Thursday, 25 November 2010


Every year it happens to us. We make a holiday meal such as the one you are stressing over today in America: the turkey is in the oven, the potatoes are a roasting or mashing or sweet and under the marshmallows, and then it occurs to us? What do I got to do with those sprouts? Well for sprouts or cauliflower or any of those root veg such as beets, carrots, parsnips or sun chokes here is an easy, heavenly treat....

What you need
250g ( 1/2 pound ) streaky bacon, large dice
1.5 kilogram ( 3 pounds) Brussels sprouts, washed, ends trimmed off and cut in half
salt and pepper
spice of choice ( fennel seeds, cumin seeds, black onion seeds, etc)

What to do
  1. Turn oven to 200 degrees Celsius ( 385 F)
  2. ON large baking tray spread out bacon and place in oven till fat is rendered and bacon starts to crisp slightly.
  3. Toss Brussels sprouts on top of bacon ( add splash of olive oil if you have been skimpy on the bacon)
  4. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and spices
  5. Roast in oven till lightly browned ( 1/2 hour)

More dishes to wash
  • Substitute in small rough chop of carrots, beets and turnips for a colourful change.
  • Sprinkle some Stilton or other blue cheese over vegetables just before serving.
  • Try this recipe with cauliflower, and toss hot vegetable quickly with spinach for a seasonal wilted side "salad" dressed with a squeeze of lemon and a few pomegranate seeds

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Celebratory leftovers...rice and beans

After spending all of todays sunlit hours sitting at my kitchen table writing a policy paper on national anti-obesity campaigns such as EPODE, Lets Move and Change4Life I realize that so much is written, so much ss theorized, so much has already been said, so much has led me to... hunger dammit!!!! We don't need to reinvent the wheel or even always make a new dinner, I need F-O-O-D. Nothing fancy, but a simple meal to commemorate finishing the draft of the paper....
I just want some simple leftovers, easy food, healthy and that so wrong. Must I create a policy memo/five course meal for this or can we just get down to business and start enjoying what's left in the refrigerator? Yes, I know the got lots of strange stuff hiding on those shelves;turning colours;changing textures...well use em or lose em I say.
We have enough food waste and food want in the world so for me, today, its time for rice and beans. And since its autumn and my box of veg is filled with cabbage, carrots, and onions well we need to have that just about every night as well. So as I type and eat the last remnants of the weeks bacon, rutabaga( swede) and red cabbage soup I will toss together the following great recipe for Rice and Beans stuffed in cabbage rolls...

1 T olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and fine dice
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 carrot, peeled and fine dice
1 pepper, seeded and fine dice
1 hot pepper, seeded if desired, and fine dice
2T tomato puree
1/2 bunch cilantro, cleaned and stems and leaves separated
2T paprika , hot
1T cumin seeds
2 cups leftover brown rice
2 cups leftover beans
salt, pepper
fresh lime juice at end
12 large outer cabbage leaves, boiled or steamed till soft

  1. Heat large fry pan over medium high heat and add 1 T olive oil.
  2. Add onion and garlic and cook 5 minutes till softened and browned.
  3. Add carrot, hot pepper, cumin and pepper and cook down further five minutes, deglazing pan with water, beer or wine as necessary to prevent burning.
  4. Add tomato paste, paprika and cilantro stems to pan and cook down two minutes.
  5. Add rice and beans to pan and heat thoroughly.
  6. Season with salt and pepper, taste.
  7. Finish with fresh cilantro( coriander) and lime juice.
  8. Wrap in cooked cabbage leaves and serve.

  • Serve with home made salsa and/or guacamole.
  • Use as a stuffing for peppers, courgettes or onions and top with melted cheese.
  • Served open faced and topped with a fried or poached egg for a tasty Sunday brunch treat.
  • Yup your right I did not in the end reinvent the wheel, i just changed my normal vegetarian stuffed cabbage to cabbage stuffed with rice and beans and smothered with salsa and feta cheese!