John and I don’t look a lot like Popeye and Olive Oyl – but we definitely eat a lot of SPINACH. It’s available nearly all the year round and so good for you, being packed with Vitamins A, B2, C and K and rich in iron. It would be difficult finding another vegetable so great at restoring energy, increasing vitality and maintaining blood and bone health. Even my hens seem to love it as I am always shooing them off the garden when it’s growing!
I put it in just about anything – we certainly have it daily in some form or another. Any soups, any pasta, any casseroles or stews, any salads, most stir frys. Cook it in the microwave; put in a colander and simply pour boiling water over it; simmer in a few tablespoons of water; fry it with shredded cabbage, garlic and onion. Any fish or chicken pieces sit beautifully on top of a mound of it; eggs love it – think Florentine/eggs benedict. No wonder a quarter of my vegetable patch is laid down to perpetual spinach. You can buy it fresh, tinned (mash with olive oil, garlic and lots of black pepper) or frozen. A giant amongst greens!
One of my favourite recipes at the moment is below – a little bit of cheating (I buy the gnocchi – ssh! – it’s usually found in the chilled counters in supermarkets) and is very easy and flavoursome and decidedly a comfort food.
Creamy gnocchi – with SPINACH
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 400g fresh gnocchi (it’s a form of potato dumpling)
- 100g cream cheese (this could be plain or garlic and herbs – whichever you have or takes your fancy!)
- 100 g frozen peas, cooked
- raw spinach (I can’t give you an exact amount as I just add it till I get enough in but you will probably need half a bag!)
- finely grated zest of lemon (DO NOT MISS THIS OUT AS IT TOTALLY LIFTS THE DISH!)
- 50 – 100 Ml milk
- 20 g grated cheddar
- fresh breadcrumbs
Heat the oil in a pan and add the gnocchi. Fry, stirring occasionally until they start to soften and turn golden. Add the spinach and when it starts to wilt fold in the cream cheese, peas, lemon zest, seasoning and milk, lastly, to loosen. Pile into a dish, cover with breadcrumbs and grated cheese and put under a grill till golden and bubbling. Serve immediately with a crisp salad (with perhaps even more fresh spinach!)
PS when cooking the gnocchi, you could also add diced courgettes, onions, garlic – it’s a very fluid dish – so just go with the flow!