Archive for the ‘Brassicas’ Category

The egg or the egg?

The head gardener called me over for an important photo op the other day and I think you’ll be interested too!  The hens here are very hard working and have been laying all winter.  They love to peck at an old head of cabbage that’s thrown in to them so we’re guessing that their eggs are seriously healthy and bumped up with iron and all sorts of goodness.

Hard-working Hens

One, we now find out, has been doing major overtime.  She’s taking her job double serious.  Here’s the result:

A double egg

Yes, you’re thinking correctly – this henny-penny laid 2 eggs, 1 enclosed within the other.  Doing a bit of a search, this has happened before – here’s a video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=truDCu1gYqQ.  It’s not just Roscommon but we felt pretty special about this egg.

Here’s the little one:

Inner Egg

Any insight welcome.  It seems the egg comes first!

One of the best scrambled egg I ever had was prepared by my Uncle Seamus.  I was helping him pot plants etc at his organic farm when I was a kid.  I was blown away by this simple lunch but the eggs were so soft and perfectly seasoned.

Scrambled Egg with chives

For 1

2 eggs – free range

1 tsp butter

sea salt & black pepper

1 tsp snipped chives

 

Heat the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat.  Add the salt and pepper and break the eggs directly into the saucepan.  Stir well to mix up and continue to stir while cooking – slightly undercook the eggs so they stay soft.  Stir in the chives and enjoy with toast or soft brown soda bread.  A perfect lunch!

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First Winter Scene

It’s frosty and it may have even snowed a little last night.  The view looks nice in white:

First Winter Scene Nov 2010

The gnome (who cracked his head and was subsequently filled with concrete by head gardener) is looking very pensive across his kingdom:

Pensive Gnome

This morning I’m preparing for one of my very favourite courses – Dinner Party Dishes.  I haven’t had much time to host many dinner parties this year so very excited about today.  One of the side dishes is brussel sprouts with chestnuts and cream.  It’s yum.

Brussel Sprouts today

Creamy brussel sprouts with chestnuts

For 6

20 brussel sprouts

10 chestnuts

100ml cream

pinch nutmeg

sea salt & black pepper

Method:

  1. Cut a slit in each chestnut and place them on a dry baking sheet or roasting pan.   Place in a hot oven (190C) for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool and peel.  Slice the chestnut.
  2. Cover the sprouts with just enough cold water and bring to the boil.  Simmer for 5 minutes and drain.  Allow to cool slightly.
  3. Cut the sprouts into round slices.  Place them in a pan with the chestnuts, cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Heat and simmer gently for 3-5 minutes, allowing the cream to reduce and thicken.  Serve as side dish with beouf bourguingnon and potatoes.

King Rabi

The Kohl Rabi are at their peak – if allowed to get any bigger the stringy ‘veins’ will become tough and woody.  I’ve tried 2 ways of using this interesting vegetable over the last week.  As I mentioned previously, this is an easy vegetable to grow – I sowed the seeds directly into the growing bed on the 10th April.  So about 10 weeks later they were a good size to eat.

King Rabi

It can be peeled and eaten raw, or diced and steamed.  Roasting I have not yet tried.  The smell is stronger than I expected – it has a fairly cabbagey aroma, but the taste is surprisingly mild, sweet and delicious.

Summer Slaw (For 4)

1 kohl rabi, peeled and roughly grated

2 carrots, peeled and grated

1 small red onion, finely sliced

1 fennel bulb, finely sliced

2 – 3 tbsp freshly chopped parsley

Dressing:

2 tbsp natural yogurt

juice 1/2 lime

1 tsp sugar

salt & pepper to taste

Summer slaw

The other way I used kohl rabi was to just peel, dice and steam for 5-10 minutes.  I then tossed it in olive oil and served as a side vegetable dish with steamed mangetout peas.  The mangetout are doing ok on my shaky teepee – will have to have something a bit more stable next year.

The Secret Life of Mangetout

The Wild Mangetout Twins

Kohl Rabi

A member of the brassica family, being bred from the original cabbage plant and meaning ‘cabbage turnip’ (Kohl – German, Rabi – Swiss/German).  It seems it will grow almost anywhere and I can vouch that it hasn’t demanded too much attention from me in the garden.  It’s an interesting looking vegetable, coming in both white & purple varieties.  I have the former almost ready to harvest and try.  I haven’t grown it before so am looking forward to trying it out.  Apparently (according to Wikipedia), it is very commonly eaten in Kashmir so they may have some interesting recipes!  It can be eaten raw or cooked.  I will let you know how I get along with it.

Kohl Rabi almost ready to eat