One of the many reasons I stopped writing my non-award winning previous blog, Recipe Rifle, was that I had run out of things to cook.
Or rather, I kept trying out new recipes that turned out to be no good and it was getting to be harder and harder work to find something worth writing about and, really, the thing that blogs should not be is hard work.
So I had to end it and a lot of people were sad and disappointed and even now sometimes people say “You need to start Recipe Rifle up again” and I say “Thanks but no thanks.”
The Spike might not be as useful as a stream of family-friendly recipes plus blood-on-the-floor every day about the raising of small children, but it’s far easier because I can write about whatever’s on my mind.
IF I come across a great recipe for something I can bung it in and everyone is happy – you’ve got something to cook and I am not spending even more of my whole life looking for new things to cook and cooking them, which is always intense and stressful,
This is from a recipe I found in a colour supplement but it is not the original recipe because the original was so badly-written and wrong and infuriating. It would absolutely not have worked as it was, so I have made some helpful amendments.
Grilled spring cabbage with a sauce
1 pointed, spring or hispi cabbage
1/2 garlic clove, grated
1tsp Dijon mustard
1 large handful of finely-grated parmesan
1 slice sourdough, turned into breadcrumbs
1 egg yolk
some light olive oil
the zest of 1 lemon
3 anchovies, finely-chopped
1 Cut your cabbage carefully into quarters through the stalk and then blanch for 3 minutes in water that is barely simmering, definitely not boiling or it will bash the leaves off. Take out and leave to cool and dry.
2 Put the egg yolk into a little whizzer or use an electric whisk and set the egg yolk turning, then drizzle in the light olive oil carefully until you have a mayonnaise. I completely ballsed this up and it split and looked terrible and it didn’t matter in the least in the end, so if you make a mess of this – (very easy to do) – don’t worry.
3 Now fold in the parmesan, grated garlic, anchovies, lemon zest, a pinch of salt, mustard – give it a final stir and set to one side
4 Fry off the sourdough crumbs in a pan with a knob of butter until dry and crunchy
5 Heat a griddle pan or frying pan up high. Drizzle the cabbage quarters all over with olive oil and salt and then grill on all sides until picturesquely charred.
6 To serve, slather with your sauce in whatever functional or dysfunctional state it’s in and then with the breadcrumbs. If you like you can keep this in a warming oven (no hotter than 120C) for 20 mins or so while you get on with other bits of your dinner. If you want to grill it to add a certain je ne sais quoi that’s fine but do keep an eye on it because it will burn very quickly.
Rosemary White says
And Recipe Rifle is still going strong – regularly visited for banana bread recipes – so we have the best of both.
Secondef for still using Recipe Rifle. I’ve been making the Overnight Rye Buns all through lockdown – all in one bowl, overnight in the fridge, and fresh bread for breakfast & lunch. Perfect with cheese. A godsend for those of us still not ready to commit to a sourdough starter (if this hasn’t done it, I guess I never will).
I use the overnight rye buns too, but suffer from squidgy damp middle. Do you get this too?
Sometimes… I find it takes the full 20min at 200 fan (and a bit longer if I’ve faffed about with the pan of water or getting the tray sorted). Also had better results if they go into the oven the moment I’ve put them on the tray – don’t leave them hanging about on the bench while the oven heats or the kettle boils. They need to come out quite brown & crispy to be cooked through, and once they’ve cooled a bit — if we haven’t already eaten them — I put them into one of those Gail’s brown paper bread bags to keep them, and that softens them up just right. Do I sound ridiculously invested in these buns? Yes, yes I am.
Thank u – have a look at this – a cabbage in raging hot oven for 30 mins – it really works – !!
Sounds delish. FYI the sauce – though I use bought mayo thinned with cream and/or yoghurt – is almost exactly what I do for a cheating Caesar salad dressing and damn fine it is too. Do I now go and queue in the rain for cabbage and other groceries today, or can I wait until tomorrow?
It’s tricky Sophie, as it’s raining there will most likely BE NO QUEUE
I’m so glad you posted this. I saw it on giles’ Instagram and was trying to do some detective work as to what the sauce was and how to make it as it looked EXACTLY the kind of thing I love to eat. Now I can cook it tomorrow 😀. Wednesday I do nice dinners, mon, tues, thurs it’s super healthy lentils etc so we don’t become obese in lock down. Easier said than done.
Sounds delicious. Your burger mayo/gherkin/shallot sauce is now a fixture with a burger in our house, frozen ready chopped shallots making it so easy.
