During lockdown cooking what I grow, plus the produce from the regular veg boxes from Riverford and my local Sudbury market trader Darren Cox (coxythevegman.com), has kept me going and set me to experimenting with recipes from various food writers.
Fellow Guild of Food Writers’ member Christopher Trotter (@ctscotfood) has produced six slim volumes that he is offering as a box set entitled My Vegetable Cookbooks. Each covers a single vegetable ingredient: Carrot, Kale, Cauliflower, Tomato, Broccoli and Beetroot. The recipes are supported by his wife Caroline Trotter’s food styling and photography.
As a garden and food writer, it is so useful to have a selection of individual recipes, particularly when there is a glut of produce. I have sampled recipes from Kale and Carrot and am about to try some from Cauliflower.
Kale is particularly important in my garden as I grow several types of perennial kale (Taunton and Daubenton’s Variegated and the short-lived perennial Cavolo Nero). One that I don’t grow is the very curly leaf form… it usually harbours too many insects for me to get rid of before cooking…. but I had a lovely delivery of some curly kale in a recent Riverford vegetable box. So I set out to try Roast Garlic Soup with Kale and Ginger. Christopher references Bridgid Allen as the source of the idea for this soup. Garlic, ginger, spices, onions and curly kale are the main ingredients and for a winter’s day this is just the ticket.
Just today in my garden I saw the tiniest shoots of spring hope on the sea kale thongs I have planted into huge containers. Sea kale is so delicate and takes a short time to cook… this spring I will prepare the Orange Hollandaise, which Christopher attributes to Rowley Leigh, to accompany the sea kale shoots. Next step will be to cover the top of the container so that they blanch… much like blanching rhubarb.
I frequently roast cauliflower with spices and treat it as the main course. For me it is a vegetable that can be both accompaniment and mains… and while I love cauliflower cheese, I feel the flavour can be overwhelmed by cheese. So my plan this week is to make Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry and next week to roast it with red onions and rosemary.
I hope that one of Christopher’s next vegetable books will be Courgette… as that may go some way to help deal with the inevitable annual gluts.
Each book’s introductory pages set out Christopher’s own feelings about the vegetable subject (including his early dislike of some of them), varieties and seasons, as well as nutrition details. It is also refreshing to note that he always attributes the sources of his ideas where appropriate.
You can find out more about Christopher’s publications and work on his YouTube channel.
His latest book in the Vegetable Cook Book series is Broccoli and all the titles are available direct from Christopher on his website www.christophertrotter.co.uk. You can also order by phone 07739 049639.