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My Vegetable Love

Posted by Nigella on the 13th January 2012

I love a bit of companionable cooking and I've had a lot of it this week. Yesterday, my Brazilian friend (and the best cook I know) Helio came round with a ridiculously beautiful bouquet of vegetables, and we set to dismantling the ravishing still life together. I did tweet the pic of it all in its glory but I can't stop myself from showing it here.

My Vegetable Love
Romanesco, pumpkin, artichokes, aubergines, red onions, basil and tardivo.

From the back, there's Romanesco (a venerable proto cauli-broccoli), pumpkin, artichokes, aubergines, red onions, basil and a particular favourite of mine, tardivo. Tardivo is a version of treviso, which itself is a version of radicchio. I get tardivo (and treviso) from my greengrocer's but I wish they were more widely available as I happen to love both much more than the round radicchio.

Aubergine with some Rosemary
Aubergine, rosemary and red onions.

We cooked the aubergine with some rosemary from the garden and the red onions, and the tardivo (which I normally eat as salad) with some pancetta cubes and I made Helio show me how exactly to prepare the artichokes. That's to say, I knew how in theory, but have always been slightly frightened of doing so.

So - under instruction - I pulled off the hard leaves, trimmed and peeled the stems and, using a latte spoon (all I had to hand) dug out the 'hay' from the centre of this flower-bud of a vegetable.

Stuffed Artichokes
Stuffed Artichokes

Helio then took over and stuffed them with a mixture of cheese, breadcrumbs, pepper and tomato. And after they were baked in foil in the oven, I took over and promptly ate them!