Get the best out of your Veg

Steam or boil, roast or fry, how to keep your greens green, the answers are all here

Using your Halogen Oven

Cooking your Veg

Try steaming your veg rather than immersing in boiling water. You will find that your veg retains it colour (which is where all the nutrients are held) and you get perfectly cooked and not over cooked vegetables.

And another thing........if you are pushed for time, par boil your veg in a saucepan with water for 5 minutes (also know as blanching), drain immediately and place under a running cold water tap. This stops the cooking process and helps to keep the colour and vitamins. When you are ready to serve, just plunge them into boiling water for 3-4 minutes and again, you will get perfectly cooked veg, full of goodness and colour

Roast Potatoes

If your roasties are crispy on the outside but empty on the inside, try my method as explained on the Recipe page under "Side Dishes".

The best roasties you will ever make!

Mashed Potato

There is something very comforting about mash, particularly at this time of year......

Why not try adding 2 tsps of creamed horseradish sauce to your mash? It gives it a real warming zing and makes the mash that bit creamier.

Its a good Sunday dinner game to ask the guests around the table to guess the secret ingredient - no-one ever gets it right!!!

Storing Potatoes

To prolong the life and flavour of this favourite food, store in a dark place (we keep ours under the stairs) in anything other than polythene as this makes the potatoes sweat. I suggest something like a pottery bread crock type of container with a lid.

Peelers

Did you know that the majority of vitamins, minerals and fibres are in the skins of all root vegetables?

So when you peel your veg, you are taking away a good deal of the fantastic natural nutrients and you lose alot of the flavour.

Instead, why not scrub the skins on your potatoes, carrots etc and leave on during the cooking process?

Baked potatoes in their skins are the most eaten vegetables still "dressed" but try cutting scrubbed Maris Piper potatoes (our favourites simply for versatility and taste)into chip shapes, place on a baking tray, sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle some olive oil over or if you are watching your weight, use the reduced fat spray oils.

Place in an oven preheated at 220 degrees C for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

The result? Gorgeous golden chips, high in nutrients, low in fat and a dieters dream!

Go on, give them a try!!

Garlic After Taste

Most of us love garlic in food, it adds such great flavour. However, its not too good secondhand, so my tip (and it does work according to Mel!) is to pop a little sprig of parsley into your mouth, chew gently and breath safely!

So if you have friends round for heavily garlic laced food - and you know them very well, you wouldn't want to offend - pop a little sprig of parsley by their plate for later!

Parsley

Parsley is often used as a garnish due to its lovely green colour and bush like heads called Curly Leaf but is also available in Flat Leaf which is the Italian version.

Both can be bought fresh from most supermarkets (or grow your own as we do).

It goes well with almost everything as its milder taste seems to blend equally well with all foods, especially fish.

Chop it finely as a topping for Soups, salads, stews and vegetables - just about anything really!

If in doubt, add parsley, you can't go wrong!

Julienne Carrots

I always do these in store during my demos and get asked constantly how do I make such perfect little Juliennes?

Easy, I cheat!

Yes, yes, you can chop and chop......and chop but MY way is to use a Mandoline which not only does the Julienne bit but also chips, slices, chops etc etc, multi use and every kitchen should have one.

Perfect results every time.

Fancy Spring Onions

This makes a superb garnish for stir fry.

Take a spring onion, wash it and trim up the green end and the bulb end.

Take a sharp knive, score from half way down the spring onion and cut up to the top, roll it and do this 5 times.

Plunge the onion into ICED cold water. This will fan out the top end of the onion into curls.

Keeping your Greens Green

When cooking green vegetables by immersing them in water, (eg broccoli, cabbage), try adding 1/2tsp of bicarb to the water - this helps to hold in the colour which might otherwise be cooked out

Cauliflower

It might seem like a strange thing to tell you about but you would be amazed at the number of people who buy substandard cauliflowers.

So here are some tips -

Make sure that the curd (the flower)is absolutely white with no hint of brownness whatsoever.

Also that the leaves are intact and crisp and envelope the flower part.

The leaves should be bright green and not an insipid yellow.

One extra tip is that when cooking the cauli, steam it whole in a steamer, discarding the outer leaves but remember the inner leaves are just as tasty and more nutritious than the flower part.

So........eat your greens!!

Bright White Caulis

To keep the cauli white when cooking immersed in water on the hob, add 1/2 of the juice of a lemon.

Steaming

Steaming food is a great way of holding in the flavours and colours of the food.

I always use a 3 tier steamer on the hob when cooking vegetables as not only does it mean my veg look and taste better, it also saves energy - using one ring rather than 3.

You can also use a tiered steamer to make steamed puddings, cook fish and delicate foods such as asparagus.

Check out our Store where you will find the Stellar 3 tier steamer - invaluable in any home

MJ Harradine Ltd. Registered number 04633171
1 Yardley Way, Belper, Derbyshire DE56 0ES