A Red Cabbage and Tarragon Slaw with Artichokes + Croutons

20 October 2014

I can remember being in junior school and making coleslaw in a home economics lesson. I can't recall anything else we ever made. I used to love creamy coleslaw as a child; I remember buying tubs of it by weight at the supermarket deli counter and vinaigrette coleslaw too. They were the two options back in then. Whatever happened to the tangy vinaigrette variety? I've not seen it in years. 

I still love a good slaw, though when making it myself I like to go a step or two further than the traditional, white cabbage, onion and carrot combo. This version came about purely by an impulse purchase of a red cabbage and what I had in the fridge that needed to be put to good use. 

I like using red cabbage in the colder months for a slaw and adding some herbs for freshness and  interest: in this instance I used some tarragon for its warm aniseed flavour. The quantities given below will produce a bounty of slaw to keep you going through the week, with enough spare to give a few tubs away to your nearest and dearest. If you want a smaller amount just half or adjust the recipe to suit.

Red Cabbage and Tarragon Slaw with Artichokes + Croutons

½ red cabbage
1 red onion
200g brussel sprouts
4 medium carrots
30g fresh tarragon
50g pumpkin seeds
100g creme fraiche
5 tbsps good quality mayonnaise
2 tsp nigella seeds
juice of ½ a lemon
1½ tbsp cyder vinegar
285g jar of artichoke hearts in oil
1 ciabatta loaf
olive oil
dried basil

Preheat the oven to 200℃ / 180℃ fan ready for baking the croutons.

Thinly slice the cabbage, onion and sprouts and grate the carrots on the coarse side of a grater. Add the shredded vegetables to a large mixing bowl. Finely chop the tarragon adding all but a small handful to the bowl. Next add the pumpkin seeds and give it a quick mix.

Now add the creme fraiche, mayonnaise, nigella seeds, lemon juice and vinegar. Give it all a good stir and taste for seasoning adding salt and black pepper to your taste. Set to one side. 

To make the croutons slice the ciabatta loaf into cubes that are approx 1" square. Place these in a single layer on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle over your reserved tarragon and a shake or two of dried basil. Toss the cubes of bread to ensure all sides are coated in the oil and herb mixture. Place in the oven and bake for approx 10 mins, shaking them gently half way through the cooking to ensure they are golden on all sides.  Remove from the oven and set to one side.

While the croutons are baking fry the artichokes in a small frying pan using a little of the oil from the jar. Once they are golden and slightly crispy remove them onto some kitchen paper.

Serve the slaw topped with the artichokes and croutons. Enjoy.

The Start of Something Savoury: Yellow Beetroot + Feta Tart

8 October 2014

I am going to start featuring savoury recipes on the blog. If you read this blog, you could be forgiven for thinking that I only bake cakes and that I bake them often. I probably do bake cakes more often than the average person, but they are, in most instances, for other people or to share with other people at a gatherings.

The food I most often cook is savoury everyday family food. We're a family of pescetarians who like to eat with the seasons. Today I am sharing this recipe for Yellow Beetroot and Feta Tart. This recipe came about as I had three yellow beetroot on borrowed time and a pack of feta cheese in the fridge. We've been eating it cold with salad for lunch this week, but it can also be served warm for supper maybe with a baked potato and some wilted chard on the side.

Yellow Beetroot + Feta Tart

1 pack of ready rolled shortcrust pastry
3 Beetroot (yellow or regular), peeled and coarsely grated
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
fresh thyme
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
140g feta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
150ml creme fraiche
nigella seeds (optional)
dried purple basil (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180℃ (160℃ Fan). Line a regular flan dish with the pastry, leaving any excess pastry hanging over the rim. Line with baking parchment and fill be baking beans (or other baking weights) and bake blind for 10 mins. Remove the paper and pop it back into the oven for a further 5 mins, or until the pastry is pale and slightly golden. Trim the over hanging pastry and place to one side to cool while you get on with preparing the filling.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onion over a low-medium heat until soft. Add the beetroot, vinegar, sugar and a splash of water to loosen. Next throw in some thyme leaves picked from several sprigs. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 - 8 mins, until everything is soft and there is no liquid in the pan.

Cool the filling slightly, then spread over the base of the tart. Next crumble over the feta cheese. Whisk the eggs together with the creme fraiche and season with a little black pepper. Pour this over the feta and spread to cover the surface.

Cook in the oven for approx 30mins, or until set and golden. Leave to cool slightly before scattering with extra thyme sprigs, nigella seeds and dried purple basil.