Monday, 18 May 2015

18–Keith Abel, Veg Box Companion - Cooking the Books


Starter:   Globe Artichokes with Garlic Butter Dip

Main:      Undercover Onion Tart

Dessert:  Rhubarb Compote

abel and cole

My fortnightly veg. box has quickly grown to a veg., fruit, meat and fish box...which eliminates the need for a weekly shop and I just pop into the supermarket to pick up essentials such as bread and milk, making it oh so less stressful and time consuming! Accompanying the initial box came a recipe book to help me use those veggies well…and it’s one I regularly turn to.
The recipes from the free book also include meat and fish, and I find are vital, especially when using up the little bits and bobs you have left, or the more unusual veg, although I’ve also begun to create my own, such as Kohlslaw, which uses a kohlrabi instead of cabbage in a simple coleslaw of grated carrot, sliced onion and kohlrabi mixed with shop-bought mayo.

Starter: Globe Artichokes with Garlic Butter Dip

Easiness: 8/10

Taste: 8/10

Make again: 8/10

Cheats & Changes: none


The start this week is globe artichokes, something I first had aged around 15 whilst in Switzerland on exchange. They family served steamed artichokes with a Dijon dressing, which were absolutely delicious but completed alien! Since then, I've always fancied trying them out myself, but the Abel and Cole recipe gave an easy melted butter and garlic dip. Steam the artichokes until the base stem is soft, crush garlic and melt with butter and salt. Tear each petal leaf by leaf and dip the base, the bit that is part of the heart, into the sauce, scraping off the flesh with your teeth...very animal! Once the leaf flesh has been demolished, remove the hairy 'choke' and quarter the heart, dipping this too. I'll be trying this again, especially since F asked the next day for another one, but with the Dijon dressing as I think the vinegar will really help lift the flavours, but the garlic butter was good too. Recipe here

Main: Undercover Onion Tart

Easiness: 7/10

Taste: 8/10

Make again: 8/10

Cheats & Changes: used half leeks, half onions


Main course is onion tart, mainly because I have all the ingredients to hand and it'll serve well as a lunch dish to take cold to work. This was the first time I’ve made a proper savoury homemade pastry, life’s too short in general, but I’ll certainly be doing it again as it was so simple and worked a treat. The base was crisp – no soggy bottoms here – and the pastry short. I used half leeks as only had one onion left, and it could do with a little more crème fraiche, but really was delicious. As I was making it, I wanted to top with halved asparagus spears too, but refrained, sticking to as much of the recipe as i could to check it worked, and it did. This was definitely a perfect summer-time tea. Check out the Abel and Cole website here for the recipe.

Dessert: Rhubarb Compote

Easiness: 10/10

Taste: 9/10

Make again: 8/10

Cheats & Changes: none


Dessert is a simple rhubarb compote which is very versatile. I’m using mine to top some homemade meringue, something I’m usually rubbish as making, but seem to have the knack if I use the KitchenAid! The recipe is a simple and fast jammy mixture which you can use in many different ways…how about a base for crumble, or as part of a summer Mess with natural yoghurt swirled with icing sugar? Or even a little dollop in the glass before topping with Prosecco? I’ll leave the rest of the ideas to you, the recipe’s here. Put chopped rhubarb, sugar, half a vanilla pod and a little water into the pan and soften for around 10-15 minutes. Drain and retain the syrup to use as cordial. Thanks to Angela and Bella for the rhubarb – I’ll pop a jar of the compote round!


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Merlotti x

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