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Wednesday 18 November 2009

On losing my mind

I haven't gone mad. At least I don't think I have. But I did just photograph a raw cabbage. I couldn't help myself; I think it's one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. What do you reckon?

Do you want to know the best thing about it? It was reduced. I got it for 49 pence!

Apparently, it's a January King cabbage - I grabbed it thinking it was a savoy. The wrapper said that the January King was a favourite variety in Victorian times, but is not really cultivated very much now. Is it just me who thinks this is a crying shame? Were I a cabbage farmer, this would be all I'd grow. In fact, I if we ever get our vegetable patch up and running (along with my much-desired kitchen extension, it's wishful thinking at present), I might try to get some seeds. Just look at the colours! That fabulous, deep pink-purple tinting the vivid green leaf edges... Maybe I have gone mad. It is only a cabbage after all. But I love cabbage! I know that there are some people out there who don't. At all. But they are probably the same people who think it's a good idea to put carpet in a bathroom. So each to their own, I say.

We had half of the January King for dinner last night, braised with lemon and juniper, and topped with some cinnamon-glazed pork chops. I'm afraid that I forgot to take photos, but the combination was fantastic. Even though I haven't a picture, I'll jot down what I did anyway. You could cook any crunchy, leafy green vegetable this way.

  1. Shred your cabbage fairly finely, and heat a splosh of good olive oil in a large pot.
  2. Add the shredded cabbage, along with the grated zest of a lemon and about a teaspoon of juniper berries. Stir-fry for a few minutes, making sure the cabbage doesn't catch.
  3. Pour over about a cup of hot vegetable stock, and the juice of the lemon you just zested. Season, stir and cook with the lid on until the cabbage is done to your liking. I give it about five minutes, but I am often accused of under-cooking vegetables. I like them with c-r-u-n-c-h!
  4. Check the seasoning and serve piping hot.

The bright, zingy flavours in this (juniper is so underrated) should be sufficient to convert even the most committed members of the Anti-Cabbage lobby. I don't know what we're going to do about their bathroom carpets though...



  1. Man, cabbage is so underrated. I tell this to everyone. People just don't appreciate it like I do. I've never tried this fancy cabbage :p just regular old white cabbage and purple cabbage. I make a mean dish called 'Sambharo' which is basically stir fried cabbage and carrots with whole mustard seeds and cumin powder. I love how you've used juniper berries in this, I don't use them enough in my cooking (partly because I cook mostly Indian stuff) but I'm sure I could smuggle them into something and get away with it. Yeah so where was I...?

  2. Mr. P this is a BEAUTIFUL shot of a cabbage, I for one do not feel you are losing your mind at all. I think it's nice to take the time to showcase the true beauty of a simple ingredient. I have never seen such beautiful cabbage here in Texas but I would definitely eat it more often if it looked like that hee hee :)

  3. Glad to see at least some people don't think I've gone mad!

  4. J'imagine toutes ses saveurs !

  5. I'm in the soggy vegetable camp. Some say that shows a failure to develop beyond the baby food stage. Your cabbage is so pretty I might compromise and eat it crunchy rather than cooked beyond all recognition.

  6. Pretty cabbage yes:) Mr P, you're not alone. I love cabbage (and don't wish to have carpet in my bathroom), stir fried, braised, and raw especially. Just a wonderful veg. Best of all, it sits in the fridge waiting for you for the longest time:) My favourite is a Cabbage and Cucumber Salad (on my blog if you want to see it) - I could eat that, and nothing else for dinner thanks:)

  7. Cabbage is very underrated!Same with most greens!
    we have a partial veg patch.
    When i get my own house :D
    ima have my own convent garden! the recpe sounds delish too!

    Oh pan fried cabbage mmm :D

  8. Vegetable Matter - I had a feeling you would like the cabbage. What can I say? It's in the name!! :0

    Coby - The other half is still in the fridge! A testament to what you said. I should make a terrible confession by the way. WE have carpet in the bathroom, but we just bought our house and it was like that when we moved in. Fear no: It has been 'to do' listed....

    Bigarade - I checked out your dal recipe. Fantastic! :)

  9. LOL you're right- that truly is one beautiful cabbage!

  10. we have plenty of cabbages here in Paris but this one is a beauty and I understand you wnated to shoot it !!
    Have fun mRP !
    cheers from rainy Paris today !

  11. I love it - beauty in it's raw stage! This would be great to paint - may I have the honor?


That's what he said.

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