This is an Irish take on the traditional, spicy, fermented side dish from Korea, kimchi. The most common kimchi is traditionally made with Chinese leaf (or Napa) cabbages, but we love to make seasonal versions all year round with our incredible range of Irish cabbages. This recipe would work with any cabbage but my favourite cabbage for kimchi has got to be the beautiful Savoy. With its beautiful ruffled edged, crinkly leaves and deep ridges, it is the perfect vessel to hold the spice paste and it is hardy enough to keep its shape even after fermentation. We have a wonderful harvest of savoys this year, why not add some extras to your next order and give fermenting a go!
Fermenting vegetables can sound a little strange and like a lot of work. But it is actually a very simple way to preserve excess vegetables (just a case of salting or submerging vegetables in brine and leaving them to do their thing at room temperature for a week or so) and it is incredibly beneficial to our health. Fermented vegetables contain trillions of live beneficial bacteria which enhance our gut health. This has a positive knock-on effect to our entire wellbeing. As well as being easy and super-healthy, fermented vegetables are completely delicious! They have a complex flavour and cut through rich foods, think ‘salty pickles’. Just the thing for finishing off a dish or popping into a salad or sandwich. We have jars of ferments on the table for pretty much every meal. Kimchi, of course, goes particularly well with rice bowls and ramens or rolled into sushi, but we are a bit addicted to ‘kimcheese’ toasties. Kimchi is also amazing on peanut butter toast or as a side with macaroni cheese. How do you eat kimchi?
1 savoy cabbage
natural sea salt
1/2 bulb garlic
4 red chillies (or to taste)
1 large ‘thumb’ of fresh ginger (or to taste)
First clean your work surface and the tools you will need – Find a large jar or several smaller jars and wash them and their lids well with dish soap. Rinse throughly with very hot water. Leave to air dry on a clean tea towel. Find your largest mixing bowl, or if you don’t have a very big one, use a large stock pot or plastic storage box. Clean it very well as above. Clean a large chopping board and knife and a small blender too. Now you are ready to start.
Pull a few of the tough, outer leaves off your cabbage, rinse and put to one side for later. These will be your ‘followers’ which will be important later. Rinse the rest of the cabbage, slice the leek in half lengthways, keeping the root end intact, and rinse out all the mud. Rinse your chillies and thumb of ginger too.
Chop the cabbage into quarters, remove the core from each quarter and thinly slice it and add it to the bowl. Then cut the rest of the cabbage into bite sized chunks and add them to the bowl. Chop up the leek into chunks too and add it to the bowl with the cabbage.
Now you need to add salt. If you want to be very precise, you can weigh the chopped cabbage and leek, work out what 2% of that weight is and use that amount of salt. Or you can do it by taste. I normally start with a heaped tbsp of salt for a whole cabbage and a leek. Mix it well and give the veg a bit of a squeeze and a massage, then taste. They should just taste pleasantly salty. Add more salt if needed, our cabbages are pretty big at the moment so you may well need to. Then let the salted vegetables sit while you make the spice paste.
Peel the garlic, slice off the stalks of the chillies and slice the ginger. Add them all to a small blender and blend into a paste. You may need to add a splash of water to help it blend.
The salt in the cabbage and leek will have started to draw out liquid from the vegetables and create a brine in the bottom of the bowl. You can help this along by giving the vegetables another massage. The vegetables will wilt and decrease in volume and should look quite wet. When you pick up a handful and squeeze, lots of lovely brine should drip down into the bowl. Then you know you are ready to mix in the spice paste and pack your jars.
Use a wooden spoon or gloved hands to mix the spice paste into the salted vegetables. Be careful not to get any of the spice paste on your skin or in your eyes as it can really sting. Then start packing your jar/s.
Do a small amount at a time and firmly press it into the jar ensuring there are no air pockets. Use gloved hands or a clean rolling pin or spoon to help you pack it firmly into place. Keep going until you have either used up the mixture or you have a couple of inches of headroom left in your jar. You don’t want to over-fill the jar as during fermentation the brine can bubble over and escape, making a bit of a mess in your kitchen.
Now you need to figure out a way to hold the vegetables safely down under the brine. Any veg exposed to air on the surface are likely to catch mould. So first use the outer leaves of the cabbage, that you saved at the beginning, to tuck the vegetables in so they won’t float up during fermentation. Take your time and press the edges of the leaves down around the insides of the jar to ensure there are no gaps for the chopped bits to escape through.
