Fresh tastes in April’s kitchen

I’ve just picked the first of the purple sprouting broccoli that’s been growing for so long over the winter – but it was certainly worth the wait!

Purple sprouting broccoli is best cooked quickly, either steaming or boiling for just a few minutes. If the stems are thick then slice diagonally across the stem – perfect for stir fries.

Brassicas - Broccoli - slit stems for even cooking

It also makes a lovely soup quickly made with onion, garlic and stock – try adding some soft blue cheese before serving.

When you’re cooking purple sprouting broccoli look for stems that are fresh, firm and healthy, avoiding wrinkled and dry stems and yellowing florets

It will keep in the fridge for a couple of days and if you have a glut then it will freeze but is best eaten fresh.


Purple Sprouting Broccoli on toast

Seves 2 Takes about 15 minutes

This is a quick, easy dish that can be served as a light lunch or supper. I use ciabatta bread for the toast as it’s got a firm crusty base that holds in all the delicious juices!

Large knob of butter

2 Glugs of olive oil

150g purple sprouting broccoli

1 clove garlic, crushed

Approx 12 button mushrooms or 6 mushrooms thickly sliced

Salt and pepper

1 small ciabatta loaf

150g dolcelatte cheese (or a soft creamy blue cheese)

  • Slice the ciabatta loaf in half lengthways and brush the top with a good glug of olive oil. Preheat the grill and pop the bread under. Grill on medium /high until lightly toasted on top. Turn and grill lightly underneath.
  • If the broccoli is thick stemmed slice it in half through the stalk. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add the broccoli. Simmer for about 3-4 minutes until just tender. Drain and keep warm.
  • Melt the butter in a frying pan and sauté the mushrooms. Add the garlic and season well with salt and pepper. Cook until the mushrooms start to release their garlicky juices then add in the purple sprouting broccoli and stir to reheat.
  • Share the broccoli and mushrooms between the ciabatta toasts, piling the mixture fairly high. Pour over any juices left in the pan. Break up the dolcelatte cheese into smallish pieces and place on top of the broccoli. Put under a medium hot grill and heat until the cheese has melted and run down into the broccoli and mushrooms.

Serve immediately and for an extra tasty treat add some smoked bacon  on to the top for an extra flavour.