Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Ornamental Health (1)


Play with that word for a moment. 

Look at the letters. Awkward isn't it. Your eyes don’t know where to go. Up, around, back, down, a nauseating visual experience. 

Now say it, “cabbage”. Your mouth doesn't know whether to open or close and, gosh, you can almost smell your own bad breath.

Now picture it. Raw, a bowling ball that you aren’t going to risk your back for by transporting home from the grocer. Cooked, well it's just a slimy translucent green mess.

And what’s that? Your nose has disowned you?

My friend Sarah, of CSI Cymru fame, explained to me that her favourite flower is an ornamental cabbage. ‘You’re having a laugh’ I thought alongside visions of ceramic painted cabbages. ‘What on earth is an ornamental cabbage?’ I perhaps a little too scornfully enquired.

Well, apparently it's a cabbage that looks like a flower. Like this:

I'm stunned!

And then came the heart-breaking story. Sarah’s favourite florist told her that people come into the shop, are wowed by them but don’t buy them. Why? Oh yes, because it’s a cabbage. To me this is like a Yorkshireman turning down a date with a gorgeous Lancastrian simply because they are from the (alleged) wrong side of the Pennines.

And further, how many of us actually regularly eat cabbage? Further still, how many of us grow it?

Last month, I sought the help from friend and cook extraordinaire Ruth in order to feed my family at Christmas. Together we came up with a blog, so that she could help me learn and I could show her my efforts.

One of her first recipes was braised cabbage. Now, I confess I was like a sceptical Yorkshireman at first (I’ve done time in Sheffield, maybe it rubbed off – actually I loved Sheffield but that’s another story for another day)

If I tell you that the first scent that hit my parents on arriving on Christmas day was braised cabbage and they thought it wonderful, well that’s down to Ruth and my ability to follow a recipe.

Red cabbage is amazing. Stunning to look at, and with the right partners, care and attention so tasty. Hell, it’s the best bit of a kebab salad too.

So Ruth and I are going to work in partnership in aid of the cabbage and other vegetables. My hard work in the garden will be supported by her magic in the kitchen. To whet your appetite here's the link to her braised cabbage recipe and with more to follow

1 comment:

linniew said...

Ok then. I have secured the recipe. I grow cabbages (easier than sunflowers it turns out) but always have chopped them as salad. However, based upon YOUR review I will try this recipe. It does have lots of lovely ingredients, which usually works out to a good thing...Thanks for the pending adventure!

The Hapless Kitchen Gardener

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I only feel hapless because some people make it look easy to grow 10 ft marrows or a banquet of greens whereas my courgettes got nabbed by killer slugs and I only got one raspberry. So tips and stories from people less hapless than I are more than welcome. As a disclaimer though, none of my comments should be taken as expert advice on which you can rely! © Unless stated otherwise, and with the exception of guest content where that guest retains copyright, all photos and posts are the copyright of Tom Carpen and may not be used without permission.