Monday, 30 August 2010

Celebrating Vegetables

As a kid I didn't have any problems eating most vegetables. I used to dislike cucumber, but is cucumber fruit or vegetable? It's one of the many world's greatest unsolved mysteries...

My mom makes lots of stir-fries but the combinations of the veg and the flavourings change every time so that me and my sisters don't get bored. At home, we are broccoli addicts. I love it cooked with chilli or garlic and ginger or oyster sauce. Delicious.

Chapter 5: Vegetables

It's really hard for me to narrow down the recipes from this chapter because everything is exciting, but I managed. What I also really like from this chapter is, Jamie gives a little background history and pretty interesting facts for each vegetable which I'll share with you.

Here are some of my favourites:
Scotch stovies - it is a classic potato dish from Scotland. I live not too far away from Scotland but never heard of this dish until I read Jamie's book and glad to be introduced to this delicious dish. The potatoes here are cooked with onions that's been browned in butter, olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper until lightly golden and soft. At the end of the cooking, stir in some watercress and celery leaves to give a lightness. yum...

Dinner-lady carrots - as you may have guessed, the recipe is inspired by... dinner ladies. Jamie saw them using one of those industrial slicing machines to knock out hundreds of finely sliced carrots and then layering them into buttered tins with some salt and pepper.

Jamie tweaked the recipe by adding parsley, garlic, orange, white wine and stock. The carrots are then baked until perfectly cooked. The cooking time here varies, depending on how thinly you have sliced the carrots.

Did you know that carrots were originally purple, not orange?! The orange variety we see today was originally bred to match the colours of the Dutch royal family.

Braised peas with spring onions and lettuce - Jamie's version of petit pois a la Francaise only takes minutes to prepare. It's harsh to say that it's not the prettiest dish, but its taste blinds you, like love...

Peas are high in protein, which your body needs to build muscles, and they're one of the few vegetables that are sources of vitamin B1, which your body needs to break down carbohydrates and turn them into energy. That's today's science lesson kids.

Minted peas under oil - this dish is so surprisingly delicious. In Italy it's known as sott'olio which can be served cool or at room temperature, as it's a summer dish.

Roasted cauliflower with cumin, coriander and almonds - I think this dish is pretty much self-explanatory. It's crunchy, salty, spice-y and delicious.

Whole baked cauliflower with tomato and olive sauce - Mediterranean summer you can eat...

Steamed broccoli with beurre blanc - I just love saying it: beurre blanc; because, one, it involves one of my favourite ingredients, butter; and two, it’s in French and sounds very chef-y. And is it just me or do you also think anything sounds better in French?

If you don’t know, beurre blanc is this delicate sauce made with white wine, shallots, peppercorn, oregano, tarragon and butter.

Indian-style broccoli with spiced yoghurt - This recipe is Jamie's attempt to recreate the same dish from his favourite Indian restaurant in London, Amaya. Guess what? Amaya is also my favourite Indian restaurant. Aren't we like brothers? hehe...

The broccoli here is blanched and then grilled before topping it with dollops of yoghurt and lemon zest. The yoghurt is flavoured with cumin seeds, fennel seeds, cardamom and lemon juice.

Braised white cabbage with bacon and thyme - this is my favourite way to eat white cabbage, and plus it involves some of my favourite ingredients, bacon, butter and fragrant thyme.

Must-try red cabbage braised with apple, bacon and balsamic vinegar - The red cabbage is slowly cooked with bacon, fennel seeds, onions, apples and balsamic vinegar until the vinegar becomes syrupy and the cabbage is gorgeously sweet. Before serving, stir in a knob of butter and sprinkle with some parsley. A must-try!

Baked and dressed courgettes - I love courgettes and I think they are at their best in the summer. This recipe is so easy; it's more a method than a recipe. This is what you need to do: wash and dry the courgettes, the toss in olive oil with a generous amount of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 15 minutes until soft and the skin has blistered. Once out of the oven, dress with red wine vinegar, chopped parsley and mint leaves; and balance the flavours with peppery extra virgin olive oil and more seasoning if needed.

Courgette fritters - or in other words courgettes fried in batter... the courgettes is fried in a very light batter made with whipped egg white, not the thick, greasy batter. These fritters are flavoured with chilli, mint, lemon, parmesan and cumin. When cooked correctly, you'll be rewarded with a crunchy courgette on the outside, and inside it'll be soft and creamy, almost. Serve warm with lemon quarters.


  1. Fantastic veggie dishes...I really did not know that carrots were originally purple...interesting :)