It makes veggie burgers actually GREAT. The Linda McCartney ones are terrific!
Just on your point about badly written recipes – it’s so annoying! I very rarely cook a recipe as instructed. So often the author hasn’t though carefully about what needs to be chopped first or how to minimise dirtying up bowls. Even recipes by quite well known chefs/ cooks need to be finicked about with to work (Nigella love, I’m looking at you).
Recipe Rifle is lush 😋 – today’s recipe also sounds soooo good. I have a slightly wilting Chinese cabbage in the fridge: going to give this recipe a bash tonight with that. Thank you!
This is very weird! Last night, wondering what to do with a slightly manky cabbage, I remembered your amazing sausage cabbage thing from RR and in the spirit of that I decided to bake the quartered cabbage with olive oil and sea salt. It was actually really delicious.
RR was wonderful and sort of saved me during the early baby years. The Spike is saving me during Lockdown. Thank you Esther xx
As long as Recipe Rifle stays available for reading! Your writing still makes me chuckle and I’ll never use another chocolate cake recipe other than that one that is 50% boiling water- so dark and rich, and a monkey could make it! I like how The Spike is not so food centric though, you can do a really good mix of subjects and I love all the makeup recommendations (TRINNY) and your life musings. Keep it all coming
A Reader says
Esther—have you tried mayo using an immersion blender? It’s absolutely foolproof. Whack your eggs in the container, pour the oil in, shove the immersion stick right down the the bottom, turn it on full speed and slowly move upward. The end, perfect mayo in seconds, no need for the tedious drizzle, no splitting. Also great for adding flavors (throw in garlic, throw in herbs, throw in lemon zest—they all just blend in).
A Reader says
It does have to be that tall narrow container that goes with the immersion blender, though, or a similarly-shaped container.
I’m afraid you lost me at “immersion blender”. I’ve got a NutriBullet if that’s any use?
A Reader says
Ooh I don’t know as I’ve never used a nutribullet! You know what I mean? One of those handheld stick blenders?
Cabbage is currently the bane of my life. My lockdown challenge / mission (does everyone have one? It seems like they do and I was feeling left out) was to cure self of an annoying stomach ulcer (self diagnosed, but quite clearly an ulcer) – mainly because it was getting to the point that I could no longer drink. So I asked Dr Google, who told me several times to drink a litre of FRESH CABBAGE JUICE every day. I cannot tell you how hideous is it. But, am persevering, because actually the stomach pain has gone. (That could of course be because I have also stopped drinking.) Anyway, sorry Esther – I can’t face any cabbage recipes right now, no matter how delicious you make them look.
Oh my god Jess! Surely there is another way to solve this than the litre of cabbage juice? that sounds absolutely awful
I mean obviously I could just take a shed-load of drugs, but they make me feel blugh, and you have to keep taking them. So cabbage juice it is. The internet tells me I’ll be cured in “mere days!!!” – and the internet never lies. (Also, honestly, starting the day with a large glass which tastes of the smell of old bins means that things can only get better from there on. Even homeschooling isn’t as bad as a glass of putrid yuck, which are words I never thought I’d say.) (Also, it gives me blog fodder, which I sortof need after a three year absence.) I too have always loved your RR chocolate cake recipe, it never fails.
Another vote for Recipe Rifle here. I can still recite Mrs Coren’s chicken pie by heart. Got me through a year in Latvia where I had to learn to cook from scratch because tastes in convenience vary so much.
Not sure what they made of me muttering ‘thighs not breasts, glass of shitty white wine…’ as I scoured the supermarket though.
I’m so pleased to find recipe rifle again! I used to read this when I was single and childless and I remember reading your posts about feeding kids and thinking ‘wow, what a pain in the arse feeding kids is’. Now I have two and realise I had completely underestimated how bloody awful it is. Absolutely the worst part of having kids. So now I’m going to spend a very soothing few hours reading back and noting down things to try. Tuna melt muffins are first on the list!! Thanks Esther.
Cia I challenge you not to just scoff the tuna melt muffins yourself. I had to stop making them because I would hover over the child going “have you finished? have you finished?” and then just stuff the remains in my mouth with both hands. happy days. Now I just make them for myself – on sourdough NATURALLY
Well timed post. I just made the last ever recipe on RR- the pork chops with onions. Weirdly nice and iso comforting!
And I’m making those tuna melt muffins for my toddler 3 years after I stopped making them for her sister…glad to see I’m not alone in hovering over her leftovers!!!