Archive for August, 2010

Posted on 15th August 2010

Grow | Cabbage

By MEREDITH KIRTON

Cabbages have to be one of the most versatile cold season vegetables.  They can be eaten raw, stir-fried, pickled, boiled and have been used in traditional cuisines right across Asia, Eastern and Northern Europe;  German food wouldn’t be the same without Sauerkraut and who can imagine a spring roll without cabbage!

Their tolerance to cold makes them an invaluable winter crop, and they are certainly one of the more beautiful looking vegetables with fine bone Wedgewood china made into its image as the popular Majolica setting. Few things are as perfect as a well grown Savoy or beautiful red cabbage.

To grow them in your garden, first lime the soil and dig in some blood and bone.  A month later, hopefully coinciding with late summer/early autumn rains, you are ready to plant out seedlings.  The cabbage will take about 5 months to grow into maturity, over which time you need to be vigilant watching for cabbage month and butterfly larvae.  These grubs are most active in the warm weather, and can eat quite a bit of your crop if let go unchecked.  Pick them off as soon as you see them and try not to be tempted to grow cabbages in the warm seasons when they are more likely to be around.  Many of the new varieties are also less likely to run to seed or be affected by diseases, and some of the smaller types, like ‘Sugarloaf’ are ready for harvest in only 3 months.

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under grow
Posted on 15th August 2010

Harvest | Cabbage

By MANDY SINCLAIR

Storage:
Cabbages should be firm and heavy for their size. Tight leaf varieties, such as green and red cabbage, should be stored in a plastic bag and refrigerated for up to 1 week and are known to store better than loose leaf cabbages. Savoy, wombok and cavalo nero should have crisp firm leaves with no discolouration and should only be refrigerated for 2-3 days before use.

What to do with glut

The most successful way to preserve a glut of cabbage is to pickle it. This can be done using a vinegar based pickling solution or made into sauerkraut as in the recipe below.

  • Preserve:

Sauerkraut

½ medium cabbage
1 tbsp salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp black peppercorns
¼ cup warm water

1. Remove any tough outer leaves from cabbage and finely shred. Spread cabbage onto bench top and sprinkle over salt. Using your hands, mix salt into cabbage, squeezing cabbage as you go to loosen and start releasing water.
2. Place one-third of the cabbage in a large saucepan, pressing down as you go. Top with a little garlic and a few peppercorns. Repeat layers twice more, pressing down firmly with your fist as you go. Pour over water. Cover the cabbage with a plate and top with another smaller pot or cans to weigh down.
3. Place the pot of cabbage in the pantry or leave on bench top for 5-7 days to pickle. Transfer to sterilized jars and refrigerate until ready to use.

Makes 4 cups

Note – the pickling process is most efficient at around 20C. Colder and it will take longer, warmer and the process will be reduced to about 3 days. Check daily, when the cabbage has softened and the bubbles have ceased the pickling process is complete.


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Posted under harvest
Posted on 15th August 2010

Cook | Cabbage

By MANDY SINCLAIR

Chilli pork rolls

PREP 20mins
COOK 20mins

1 tbsp peanut oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp grated ginger
2 long red chillies, chopped
750g pork mince
1 bunch gai lan, trimmed, washed, chopped
4 green onions (shallots), chopped
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
8 savoy cabbage leaves, core trimmed
hoisin sauce, to serve

1. Heat oil in a large frying pan on medium. Cook garlic, ginger and chilli for 2 mins, until fragrant. Increase heat to high. Add pork and cook for 5 mins, stirring, until brown.
2. Add gai lan and cook for 2 mins, until tender. Mix together soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar and ¼ cup of water. Add to pork and cook for 5 mins, until sauce has reduced slightly.
3. Meanwhile, blanch cabbage leaves in a large saucepan of boiling water. Drain well. Spoon pork mixture into leaves and wrap to form a parcel. Serve with hoisin sauce.

Serves 4


tip ….
Try chicken or beef mince if you prefer.


try this ….
Stir fried cabbage
Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a large frying pan or wok on high. Cook ½ shredded wombok for 3-4mins, until wilted. Add 3 sliced garlic cloves and cook for another 3-4mins, until tender. Stir through 1 cup coriander leaves and season well. Serve with grilled meat, sausages or on burgers.

