A FANTASTIC SELECTION OF RECIPES BY DAPHNE LAMBERT
In celebration of cabbage
Nutritious, versatile & really good value.
Cabbages have been an integral part of our food culture for over 2,000 years. Coleworts, the wild form of cabbage, were first used as food in prehistoric times. The ancient Greeks cultivated the wild cabbage and developed several varieties as did the Romans who probably introduced the cultivars to Britain. Early cabbage was a more loose leaf variety. The full bodied head was developed during the middle ages. Cabbage became an important staple food, especially for the poor, who relied on it stored whole, pickled or dried during the lean winter months. Many countries have incorporated cabbage into their cuisine. The Japanese include cabbage in their pickled vegetables - tsukemono - and the Koreans make kimchi with napa cabbage or savoy cabbage. In Russia cabbage is used to make borscht and the Irish combine cabbage and potato to make colcannon. In Germany it has long been fermented to make sauerkraut and in Poland cabbage leaves are stuffed to make the classic golabki.
Collards (non heading cabbage) were one of the vegetables used in 'soul food' the cuisine developed by the African slaves in the American south. Cabbages have many healing properties. Like all vegetables from the brassicae genus; kale, Brussel sprouts, turnip and cauliflower, cabbage contains sulfur compounds which are linked with protection against cancer as they bind carcinogens and activate detoxification compounds. Sauerkraut, naturally fermented cabbage, is one of the most beneficial ways to eat cabbage the fermentation process enhances anti-oxidants and both the pre & pro-biotics in sauerkruat support intestinal health. Cruciferous vegetables including cabbage contain goitrogens which inhibit the formation of thyroid hormones. This is not a problem in healthy people but could be a problem for people who have a thyroid condition or those taking thyroid medication.
2 medium-size white cabbage heads
glass jar – a 1.5litre Kilner jars would be good, alternatively a couple of smaller ones.
juniper berries, cumin seeds or fennel seeds
Shred the cabbage and place in a large metal bowl, sprinkle over 2 tablespoons of salt and pound with a wooden rolling pin or massage by hand until the juices starts to flow.
Cover with a cloth and leave overnight.
The next morning place about 2” of cabbage into the glass jar and press firmly down, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a few spices and repeat until the jar is full.
Firmly compress the layers of cabbage leaving some space at the top of the jar because the cabbage will expand slightly as it ferments. Press the cabbage down with a jam jar filled with water or an alternative weight to make sure the cabbage is covered with liquid. Every day, push the cabbage gently down to ensure it remains under liquid.
Let the jar sit at room temperature. After about 10 days the cabbage will have fermented sufficiently to be eaten, but you can leave it for a further 2/3 weeks before covering with a loose-fitting lid and storing.
Store in a cool dry place. Once you start eating the sauerkraut keep in the fridge.
Potato colcannon gratin
1 kilo floury potatoes (Maris Piper is a good choice)
small head of cabbage
4 spring onions, chopped finely
4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
salt & pepper
extra olive oil
Scrub potatoes and boil until tender.
Chop the cabbage and steam until tender.
Cook the onion and garlic in the olive oil for a few minutes, tip in the cabbage and remove from heat.
Mash the potatoes. You can remove the skins first if you prefer or leave them on.
Heat milk and butter and beat into the mash along with the cabbage mixture, season well.
Spoon into oiled ovenproof dish, sprinkle oil over top and bake in a preheated oven 200C/400F/gas no 6 for 15 minutes or until golden.
2 onions, peeled & chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3 medium beetroot, peeled 2 diced and 1 grated
2 carrots, scrubbed and chopped
2 sticks of celery, cut into slices
1 bay leaf
pinch of powdered clove
1.5l well flavoured vegetable stock
2 medium floury potatoes.
1 small cabbage, shredded
tbsp cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
salt & freshly ground black pepper?
Sour cream and fresh dill or parsley
Serves 4 - 6
Melt the butter in a large pan, and soften the onion and garlic over a gentle heat for 5 minutes.
Add the carrot, celery, diced beetroot, clove and bay leaf, stir well and cook for another 2 minutes then add the potatoes and stock.
