Saturday, 19 June 2010
I'm going to show myself up right now for the somewhat ignorant gardener that I am. I love vegetables, but I have not had much experience in growing them.
At the beginning of this growing season, Todd and I planted all sorts of things . . . beetroot, parsnips, carrots, potatoes, squash, courgettes, lettuces, tomatoes, onions, cabbages, cucumbers and rocket. Everything was doing so so, but one row in the garden was growing by leaps and bounds.
"What is that?" I asked Todd. "Parsnips." was his answer. Hmmm . . . I thought . . .
Those parsnips are growing really fast. I had always thought they were a fall vegetable and needed the first touch of frost to really come in to their own . . .
In the meantime, every day I looked at them and they were growing larger and larger . . . and a few days ago they looked like they were going to seed . . .
I thought to myself . . . my goodness, but those parsnips have big and leafy tops . . . almost good enough to eat. I wonder if you can eat parsnip tops, coz they look as if they would make a rather tasty green . . . I know you can eat beetroot tops and turnip greens, and they are rather good.
I let them go for a few more days and then I just couldn't help myself. I just had to have a taste . . . they were growing so prolifically that I thought it was worth a try. Bravely I broke a leaf off and popped it into my mouth . . .
Only to discover that it was not parsnips . . . it was rocket!
So now I found myself with bags and bags of rocket that was almost past it's use by date . . . I'm not sure you can freeze it . . . I'm not even sure if it's still good for salads . . . but it is good for this. So you'll have to forgive me if you've seen this recipe on here before.
Some things are just so tasty that they bear repeating, and this is one of them. Besides . . . it helped me to use up a bunch of that overgrown rocket!
Please note, unless they are really young and tender, you will have to remove the beans from the pods, as the pods will be inedible. Put the beans in a pan, cover with boiling water, return to the boil and cook for 3-5 minutes. Then drain, empty into cold water, slit each pod along its seam and run your thumb along the furry inside to push the beans out. I really don't like the tough outer skin that covers each of the little beans, and so I always double pod them by taking a fingernail and slitting that outer skin open and slipping the tender sweet bright green bean inside . . . out! It can be a fiddly and time consuming job, especially if you are preparing a lot of them, but it is well worth the effort in my opinion. The beans will then be ready to re-heat gently with some butter and a bit of salt and black pepper, or to use in another recipe, such as the delicious one I have here today.
*Baked Potatoes with Broad Beans, Rocket and Blue Cheese*
Imagine a tasty baked potato, it's skin all crispy and split open . . . topped with a delicious blue cheese sauce stogged full of fresh broad beans and tasty rocket. This is wonderfully delicious!
4 large baking potatoes
300g broad beans
1/3 cup cream
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
4 handfuls of rocket, chopped
Pre-heat the oven to 200*C/400*F. Wash the potatoes, and while still damp, rub them all over with a little coarse salt. Prick them several times with a fork and then place them into the oven, sitting them directly onto the oven rack. (This will help their skins to become really nice and crisp) Bake for 1 hour, then check by squeezing them gently, to see if they are done. If they are done they will yield slightly. If they are still hard, then bake them for another 15 minutes and try again.
Cook the broad beans in some lightly salted boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain well and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well again. Slip off the outer grey skins by using your nail to slit open the skin and then popping the bright green bean out. Discard the outer grey skin. Set aside the beans.
Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Add the broad beans and cook them gently for several minutes. Add the blue cheese and the rocket. Stir everything together and cook until the rocket has wilted.
Take your cooked potatoes and cut a cross in one side of each and squeeze the potatoes around the middle until they open up. Place each on a heated plate. Spoon some of the broad bean mixture over the top of each. Season with some black pepper and serve.
Note - This tasty dish also makes a really delicious light lunch or supper all on it's own!
Tune in tomorrow. I'll have some tasty brownies to show you and the best thing of all is . . . they're low in calories and fat! I kid you not!