Tag Archives: leeks

Winding down the garden – Chard-fest 2011

I got the nicest e-mail this morning.  It seems an old business colleague who has wronged me would like to make financial restitution to me whilst lying on his death bed.  As the dollar signs flashed before my eyes, I though, do people really fall for these things?  I can kind of understand spam e-mails eliciting more favourable responses (for the scam-er) maybe 10 years ago, but now, not so much.  That said, they can be quite amusing.  My favourite one I’ve gotten lately is from someone who desperately wants to give me an extremely well paid job, and all I need to do is guarantee money laundering.  Brilliant!

As I know that, although I regularly play my Publisher’s Clearing House games, because it’s free, and you know the old saying, you’ve got to play to win… I know that, in reality, it’s probably never going to happen.  So in this belt tightening era (which seems to have been going on for an awful long time now…), I’m very grateful to be in a position to grow some of our own fruit and veg.  That said, it’s getting to the end of the growing season (we’ve had an awfully mild November, so it’s probably gone on a lot longer than it should have!), and it’s time to finish what we can, and get things ready for next year.

Enter chard, which I haven’t been regularly picking, (so we have lots), and which will usually over-winter (so we’ll have again next year).  Time to use it.  So I did.

And it was good.

Chard and sausage saute with home grown mash


  • 2tsp (or to taste) each minced ginger and garlic
  • 1c white wine
  • 1 stock pot/cube
  • 1tbspn dijon mustard
  • 2-3 pork sausages per person (this was for planned leftovers, so I used 6), could easily use soy/quornsliced into rounds
  • 6c chard leaves, chopped, stalks and leaves separated
  • 3 trimmed leeks, chopped
  • 200g grapes (I prefer red)
  • 400g tin black-eyed peas
  • 0.25c yoghurt or cream
  1. In large pot / dutch oven, bring wine, garlic, ginger, stock pot and mustard to boil
  2. Add sausages and cook for a few minutes until it starts to look less pink
  3. Add leeks, and stalks of chard and cook for about 5 minutes more, stirring infrequently.  Add water if it looks dry (or more wine)
  4. Add grapes and stir in
  5. Add beans and stir in
  6. Add chard leaves in bunches (it’s an awful lot of chard, but cooks down to so little!), adding more as the last batch shrinks to provide more room!
  7. Cook for another 5 minutes to ensure everything is cooked through, then add yoghurt, mix through and heat for another minute.
  8. Serve over/or with (I’m one of those people who kind of doesn’t like food to touch too much…) mash or grain of choice.


  • About three medium to small floury potatoes per head, sliced into large chunks
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 0.5 – 1c yoghurt – depending on how floury your spuds are
  1. Boil potatoes (peeled or not – I like them peeled, husband prefers skins on) in plenty of salted water for 15-20 minutes – this will depend on the variety of potato  (as these are some sort of home-grown heritage variety, they were done in under 15 minutes, which is really odd…) in a large pot with lid
  2. Drain potatoes using lid on pot to act as strainer, keeping some of the water with the potatoes
  3. Mash with potato masher to desired consistency (I like a bit of chunk in there…)
  4. Add salt and plenty of pepper
  5. Add yoghurt to achieve desired consistency.
  6. Serve alongside chard.

Tips, tricks, mistakes, etc:

  • I always try to work with slightly frozen sausages.  After 15 years of vegetarianism, I still have trouble touching meat products, so try to handle them as little as possible.  Sausage is no exception.  It’s way less oogie to cut into bits if it’s still a little frozen.
  • I dropped a bit of agave nectar in the pot whilst cooking this, to counteract any bitterness in the chard.  It came out a bit too sweet with the grapes, so I have omitted above.  That said, the chard was buttery goodness.  I think that was all the chard though…

What’s sweet and savoury and green all over?

Not a newspaper (gosh how I loved that one when I was little…), but done of the more extravagant week-night meals we’ve had for some time!

This mighty green mix was based on what I had available and needed to use rather than anything planned, and I think it came out quite well as there were no leftovers (always a good sign).  Also, that I was able to do this on a week-night, AFTER putting the little one to bed and a body pump workout made is especially fulfilling!

Sweet and savoury green stir-fry

Ingredients (totally adjustable)

– 250g each mangetout and sugar snap peas
– 4 leeks – trimmed and sliced as thinly as you like
– one large courgette /  zucchini, diced
– soup spoon or to taste of each minced garlic and ginger
– tsp or more (to taste) chili paste
– 1/4 c total tahini and peanut butter (all of one or mix)
– about 2 soup spoons (or more) soy sauce – I use reduced sodium
– zest and juice of one orange
– four egg whites and two yolks (or some other protein source – this was what I had on hand)
– one bunch of soba noodles per person (I did two, but this would easily feed 4)
– oil of choice for frying

Method (in the madness)

  • get a large pot of water boiling for the noodles
  • head up oil in large frying pan or wok (I used a dutch oven)
  • once oil is hot, add garlic, ginger and chilli.  Cook for a few minutes, stirring regularly.  Add tahini, nut butter and orange zest.  Cook a while longer until nut/seed butters start to get melty.
  • Add veg (I pre-cooked mine in the microwave for a few minutes first), cook for as long as you like (depending on preferred textures), stirring frequently
  • Add soy sauce and orange juice and reduce heat, but continue to stir, just less frequently.
  • Whilst the veg is cooking away, crack and stir up your eggs and scramble in a frying pan.  Once they start to set, pop your soba noodles into the boiling water

ultimate multi-tasking!

Love the look of soba noodles boiling away…

  • Once the egg is set, mix in to veg

  • Keep heat on low whilst noodles finish cooking
  • Drain and rinse soba noodles, then serve up!

By the by, the husband came with the complete Le Crueset set – and no, I didn’t just marry him for that, although I won’t say it didn’t factor in to the decision somewhere along the way… (but boy are they heavy!)

Happy Friday!  Americans to entertain 🙂