Henley Food Blog – Local & Seasonal: Celeriac and Chard Curry

Sometimes cooking is easy, great produce, distinct individual flavour, enhanced by its local and seasonal provenance, and you being in the right frame of mind! Sometimes it’s a real struggle, (a first world struggle I freely admit!) bare fridge, lack of inspiration and a supermarket with the same range of produce today as it had six months ago, we’ve all been there. This weekend my cooking came easy. Inspired by the fantastic array of early autumn vegetables at Bosley Patch Shed (just inside Swiss Farm if you’ve yet to find it!). It’s such a satisfying experience knowing that the vegetables you are about to cook with are not flown in from Peru or Africa but were grown within walking distance from your house, with love and care. In terms of the environment, the local economy and our health, buying locally sourced produce is essential. It’s a debate we will return to in the weeks to come. For now, I am so glad that we have such a rich gem of a vegetable garden to pick from. With nothing in mind to cook I grabbed the gnarliest celeriac, an armful of opulent Rainbow Chard and a punnet of heirloom tomatoes bred for taste and flavour and not for their shelf life. What to cook? It’s a grey wet day which lends itself to a creamy soothing curry. I’m taking my nutritionists advice and staying away from the grains and the carbs as much as I can at the moment, so I shall make the simplest of cauliflower ‘rices’ to go with it.

Ingredients

For the paste: 

  • 2 medium shallots (a medium onion is fine)
  • 3/4 garlic cloves
  • A big thumb of  fresh ginger

The Spices:

  • 1 tsp asafoetida (optional)
  • 2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 1/2 tbsp medium curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric

The veggie bits:

  • 1 celeriac (another time you could substitute squash or similar veg)
  • Around a dozen chard leaves, with stems. (kale or spinach are also possibilities here)
  • 3 largish tomatoes
  • 1 chilli

You will also need:

  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp of coconut oil, ghee or cooking oil.

For the ‘rice’:

  • 1 small head of cauliflowwer
  • A lemon
  • 6/8 Cardamom pods (gently bashed to open them up a bit).

Method

  1. Chop your onions, garlic and ginger roughly, then blitz in a food processor or equivalent.
  2. Peel the celeriac and chop the flesh into 2cm dice. If doing this ahead, pop them into a bowl of water with a slice of lemon so they don’t discolour too much.
  3. Remove the stalks from the chard. Wash the stalks then roughly chop into small pieces. Wash the leaves and slice.
  4. Chop up your tomatoes.
  5. Heat a large pan with your oil. Add your spices and fry for a few minutes to get the aromatics going.
  6. Add your onion mix, gently fry this combing the spices.
  7. Add your veg
  8. Make sure your veg are well coated in the spices
  9. Add the coconut milk and and season. Let this simmer for 20 minutes or until the celeriac have softened.
  10. Add the leaves and the ground almonds. If the sauce is too thick add a little water to loosen.
  11. Add chillies to your taste, alternatively you can leave these out and let others add these as a garnish.
  12.  Whilst your curry is cooking make your ‘rice’. Chop your cauliflower into florets then blitz in your food processor.
  13. Spread onto a baking tray.
  14. Slice your lemons and scatter over the rice, scatter you cardamom pods too.
  15. Cover with foil, and bake for 15 mins.
  16. When the rice is cooked plate up remembering to remove the cardamom pods. Enjoy!!

Don’t forget to head over to my blog at My HOT Kitchen for more recipes and updates, and some great music!