I spoke to my Mother in the week. She was keen to know how I am getting on and whether I’ve put on any weight and whether I could get a flu jab over here before I go home! The answers to the two questions are yes and no. I should have said no and yes and then she might have changed the subject!
To soothe her I mentioned that I have been eating loads of broccoli and it’s the best I’ve ever tasted as its coming fresh from the grower to the shop. This was of great interest to her as she has spent her life trying to keep her family health by making us eat “the right foods”. In fact if St Helena wasn’t so difficult to get to I swear she would be over here checking out the Broccoli! The fact that St Helena grown vegetables don’t sit in a warehouse or lorry for days on end means that they have more flavour and of course more nutritional value. St Helena Broccoli still has the sweetness associated with fresh young vegetables and has that dark green sheen to it. Avoid buying broccoli which is starting to turn yellow as the flavour and texture will have faded.
Both broccoli and cauliflower lend themselves to a multitude of recipes using anything from the raw florets to a cooked puree. I remember when I lived in Dubai and had my first contact with American home cooking. I went to someone’s house and they served Broccoli Dip! Something I had never eaten before. Also in Dubai, where the Indian cuisine is brilliant, I became addicted to vegetable pakoras. I include a recipe below although I’m not sure if you can get chickpea flour (also called Gram flour or Besan) over here yet. If not and you have a really powerful blender you can wizz dry chickpeas up and sieve the contents to create a flour.
Broccoli and Cauliflower Pakoras 100g of Chickpea Flour (Gram or Besan Flour)
1 medium cauliflower or Head of Broccoli
1 tsp baking powder
Couple pinches chile powder
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground turmeric
Pinch or two of salt
Oil for frying
· Cut the vegetable into bite sized pieces
· Put the chick pea flour in a bowl with all other dry ingredients
· Add enough water to make a batter which will coat the back of a spoon without running off
· Heat the oil in a pan or wok
· Dip the florets into the batter and fry at a medium temperature until the batter is golden and crisp
· Drain well on kitchen paper
To make onion Bhajis: make the batter thicker and use onions instead of cauliflower.
250g Fresh Broccoli cut up small
2 Tblsp Chopped onion
½ clove garlic chopped
1 level Tblsp paprika
100g strong cheese
100g crème fraiche or could substitute a small tin of Nestle cream with some lemon squeezed into it
Pinch of Chile
Ground black pepper and salt to taste
· Wizz broccoli and other vegetables in a food processor
· Place in a bowl and add ¾ of the cheese and stir together
· Stir in the mayonnaise, cream and other ingredients and combine thoroughly
· Place in a small casserole dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top
· Bake in a 200 oven for about 30 minutes or until the dip is bubbling away
· Serve with toasted pitta bread or other crispy items
Remember this will be ultra hot when straight out of the oven!
Tip of the week: When using a chopping board always place a damp cloth underneath it. This will prevent the board from slipping.
Articles & Recipes
The articles first appeared in the St Helena Herald in the Autumn of 2011.