Simmer for 20 minutes. Add the cabbage and grated beetroot and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Add the vinegar, optional sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Ladle the soup into bowls, add a dollop of sour cream and top with dill or parsley.
Foods that support a strong immune system
This time of year sees an onslaught of infections; to protect you from succumbing you need an immune system that works well. Our immune system depends on many nutrients to work effectively and the ideal immune-boosting diet is really no different from the ideal everyday diet but if you are a bit-off track at the moment here are a few pointers.
The thymus gland produces hormones responsible for immune activity and special white blood cells called T cells, which destroy infected cells. T cell activity and the production of antibodies depend on vitamin B6. Spinach, turnip greens, leeks, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts and shiitake mushroom, all in season at the moment, are a good source of vitamin B6 as are whole grains.
Vitamin C intake is essential to immune function. Vitamin C helps immune cells to mature and improves the performance of antibodies and macrophage. Citrus fruits, cauliflower, broccoli and kale are good sources and all abundant at the moment. Other good sources are strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in the summer and rosehip, elderberries and blackberries in the autumn. Preserve these fruits to have in the Winter months. Vitamin C along with vitamins A & E and zinc & selenium are important anti-oxidant nutrients – they disarm the free radicals which invaders produce.
Eat fresh green leaves every day. The chlorophyll in green leaves supports our immune system by combating unhealthy colonies of bacteria, yeasts & fungi in the body and reduces inflammation.
Good bacterial balance in the gut is important for immune function. Eat plenty of lactic ferments like sauerkraut and kefir.
If you work inside all day you are probably not getting enough sun. When we lack vitamin D our immune systems are vulnerable to bacteria and viruses. Eggs, yogurt, shiitake mushroomsare good sources as well as fatty fish – herrings, sardines, mackerel, wild salmon.
Garlic is a wonderful antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal and turmeric, ginger and cinnamon are powerful spices to add to your immune boosting diet.
Eat plenty of good fat, cold pressed olive oil and organic butter are both beneficial. Fresh seeds and nuts are rich in essential fatty acids as well as vitamin E, zinc and protein. Cooking with poly unsaturated oils creates toxic trans-fatty acids and exposure to air creates rancidity. Altered oils of this nature suppress the immune system.
Make certain you eat three meals a day. If you are battling adrenal fatigue, diabetes, weight issues, hormone or blood sugar problems you may need to eat 5 smaller meals. If all your commitments allow try to take a few early nights and allow your body to rest and restore. Never underestimate the positive effect to the immune system from having a good 8 hours sleep!
Baked mackerel fillet with green leaf salad and a citrus-chilli dressing
4 mackerel fillets 2 tablespoons olive oil juice and zest of half a lemon 1 clove garlic finely chopped Selection of green leaves (watercress, mizuna, lamb's lettuce, mint, fennel, flat leaf parsley). Dressing: 2 tablespoons orange juice, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 4 tablespoons olive oil, 1 small chilli seeded and chopped, salt and pepper.
Mix the olive oil, garlic and lemon together. Place the mackerel fillets in an oiled baking dish and pour over the marinade, leave for 15 minutes. Pick over the leaves and divide between 4 plates.
Blend all the dressing ingredients together in a processor.
Bake the fish in a moderate to hot oven, 180 degrees celcius, for 12 minutes. Place a fillet on top of the leaves on each plate and spoon over the dressing.
Chunky vegetable and white bean soup
A diet rich in vegetables and pulses supports the immune system. 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 onion chopped 4 garlic cloves chopped 1 carrot peeled and diced 2 sticks celery diced 1 leek trimmed, washed and cut into slices 1 turnip peeled and diced 1 tsp tomato puree 1 litre vegetable stock 400g tin of haricots beans 1 head of broccoli florets large handful finely shredded spinach handful of chopped parsley
Cook the onion and garlic in the olive oil until tender
Add the carrot, celery, leek and turnip and cook for a further 2 minutes
Stir in the tomato puree, add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Add the haricots beans and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Add the broccoli and the spinach, cook for a further 2 minutes, stir in the parsley, season and serve.
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