Sunday, August 17, 2008

Seasonal Dishes

Because vegetable stock appears in many of my vegetarian recipes, it is worth giving the correct recipe for 'how to make'. Myself tend to throw veggie peelings in the pot and make it from those, and to a point that works, but the recipe below makes it from scratch. My only reserve on this is that once cooked, the veggies are expected to be discarded and this has to be a no-n0. Maybe most of the flavour has disappeared into the stock, but the fibre remains, so don't see why the veggies themselves cannot be liquidised into a puree with a little of the made stock, and eaten as a thick soup. They could even be chopped and added to a spag bol meat sauce to give extra bulk. But whatever you do, don't let them end up in the bin. All should be available at this time of the year, even if they have to be imported - such as leeks. Leeks we can do without, just add an extra onion.
Vegetable Stock: makes around 4 pints (2.2ltrs)
2 large onions, chopped
4 large carrots, chopped
2 large leeks, sliced
4 ribs celery, sliced
8 cabbage leaves, sliced
2 Little Gem lettuce, sliced
6 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, incl. stems
3 spring fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
pinch salt
6 pints (3.5ltrs) cold water
Place all ingredients into a large saucepan, using only the amount of water needed to cover the veg. Cover pan and over low heat, bring to the boil. Do not at any time stir. Simmer gently, with lid slightly ajar, checking now and again and removing any scum that may have come to the surface. After one hour, remove from heat and strain through a sieve without pushing any veggies through as the aim it to get a clear stock. Cool and chill or freeze. Use the solid vegetables in which ever way you choose.

This next recipe is a way to use up the rather coarse and stringy rhubarb stalks and originated in America where they use the 'cup' measurement (1 cup = 8 fl.oz). We will probably find that a mug contains approx that amount, and I don't think an ounce either way makes that much difference.
Alaska Rhubarb and Onion Relish: makes 8 cups
4 cups chopped rhubarb
4 cups chopped onions
2 cups cider vinegar
3 tsp salt
4 cups brown sugar
1 tsp each cloves, allspice and cinnamon
cayenne (up to 1 tsp if you like it hat)
Put all ingredients into a pan and bring to the simmer. Cook slowly until quite thick, then pour while still hot into hot, sterilised jars with vinegar proof lids, and seal immediately.