the tomato mix I added a tub of single cream – 250 ml.

I let it warm nicely and blend together. Pasta was then drained and added to the tomato mix. By all means sprinkle some grated parmesan on if you wish. A simple and satisfying and superb supper.

Scintillating. I told you I was in a hurry.

Start the week with Bubble and Squeak!

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Start the week with Bubble and Squeak!

I have come across many books that actually give you a recipe for this wonderful leftover concoction. How odd! No recipe needed – just good left overs from your Sunday lunch or from frankly any day! We had a delectable rib of beef yesterday and accompanied it with steamed pointy cabbage – I am sure no doubt it has a proper name – but pointy cabbage does the business for me – it is cabbage – and it is long, thin and…pointy! I also made a smooth, delicious marsala gravy – and of course stunning home made Yorkshire puds. So…home alone at lunch today, out came the left over cabbage and baby new potatoes – I am saving the left over beef for tomorrow.

I chopped it up and then popped a knob of unsalted butter and a gurgle of olive oil into a pan and when it was hot I added a slice of Ayrshire smoked bacon cut into strips. When it was just cooked I added the cabbage and the potatoes. I left it on a medium heat until it became all nice and sticky and  just  a  little crisp.

This is an old dish, named after the sound it makes in the pan when cooking – though mine, I have to say, produced little in the way of squeaking, more of a low purr really – and was first mentioned in a cook book as far back as 1806 by a Maria Rundell in her marvellously entitled tome:

‘A New System of Domestic Cookery: Formed Upon Principles of Economy; and Adapted to the Use of Private Families.’

Not quite as catchy as ‘The Naked Chef’ or ‘Kitchen Diaries’ but hey….

Well, whatever, it is a winner in my book – it is buttery and warming and despite its simplicity, humbleness and lack of pedigree or finesse it is absolutely delicious. And it made me feel good.

There are times for haute cuisine… and lots of times for Bubble and Squeak!

Camembert to the rescue….

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Camembert to the rescue....

Larder pretty empty after the trips abroad so making the most of what IS in as I have been lazy and not made a serious trip to the shops yet….also heading off to the Lake District on Friday so not worth stocking up much. Anyway…tonight we had simple but scintillating fare. Pearl new potatoes, stimulating smoked bacon, steamed broccoli and cauliflower enrobed in a camembert and crème fraîche sauce (simply break up a whole camembert and add to a pan with a 300ml tub of crème f – heat gently until it all blends together – no need for seasoning believe me – it is nirvana. It may not have been 5 star Michelin food tonight but it hit every spot available on my taste buds on a rather damp squib of a night in darkest Hampshire. 5 star yum!