When you are happy that your ‘follower’ leaf has done its job, you can add a weight to hold everything down under brine. This needs to be something food safe that won’t react with the salt. So glass is best. A small water glass or ramekin which fits inside your jar and can be pinned down with the lid is good. Or fill a clean pesto jar or similar with water, make sure the metal lid isn’t touching brine, and pop that in. Other weight ideas are a large, very clean (boiled) beach pebble (just make sure it is not a limestone/chalk) or a ziplock bag filled with water.
Place the lid loosely on your jar so that gases can escape during fermentation but no bugs/dust can get in. Or you can put the lid on tight and ‘burp’ your jars every day by opening and closing them to release built up gases. If you have a clip-top jar like mine, you can simply remove the rubber seal during fermentation.
Put the jar on a tray or plate on your work surface out of direct sunlight. Let it ferment for 1 week then it should have transformed into a tangy, delicious pickle! If you would like to ferment for longer then you can of course, just find a cooler part of your house like a basement so that it ferments slowly. When you are happy with the flavour you can remove the weight and ‘follower’ and pop the jar into the fridge where it will keep for 3-12 months.
Make your kimchi last well by decanting it into smaller, very clean jars and just eat one jar at a time. This way the pickle will be exposed to less air. Also, never double dip when eating your kimchi as this would introduce new bacteria from your mouth into the jar. Enjoy!
A lunchbox essential! Spread into a wrap or a sandwich, or packed in a little tub with some sweet, crunchy carrot sticks, everyone loves hummus! Hummus is not only delicious but incredibly nutritious too! Who knew this humble spread contains all of the following:
👉Chickpeas provide fibre, protein and essential, energy-giving carbohydrates. 👉Tahini is rich in healthy fats and minerals including copper, selenium, calcium, iron, zinc and phosphorus. 👉Raw garlic retains more beneficial compounds (like allicin) than cooked garlic. 👉Olive oil is a healthy fat and contains vitamins E and K and is rich in antioxidants. 👉Lemon is a great source of vitamin C.
It’s so easy to make your own hummus from scratch. Especially using our organic tins of cooked chickpeas. We also sell organic tahini, garlic, lemons and olive oil! Add some of our organic pantry essentials to your next veg order here.
1 tin of chickpeas
1 clove of garlic, peeled
the juice from 1/2 a lemon
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
optional extras like more olive oil, smoked paprika and sesame seeds to top the hummus
Drain your tin of chickpeas over a bowl to reserve the aquafaba. (You can use some of it in this recipe and the rest to make vegan meringues, mayonnaise or cakes. Use the search bar above to find our aquafaba recipes.)
Put the drained chickpeas into a food processor with the S blade attachment. Add the garlic, salt, tahini, lemon juice and olive oil then pulse into a thick, rough paste.
Taste the paste and decide if you’d like to adjust the seasoning. Perhaps more lemon juice or salt?
Then loosen the paste into a creamy hummus by blending again with a couple of spoons of the reserved aquafaba or a couple of ice cubes. Ice cubes make a really fluffy, creamy hummus.
Spoon into a jar, tub or bowl and either enjoy immediately or refrigerate and eat later. Homemade hummus should be eaten within 3 days.
We are harvesting so much broccoli from our fields at the moment! Expect lots in your set boxes or add some to the ‘build your own’ box for a special reduced price. Broccoli is brilliant! Broccoli is a good source of fibre and protein, and contains iron, potassium, calcium, selenium and magnesium as well as the vitamins A, C, E, K and a good array of B vitamins including folic acid. A real Irish super-food! I’ll be steaming some batches to put in boxes in the freezer to add to loads of different meals. Here’s one of our favourite family meals that uses a lot of broccoli.
Bang bang chicken is a traditional Sichuan dish of poached chicken which is then ‘banged’ to shred it and dressed in a spicy sauce. It’s a refreshing dish served with julienned cucumber. This is my plant-based nod to that classic. Definitely not authentic, but delicious none-the-less. It’s really simple. Nutritious broccoli and black beans are drenched in a spicy sauce, sprinkled with sesame seeds and then roasted. You can serve it with rice or noodles, or it’s delicious as a warm salad with spiralized courgette.
Ingredients (serves 4)
2 heads of broccoli
2 tins of black beans
4 tbsp maple syrup
4 tbsp lime juice (or vinegar)
4 tbsp vegetable or toasted sesame oil
4 tbsp soy sauce (or tamari if you need gluten free)
6 garlic cloves
a big thumb of ginger
fresh red chillies to taste
6 tbsp sesame seeds
scallions, fresh coriander and extra chillies to serve
rice or noodles to serve
Preheat your oven to 200C and find a large roasting tray, or two trays if you don’t have a very large one. You want to be able to spread the ingredients into a single layer.
