On Monday I got to wear welly boots for the first time since Electric Picnic in 2012 (oh the deprivation!).
I was invited to go out to Ballyholey Farm to see all their freshly grown veggies first hand. What excitement! They have all sorts of vegetables, salad leaves and herbs growing out there in abundance. It is a really well-run farm that does not rely on pesticides or weed killer or anything you wouldn’t want to have in your food.
Although not officially certified organic, the veg is what the average consumer would understand as “organic”. So much so that we were in the fields eating edible weeds and tasting the flowering veg, picked straight from the ground! This is what farming should be about!
There was a mountain of purple sprouting broccoli out there so I was shown the ropes by Gareth, the horticulturist, and got to pick some of it for myself! I was a complete amateur though so Gareth took over and I ended up with a lovely big bunch of purple (sun-tanned) sprouting broccoli!
I had so much of it that I decided to do two different dishes with it. One that would suit some sort of pasta or rice based dish and another unbelievably simple one that would suit your typical Irish dinner of spuds and veg. YUM.
Simply Steamed Purple Sprouting Broccoli
Serves: 2 as a side dish
Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 30min
You will need:
Around 10 stalks of PSB (Purple sprouting broccoli)
Salt (optional) & black pepper
This dish is beyond simple I shouldn’t even have to write anything — just show you the pictures! But I will do a step-by-step guide because you never know who could be let loose in the kitchen!
- To prepare the PSB, first pull all the leaves off the stalks. Give them a rinse and set to one side.
- Then remove all the little purple florets from the stalks. I cut the top florets off with a knife and just pulled the little baby ones further down the stalks off. Set these to one side.
- Then go through the stalks and discard any that feel really tough and barky. I found that the bendy ones cooked through a lot easier. So try to figure out which are bendiest and cut off any tough bits.
- Prepare your steamer (if you don’t have a steamer use a colander on top of a saucepan of boiling water).
- Chop up the stalks you decided to keep and throw them into the steamer for around 15 minutes or until soft (stick a knife through to check)
- Then when they are soft throw in the florets for two more minutes.
- Then throw in the leaves and try to rotate everything so that the florets and stalks don’t get overcooked.
- These leaves only need a touch of heat, like spinach, so keep an eye on them and when they will slightly and go a deep green colour they are ready (should be around a minute or so).
- Throw into a big bowl, squeeze over some lemon, black pepper, and stir through a knob of Pure Soya Butter.
- Serve immediately.
Ps. You can use salt if you think it needs it. But with this recipe I’m just writing exactly what I did, and I never use salt.
PPS. Please do not use normal butter. It is laden with saturated fat and cholesterol and will completely defeat the purpose of you eating vegetables in the first place. Soya butter is cheap, easy to get (Tesco), it has ZERO cholesterol and 72% less saturated fat that normal butter. It is a fabulous replacement for butter so please use it if you need to.
I would recommend this dish to be served with an abundance of lovely potatoes with black pepper! I would have done this myself but all the spuds were eaten by the time I was ready to take this picture….
Nutty Garlicky Purple Sprouting Broccoli
Serves: two as a side dish
Prep time: 5 min
Cooking time: 10 min
You will need:
Around 20 stalks of PSB
1 Clove of Garlic (thinly sliced)
Half a lemon
Salt (if you really need to)
In the cooking of this dish I didn’t use oil because, as you probably already know, I do not like using oil because of the fact that it is 100% fat, and there isn’t much healthy about that flowing through your veins. Instead I used just enough water for the garlic and broccoli not to stick to the pan. It’s really easy if you just keep an eye on it and keep stirring!
And if your taste buds miss the oil try to just bear it for 3 days. Apparently your taste buds change or develop every 3 days so if you persevere you will get used to oil-free cooking.
- Make this healthy nut Parmasen first.
- For the broccoli: You only need the top of the broccoli stalks or the florets for this recipe so trim off all the stalks.
- Finely slice a clove of garlic.
- Add a splash of water to a hot pan.
- When the water starts to sizzle and evaporate add the garlic. Stir it around until you start to smell the garlic cooking. Make sure the garlic doesn’t burn and stick to the pan by adding little bits of water when the pan dries out.
- Add the broccoli florets to the garlic and continue to stir. You want the broccoli to still have a bit of bite so be sure not to add too much water, because that will just poach the broccoli. If the pan is just slightly wet the broccoli will heat and cook through but will retain a slight crunch. Al dente as they say.
- When you think the garlic and broccoli look like they’re starting to go brown, but before they go limp, squeeze in the juice from half a lemon and toss everything around.
- Season with black pepper and salt but only if you really need it.
- Serve immediately and sprinkle some vegan Parmasen over the top for extra garlicky crunch.
I would recommend serving this as a side dish to a nice mushroomy pasta or rice dinner (vegan of course).
You can get your own purple sprouting broccoli if you live in Donegal from the Ballyholey Farm Shop on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. You can also get it in Letterkenny at the Letterkenny Artisan Market on Saturdays.