Tag Archives: Riverford cooks

12 days of Christmas – how to cook red cabbage

Guy says
red-cabbage-2Cabbage is a kitchen faithful with magnificent culinary potential. Cabbages are members of the brassica family and ancestors of cauliflowers and Brussels sprouts. The original kale-like sea cabbage from which today’s cultivars are descended is still found growing among the pebbles on our beaches, between the high-tide mark and the cliffs. Red cabbage is particularly good braised for a long time until soft and caramelised.

braised spiced red cabbage

This has all the appeal of classic spiced red cabbage but takes less than an hour to make rather than the usual three or four. Delicious with roast pork, sausages, duck or goose, or even with turkey for Christmas dinner.

braised-red-cabbage1 red cabbage, finely shredded
2 cooking apples, peeled, cored & chopped
1 onion, chopped
slug sunflower oil
around 5 allspice berries, roughly crushed, if you can find them – otherwise leave out
2 cloves
1 stick cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tbsp dark soft brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cider or red wine vinegar

Sweat spices, onions and apple in the oil in large heavy-based pan until beginning to soften. Add the bay leaf and cabbage and enough water to come about half way up the cabbage. Cover and turn up heat so cabbage is boiling, return to simmer and cook for 30-40 mins until cabbage is tender. By now the liquid should have reduced to about an inch in the bottom of the pan but if there is too much water left, uncover the pan and boil vigorously to reduce it further. Add in the vinegar, sugar and seasoning, taste and adjust so that you have a good balance of sweet and sour. Serve straight away or cool and reheat later. This dish also freezes very well.

quick scandi-style red cabbage

serves 4, prep 5 mins, cook 50 mins
Many red cabbage recipes take a good couple of hours to cook. This Scandinavian inspired recipe has lots of warm spicy flavour but takes less than half the time so, as well as serving alongside cold meats, it’s good for a mid-week supper. Try it with pork chops and creamy mashed potatoes with a little of our Riverford beer mustard stirred in.

scandi-style-red-cabbage1 tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil
1 red onion, peeled & very thinly sliced
½ a large red cabbage, tough core & ribs removed, leaves finely shredded
3 juniper berries, bashed with the flat of your knife
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp caraway seeds
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
100ml red wine
2 tbsp cranberry sauce
1 good sized eating apple, cored & thinly sliced (no need to peel it)

Heat the oil in a large wide frying pan, wok or casserole, one with a lid (or you can cover the cabbage with a layer of foil instead). Add the onion and cabbage and fry for 10 mins on a low to medium heat, stirring now and then. Add the juniper, allspice, caraway, bay leaf, vinegar, wine and cranberry sauce. Season, cover and cook on a low heat for 20 mins. Add the apple and cook for a further 20 mins, stirring now and then to stop it catching. Check the seasoning before serving.

red cabbage, winter root & pomegranate slaw

serves 4, prep 10 mins, cook 0 mins
To get the seeds out of your pomegranate easily and without any bitter yellow pith, cut it in half crossways and use a rolling pin to bash each pomegranate half over a bowl, squeezing it slightly now and then so the seeds fall out. Odd bits of the pith might fall out too, but can easily be picked out.

red-cabbage-winter-root-pomegranate-slawjuice from ½ a lemon
1½ tbsp pomegranate molasses (readily available in shops, or use a little honey)
1 heaped tsp dijon mustard
4 tbsp good olive oil
¼ large red cabbage, tough core & thick ribs removed, leaves finely shredded
¼ large celeriac, or ½ a small one, peeled & cut into fine matchsticks
1 large carrot, peeled & cut into fine matchsticks
1 small or ½ a large red onion, peeled & very finely sliced
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
seeds from 1 pomegranate

Whisk the lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, mustard and olive oil together in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cabbage, celeriac, carrot, onion, parsley and half the pomegranate seeds. Gently toss together. Taste and add more oil, lemon juice or seasoning to your preference. Sprinkle over the remaining pomegranate seeds to serve.

warm red cabbage salad with toasted walnuts & blue cheese

red-cabbage-salad-walnuts-blue-cheese75g walnut pieces
2 tbsp walnut oil
2 crisp red apples, cored &d cut into small pieces
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, quartered & thinly sliced
1 small red cabbage, shredded
100g blue cheese, crumbled (we use Devon Blue)
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tsp marjoram, chopped

Preheat oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Toss the walnuts with the walnut oil and some black pepper. Spread them out on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 5–7 mins. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Put the garlic, balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a frying pan and sauté over a medium heat for 3 minutes. Add the red onion and cook for 30 seconds, then add the cabbage and cook for a couple of mins until it begins to turn from red to pink. Season with salt and pepper. Finally add the cheese, apples, herbs and toasted walnuts. Toss well and serve.

red cabbage with prunes & chestnuts

8 prunes
140ml red wine
560g chestnuts, peeled
225g onions, sliced
1 red cabbage
2 cooking apples
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar

Soak prunes in wine for 4 hours, then stone and chop them. Bring chestnuts to the boil and simmer for 10 mins, cool and peel the inner layer. Preheat oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Cut onions, shred
the cabbage and slice the apples. Heat the oil, cook the onions until transparent, add the chestnuts, cabbage, prunes, wine and vinegar and bring to the boil Cover, put in the oven for 45 mins.