Trim as little as possible off the stalks of the broccoli. Just a sliver off the end is usually enough – those bits can go in the compost bin. Then cut the whole stalk away from the florets, slice it in half lengthways and then slice each half into long, thin strips. Put them in the roasting dish. Then cut the heads of the broccoli into bites sized florets and add them to the roasting tray too.
Drain the tins of black beans and add them to the tray. Then make the dressing.
Mix the soy sauce, oil, lime juice/vinegar and maple syrup in a bowl. Finely dice the chilli, garlic and ginger and add them to the bowl. Mix well and then pour the dressing over the broccoli and black beans.
Use your hands to mix the sauce into the broccoli and beans, then spread the ingredients out into a single layer. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and put the tray into the oven to roast for just 20 minutes or until the broccoli is tender.
Meanwhile cook your rice or noodles and prepare the toppings. Slice scallions, coriander and extra red chillies.
Serve in bowls and enjoy hot or cold. We like to make an extra batch of the dressing with toasted sesame oil but without the raw garlic and ginger to drizzle over the finished dish too to make it extra juicy and spicy.
Ratatouille is a classic one pot celebration of summer vegetables. Although it’s a simple recipe, with humble ingredients, it’s all about timings and getting the vegetables cooked just right. Spongey, undercooked aubergine is the reason many people don’t like it. Aubergine should be silky and soft, and almost melt in the mouth and then it’s absolutely stunning! Serve with some good bread and a glass of red. We often add a drained tin or two of white beans or lentils to this summer stew to boost the protein and make it an even heartier meal.
Why not make a double or triple batch and get some in the freezer for a busy day? You could even blend some for a quick summery soup or a flavoursome pasta sauce.
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
4 tbsp olive oil
2 red pepper
4-6 tomatoes (or 12 cherry tomatoes, or a couple of tins of chopped tomatoes)
6 cloves of garlic – peeled and diced
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
basil to taste
Pre-heat your oven to 200C.
Chop the aubergine and peppers into bite sized pieces. Put them in a deep roasting dish and drizzle with the olive oil.
Season well with salt and pepper, mix with your hands to evenly coat the vegetables in the seasoning. Then put the dish in the oven to roast for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, remove the dish from the oven and add the courgettes and tomatoes, also cut into bite sized pieces.
Add the garlic, red wine vinegar and a little more salt and pepper. Mix well and return to the oven for another 20 minutes or until everything is well cooked.
Stir through lots of freshly torn basil and serve in bowls with fresh bread. Or it’s lovely with pasta or potatoes. Bulk it out and add protein with a drained tin of white beans or green lentils.
Courgette caviar is a Russian/Ukrainian spread made from slowly cooking summer vegetables down into a rustic and delicious purée. The long, slow sauté reduces and caramelises the vegetables together, elevating these humble ingredients into a stunning jar of flavour. This is so much more than a stew. Slow cooked courgettes have the most wonderful texture, you can also use aubergines or a combination of the two. It’s just a brilliant way of using up a glut of courgettes and other summer veggies. If we are having a barbecue, I sometimes chuck a few courgettes and aubergines (also peppers, whole bulbs of garlic, carrots…) on to get smokey and soft then make this purée with those. It’s amazing, the smokiness really comes through. Just peel off any very blackened bits of skin and sauté and crush the vegetables together in the pan until reduced.
Enjoy cold on good bread or with crackers. It’s delicious as part of a picnic spread with cheese, pickles, ferments etc. Or heat it up and loosen it with some pasta water for a quick pasta sauce. It’s an incredible pizza sauce base too! I have never tried making a huge batch and keeping the jars in a cellar, but if you have the know-how and the right equipment, that’s a great way to preserve the fruits of summer. But making the recipe as per the method below, the jar should last well in the fridge for two weeks.
Ingredients* (makes a large jar approximately 1 litre)
*don’t worry too much about amounts and the ingredients can vary too! Leave out the pepper, add aubergine, use fresh tomatoes, add more or less garlic… it’s more about the technique of slowly cooking down and caramelising the vegetables together than getting the proportions and ingredients exact. I suppose starchy vegetables like potatoes wouldn’t work here, but most other vegetables will be fine. Use any combination that you like. Here’s what I did this time:
6 cloves of garlic
a generous slick of olive oil to coat your pot/pan, plus extra to to top the jar
1 red pepper
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
salt to taste
optional extras like black pepper, dill or fennel seeds, coriander seeds, chilli…
Start by dicing or grating all your ingredients.
In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan or pot, heat up a generous slick of olive oil and add the diced onion. Keep the pot at medium high and stir fry the onions until they start to soften and colour.
