So turnip greens appeared in my veg bag this week.
While not common in the UK apparently they are common in the rest of the world. My searches for recipes showed them stir fried, steamed and lightly boiled. Olive oil is a popular pairing and they could substitute for kale, spinach or any green leaf. Yes, even raw although the taste is on the bitter side so maybe massage some of that oil in. You can also cook the cute little turnips at the bottom of the stalk. Indeed according to the internet (obviously the fount of all reliable knowledge) this is popular in Japan with miso.
I decided to steam my turnip greens. Partly because I’ve been neglecting my steamer of late (beyond preparing potatoes for salad). But also because we’ve having a mini heatwave which makes it too hot to put on a frying pan.
I started by chopping off the teeny turnips and picking through the leaves to remove any that looked a bit yellow. Clearly turnips greens are best eaten close to picking, not several days later. Actually this is a great rule for deciding what to eat first from a veg bag. Consume anything that is individual leaves or where the leaves are less than robust. Spring greens can take few days in the fridge. Turnip greens not so much.
I then gave the remaining leaves a good rinse under the tap. Quite a few had grit on them that would have made for a less than pleasant eating experience
Then I chopped the leaves into 2 inch pieces. I have a vague feeling that you are supposed to discard that stalks but as long as they are not too tough that seems wasteful.
I crammed the chopped leaves into a steamer basket and left them to cook for 10 minutes.
Once cooked further preparation was pretty easy. I spooned some onto a plate with a jacket potato and added chill salt and a splash of olive oil. A pretty easy, not to heavy dinner for a warm summer night.
The remaining turnips greens I wanted to eat cold as they apparently do in Italy. So I popped the cooled turnip greens on a tub and added olive oil, lemon juice and salt. A bot of a shake and it was ready to go in my lunch box. Yes I probably should have cooled the greens immediately after cooking but I think I got away with it this time!
Sunday evening rolled around. The approaching twilight taking me by surprise after a bright day. I’d popped along to see some friends perform in a burlesque show in a pub. In a back room. Does that sound better or worse than it being in the main bar?
As it happens I was slightly late arriving. My brain had gone into auto pilot and I’d starting driving my usual route to work. Of course, I was several junctions in the wrong direction when I remembered where I was going.
As a result I squeezed in between the first and second act. Then scrambled around and found a stool in the dim light and sat down to whoop, laugh and wonder at my talented friends.
My first opportunity to visit the bar was the interval. All that whooping laughing and wondering is thirsty work. I took my first opportunity to admire the pub’s decor. One ceiling was covered in vinyl record covers. Then at the back of the back I spotted what looked like an exit to a secret hidden world at the back of the bar.
I think it might be the Flitch Way. The image made me recall one that I took myself (although not so good) some years ago. I wanted to try and capture the feeling of being in a secret tunnel made of green. This image does that so well.
Imagine being able to walk into the image. To be able to pop away for a few minutes of calm anytime you wanted to.
It was the lawn that gave it away. Spring wasn’t kidding around. It was here now.
I’d gone out for one of my early morning walks. In recent months this has meant seeing the world in shades of black and grey. There’s the occasional spotting of a fox to liven things ups. If I time it right the sky might be a glorious shade of blue as I arrive back at the Green Rooms. However usually the only bright spots are the street lights. Plus spotting the landmarks in the local neighbourhood. There’s that house that looks like something from Scooby Doo. The drive with an unfeasible number of sports cars (are they collectors?). That property that is endlessly on the market. The garden that makes me think of Victorian novels. The occasional lit window which makes me wonder who else is up early and where they are off to that day.
Then spring arrived…
So it began to get a tiny bit lighter. Around about the same time the birds got noiser. I knew I was out walking on a spring morning when I spotted this site. The lawn slightly over grown but in a way that makes it clear that warmer weather is here. Everything is sprouting and growing again. The promise of afternoon reading in the park. Mornings drinking tea in the garden.
Hello spring greens. Amongst this week’s inspiring selection of veg was kale, chard, salad leaves, parsnips, onions, carrots and swede.
Rice with chickpeas and chard
What do you cook when you have a friend coming to dinner, a fridge full or vegetables and no idea? You cook something spicy and filling that you can serve in a bowl. Naturally I’d had a look at Veganomicon for inspiration. Then I wondered why I’d never cooked this dish before.
Mmm dahl is such a forgiving dish. I chucked all kinds of odds and ends into this. The remains of a container of tomato puree. Quite a lot of ginger. Various spices. An onion. It still came out warm and comforting.