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under cook
Posted on 1st August 2010

Grow | Radicchio

By MEREDITH KIRTON

Chicory, Radicchio and Endive, which are all members of the same family, are becoming more popular as Australian’s tastes mature and their ability to appreciate the bitterness of some greens in a salad as well as classics like the sweet flavoured mignonette lettuces and classic ‘Icebergs’.

What many people may not realise is that they come in many forms, like the myriad of lettuces, from speckled egg looking types, to the classic frilled endive, to deep magenta leaves.  Some grow with a heart, whilst others are upright with toothed margins.

They all have a unique flavour, and the bitterness can toned down by serving them with a blue cheese dressing or tossing them in butter.  The other way you can reduce their bitterness is by the way they are grown.  Like lettuces, the faster they are grown, with regular water and fertiliser, the less bitter they will become, but, the other thing that sets these apart is that the can be blanched to make them sweeter.

Blanching in the garden is different to the kitchen; so don’t toss boiling water onto your plants!!  In the garden, blanching refers to blocking out sunlight, which is either done by placing an upturned pot over your plants, covering them in straw or, in the case of witlof (white leaf, as it translates in Dutch), roots are dug up in late summer, planted in pots of damp sand, and the resulting white shoots that appear buried in the sand over winter can be used.  These are called ‘chicons’ and are delicious in salad with orange and a mustardy vinaigrette.

So, to grow your own, simply sow them as you would lettuce, any time of the year and enjoy your health giving bitter greens in 10 weeks.

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Posted under grow
Posted on 1st August 2010

Harvest | Radicchio

By MANDY SINCLAIR

Storage:
Witlof and radicchio are highly perishable and become more bitter the longer it is stored. Wrap in kitchen paper, place inside a plastic bag and refrigerate for no longer than 2-3 days after picking.

What to do with glut

  • Freeze:

Braise and freeze witlof

Halve and pack 4 witlof tightly into a small baking dish. Sprinkle over 3 tsp caster sugar and season well. Scatter over 2 bruised garlic cloves and a sprig of thyme. Pour over 125g melted butter, cover tightly with foil and bake at 200C or 180C fan for 20 mins. Turn witlof and bake for another 10 mins, until tender. Transfer to a plastic container and freeze. To serve, thaw and cook witlof in a frying pan on high for 2-3mins each side, until caramelized. Serve with grilled and roast meat or use in pasta dishes.


Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under harvest
Posted on 1st August 2010

Cook | Radicchio

By MANDY SINCLAIR

Radicchio & witlof gratin

1 witlof, cut in half, lengthways
1 radicchio, cut in half, lengthways
4 slices prosciutto
lemon wedges, to serve
white sauce
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
½ cup grated parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan. Grease a 6 cup baking dish.
2. Wrap a slice of prosciutto around each half of witlof and radicchio and place in prepared dish.
3. To make white sauce, melt butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Add flour and stir for 2  ins, until a roux is formed. Remove from heat, add milk, whisking constantly until well combined. Return to medium heat and cook for 5-10 mins, stirring constantly, until sauce is smooth and thickened. Stir in ½ cup of parmesan and stir until melted.
4. Pour sauce over witlof and radicchio and scatter over remaining cheese. Bake for 30 mins, until tender and golden. Serve with lemon wedges.

Serves 4


tip ….
If you find witlof too bitter, sprinkle over a little sugar before wrapping with prosciutto.


try this ….
Sautéed witlof & anchovies with pasta
Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan on medium. Add 2 chopped witlof, 2 chopped garlic cloves and 1 chopped small chilli. Cook covered, for 8-10 mins, stirring occasionally, until tender. Increase heat to high. Add 6 chopped anchovies, 2 tbsp pitted chopped olives, 1tbsp baby capers and cook for 2-3 min, until fragrant. Stir through ½ cup cream and 2 tbsp chopped parsley. Serve with cooked fettucine or penne topped with shaved parmesan cheese.

Photography by SUE STUBBS | Blog designed by RED PEPPER GRAPHICS

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Posted under cook