Add the garlic, courgettes, carrots, pepper and a big pinch of salt. Sauté, stirring regularly for at least 30 minutes. You will need to lower the heat as you go. It’s nice if the vegetables caramelise and slightly catch on the bottom of the pan. Just keep scraping the base of the pan with a wooden spoon.
Crush the vegetables together with the back of the wooden spoon, or use a masher to help you along.
When the vegetables are reduced and drying out, add the tomatoes and keep cooking, stirring and reducing. You should end up with a rich, thick purée. You can keep it rustic or blend it smooth.
Pack the mixture while it’s still hot into a large, sterilised jar. Add a layer of olive oil and put the lid on. This should make it last longer.
Keep it in the fridge. It should last well for 2 weeks.
Involtini in Italian means ‘rolls’ and this aubergine version is one of my all time favourite dishes. I am obsessed with aubergine, perhaps it’s because I used to hate it as a child and now I’m making up for lost time? But whenever aubergine season hits, this recipe is at the top of my list. I also make this with courgettes in place of the aubergines sometimes, especially when there’s a lot of them to use up. Griddled courgette strips are so tasty so give that version a try too.
The filling can be whatever you want it to be. I usually go for something simple like a mixture of cheese (vegan feta or cashew cheese are my favs) and pesto. But roasted and crushed squash with toasted pine nuts or hazelnuts is also really good! Perfect for that summer-autumn crossover. Let us know in the comments what fillings worked well for you?
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
4 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
2 jars of Napoli tomato sauce (or make your own tomato sauce by sautéing a diced onion and 4 cloves of garlic with a little olive oil until soft, then add 2 tins of chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste and some torn basil leaves and simmer for 15 minutes or so)
130g jar of pesto
200-300g cheese of your choice (feta works really well here – I use my tofu feta recipe found at the end of this blog post, otherwise we stock a variety of plant based cheeses and organic feta)
pasta or fresh bread to serve
Find a medium sized, deep roasting dish and turn your oven to 200C to warm up while you prepare the dish.
If you’re not using our tasty, ready made tomato sauce, make a simple batch yourself using two 400g tins of chopped tomatoes. I sautéed a diced onion with a couple of tbsp of olive oil and 4 cloves of garlic until soft and just starting to colour. Then tipped in the two tins of tomatoes (swirled out the remaining tomatoey juices from the tins with a little water and added that to the pot too) and seasoned with salt and pepper. Then simmered the sauce with some torn basil leaves for around 10-15 minutes until it was rich and delicious.
Keep the sauce warm while you prepare the aubergines and filling.
Slice the tops off the aubergine as close to the stalk as possible, then peel or slice off any still-attached leafy bits. Carefully cut the aubergines into around 4mm thick, long strips.
Pour the olive oil into a small bowl or glass and season it with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Then brush the aubergine slices with the seasoned olive oil and grill them in batches in a griddle pan, or under a hot grill in the oven. Turn halfway through. They should be soft and beautifully charred but still manageable. As they cook, lay them out on a large chopping board or clean worksurface ready for stuffing and rolling.
Meanwhile make your filling. I mashed about 300g of feta with a jar of pesto.
Pour the warm tomato sauce into your baking dish and start assembling the involtini.
Place a tablespoon of filling at the end of a griddled aubergine slice. Then roll it up and tuck the roll, seam side down, into the tomato sauce.
Repeat until all the rolls are stuffed. Then place the dish in the oven and bake for around 15-20 minutes or until hot and bubbling.
Serve with freshly boiled pasta or some crusty bread and enjoy!
This is my simple and adaptable method for BBQing our gorgeous new potatoes! I have fond memories of pricking large jacket potatoes, wrapping them in foil and packing them in with the food for camping trips. Then we would carefully tuck them into the BBQ coals to bake while the rest of the grilling was done, they’d often come out perfect if we remembered to turn them occasionally, but more often than not, half the potato would burn and half would be raw, or the coals would burn out before the potato was done and there’d be some disappointment… So this way of par-boiling, dressing then skewering little salad potatoes provides a much more consistent result.
Start by boiling scrubbed new potatoes until they are nearly cooked through. Test a few larger ones with a sharp knife or skewer. Then drain the potatoes and allow them to cool in the colander while you prepare a tasty marinade or dressing!
I love potatoes with garlic and herbs. This time I mixed olive oil, salt, pepper, crushed garlic, rosemary and lemon zest in a large bowl. Then toss the par cooked new potatoes in the dressing.
Push the potatoes on skewers (or cook in a BBQ basket) and get them onto a plate or tray ready to pop over the coals.
Cook on the BBQ, turning often until soft, smokey and delicious!
