Tuesday, 26 June 2012

A nice bit of cabbage

  • 1 savoy cabbage
  • chillies
  • spring onions
I have only recently discovered the joys of cabbage.

I really didn't like it much for a very long time.  I suspect it was all that coleslaw that was eaten in Australia in the 70's, drenched in dressing from a jar and as an accompaniment to overcooked meat from the BBQ.  It  was enough to put anyone off not only cabbage and BBQed meat, but  tongs, summer, swimming and family outings (and lawn mowers... but that's a long story!).

 I am sure there are many of you that remember that era, do you remember the burnt-to-a crisp steak, so tough your teeth couldn't cut thru it? The greasy lamb chops and the fat, pale, insipid pork sausages with no texture at all?  The days when WASP Aussies complained about the smell of garlic and the taste of coriander? When the only ginger you could buy was pickled and came in a jar from somewhere in Queensland?

About the only good thing to come from that era is the shandy (a beer and lemonade mix that was only drunk by women) and the pavlova! I still like a shandy when it is very very hot.

I am sure that whole eating experience started me on my path of making my own dressings and mayonnaise. I can't remember the last time I ever bought a jar of those terribly expensive concoctions. It also made me a vegetarian for a long time until trimmed meat turned up in the butcher shops and sausages went gourmet and continental...how the world has changed. Thank goodness!

Back to the point... learning to enjoy cabbage.

I think my like of cabbage began with trips to China. I discovered that there were different types of cabbage ( fancy that! And other ways to eat them other than dripping with dressing!).

Mild ones, ones with softer leaves, ones that are almost white, ones that are long rather than round.  I was keen to avoid ANY cabbage that remotely resembled the hard soccer ball like, strong flavoured cabbages of the family BBQ coleslaw youth and so sampled these Chinese cabbages in dumplings and in stir fries with chilli, spring onions and smoked pork and in northern China from Korean restaurants and road side stalls - yep, you guessed it - kim chi! (Does anyone have a recipe for kim chi by the way? And what cabbage do you use for it?)

I don't grow Chinese cabbages (yet) but I do grow savoys which are not soccer ball hard and which have softer flavours and softer leaves like the Chinese ones. One of my fav things to do with my home grown cabbages is a very simple dish which approximates a dish I had in China, best of all, it has loads of home grown produce.

Cabbage, bacon and chilli stir fry (*from the garden)
3 cloves garlic*
1 long cayenne chilli*
3 spring onions*
2 rashes of bacon
1 savoy cabbage* ( not a very big one)
olive oil
sesame oil
light soy

Chop garlic, chilli, spring onions and bacon finely.  Place in the work and fry the herbs in the oil that comes off the bacon. When bacon is  cooked and oil hot, add a small amount of sesame oil and some olive oil if you need a little more. Add cut cabbage and stir fry. At the end add a splash of soy sauce and serve.


  1. I love cabbage too!:)

  2. I have to admit a liking for sausages in bread with coleslaw but I am with you on being vegetarian while fat remained on the meat in butchers shops - or worse still my dads badly hung home slaugthered lambs - ick...

  3. I love the idea that the only good things to come out of that era (which you describe so well...and yes, I remember the exact things you mention) are the shandy and pavlova! That's great. I love this post - do you mind if I put a link to it on my blog?

    1. Oh thanks so much Lanie! I was worried I might have sounded a little to cynical. But I am glad you recognized the era (or at least I have shared sympathy for you!). PLEASE DO put a link to it on your blog, I'd be honoured!

  4. I use wombok for kimchi. My recipe comes from 'Wild Fermentation', but it was too salty for my tastes. http://500m2.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/home-grown-kimchi/



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