Cut vegetables into equally sized pieces, generally 3-5cm /1.5 – 2in in length for stalks, root vegetables and pods, somewhat larger for leafy vegetables.
Heat the wok or pan until it starts to smoke.
Put in 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil. For leafy greens, use approx. 1 tablespoon of oil per handful of greens.
Swirl the oil in the base of the wok or pan, and up the sides.
If sliced garlic and sliced ginger are used as seasoning add at this stage and cook for a few seconds.
Add the prepared vegetables, tossing them around for 30–60 seconds, depending on the vegetables, until they are well coated in oil and partially cooked.
Add other seasoning being used, such as sea salt, ground pepper, sauces, herbs, chopped onions.
If the mixture is dry add a little moisture. This could be water, white wine, stock, or soy sauce diluted in a little water.
Cook over high heat until the vegetables are tender but crisp. This normally takes no more than a few minutes, depending on the vegetables and the quantities involved. If the vegetables are thick and bulky, cover the pan for this stage. It is unnecessary for small quantities.
NB Succulent vegetables such as cucumber help in the cookery as they add their own moisture to the vegetables.
How to Cook and Eat Artichokes: Karen Austin
Artichokes are thistle like plants that grow well in this climate.
Baby artichokes and mature artichokes are both delicious to eat but just prepared in different ways. Both ways are very good to eat and if you remove some of the baby artichokes from your plants then more energy can be channelled into making a couple of big artichokes .
To prepare baby artichokes snap off the outer layer of leaves until you reach the pale yellow layer. Trim the top centimetre or so and remove the stem. They can then be grilled, fried or steamed.
To prepare mature artichokes slice about 2cms from the tip of the artichoke and then remove the stem if you want to sit them on the plate when serving. Rub the tip with lemon juice to prevent discolouration.
Strip off the smaller leaves at the base of the artichoke and rinse.
They can then be steamed or cooked in a little liquid before eating, or grilling if preferred.
To eat, pull off the outer leaves and dip in melted butter or vinaigrette and use your teeth to scrape off the flesh at the base of the leaves. Do this until all the leaves are removed. Then, with a knife or a spoon, scrape off the ‘choke’, the hairy part in the centre, which covers the artichoke heart. This is the prize piece. Cut the heart into pieces or pick up with your fingers and eat.
Artichoke a la Greque: K Austin
4 large artichokes, prepared as above
half a lemon
2tbs olive oil
1 glass white wine or water
half a teaspoon coriander seeds
Place the artichokes in a large saucepan, stem side down.
Squeeze the lemon juice over the artichokes and then throw the lemon into the pot. Add the coriander seeds and white wine then enough water make up about five centimetres in the bottom of the pot. Sprinkle over a little salt then bring to the boil. Cover with a close fitting lid and turn the heat down to simmer. Cook for 30-40 minutes or until the outer leaves can be easily pulled off.
Eat warm or cold, as explained above, with a little melted butter, vinaigrette, or aioli (garlic mayonnaise).
Raul’s Catalan Baby Artichokes: Karen Austin
Allow 2-3 artichokes per person.
Prepare the baby artichokes, as explained above. Trim the top centimetre or so and remove the stem, then cut each artichoke in half, then quarters and finally into eighths.
Beat the egg together with some salt in a shallow dish, and in another shallow dish put the flour.
Preheat a skillet and when hot add a good splash of olive oil.
Dunk the artichoke hearts first in beaten egg, then into the flour and then add to the pan. Don’t cook at a very high heat or the artichokes will burn before they are cooked. Gently turn until they are golden. Drain on a piece of kitchen paper and eat immediately.
Gabrielle’s Globe Artichoke and Potato Gratin: J Larkcom with K Austin
A friend made this delicious dish in Australia, which we ate on their deck during a fierce storm. I was lucky to be on the drier side of the table and kept unashamedly helping myself to more under cover of the thunder, lightning and torrential rain beating noisily on the roof.
600g waxy potatoes
8-10 baby artichokes
1 clove garlic
2-3tbs olive oil
A handful of lemon thyme
about 200mls vegetable or chicken stock
salt and black pepper
50g grated Parmesan
Snap off the outer layer of leaves and trim as above. Place in a saucepan so they fit snugly and add a couple of centimetres of water, or better still, a mix of white wine and water and a squeeze of lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Bring the to the boil. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the artichokes are tender. Allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 180 C
Peel the potatoes, slice thinly and toss in a little olive oil. Slice the artichokes. Take an ovenproof dish, rub with a cut clove of garlic and a little olive oil and fill with alternating layers of potatoes and artichokes, sprinkling a little lemon thyme, salt and pepper between each. Finish with potatoes.
Heat the stock and pour in enough to come half way up the dish. Cover with aluminium foil. Put the dish in the oven and cook for about forty minutes.
Mix the breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan together.
Take the dish out of the oven, remove the aluminium foil and scatter the breadcrumbs and cheese on top.
Bake for a further twenty minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden.
(A little chopped anchovies between layers is good, especially if served with lamb.)
Fresh artichoke hearts can be substituted with artichokes preserved in oil or brine, as was the case with Gabrielle’s recipe.
Courgette Quiche or Muffins:
Kerrie Liao, GIY
2 medium courgettes, grated (approx 500gms)
2 onions – diced or grated
1 cup of cheese, grated (if doubling recipe, use one mild and one strong)
200g ham, diced
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup of flour
1 teaspoon baking powder salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Combine all ingredients. Brush a 26cm x 18cm tray, or a muffin tray, with a little extra oil and bake around 180 for 20-40 min or until brown – muffins will cook faster. Serve warm or cold.
The quantities can be pretty elastic – e.g. use more courgette, or add another vegetable that you want to use up.
An alternative is to cover the top with thickly sliced tomato before cooking and drizzle with a little olive oil.
This recipe also freezes well.
Baked Spinach with Eggs and Cheese: Julia Foden
(From Claudia Roden’s Invitation to Mediterranean Cooking suitable for spring, summer, autumn.)
400g (I normally use more) spinach
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbsp plain flour
salt and pepper
pinch of nutmeg
2 eggs, beaten
2 hard-boiled eggs, cut into pieces
50g grated cheese.
Preheat oven to 200C / 400F / Gas 6
Wash and drain spinach. Remove stems if tough. Cook spinach gently in a covered pan, with only the water that clings to it after washing, till it crumples. Drain in a colander, reserving the juice.
In a pan, fry the onion in butter over a low heat till soft. Add the flour and stir, gradually stir in the milk and spinach juice and cook for 5 minutes stirring to prevent lumps forming.
Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, the lightly beaten eggs and the spinach and beat well.
Fold in the hard-boiled eggs and grated cheese and pour into a greased baking dish.
Bake for 40 mins or until slightly firm and golden on top.
Serve with potatoes and/or a green salad. Serves 4
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