Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bright Lights For Polly

Every now and again I like to write about some of my on-line friends; one of whom is Jean - an English woman living in rural France. By day she is an atelier (French for upholster) and the rest of the time she is Barbara from the Good Life. That is meant as a compliment; I loved the series when very much younger and still enjoy it when it turns up at re-run time...

Just yesterday, while I was catching up with her tales of life in France and Self Sufficiency I came across a post which made me wonder what she knew about one of the regular members of my weekly organic fruit and vegetable basket; Chard. When it first turned up I did at least know what it was and vaguely remembered it being featured in Organic Gardening, however I couldn't remember what to do with it! So, who better to ask than a friend who just so happens to grow it...

Here is what she wrote:

"Chard. I make filo parcels with the green leafy part which vaguely resemble samosas and then with the white stems I cut them into one inch lengths, cook them (usually in water) and then serve with a cheese sauce. Alternatively if your boys are tricky about unusual veg you can chop it finer and hide it in the bolognaise sauce, or veg sauce if you are vegetarian. You can use the stems the following day but not much longer than that. Chard doesn't keep well once it's out of the garden.

Filo Parcels: Strip the green leaves off them stems and after washing them cook as for spinach - ie not much water as you want it to be not too wet. Drain it thoroughly and if necessary press gently in a sieve to get rid of excess water. I then put it in the magimix with a tub of ricotta - not sure of quantities but you need a decent amount of green - and chop it all up. Add nutmeg if you want or other flavouring.

Then, prepare the filo pastry. I brush one side with melted butter, turn it over (the melted butter is then on the OUTSIDE to help it stick together), and put a dollop of the mixture in and roll it up in whatever manner works! The pastry here is round so I start with a semi circle and end up with a parcel. If it is square then you can probably end up with a triangle. I don't think it really matters as it all ends up in the same place!

Put the parcels on a baking sheet and cook in the hot (200) oven for about 20 minutes - but keep an eye on thme as they go from nicely brown to oh dear oops very quickly!

I've never frozen them but I imagine you can. But I do often make them the day before and keep them in the fridge over night. They are fiddly to prepare so you need a bit of time."

Sadly; without Jean's excellent guidance my supplies of what is supposed to be a delicious, attractive and nutritious vegetable led a sheltered life at the bottom of my salad drawer, at the bottom of the fridge. That is until I had totally forgotten about it; by which stage it would have devolved into a green, slimy mess destined for the compost heap!

As I only received Jean's e-mail this evening and the issue of my ailing oven is still not fully resolved it will probably be a while before I make the filo parcels but I can still knock together a pretty good cheese sauce. So, hopefully tomorrows basket from Lough Boora Farm will present itself with a full spectrum of colourful chard for me to experiment with...


Jean said...

So pleased to have helped and thanks for the link!

Jean said...

May I give a gentle French lesson? Atelier is workshop; Tapissier is upholsterer! But thank you again for the link. I had the chard recipe on Monday and it was appreciated by all.

Polly Pierce said...

Believe it or not, since I asked for your culinary advice I haven't seen hide nor hare of so much as one blade of chard! It's just so typical, isn't it!!!!

Sorry about my faux pas; ie referring to you as a workshop!