Maninas is hosting a competition this month based on cooking with your favourite ingredient. The prize (actually, prizes as there are five of them) is a copy of Marcus Waring’s “One Perfect Ingredient“. After putting up yet another shelf in my kitchen, I promised Dad that I would not buy any more cookbooks unless I got rid of one first. But if I win a cookbook… Well, I don’t think that would count! Do you? No? Good. So here’s my entry…
Beloved by Popeye, despised by young children: spinach is most definitely one of my most treasured ingredients and I am never without it. Last year when I attempted to grow food for the first time, spinach was the first crop to peek it’s leafy little head out of the ground. Later in the summer, when my beans had failed and my roots were attacked by the evil carrot fly, the spinach was growing so well I began bagging and freezing bunches to see me through winter.
Not only is spinach a faithful crop, it is also ridiculously good for us and very versitile. High in vitamins A, K, C and B, spinach features almost daily in my salads, soups, curries and side dishes. The following is currently my favourite way of eating spinach. Light and tasty, this dish keeps well for up to five days and makes a perfect packed lunch.
Bulgar with Spinach
1 cup bulgar
2 cups light stock
1 tblspn cumin
1 tspn fennel seeds, crushed
1 red onion
2 – 3 handfuls fresh baby spinach
50 g raisins
50 g walnuts (bashed)
Handful of parsley
Handful of mint
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Add the bulgar, cumin and stock to a pan. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and cover. Let simmer for 10 – 15 mins until the bulgar has absorbed all of the stock. Cool then fluff up with a fork.
In a large bowl mix the bulgar, spinach, fennel, onion, sultanas, walnuts, parsley and mint.
Add half the lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil and seasoning. Combine gently and have a nibble. Add extra seasoning, lemon juice or oil to taste.