This year I grew Japanese kale, it seems to really enjoy our local growing conditions. The leaves are quite tender, and very good in a stir fry. The flavour of sesame seeds goes very well. The basic ingredients of the sesame sauce are sesame, soy sauce and a pinch of sugar. I have also added mange tout to the kale with great results. You can use sweet cooking sake instead of the sugar, if you have it.
The Japan Centre is an excellent place to find good quality ingredients and recipes. I haven’t quite sussed how to put a Japanese menu together, this is meant as a side-dish. I served it with ginger noodles. The Japan centre suggests serving with plain rice, or as a side-dish, or as part of a Bento lunch.
- 200g kale, sliced across the leaves, discarding any tough stems
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted and ground in a pestle and mortar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp cooking sake or 2 tsp brown sugar and 1/2 tsp water
- Mix the toasted ground sesame seeds with the soy sauce and sake
- Put about 1cm water in a large pan with the kale, bring to the boil and simmer for around 5 minutes, stirring the kale to make sure it all cooks.
- Once the kale is cooked, drain, and mix with the sesame sauce.
A middle-eastern dish that is very much more delicious than you might suspect.
- 1 can of chickpeas
- 1 red onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 potato, peeped and diced
- 1 large tomato, peeled and diced
- 225g green cabbage, cut into 1.2 cm squares
- 50g chopped dill leaves
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp salt, or more, to taste
- Black pepper
- Put the chickpeas, onion and 850ml water into a large pot, and bring to a simmer, and cook for an hour.
- Add the potato, tomato, cabbage, dill, tomato paste, salt and another 100ml water. Bring to the boil, cover and turn the heat to very low, simmer until the potato is cooked.
- Add the black pepper to taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve.
There were several reasons to cook this tonight. First of all, we have a lot of fresh vegetables in the garden, and Malcolm requested plain cabbage, no messing with stir fries or salad, just lightly boiled, seasoned and buttered. Next, we had some lamb in the freezer, and I wanted to test out a new mincer. Also, we have some lovely potatoes coming in, the crop we are eating just now is Arran Pilot, and I wanted to see how well they mashed. They mashed very well indeed.
- 1 tbsp oil (I used olive oil)
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 medium carrots, in small chunks
- 500g lean minced lamb
- 500ml lamb or beef stock
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 900g potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
- 75g – 85g butter
- milk, to achieve consistency
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat the oil in a large pan, and when it is hot, add the onion and carrots, and cook over a medium heat until the onion is softening
- Add the minced lamb, and turn the heat up, browning the mince
- Add the tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce and stock, and bring to a simmer.
- Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, then uncover and simmer another 20 minutes to reduce the liquid. Season to taste with pepper and salt, if required.
- Boil the chopped potatoes in salted water, and drain. Mash with the butter, and a little milk to make a soft smooth mash.
- Add the mince to an oven-proof dish, and then put the mashed potatoes on top, using a fork to make patterns that will crisp up in the oven.
- At this point, the pie can be frozen or put in the fridge for cooking later
- To cook the pie, bake for around 30 minutes. Leave to stand a few minutes before serving.
To cook the cabbage, I cut it into wedges, cooked it for around 5 minutes in boiling water, then I poured the water off, and added salt, pepper and butter.
The trick with this dish is to stew the peppers and potatoes slowly in olive oil. We had this with grilled pork chops.
- 250ml good olive oil
- 3 onions, sliced
- 5 cloves of garlic, sliced
- 3 green peppers, roughly chopped
- 1kg firm potatoes, peeled, halved lengthways and then sliced
- salt and pepper
- a pinch of fennel seeds, optional.
- 4 bay leaves, optional
- In a large pan or casserole dish, heat the oil over a lowish heat.
- Start cooking the potatoes in the oil, and when they start to cook and soften a bit, add the onions, peppers, garlic, fennel seeds, bay leaves, grated black pepper and a good pinch of salt. Simmer for around 15 minutes.
- Drain off the oil using a sieve, set the oil aside for further use.
- Serve with pork or lamb chops.
I have lovely neighbours. They gave me four small lobsters yesterday. They had been cooked the night before just after being caught. We had lobster salad for tea last night, just the best. One lobster each. We are going to do the same tonight. It is one of those things where simple is best.
- 1 small to medium lobster per person, around half a kilo weight.
- 1 lemon, allow one decent wedge per person
- Salad – include tomato, cucumber, lettuce. Optional extras include rocket, spinach leaves, celery, chives
- Mayonnaise – this could be plain, or flavoured with lemon or tarragon.
- If you are cooking the lobsters yourself, plunge them into boiling water, and simmer for around 10 minutes. Drain them, and when you can handle it, remove the heads so they drain and cool faster. Keep the claws and discard the heads. Once cool, pop them in the fridge.
- I serve the lobster in a bowl on the table, with a plated salad, mayonnaise and a wedge of lemon for each person. I also like a slice of brown buttered toast with this.
- If you have people who can’t sort out a lobster, I remove the meat from the tail and claws, chop it into pieces around 1 cm cubed and stir in a good squeeze of lemon. I then mix this with the mayonnaise. Sometimes a little chopped celery or chopped chives can be added at this stage. The resulting mixture can then be served on a bed of lettuce, rocket, tomato and cucumber, with a side serving of hot buttered brown toast.