Winter melange (cavolo nero, spiralised courgettes, white bean mash, halloumi with parsley and lime, broccoli and romanesco).



The other night we needed a fridge clear out, like urgently, and I decided to just cook what needed to be cooked and make a bit of a winter melange, but then the spirit took hold of me and it turned into a bit of a feast.

Cavolo nero


Cavolo nero



The secret to making this delicious, I currently think, is to be a bit painstaking about removing the spiny stalk that runs up and down each leaf. Once you decide to do this, it’s quite satisfying and definitely worth taking the time, because it reduces both bitterness and hard-to-chew factor. Once you’ve done that, gather the leaves together and chop into thin-ish strips, as you might cabbage. Heat some oil in a pan and add the cabbage in whilst you finely slice a couple of cloves of garlic and toss them in after a few minutes. Cook for 15-20 minutes, depending on how al dente you like it. Salt and pepper liberally.

Spiralised courgettes


Three courgettes

Cherry tomatoes



Obviously, you need a spiraliser to make this dish but I can’t recommend more that you get one. They cost about 20 quid, are completely easy to use, and create ringletty spirals out of pretty much any veg you choose to put in there – thus creating a very passable version of spaghetti and also, crucially, a vehicle for delicious sauces. The only thing to mention is that a pan heaped high with raw spiralised courgettes does dwindle down far more than you might imagine, so err on the side of generosity and don’t lose your nerve when faced with a huge pan of raw courgettes.

Before you spiralise, cut your cherry tomatoes in half, put them in a roasting tin with some oil, salt and pepper, and cook them at 180 degrees or so for about 25 minutes.

Then spiralise your courgettes – I used three, which were eaten with ease by three of us. Once spiralised, heat some oil in a pan and cook the courgettes for about 20 minutes to get them nicely soft. After 10 minutes add a clove or two of crushed garlic, salt and pepper. When they are cooked to your taste, add the cooked tomatoes and some chopped basil. Yum.


Halloumi with lime and parsley


Halloumi, sliced

One lime (per pack of halloumi)

Olive oil


Parsley, finely chopped

The frequent reader of this blog may have observed that I eat a lot of halloumi. Usually, I just favour it neat, sometimes with a squeeze of lemon. HOWEVER, our friends Martin and Nick cooked us this amazing halloumi-with-a-twist version which, on a micro level, rocked my world.

Pan fry the halloumi, using a little oil. While you are doing that, finely chop a couple of handfuls of parsley and put it into a ramekin with the juice of a lime – or two, if you like things limey – and some olive oil and a crushed garlic clove. It should have the consistency of salsa verde.

When the halloumi is done, put it on a plate and drizzle the sauce on top. The combination of lime and garlic is breathtakingly zingy. Bit antisocial, obviously, eating raw garlic, but the pros outweigh the cons, I’d say.

Broccoli and romanesco

This I just cut into florets and steamed, then served with some butter thus slightly reducing the health-giving properties BUT adding considerably to the deliciousness.

White bean mash

Is what I seem to be making twice a week at the moment so I won’t repeat the recipe but you can find it here.

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