Yesterday, I had time to play with a selection of vegetables from Smith and Brock and Peter’s garden. I platted up a Spring Plate using broccoli, baby leeks, radishes and baby gem lettuce. Using the whole use of the plant, nothing went in the bin!

In the next few weeks, creativity is going to be the key word, resulting in endless creations! It all depends on how you feel and what you fancy to cook. A head of broccoli is roughly £0.60. You might think, “that’s ok and not too expensive”. When a head of broccoli is being prep, half of it goes to the waste, predominantly the stalk. Preparing broccoli on a large scale in a professional kitchen has an affect on the margin dramatically. So, why not to try broccoli stems? And it’s what I did.

After taking the broccoli florets off chopped and pan-fried the broccoli stem in olive oil with the green top part of the baby leek. I added salt, pepper, chilli flakes. It should takes only a couple of minutes to get them soft and you can serve straight away as a great accompaniment for your meal. Broccoli stalks are a great source of protein, calcium, iron, potassium, vitamins A and B. The broccoli stalks can be used in a salad, stir-fry or a smoothie.

By braising a baby gem lettuce you will get a lovely nutty and crispy flavour and it goes really well in a salad with the soft and spicy broccoli stalks and crunch, fresh radishes. (Plus any other veg you have, I’ll be using baby leeks.)

Baby Gem

To braise the baby gem, take the first few leaves off and keep them for later, cut the baby gem in half and pan fry with some olive oil and salt. The natural sugar of the baby gem should caramelise. Add a bit of water, season with salt and pepper, put a lid on top of the pan and cook it for one minute. Meanwhile, blanch the white part of the baby leek in a salty water for a couple of minutes. When blanched put them in ice water to stop them cooking. Drain them, season with olive oil, salt and pepper. All the ingredients are ready to be put together on the plate. (Click on the bottom right picture.)

Sustainable and with no waste, this plate a food is a winner on a hot and sunny day or to welcome a bunch of friends for lunch.

With organic carrot green tops. Again you must ask to yourself, what to do with it?    Yesterday, I left the blog post with the idea to make a pesto with the green tops. So, here is the recipe:

Ingredients: 1 grated garlic clove, 1 cup of blanched carrot green tops, 10 mint leaves blanched, salt, pepper, 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Blend all the ingredients in a food processor. Season to taste.

You’ll notice this pesto has no Parmesan as it is beautiful without as a vegan pesto. However, you can add dairy if you wish for a richer taste. I also love using toasted almonds, pumpkin seeds, or pine nuts. Below, I mixed some pickled carrots and beetroots with the pesto.

A lot more recipes and tips still to come to demonstrate different ways to use all parts of your beautiful, fresh Spring vegetables.

Spring time has only started!!

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