Like many of my fellow food bloggers, I’ve been taking part in the #OrganicUnboxed challenge this last few weeks. The idea of the challenge is simple. Organic UK is sending bloggers a big mystery box of organic produce to see what easy, every day dishes they might come up with to inspire more people to switch to organic. In my excitement I failed miserably to get a picture of the organic goodies being unboxed. Which is why I’ve brought you a gratuitous shot of our cat Tango in the box instead. Now, hasn’t that brightened your day? Continue reading “Chilli beef pasta with Savoy cabbage and caraway for the #OrganicUnboxed Challenge”→
While duck isn’t the cheapest meat around, I’d happily eat meat-free for a few days to justify including it on my weekly meal plan. A deliciously succulent meat, it works wonderfully with strong, spicy flavours.
This broth is inspired by a Riverford recipe and features star anise, Chinese five spice, ginger and garlic, as well as that favourite of the veg box at this time of year, the Savoy cabbage. It is the perfect winter warmer, especially when you serve it with a little chilli sauce on the side.
I think the spicy broth would go very well with a glass of Isla Negra Merlot, a soft, easy drinking red wine I was lucky enough to sample the other night during #BoothsCheers,a special festive wine and beer tasting on Twitter organised by the British supermarketBooths. There will be more tastings on Wednesday nights between now and Christmas – maybe you’d like to take part next time? But anyway, enough about the drink and back to the food…
Spicy duck broth with Savoy cabbage and noodles
2 duck breasts
2 tsp Chinese five spice
1 tbsp vegetable oil
dash sesame oil
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
3cm fresh ginger, peeled and grated
half a Savoy cabbage, finely shredded
2 litres hot chicken stock
2 star anise
150g dried egg noodles
chilli and soy sauces to serve
Preheat the oven to 200ºC / gas mark 6.
Score the duck skin and rub in the five spice. Place the duck breasts on a rack in a roasting tin and roast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to rest somewhere warm.
In a large saucepan heat the vegetable and sesame oils and fry the garlic and ginger for a minute before adding the Savoy cabbage. Stir fry for a couple of minutes and then add the hot stock and star anise.
Bring to a simmer and gently cook the cabbage for a couple of minutes. Then add the noodles and cook for around three more minutes until the noodles are just soft.
Pour the broth into bowls, using tongs to serve the noodles and cabbage. Slice the duck breast and place on top. Serve with some soy and chilli sauces on the side. And enjoy!
This is not an authentic Chinese soup recipe by any stretch of the imagination. It’s something I concocted using ingredients from the store cupboard in an attempt to liven up another Savoy cabbage to arrive in the veg box.
It also features slices of Chinese sausage, which you should be able to get from an oriental supermarket, but if not feel free to substitute with any cured sausage that takes your fancy.
I made up the dish as I went along and was really rather surprised at just how tasty and moreish it ended up and have made it several times since. As it takes only half an hour or so to rustle up, it’s an excellent contender for a quick mid-week dinner when you don’t want to spend all evening in the kitchen.
Chinese sausage and noodle soup
1 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
½ onion, peeled and finely chopped
3cm piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 Chinese sausage (I used a skinny one about 20cm long), thinly sliced
½ Savoy cabbage, shredded
1.5l hot chicken stock
50ml light soy sauce
50ml Chinese rice wine (Shaohsing) or dry sherry
25ml black rice vinegar
80g egg noodles (I use either medium or fine)
In a large pan heat the oil and gently fry the onion until golden. Add the ginger, garlic and sausage and fry together for a couple more minutes.
Throw in the cabbage and stir-fry for a minute.
Pour in the hot stock, soy sauce, rice wine and vinegar and bring to a gentle simmer. Leave to cook for 10 minutes.
Add the noodles and simmer for another three minutes or according to the packet instructions. Serve and enjoy.
The poor old cabbage. It’s got itself a bit of a bad name, hasn’t it? Probably all those memories of terrible school dinners, when it was boiled for hours and hours before being inflicted on us poor suffering children.
It’s completely undeserved of course. Savoy cabbage in particular is a wonderful vegetable and is at its best during the cold winter months. It is quite different from the white or green cabbage and, in my opinion, is far tastier.
The beauty of savoy cabbage is that it doesn’t need dressing up in fancy recipes to make it interesting. For an easy side dish, steam some chopped savoy for a few minutes and then serve with a knob of butter, salt and pepper.
Or how about this simple sausage and cabbage bake? It might not sound at first like a culinary delight and, no it’s not the prettiest dish, but trust me. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll make it again and again.
It’s based on a recipe by Tamasin Day-Lewis, who in turn got the recipe from Jane Grigson. They serve theirs with mashed potato but I’ve added sliced potato to my version to create a fantastic one-pot supper, perfect at the end of a hectic day of work and school.
Please buy the best quality sausages you can afford for this dish, ones with a good high meat content. Cheap sausages just aren’t worth bothering with.
Sausage and cabbage bake
1 large savoy cabbage, cored and shredded
8 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
8 fat pork sausages
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4.
Lightly butter a large overproof dish – one that has a lid.
Bring a large panful of salted water to the boil and cook the cabbage and potatoes quickly for five minutes until just tender. Drain and run under cold water to stop any further cooking.
Slit the sausage skins lengthways with a sharp knife and squeeze out the sausage meat. My youngest daughter likes to help me with this job.
Place a layer of cabbage and potatoes at the bottom of the ovenproof dish and season with salt and pepper. Cover this with a layer of sausagemeat. Repeat to use all the meat and vegetables, ending with a layer of cabbage and potato.
Fleck the top with butter. Cover with greaseproof paper and then the lid.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the top is browned and crispy.
I am entering my sausage and cabbage bake into the In Season Challenge, set by Carol over at Make It, Bake It. Her challenge this month is to come up with a recipe featuring savoy cabbage, so of course this seemed to me the perfect dish.
If you’ve got a favourite savoy cabbage recipe, you should enter the challenge too. But there isn’t long – the deadline is 5 February 2012.