Then push them off the skewers, back into the dressing bowl and toss again to get any last bits of dressing and flavour back over the delicious, charred potatoes. Enjoy!
The new season kale coming out of our fields and tunnels is so stunning! We are adding it to all our meals. Don’t forget to add some to your next order! Here’s a quick and easy kale pesto recipe which is so handy, not just for pesto pasta, but for sandwiches and wraps, to spread on toast and top with scrambled egg/tofu, to toss through freshly boiled new potatoes… My recipe is dairy and nut free to make it allergen friendly (I use pumpkin seeds which are incredibly nutritious and ours come in compostable bags), but as always, tweak it to your liking with different nuts/seeds and cheese. And do share how you love to eat your pesto in the comments below.
Ingredients (makes a jar like the one pictured above)
100g kale – rinsed
100g pumpkin seeds – toasted
1 clove of garlic – peeled
1 pinch of salt
1/2 a lemon – zest and juice
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
100ml extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for a thin layer on top at the end)
Put all the ingredients into a blender or food processor.
Pulse until the ingredients come together into a rough, textured sauce.
Taste for seasoning and add more olive oil, lemon juice or salt as desired.
Spoon into a clean jar and top with a layer of olive oil to keep it fresher for longer.
Keep in the fridge and use within a week, or freeze for longer storage.
We have a new product in our grocery section that is absolutely delicious. These sachets of umami pastes which are basically organic miso with added ingredients like ginger, garlic and chilli. They are flavour bombs and we love them as a marinade for aubergine in this simple, hearty supper. The paste can be used to marinade skewers of tofu and mushrooms for the barbecue too, or even as a stunning broth base for a light miso soup. How would you use them?
Ingredients (serves 2)
rice for two (I bring 1/2 a mug of brown rice with 1 mug of water to a boil in a pan with the lid on, then turn down to the lowest setting and simmer until the rice has absorbed all water)
2 tbsp umami paste
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves – sliced
1 bunch of rainbow chard – stalks separated and sliced
1 tin of black beans – drained
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame seeds
Pre-heat the oven to 200C and get some brown rice on to cook – see ingredients list for my super-simple method.
Cut the aubergine in half lengthways and score the cut side deeply with a small, sharp knife. Spread a tbsp of umami paste onto each half and make sure you get it into all the cuts. Place the aubergines in a small roasting dish in the oven to cook while you prepare the greens and beans.
Separate the stalks from the rainbow chard and slice them. They take longer to cook than the delicate green leaves. Put them in a pan with the vegetable oil and sliced garlic. Sauté until just starting to soften.
Then add the drained tin of black beans to the pan and turn the heat off until the rice and aubergine are cooked through.
When the aubergine is soft (this usually takes around 20 minutes), remove it from the oven and sprinkle it with sesame seeds. Return the dish to the oven for 5 minutes to toast the seeds.
Meanwhile turn the heat back on under the beans and add the greens and a splash of soy sauce (around 2 tbsp). Stir and wilt the greens. Then serve.
Divide the rice between two bowls. Add the garlicky beans and greens and a half of the aubergine to each bowl. Enjoy as it is or with a side of kimchi.
Babaganoush is similar to hummus, but made with aubergine rather than chickpeas. It’s softer, silkier and deliciously smokey! I always pop a few aubergines on the barbecue to make this dip. You can grill them in a hot griddle pan or roast them in the oven instead, but they won’t be as smokey. You’re looking to really blacken them on the outside and let them collapse and get silky soft in the middle. The blackened skin is then peeled off, then the flesh is blended (or mashed if you like more texture) with garlic, tahini, lemon and olive oil. Here’s my recipe for one aubergine. Serve with grilled or raw veg, salads, on toast or with pitta bread strips to scoop it all up.
OPTIONAL EXTRAS? A pinch each of cumin and smoked paprika and some pomegranate seeds and sesame seeds for garnishing.
Grill or barbecue the aubergine until it’s completely soft inside and the skin is burnt and blackened.
Allow it to cool enough to handle, then slice it in half lengthways and scoop all the flesh out into a bowl to mash or blender to blend smooth. Scrape the skin carefully to get every bit of aubergine into the mix. Those bits nearer the skin have the best, smokey flavour.
Add the garlic (crush or finely grate first if mashing rather than blending), olive oil, tahini and lemon.
Blend or mash into a spoonable mixture, then taste and add salt and more lemon to taste.
Spoon the mixture into a small serving bowl and top with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and optional extras like pomegranate seeds, sesame seeds, smoked paprika, cumin…
Enjoy scooped up with flatbreads or toasted pitta bread and salads.