Potato and swede with spicy mayo
This has turned into my default dish to make with swede. I just love the way the swede tastes when cooked with potato. Additionally it’s so easy to make.
Creamy carrot and potato soup
Another super easy dish – soup made with carrots, potatoes and onions. It was good but would have been amazing with some beans added. Next week, maybe?
Jacket potato with kale, tofu and chickpea gravy
What a sensible dinner this. Creamy jacket potato with wilted kale and fried tofu. Then smothered in chickpea gravy (which I handily had in the freezer).
Saturday night random bowl
So this was an end of the week bowl with whatever was in the fridge. It includes a vegan sausage roll, fried kale and potatoes. Plus a pasta salad made with wholemeal penne, parsnips, apples, sunflower seeds and chilli mayo.
I was very happy to get a triple dose of greens in my veg bag; cabbage, kale and spinach. Plus the usual suspects in the form of carrots and parsnips.
Homemade pasta with beanballs
I’ve been working on my homemade pasta recipe. My noodles tend to come out a bit soft. This time I rolled them thicker and dried them for longer. They provided suitable chewiness with homemade bean balls (something else that could do with firming up) and a tomato sauce. And – yes – I must confess this dish contained nothing from my veg bag .
Leek and potato soup
Ah the creaminess of potato and carrot against the sweet sharpness of leek and the tanginess of fresh mint.
I hardly ever make this. The 4 individual parts are simple enough to make but put together they take a lot of effort and washing up. However I was really keen to use the fresh spinach and had some homemade tofu. Plus I was making my first attempts at homemade english muffins. As it turned out these were so easy to do that I’ll be making them more often. Which might tempt me into making tofu florentine more too.
Rice with carrots and peanut sauce
What do you cook when all you have is carrots, parsnips and a handful of greens? Why you pull out some rice from the freezer, cook up with the carrots and then stir in a peanut sauce with a bit of spice.
End of the week, post yoga dinner
I was down to 4 parsnips, some cooked potatoes and an apple. So I made this for a dinner. Raw Parsnip and apple drizzled with lemon olive oil and fried potatoes with tahini sauce. The perfect friday night dish.
What do you have left in your veg bag at the end of the week?
When I first spotted the mural I thought I was looking at green birds. They looked like swallows darting between vines. However a closer look showed that they weren’t birds. The vine had leaves in different shades of green.
I love to document what I cook from my veg bag contents. It’s handy for when I can’t decide what to cook or recall a recipe. However I’m still building the habit of actually remembering to make the dish look nice and to then take a photograph. Not a terrible thing to fail at but frustrating when I recall eating something tasty but have no photographic evidence.
This week’s veg bag contents
Potato and swede hash with spicy mayo
I was delighted to see more swede in this week’s selection. So I used it to make more hash. I topped it off with some of this week’s batch of vegan mayo. In order to spice things up a bit I added a glug of chilli sauce to create a creamy spicy sauce.
I didn’t make this. In fact, my only efforts involved wrapping it in foil and baked it. I bought it from Lettices Foods at the Colchester Vegan Festival. It was delightful served with crusty bread and cranberry sauce.
More hash and filled flatbread
Actually I only made half of this meal. The filled flatbreads were bought at Colchester Vegan Festival. I purchased 3 of these. Then I put them in the freezer without labelling. Consequently it’s been a bit of lucky dip every time I eat one. I’m calling the dish on the rest of the plate ‘underground vegetable hash’.
Battered fishless pie
More evidence that I’ve been failing on the cooking front! This fishless pie, served by Battered on a pub grub night, was just as good as their fishless and chips.
Burgers and sweet potato fries
This is the final evidence proving that I’ve eaten out too much this week! At any rate it was great to finally make it to Mooshie’s on Brick Lane. These burgers were most satisfying to chow on before heading off to watch some burlesque.
Photographic fails this week included various lunches with salad, carrots and fried tofu. Plus a huge pan of borscht. Oh well – must try harder next week.
Recently I was watching The Clone Wars animated series. It’s fun to watch but I didn’t expect any greenspiration to show up. Then this green haired gal came along looking pretty cool. Naturally she represents the light side of the force. It’s her brother is the one who is strong in the dark side.
I'm bit keen on the colour green and like to ramble on about food, cooking, veganism, refashioning, sewing, clothes, list making, music, reading and anything else that pops up in my overcrowded existence! I'm also one half of Ink drops boxes, stationery by the boxful, dropped through your letterbox.