Visit the recipe pages on our website for further recipes, or add organic red cabbage to your order.

For more ideas for a Christmas rich in veg, download our seasonal booklet full of recipes and tips from our Riverford cooks and you, our customers. Available to download here: www.riverford.co.uk/christmas-veg.

kirsty’s cooking blog: samphire

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I don’t think there are many places in the UK where you get a feeling that there’s not another soul around, and most of those I’ve come across are in Scotland.

However, I managed to grab a brief Robinson Crusoe moment on home turf in Devon recently, stranded on the beach as the advance party for a group of food journalists who were invited to pick samphire with us on the Erme estuary, probably one of the most unspoilt in the South West. I was able to get there early and had a tranquil hour, quietly snipping samphire with only a few cormorants for company. Heaven. 

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Erme Estuary

We ate ours served with a huge sea trout donated by my dad (we were lucky to get it, as he had a little unplanned swim shortly after he caught it!)

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Freshly caught sea trout!

To serve samphire very simply, to accompany fish or lamb, simply boil or steam it for a minute, then toss in melted butter with a squeeze of lemon juice and some freshly ground black pepper. It’s good tossed in salads too. 

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Busy picking samphire

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Gathered around our camping set up – enjoying sea trout and samphire

Here are a couple of my favourite recipes; there are lots more on our website.

spider crab & samphire salad, with new potatoes & roasted tomatoes

In the early summer the spider crabs come into shore in vast numbers and are rarely eaten by us; most get sent over to the continent. They have a light, sweet flavour. If I go spear-fishing off the South Devon coast I pick a couple of these up on the way back; they’re a substitute for not catching any sea bass, which tend to be further offshore until the sea warms up later in the year, but by no means a poor one. Cooking them can be a bit whiffy indoors; I usually get the camping cooker out and boil them in the garden. If you can’t find spider crab, use the meat from a brown crab instead.

serves 4

  • 12 cherry tomatoes, cut in ½ crossways
  • 800g new potatoes, scrubbed clean & cut in ½ or ¼’s, depending on size
  • 4 tbsp good olive oil
  • 200g samphire, washed
  • 200g cooked white spider crab meat
  • a few basil leaves, shredded
  • a few tarragon leaves, shredded
  • (as an alternative to basil & tarragon, try some chopped fresh chervil if you can get it, or parsley)
  • lemon juice, to taste
  • sea salt (see note below) & freshly ground black pepper, to season

Put the cherry tomatoes on a non-stick baking tray and drizzle with a couple of tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 180C for 30-40 mins, depending on your oven. They should be sticky and just starting to caramelise. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. While the tomatoes are cooking, put the potatoes in a pan of salted water. Bring to the boil and cook the potatoes for approx 10 -15 mins, depending on size, until tender. Drain and leave to cool. Cook the samphire in another pan of boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and plunge into a pan of cold water, then drain again and leave to cool. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, tomatoes, samphire, crab meat and herbs. Add the rest of the olive oil and lemon juice to taste and season with black pepper. You probably won’t need any extra sea salt to season, as the samphire is salty enough, but taste before you serve. 

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samphire, sorrel & new potato frittata

samphire, sorrel & new potato frittata

Samphire doesn’t have to be served with fish or meat; if you’re vegetarian it pairs well with eggs too. I’ve included some sorrel in this set omelette, for a citrus hit. If you’ve grown some from your Riverford box to grow earlier in the year, use that, or try a garden centre for a plant; it’s not something you generally find in your local shop.

serves 2

  • 250g new pots, scrubbed clean & thickly sliced
  • a little butter & oil for frying
  • 4 large or 6 smaller sorrel leaves, finely shredded
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 50g samphire, washed
  • sea salt (add sparingly if at all, as the samphire will be salty) 
  • freshly ground black pepper

Cook the sliced potatoes for 5 minutes in a pan of salted boiling water. Drain them and leave to one side. Heat a knob of butter and a splash of oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add the sorrel and stir for 1 minute (sorrel loses its green colour when cooked, so don’t be alarmed when it changes colour quite dramatically). Add the drained potatoes, beaten eggs, samphire, salt and a good grinding of black pepper to season. Cook for a few minutes, enough to set the bottom. Finish under the grill or in the oven, until the frittata is just set all the way through.

Happy cooking!