Vegetastic

Vegetastic

From a simple pasta supper the kids will adore, to a sensational showstopper, the ‘queen of greens’ Anna Jones shows that making sure your family get their five a day is child’s play…

Chard and ricotta pasta for Dylan

As the child of a food writer, I imagined my son Dylan would be sipping spirulina smoothies by now, but that’s not the case, he’s a pasta lover. So, this one is for you my little guy.

SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS

150g chard | olive oil | 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped | 1 unwaxed lemon | 200g spaghetti | 100g ricotta | whole nutmeg, for grating

METHOD

Pull the chard leaves away from the stalks. Warma couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a deep frying pan over a medium heat. Finely shred the chard stalks and add them to the pan with the garlic and a pinch of salt. Allow the stalks to cook like this for a couple of minutes, then grate in the zest of the lemon. Cook for a further 3 minutes, until the stalks have lost their rawness and toughness. | Put a large pan of salted water on to boil and when it’s at a rolling boil, add the spaghetti and cook according to packet instructions. Back to the chard. Finely shred the leaves and add them to the pan of stalks. Spoon in a dash of pasta water (no more than about 3 tablespoons) to help the leaves steam and wilt as they cook. | Mix the ricotta with the juice of half the lemon and season well with salt and pepper. Drain the pasta, reserving a mugful of pasta water. Add the pasta, ricotta and reserved pasta water to the pan of chard and mix well. Finish with a good grating of nutmeg and serve in warm bowls.

Celebration celeriac and sweet garlic pie

This is everything I want in a pie: a Cheddar and winter herb flaky pastry; a creamy filling, sweet with balsamic garlic and roasted celeriac; and a crisp grated celeriac roof. This high-sided pie takes a little time, but for a special occasion I think that’s okay.

SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE PASTRY 250g plain spelt flour, plus a little extra for dusting | 126g cold unsalted butter, cubed \ 1h teaspoon fine sea salt | a few sprigs each of rosemary, thyme and sage, leaves picked and finely chopped \ the zest of 1 unwaxed lemon | 25g good Cheddar, grated | 1 medium egg yolk | 60-70ml cold water

FOR THE FILLING: 3 heads of garlic, cloves separated and peeled | olive oil | 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar | 1 tablespoon runny honey | 2 sprigs each of rosemary, thyme and sage, leaves picked and finely chopped, plus extra to finish | 1kg celeriac | 220g Lancashire or good Cheddar cheese, crumbled | 150g crème fraiche | 150g the juice of half a lemon | 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard | a small bunch of parsley, chopped | Worcestershire sauce | 2 organic eggs, beaten

METHOD

Put the flour into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and salt. Rub gently with your fingertips until the mixture is like fine breadcrumbs. Stir through the herbs, lemon zest and Cheddar. | Beat the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of cold water. Add to the flour and mix until it forms a dough. Add more water, a teaspoon at a time, until it comes together into a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge while you make the filling. | For the filling, put the cloves of garlic into a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then drain. Wipe the saucepan dry. Add the garlic and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and fry on a high heat for 2 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and 100ml water, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes. | Add the honey, most of the rosemary and thyme (reserving the rest, with the sage) and a good pinch of salt. Continue to cook on a medium heat for a further 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated and the garlic cloves are coated in a dark syrup. | Meanwhile, peel the celeriac and cut it into quarters. Set aside 300g and slice the rest into 2cm- thick pieces. Put them into a saucepan, cover with hot water and boil for 7-10 minutes, until they are soft and have turned slightly translucent. | Drain and tip into a big mixing bowl. Add the cheese, crème fraiche, lemon juice, mustard, parsley, a splash of Worcestershire sauce and eggs. Add a good pinch of salt and grind of pepper and gently fold in the garlic cloves. | Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Sprinkle flour onto a work surface and roll out the pastry to 3-4mm thick. Line a 20cm-diameter cake tin with the pastry, ensuring a little spills over the edges. | Pour the filling into the pastry case. Coarsely grate the reserved celeriac and pile it on top. Finish with the reserved rosemary and thyme, all the sage, and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake for 45 minutes or until the tart filling has set and the top is golden brown. | Remove from the oven, leave to cool a little, then take it out of the tin. Lay a few herbs on top and serve warm.

Recipes from The Modern Cook’s Year by Anna Jones, published by Fourth Estate HB RRP £26.

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