as a devotee of simple cooking sans recipes and unnecessary ingredients here are a few musings about what you could do with your winter favourites.
the weekly market lists are created with a balanced diet in mind with consideration to colour, texture and complimentary flavours.
rocket | if you feel like something different other than raw you can cook rocket as you would a spinach. this can be said for most other greens including lettuces that are delicious quartered and pan-fried with oil or butter.
watercress | the most nutrient dense green overall watercress is mostly used in salads but is awesome stir fried quickly whole with sesame oil, garlic and a little chilli or added to soups at the end.
rainbow chard & silverbeet | you can use the stems separately - slice or whole sautéed with butter or oil, add a little garlic & fennel. stems are awesome placed underneath roast chicken or pickled. cook your greens as soon as you can so they’re ready as accompaniments and save room in your fridge. always cook greens very quickly before adding to soups so that they stay beautiful and green or add at the end so they lightly
garden chives & fresh herbs | on everything of course especially toasted iggy's with sliced tomato, sea salt, garlic oil & lots of black pepper. insert smiley face emoji.
baby endive | salad, soups, pastas or sautéed. really lovely fresh with roasted beetroot, lemon & goats curd.
english spinach | I like to cook very very quickly with olive oil and garlic to add to pretty much anything over the next few days.
in the middle
brussel sprouts | roasted, sliced with noodles, crispy fried with lentils, as a side cooked in a little broth w pancetta & garlic. in pasta with lots of parmagiano. (good pancetta is important!) or shaved raw in salads.
capsicums | roast all at once, peel and cover with oil and slivers of garlic for use with pretty much everything. always perfect with eggplant.
kohlrabi | salad, raw like you'd eat an apple, curries, soup, roasted, pickled, or placed underneath a roast chicken. often paired with fennel.
fennel | shaved in salad (preferably with a mandolin - a must have kitchen essential), quarter & slow roasted, braised, in soup or pickled.
yellow beans | swiftly blanched in salted water then in an iced bath is best. Back in the pan to heat with olive oil and your favourite flavours. Straight up with well smashed roasted pistachios or hazelnuts, chives and fresh watercress is pretty good. Chopped in soups for some golden business.
broccoli | blanch in salted water all at once, refresh in iced bath to eat along the way. stems can be shaved into salads raw or chopped and added to noodles. the leaves (or rabe) are perfect for soups or in the pan like a kale.
cauliflower | whole roasted is definitely most peoples game. rub with a mix of smashed garlic and chilli (with or without turmeric, extra pepper and sea salt) finish with a gremalata (add pecorino or anchovy or toasted smashed nuts) or lots of fresh chopped herbs. slice into steaks and roast. a million curries and soups. crumbed and fried or pureed.
purple haze dutch carrots (purple outside, orange inside) | roasted, pickled, grated in salad, not recommended in soups as the purple will turn your soup a funny colour. raw as a snack!
butternut pumpkin | the best slow roasted for that natural caramelising, of course the classic soup, curries.
purple beetroot | roasted is best in winter, but shaved or grated raw as a finishing to salads is refreshing and hydrating or lightly pickled on the side. a light curry with coconut* or in chocolate cake.
the leaves can be used in place of spinach or creamed with rocket & chard.
*curries don’t need to include a whole lot of dried spices. light curries are beautiful and if the dried spices you have aren’t fresh they can overpower everything and taste dusty. I prefer to use all fresh ginger, turmeric and curry leaves, a little garlic, plenty of black pepper with fresh tomatoes or coconut cream and heaps of fresh herbs. toast your dried spices before combining and using for a better overall flavour profile.
When making soups merge away from store bought stock or broth they are extremely watered down and won't effect the end result at all if you're using fresh ingredients. When making soups try not to boil boil boil, instead leave to lightly simmer over a longer time.
Good quality roasted bones, water, apple cider vinegar, onion, carrots, celery, any other vegetables, bring to simmer and let it slowly, slowly do its thing, skim impurities of the first few hours. I do mine for 24 hours (overnight I set an alarm but thats just me!) for exact quantity breakdown hit a google search.
as most people live in apartments I can't advocate the use of smoky grill pans or bbq's.
beautiful italian ceramic plate & photo by alex & trahanas who have amazing pieces you can add to your collection, especially if italy is not on the destination list this winter.