Rita’s blog for lovers of real food
Pep up your Christmas vegetables
17th December 2014
The traditional Christmas dinner doesn’t skimp on vegetables. We pile on Brussels, carrots and turnip, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, leeks, parsnips and potatoes- all good seasonal fare. Here are some simple ideas on how to transform some of these festive favourites.
Leek and Celeriac Soup (makes at least 8 servings)
This velvety soup makes a delicious starter.
|Celeriac: not pretty but tastes great|
1 dessertspoon of coconut oil or olive oil
2 or 3 leeks
1 head of celeriac
1 tablespoon of freshly grated root ginger
a handful of chopped parsley or a few sprigs of rosemary
1 litre of vegetable stock (depending on the size of the leeks and celeriac, you may need more)
2 cloves of garlic, freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
optional: single cream or plain yoghurt
Split and wash the leeks, peel the celeriac. Chop both vegetables into bite-sized chunks. Gently heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the vegetables on a medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add the root ginger, parsley and stock. Put a lid on the pan and simmer soup for about 30 minutes until vegetable are tender. When the soup is cool, add the garlic and liquidise until smooth; you may need to add more stock or hot water if the soup is too thick. Add seasoning to taste. Reheat and swirl some cream or yoghurt into each bowl, if liked.
In the unlikely event that there is any left, the soup keeps well in the fridge for up to three days.
Brussels Sprouts and Chestnuts
Sprouts and chestnuts are a perfect combination of flavours and textures. You’ll need some pre-cooked chestnuts (they are available in vacuum packs or you can cook and peel fresh chestnuts) and a knob of butter or drizzle of olive oil. Once your sprouts are cooked, mix in some chopped chestnuts. As a rough guide, use one chestnut to every 5 sprouts; big chestnut fans may wish to add more. Top with melted butter or a drizzle of oil.
Here’s how to pep-up your Christmas day parsnips:
Peel and cut the parsnips into big chunks and roast them with your potatoes. When the parsnips are cooked, sprinkle them with some roasted cumin seeds (heat seeds in a dry pan for a few minutes) and the juice of half an orange before serving.
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