As a grower of organic vegetables, i like to maximise the fabulous flavour that they have, and for me this means cooking them with little or no water. Griddling and grilling are both good ways of doing this. The vegetables can be just brushed with good olive oil and sprinkled with seasoning, or marinated with garlic and herbs before the cooking.

IMG_3592Another method of keeping all the flavour in the vegetables is to braise them either in their own moisture, or with the addition of a little water, wine, stock or vinegar that is then reduced down to nothing in the cooking. Other flavours can be added to bring out the best in the vegetable.

The beetroot pictured above was cooked with balsamic vinegar.

For four people, take half a kilo of beetroots, peel the and cut them into bite sized pieces.

Put them in a saucepan that has a lid, into which the cubes of beetroot fit in one layer. Add two tablespoons of good olive oil. cover with the lid and put on the heat.

Cook for a few minutes shaking from time to time to cover the beetroot pieces in oil.

Take a whole bulb of garlic and break it into cloves Leaving the skin on the cloves.With a sharp knife cut half way across each clove. Add these to the pan with two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and some fnely chopped oregano. Season with sea salt and lots of coarsely ground black pepper.

Cover and cooking over a low heat until beetroot is cooked to your preferred softness.i like mine still with some bite, and that takes about twenty minutes or so. By then the balsamic vinegar will have reduced down to a tasty sticky glaze.

The Cima Di Rapa, pictured below in the vegetable garden is one of the highlights of the autumn and winter season at La Micaela. The flower heads are eaten like the purple sprouting Brocolli so beloved in England, but it is ready earlier in the season. From November to February roughly in the climate here in southern Spain, depending on the temperature. The flavour is a little sharper than brocolli and is complemented by either salty anchovies or in this instance bacon. Broccoli of course can be prepared in exactly the same way.

IMG_3584Cut some streaky bacon into thin lardons and fry these in olive oil.

Add florets of Cima or broccoli. Toss with thee bacon and olive oil.

Season with salt, not too much if the bacon is salty, and freshly ground black pepper.

Cover and cook on a low heat until the florets are cooked.

if the Cima or broccoli florets are tough, then add half a centimetre of water to the pan at the beginning of cooking and cook until it evaporates.

Try cooking shredded cabbage like this. Sprouts work too, although they need a  little water adding, enough to go about half way up the sprouts. Cook covered on a more brisk heat until the water has reduced down to almost nothing and they should be cooked through but still retain some bite.

IMG_3570To cook pumpkin, or butternut squash, simply cut into bite sized pieces and cook covered, in butter with seasonings. If you are going on to make pumpkin ravioli, this is an ideal way to cook the pumpkin.

Carrots, Swedes and courgettes are very tasty cooked slice this.

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