Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Anyone with a prostate should eat brassicas three times a week

Today I cut and cooked the first of the summer cabbages. I've been watching them grow fatter and more pointed, and turning that deep glaucous colour. The overnight rain merely sharpened my appetite, the rain drops settling like a winking invitation on the tips of the leaves.

Cut and take cabbage straight to the kitchen. Cut the outer leaves and de-rib, enjoying the squeezy, squeaky sound of really fresh leaves under your knife. Wash then shred, eating the white core as you go. Drop into boiling water, return pan to the boil then drain and serve immediately. Cabbage this fresh shouldn't really have anything added, so I just enjoyed its sweetness. Later into the autumn Bisto gravy makes a magnificent partner.

Spring greens with chilli, garlic and ginger - you can make this now with early summer cabbages, just use the outer leaves in place of spring greens. Heat oil in a wok and add an inch of finely sliced ginger, a sliced and deseeded red chilli then a couple of cloves of garlic, finely sliced. Toss in hot oil until your nose starts to run with the chilli vapours, then throw in washed and coarsely shredded spring greens / outer cabbage leaves / pak choi (best of all). Stir fry a couple of minutes, then pour onto large plate and eat immediately.

Frozen garlic and ginger for busy women - when next passing the Asian food stores call in and buy a kilo or two of garlic bulbs, for a £ a kilo. Separate into cloves and top and tail to remove skin. Tip a kilo of cloves at a time into the food processor and pulse until chopped. This will smell heavenly and will make you feel wonderful and happy and make you remember all those great meals you've cooked in the past... Tip garlic into those little plastic containers your take-away comes in, and freeze. It's as simple as that. Do the same with ginger, but don't bother faffing about peeling it; the skins are so soft and fresh I just throw it onto the fine slicing blade of the processer and freeze the slices as before. Grated ginger's good too.

When you get in from work and you're so tired you simply can't face the rigmarole of finding the garlic, then skinning and chopping it, removing all the green bits that sprouted in the weeks since you bought it, just open your freezer, break off a bit of this frozen chopped garlic, and proceed as normal.

Because sometimes life really is too short to peel a clove of garlic.