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attend to. Mercifully that didn’t take the whole two months (in fact it was so quick that I didn’t manage to do a single swear), but there’s been a distinct lack of delicious morsels around here of late. I didn’t think you’d appreciate a recipe for Pasta with Cheese, or Crumbs of Previous Meals, Recovered from Baby’s Head.


H


Anyway, I am gradually adjusting to this new parental persona, even if all cooking is now accompanied by a small wriggly thing in a papoose. It’s actually a whole lot more fun if there’s the possibility of setting fire to your most precious possession every time you go near the hob.


Tankfully, Emma decided to break me in with an easy topic this month, ‘seasonal eating’. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the seasonal offerings at this time of year are a little bit Old Mother Hubbard, but if you look right at the back of the cupboard, next to the packet of expired Super Noodles, you’ll find a few select offerings from mother nature.


So what exactly do we have available to us in late winter / early spring? Well, a lot of flatulence inducing brassicas for the most part (all that methane will do wonders for reducing your heating bills). Swede, purple sprouting broccoli, cauliflower and of course, the trendiest member of the cabbage family: kale. Tere’s also leeks, radishes and beetroot, if you want something less farty. Or for a bit of protein you can look to venison, rabbit and shellfish and for a dose of vitamin C; blood oranges.


Emma also suggested wild nettles, which I was none too polite about. A trip to the Co-op at the end of the road takes about two hours of planning and three changes of clothes to execute, so there was slim chance of me going foraging in the woodlands of suburban Norwich with a plastic bag, a pair of secateurs and a two month old infant.


Tat said, I have previously experienced the joy of nettles as a foodstuff. I think everyone who went to school in North Norfolk at some point experienced the delight that was the Wells-next-the-Sea residential centre. Here, as well as inevitably sharing a bunk bed with the smelliest member of the class, you would be dragged to witness various piles of rubble which were apparently vastly important


ello all! Remember me? I hope you’ll excuse the two-month absence. I had the small matter of evicting a baby from my uterus to


remnants of the Viking invasion. To really help us get into a first-millennium mind-set, we also apparently had to give the diet a go - namely, nettles. At that point in my life I found pizza to be an intimidating repast, so you can imagine how keen I was on eating something which had to be boiled before you could even touch it without developing a rash. Morgan Pickard


To make the most of this month’s seasonal offerings I have made the Italian dish,


Ribollita. Translating literally as ‘re-boiled’ it’s a fairly loose


definition of a dish as far as ingredients go,


but the basics consist of tomatoes, beans, cabbage and stale


bread. It’s a great dish for this time of year;


wonderfully hearty and warming, and it takes


full advantage of winter veggies, store cupboard basics and leftovers.


Feel free to go off-piste and add whatever


you’ve got hanging around.


INGREDIENTS 1 leek, finely sliced 2 carrots, chopped 1 stick celery, chopped 3 cloves garlic, chopped 2 rashers streaky bacon (optional) 3 tbsp tomato puree 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes 1 400g tin cannellini beans 2 pints vegetable stock 2 slices stale white bread 2 handfuls of green cabbage (I used kale and savoy


METHOD Fry together the leek, carrot, celery, garlic and bacon until softened and starting to colour. Add in the tomatoes, puree, stock and beans and allow to cook for 20mins. Trow in the bread and allow it to dissolve into the soup, making it nice and thick (if it gets too thick, add some more stock). About ten minutes before you want to serve, add in the cabbage. Top with parmesan, or a drizzle of pesto.


Morgan writes her own, hilarious blog on the internet. You can visit it and do a laugh wee wee at sodnigella.blogspot.co.uk


28 /March 2014/outlineonline.co.uk


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