Must try red cabbage

Cabbage is one of those vegetables that I know is good for me but I am never that sure of how to cook it to make it tasty and non reminiscent of school dinners!

Good old Jamie Oliver once again came up trumps with a delicious recipe from his Cook with Jamie book – ‘Must try red cabbage.’ I have loads of recipe books at home but I do think Cook with Jamie is my favourite. Simple ingredients combined to make tasty dishes.

Combined with roast pork, anya potatoes and broccoli – great Sunday evening meal now the horrid autumnal weather is starting to set in!

• olive oil
• 250g smoked streaky bacon, finely sliced
• 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, bashed
• 1 onion, peeled and sliced
• 2 good eating apples, peeled and chopped into 2.5cm/1 inch pieces
• 1 red cabbage, outer leaves and core removed, chopped into irregular chunks
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 150ml balsamic vinegar
• a knob of butter
• a handful of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Method a la Jamie
Pour a good lug of olive oil into a saucepan, get it hot and add the bacon and fennel seeds.
Cook until golden then add the onion and continue to cook, with the lid on, for a few more minutes until golden and sticky.
Add the apple, followed by the cabbage chunks, salt and pepper and the vinegar, and stir everything together well.
Put the lid back on and continue to cook on a low heat for an hour, checking and stirring every so often.
You will end up with a gorgeously sticky-sweet cabbage dish that you’ll want to eat immediately, straight out of the pan!
Or, if you can wait long enough, scoop it into a serving dish, pop the butter on top and sprinkle over the parsley.


Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache

After becoming aware of Harry Eastwoods baking methods this weekend I attempted my first vegetable based Chocolate Cake. To be honest with you, I wasn’t holding out much hope but the result was suprisingly good.

Looks wise, it certainly won’t be winning any prizes and it just kind of fell out of the tin (needed to let it cool for longer I think) but it tasted good – more like a stodgy chocolate brownie than a light chocolate sponge, but good nonetheless.

Having stored it in a box overnight when opening the smell of aubergine was quite overwhelming, but still tastes nice and chocolately. Not sold on buying the recipe book just yet…

Recipe and Method
2 whole small aubergines (roughly 400g)
300g dark chocolate – 70% cocoa minimum broken into small pieces
50g good quality cocoa powder
60g ground almonds
3 medium free range eggs
200g clear honey
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt

Tools needed
23cm diameter 7cm deep loose bottom tin

1. Preheat oven to 180, line a baking tin with parchment and lightly oil bottom and sides
2, Puncture aubergines, place in a bowl covered with cling film and cook in microwave for 8 mins until cooked and limp. 3. Discard water and leave until cool enough to handler.
4. Skin aubergines using a knife and puree the flesh in a blender
5. Once blended add chocolate, cover bowl with cling film and leave until melted.
6. In a bowl whisk up all other ingredients for a minute until well mixed and slightly bubbly. Fold melted aubergine and chocolate into bowl. Fold until well mixed.
7. Pour into prepared tin and cook at the bottom of the oven for 30 mins
8. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 mins in tin before turning out – peel off the parchment and turn back up the right way leaving to cool on a plate not a cooling tray.
9. Dust with cocoa powder and eat!


Healthy Chocolate Cake

No such thing I hear you cry! I too am of that opinion, but I have been introduced to the baking of Harry Eastwood, one of the women responsible for BBC’s ‘Cook yourself thin’.

She produced a cookbook back in 2009 called Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache which from what I can gather is a book of baking recipes that include vegetables rather than fat to make cakes, hence making them healthier…  I am yet to be convinced by this, but as I like trying new things, I’m going to give it a whirl. At £20 (ish) per book, I want to test drive it before committing to buying the book and fortunately some of her recipes are available on her website, so this weekend I am going to try the chocolate cake which mysteriously contains aubergines…