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eat

Comfort food cravings

There’s something about this time of year which makes us want to slow down. To hunker indoors and take comfort from the food we eat. It’s a time when we crave carb-rich, nutrient-dense winter vegetables – something we do very well at on our little island!

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Cabbage

This home-grown member of the brassica family is a great winter staple. Several varieties are available including the gorgeous purple-hued January king, the dark green savoy, and the plainer white and red cabbages. The latter make great additions when finely sliced raw in winter slaws, while the former benefit from a light stir fry or steam and used as a side dish or addition to eastern cuisine. Being full of essential vitamins and minerals, cabbage can help you fight off those winter colds.

Try this: the addition of spicy chorizo transforms boring cabbage soup into a traditional Portuguese Caldo Verde. Simply fry off a couple of onions, garlic, chopped chorizo and chopped potatoes. Add stock and a couple of bay leaves and cook until soft. Blanch the head of a shredded savoy cabbage and add to the stock pan. Simmer then stir in a spoonful of paprika to serve.

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Leeks

Just as it was said every recipe starts with an onion, the same could be said of the onion’s milder cousin, the leek. You can add leeks to any manner of dish where their subtle flavour adds a more delicate note to meals such as risottos and stir fries; add crispy leeks to a mash topping for fish or shepherd’s pie; douse them in white sauce for an accompaniment to fish dishes; create a silky soup with potato for the perfect comfort food on a winter’s day…

Try this: create a stunning, yet simple, leek tarte tatin by lining the bottom of a baking dish with 3cm tall chopped leeks. Sprinkle over some sugar and fresh thyme and a little olive oil. Bake for an hour then drizzle with balsamic vinegar and bake for a further 15 minutes. Cover with a sheet of puff pastry (shop-bought for convenience) and bake for another 20 minutes until golden. Allow to cool slightly then flip onto a chopping board or serving dish.

Potatoes

New season potatoes are hitting the farm shops and our stores and there’s nothing better for your Sunday roast! Freshly dug potatoes straight out of the ground are a winter pleasure and they deserve proper recognition. Whether it’s mash, roasties, baked spuds or chips, potatoes are our go-to comfort food this November!

Try this: for the crispiest yet fluffiest roasties, choose a variety such as Maris Piper or Marfona, chop into quarters and parboil in salted water. Heat a shallow tin with a couple of spoonfuls of vegetable oil until piping hot. Drain and dry the potatoes then tip into the hot tin. Shake lightly then roast at 190 degrees for a good hour or until golden and crispy on the outside. Finish with a sprinkling of sea salt.

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Swede

What do you get when you cross a cabbage with a turnip? Yes, that’s right, swede! That’s how the swede originated, and just like with cabbage, you can actually eat the swede’s leaves. It’s a wonderfully versatile ingredient that can be used in place of potato in lots of mashes – try it as a topping for cottage pie, fish pie, or as a mash in its own right alongside your roast…

Try this: create cheesy swede chips by roasting prepared swede in some olive oil along with some grated parmesan and rosemary leaves. Dot with butter, add a couple of garlic cloves and roast for 35 minutes.