Allotment Diary with Katie Moore
The new year calls for food both fresh and full of flavour, says Katie Moore of Allotment, the catering company she runs from her Cambridgeshire home and garden
After the chaos of Christmas has subsided, I for one am always keen to rid the fridge of festive reminders, using them up in whatever way I can so that the new year can begin afresh. This first recipe is the perfect way to transform any slightly sad looking veg into a delicious meat-free meal. It benefits from the addition of a few nuts and morsels of cheese, but these can certainly be left out if they do not fit into your dietary plans.
Stuffed Savoy Cabbage Leaves
Makes 12 rolls
Large savoy cabbage
1-2tbsp olive oil
3 medium carrots
1tsp cumin seeds
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
50g toasted nuts
50g feta cheese (or whatever you have that needs using!)
Carefully pull the 12 outermost leaves off the savoy cabbage and set to one side. Remove the core from the remaining cabbage and finely shred.
Peel your carrots and chop them into squares as small as you have the patience for (the smaller the better), then chop the mushrooms into pieces a similar size to the carrots. Cut the leek in half lengthways and slice thinly.
Heat 1tbsp oil in a pan over a medium-low heat and add the shredded cabbage, carrot, mushroom and leek. Sprinkle over a good pinch of salt and pepper and cook for approximately 5 minutes until starting to soften.
Add in the cumin seeds and crushed garlic and turn the heat up slightly. Cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the moisture from the mushrooms has cooked off and the veg is just starting to turn golden at the edges. Remove the pan from the heat.
Put a large saucepan of water on to boil and pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees.
Take the 12 cabbage leaves you removed earlier and use a vegetable peeler to shave off some of the thick stem in the middle of each leaf. Once the water is boiling, plunge the leaves in for 1-2 minutes and then drain.
Chop your toasted nuts and crumble or grate your cheese, then stir both through the carrot mixture. Taste and add extra seasoning if necessary.
To assemble, lay your cabbage leaves out flat on a work surface and spoon the filling mixture evenly between the 12 leaves. Fold both sides in then fold over the bottom and top to make a little parcel. Place in an oven-proof dish, fold side down, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 10 minutes. Serve warm for dinner or cold for lunch the next day.
I’m never really sure where they come from, but every Christmas we seem to have a packet of dates that sits with the chocolates and florentines, that always remains untouched come the end of the festivities. While not strictly a healthy snack, these bars are a delicious way to use up said dates, and are a great way to start weaning yourself off the chocolates.
Date & Apple Crumble Bars
Makes 8 generous bars
150g peeled, chopped and cored apple
150g stoned and chopped dates
275g soft brown sugar
225g unsalted butter
175g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp ground ginger
1/4tsp fine sea salt
50g plain flour
150g brown sugar
100g chopped walnuts
50g sunflower seeds
100g soft unsalted butter
Line a 20cm square tin with baking paper and pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees.
Put the apples in a pan with a splash of water and cook over a low heat for a few minutes until starting to break down. Add the dates and 50g of the sugar and cook for a further few minutes until everything is nice and soft. Use the back of a spoon to mash the apples down and mix everything together, and then leave to cool.
Melt the butter in a pan over a low heat. Mix together the flour, baking powder, ginger, salt and oats in a bowl, then carefully pour in the melted butter and mix until combined.
Put all the ingredients for the crumble topping in a bowl and rub together with your fingers until the butter is well distributed and clumps are starting to form.
Press the melted butter mixture firmly into the base of the tin, then spread the apple + date mixture over the top. Press the crumble mixture down on top of the dates and bake for 30-45 minutes until the crumble topping is golden all over. Leave to cool and firm up before slicing into bars and enjoying with a cup of tea.
For more information – including where to find Katie’s fabulous food – follow @allotmentcafe and see allotmentcafe.com.
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