Our ‘veg of the month’ project is drawing to a close! Throughout January we have focused on exploring the health benefits and delicious recipes for a selection of seasonal UK produce. We are very lucky to live in a country where so much is readily available, both in and out of season, and where ethical, sustainable production is only becoming more popular. I think exploring seasonal produce is a lovely way to reconnect with the origins of our food, and try to reduce our carbon footprints. It can also force us to get imaginative in the kitchen, as anyone who orders veg boxes will know!
Today’s unlikely star of the show are spring greens. These little folk are very often overlooked, but are a nutrition packed, versatile and cheap green. You can find them at your grocer’s, farmers’ market or supermarket - often with cabbages or spinach.
I've heard many people think 'spring greens' refers to any old green leaf - from kale to cabbage, but spring greens are in fact the very first cabbages of the year. They are young and tender, with less crunch than older cabbage and a smaller heart. This makes the leaves flexible and useful for a lot of different recipes, with less effort than kale which needs a bit of softening.
Full of vitamin C and K and antioxidants, you can blanch, steam, boil, fry or even bake your spring greens.
For this ‘veg of the month’ recipe, I’d like to take you on a little trip to East Asia. These refreshing pork and ginger rolls are made incredibly more-ish with the addition of a sweet soy sauce. Full of protein for tissue repair and slow release energy, they'll keep you going for hours, and leave you feeling lighter by using a spring green wrap. You'll feel like an artist creating these beautiful little rolls, and they are less difficult than working with rice paper. Add a side of sticky rice for a larger meal.
We’d love to know in the comments - do you want the ‘veg of the month’ project to continue? What kind of blogs and recipes do you want to see from us?
● 2 bunch spring greens, approx 10 leaves
● Chicken stock, approx. 500ml Filling
● 2 banana shallots (or 1 medium onion), very finely diced
● 4 large garlic cloves, crushed
● 4 tsp fresh ginger, grated finely
● 400g pork mince
● 200g cooked brown rice
● 1⁄2 tsp salt
● 2 tbsp soy sauce
● 1tbsp sesame oil
● 1tsp white pepper
● a good pinch of chilli (optional)
● 3 tbsp soy sauce
● 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
● 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
● 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
● 1-2 tsp finely grated ginger
● 1 clove garlic, finely grated
● 3 spring onions, finely sliced
● toasted sesame seeds
1. Preheat oven to 200C degrees. Oil a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Set aside.
2. Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil. Remove 10 big leaves from the greens, being careful not to tear or break the leaves.
3. Place three leaves at a time in the boiling water and cook 1-2 minutes or until pliable.
4. Transfer to a bowl of cold water quickly to cool and then drain on a tea towel. Repeat with the remaining leaves.
5. Combine the filling ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly.
6. With the stem of the greens towards you, place 3tbsp of filling onto the center of the leaf. Roll
from the bottoms over the filling and keep rolling until you get a tube of filling, Fold in the sides and tuck them under.
7. Place in the prepared baking dish. Pour enough stock into the dish so that it is halfway up the rolls.
8. Cover with aluminium foil and bake for 40 mins minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the center of each roll reads 75C degrees or higher. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.
9. Whilst the rolls are cooking, mix the dressing ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
10. Serve the rolls sprinkled with sliced spring onions, sesame seeds and a small amount of dressing.