Monday, 11 April 2011

Another way to use PSB

Regular readers will know only too well how much I like Purple Sprouting Broccoli! Unfortunately for me, the PSB season in my garden is nearly over for another year. It's been a good one.

At the weekend, Jane made us a meal based on some recipes she found in the April 2011 edition of the Waitrose Kitchen magazine. They are ones put together by Gill Meller, head chef at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage HQ.

This was the menu:
Roast chicken with shallots and balsamic vinegar
Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Mozarella cheese and chopped hazelnuts
Baked early New Potatoes with cheese sauce
Focaccia with Rosemary and Chorizo

In the magazine the recommended dessert was Honey-roasted Rhubarb with vanilla ice cream, but we had home-made Profiteroles with vanilla sorbet and chocolate sauce.

The main course was wonderfully tasty and aromatic, because it included many different herbs and flavourings. For instance, the chicken was roasted on top of a layer of shallots and surrounded by 10 fresh Bay leaves, whilst the potato dish included several cloves of garlic, some crushed chilli flakes and a good sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves. The chicken was also basted at the half-way point with balsamic vinegar, which not only added flavour, but also helped to keep the meat moist and succulent.

The PSB dish is described in the magazine as a salad, but we ate it hot. The PSB of course cooks very quickly, and needs to be cooked right at the last minute and dished-up immediately, as it goes cold very rapidly as well - perhaps best therefore to call this dish a salad, so that no-one complains if it's cold! We noticed one strange effect. When you cook PSB it loses its purple colour and turns bright green, but for this dish you drizzle the broccoli with lemon juice just before serving, and we saw that the acid in the juice made the broccoli go slightly purple again.

Notice the purple tinge!
The Focaccia loaf was practically a meal in itself, including as it did fresh Rosemary and chopped Chorizo sausage. It was lovely to bite into a piece of bread and find a crispy, salty, peppery chunk of Chorizo in every mouthful!

The white bits on top are salt flakes, which add a whole new depth of savouriness.
My PSB is nearly at an end now. Just the "tertiary" spears left on the plants. This photos demonstrates the difference in size between primary, secondary and tertiary spears. The tertiary spears are very thin and the stems grow very long. They have a habit of going stringy, so we tend to eat only the very tips.

So, now it's the turn of the white Sprouting Broccoli. More on that tomorrow or later in the week...


P.S. Congratulations to Fiona, who on Sunday successfully completed the Paris Marathon in a time of 4 hours and 22 minutes, and raised well over £1000 in sponsorship money. Many thanks to those who sponsored her!


  1. Too bad my goats got out and ate all my nearly mature sprouting broccoli plants!

  2. Looks lovely, we're enjoying PSB too. Congrats on the Dobbies write-up!

  3. Lucky you with your PSB. Mine was a disaster. But I have loads of shallots left from last year, so perhaps I can still make the chicken bit of the recipe.

    Great marathon result!

  4. Looks nice. I guess the psb will be nice both hot and cold.

  5. Oh Mark, when is it that I am to be invited for dinner? Vanilla sorbet? We are not that fancy here, I haven't even heard of sorbet in vanilla!

    Now while the PSB is exciting (and no, it isn't what my soldier rows are - I am slack and have been purchasing cheap seeds :(), Hugh Ferney Whittybeard is more exciting still. I adore his tv show, but I have never discovered where his river cottage is. Do you know? Please tell me he is a personal friend of yours and that I am invited to his for dinner as well. Although he might make me eat something gross.

  6. Your PSB season is over - well sorry I can't sympathise too much as ours never started this year!

  7. Looks very tasty - and yes congratulations on the blog review on Dobbie's - I followed a link there from Damo who had a favourable review too, and was very excited to find yours there also! And some new ones to read that I haven't seen before...

  8. I love to eat baked broccoli with potatoes. And with a little cheese, feta. Yum !!! This is so good.

  9. Oh yum look so delicious. Congratulation to Fiona! Did you frozen some of your PSB. Our PSB is just a tiny seedling at the moment.

  10. I must say... the chicken and bread looks good.. Do you have the recipe for the balsamic chicken? :)

  11. Ali, I'm sorry to say that Hugh Fairly Witless is not a personal friend, though I am a fan of his, and often watch him on TV. We also have some of his books - Like River Cottage Every Day. River Cottage HQ is in Dorset, perhaps 70 miles or so from where I live.
    BTW, you can come round for dinner at my place any time you like if you visit the UK. No guarantee that you'll get vanilla sorbet though (probably bananas)!

  12. Looks great? Do you still have the Waitrose magazine? Does it say how long Gill Meller has worked at River Cottage? I live in the US and cannot get hold of this info from here.

  13. Per; I do still have the Waitrose magazine, but it doesn't say how long Gill has been at River Cottage HQ. It just says that he met HFW at a party! I must be several years ago though - perhaps 7 or 8??? I'd resort to Google if I were you!

  14. Thanks, Mark. I've concluded that it was seven years ago by using references from the show and online interviews. Appreciate your help. :)


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