My son’s fave joke for many winters was: “What’s green and goes to summer camp? A Brussel scout.” He had a distinct dislike of sprouts probably because they grew in abundance in our garden. However, after I began halving Brussels sprouts and roasting them with bacon and also thinly shredding them for a slaw, they won him over.
Brassicas — which include Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauli, cabbage, kale and boy choy — are a good source of vitamin C, potassium and dietary fibre as well as containing many healthy phytonutrients. There are differences between the varieties (eg red cabbage contains more vitamin C and B than the green variety) but they all give menus a healthy boost.
Spinach is also a good source of nutrients and phytonutrients and is a member of the same family as silverbeet (or Swiss chard) — the Amaranthaceae. Both are relatives of the beetroot. Young leaves can be eaten raw and sliced into salads. As a side dish, spinach is best microwaved or steamed without any extra moisture and is great with eggs benny or salmon. It also makes a nourishing soup. Silverbeet (stems removed) can replace spinach in most recipes.
BEST BAKED BROCCOLI
A tray-bake of broccoli. I used Chantal organic olive oil.
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Lightly oil a roasting pan.
Ensure the broccoli is patted dry after washing. Cut into florets leaving some stalk attached. There should be about 4 cups of florets.
Place the broccoli florets in the roasting pan in a single layer. Sprinkle with the garlic and drizzle with 4 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season well.
Roast for 10-15 minutes, until crisp-tender and the floret tips are lightly browned.
Remove and drizzle with the remaining olive oil, the lemon rind and juice and the parmesan. Serve hot. Serves 4.
500g orange kumara
1 large shallot, diced
1 teaspoon each: grated root ginger, crushed garlic, finely chopped green chilli
1 cup finely chopped spinach leaves
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
salt and pepper to taste
1 small egg, lightly beaten
Peel, cook and mash the kumara. Cool. Combine with the shallot, ginger, garlic, green chilli, spinach, cumin seeds and egg. Season.
Preheat the oven to 200 °C. Lightly oil a 16-hole mini muffin pan.
Make small balls out of the mixture. Place in the muffin holes. Brush the tops with the oil. Bake for about 15 minutes until lightly coloured and cooked through.
Excellent served with chilli sauce, sour cream or plain yoghurt as a dip. Makes 16
Japanese vegetable pancakes. Great drizzled with Japanese mayo eg Kewpie.
2 cups very thinly sliced cabbage
1 cup each: very thinly sliced kale, silver beet leaves (remove the stalks)
1 large carrot, shredded
2 spring onions, diced
2 large eggs
1/2 cup each: cold water, plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
Combine the vegetables in a bowl.
Whisk the eggs and cold water together in another large bowl. Add the flour and salt. Whisk until smooth. Add the vegetables. Stir until well combined.
Place half the oil in a 20cm frying pan and heat. Pile half the vegetable mixture in the pan then flatten. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes. When brown underneath flip over to cook the other side, until golden. Remove and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Serves 2.