Tuesday 20 September 2011

Tapas inside a bag

sample of farmer's choice bag scheme 

This week I made three side dishes as my main meal , more like a veg tapas style. Simply easy and healthy.

Sometimes, in my weekly organic bag, from Nina’s school farmer’s choice scheme, I get  a variety of  colourful and beautiful vegetables. Depends on the season the carrots come in orange, yellow or purple colour. We also get various types of beans. I cannot resist, i just want to cook them all at once. This week was like that, the rainbow coloured bag was going to be transformed into a Tapas.  And the result was this:

chosen ingredients

Vegetable tapas

I enjoyed the carrots and beans with pieces of sourdough bread (it's nice to dunk it in the juices) and the corn by itself. Yummaayy! 

ingredients for the sweet and sour carrots
sautee the carrots in butter
add a bit of rapadura sugar and let them caramelize
add white wine vinegar, let it reduce then
add water, thyme and garlic
they taste and look beautiful

Purple carrots sweet and sour
Peel the small and medium carrots and leave them whole; if they are big,  cut them into chunks. Fry them in 1 tablespoon of butter until just coloured. Then add 1 tablespoon of rapadura sugar and toss them for about 3 minutes, until they look a bit caramelized. Pour about 100ml of white wine vinegar into the pan and let it reduce. Cover with water (about 300ml) and add thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. Boil it and let it simmer for about 20 min, until tender.  Take the carrots out and let the liquid reduce a bit. To serve, pour the liquid over the carrots.

ingredients for the braised runner beans
fry the onions
add the beans, mix gently and add the peppercorns
Garlicky braised runner beans
Cut the runner beans in pieces. Slice a small onion and chop 2 cloves of garlic. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan, sautée the onion and garlic. When they become translucent, add the beans. Stir gently and frequently for about 2 minutes. Add a little water (about 100ml), a squeeze of lemon and sea salt. Cover and simmer on a low heat, until the beans are tender (for about 10 min). Just before serving, add the Schechuan peppers, to your taste.

ingredients for the grilled sweetcorn
soak them in water
watch them in the grill
grate the cheese and mix some cayene pepper
take them out of the oven
splash some butter on them and sprinkle cheese on top
Grilled Corn on a cob
Soak the cobs in a pot of cold water for 15 minutes. This will provide moisture for cooking the corn kernels inside the husks. After soaking, remove the corn from the water and shake off any excess water. 

Turn the grill on. Keep the husks on the corn, pop them inside your grill and leave to cook  until the husks are charred. Keep turning them (this will add a smoky flavour). You should watch them closely as you don’t want to burn your house down.

When all the parts char, change the grill setting to oven (200 degrees) and let the corn cook for 15-20 min.

Grate the cheese, add a pinch of cayenne pepper and mix. Set aside.

When the corns are done, using tongs, peel the husks back and discard. Here, if you like, you can put the cobs back in the grill to char a bit, but I was so hungry I couldn’t wait.

Once you’re happy with the way your corn is cooked, put the butter into a big dish and place the cobs in it. Roll them around to coat evenly, then add the cheese mix. Enjoy!   

The ingredients and their healthy benefits

Carrots (Daucus carota)are  high in carotenoid, an antioxidant compound associated with many healthy benefits. They contain lutein and zeaxanthin (carotenoids present in our retina), which is why carrots are famously known for being good for your eyes. The carotenoids and vitamin A found in carrots are better absorbed by your body when eaten with a little fat (olive oil, coconut oil, ghee etc). Carrots are great for juicing and often chosen as part of detox programs. They also provide good levels of vitamin K, fibre, vitamin C, biotin, vitamins B1 and B6.

Runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus): because of their high fibre content, they prevent blood sugar levels from rising rapidly. Beans in general are a very good meal choice for people who suffer from diabetes or hypoglycemia. Unlike other beans, runner beans are very high in dietary fibre and lower in protein. They are high in vitamin K, which plays an important role in bone health and prevention of bone damage, especially in post-menopausal women. Runner beans contain vitamin C, manganese and silicon – like calcium and magnesium these are very important for the bones.

Recent studies confirmed  the presence of a wide variety of carotenoids (lutein, beta-carotene, neoxanthin) and flavonoids (quercetin, catechins and procyanidins) in runner beans. They are all known for their antioxidant properties.
Caution: they contain oxalate and it’s better to avoid them if you have rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease or gout.

Sweetcorn (Zea mays): If you can, choose only organic and non-GMO corns. Sweetcorn  contains dietary fibre which alleviates constipation and haemorrhoids. It is rich in vitamins B1, B3 and B5 (panthontenic acid), that are necessary for metabolism of carbohydrates as well as for the metabolism of protein and fat.

Till next week!



  1. Great ideas! Thank you Margot. What you refer to as grill for the corn looked like a fancy oven. Am I mistaken? Can it be done in a regular oven? What is the initial temperature for the corn? Beijos.

  2. Thank you, Ana querida! It is a regular oven simply set to grill. If your oven doesn't come with the grill facility, the corn can be baked in a conventional oven - the only thing that the grill adds is the smoky flavor. You can also cook/grill it on a barbecue (it's really delicious). If using the oven only, preheat it at 200*C (392*F?). Hope it helps. Beijos


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