Cooking Vegetables with Variety
Baked fresh beetroots taste just even better than boiled ones, and lose less of their colour and nutrients. Wash the beetroots thoroughly, leaving on the ends. Then wrap several together in a large piece of foil. Bake at 200°C (400°F/Gas Mark 6) for one and a half to two hours, or until tender. Vary the cooking time according to the size of the beetroots.
Try braising cabbage to bring out its flavour. Shred the leaves finely and saute with a knob of butter for two minutes. Add black pepper and a few tablespoons of stock, cover, and cook until tender (about four to six minutes), shaking the pan occasionally.
Baked potatoes in half the time
Boil jacket potatoes for five minutes before baking, and they should be ready in about half the usual time. To speed up cooking even further, push a metal skewer through each potato to conduct heat to the centre.
Need a new idea?
You can pep up almost any cooked vegetable by arranging it in a flameproof dish and covering it with a layer of grated hard cheese such as Cheddar or Parmesan. Sprinkle with pepper and place under a hot grill until the cheese melts.
Steaming versus boiling
Steaming takes a little longer than boiling, but preserves more nutrients. If you do boil vegetables, make sure the water is boiling rapidly before you add them. The faster vegetables are cooked the fewer vitamins will be lost. Add the cooking water to a soup or stew afterwards so that no nutrients are wasted.
You don’t have to add water to spinach. The water which clings to the leaves after washing will be enough.
Minty peas and potatoes
Cook peas or new potatoes with a sprig of fresh mint in the water. Or mix a little chopped mint into butter to add just before serving.
Boiling old potatoes
Old potatoes should be peeled, cut into pieces if large, and simmered gently to prevent breaking up. Add a little lemon juice to keep them white.