When I was a little girl we used to have something my family called a Doctor Who tea! It was the only time we were allowed to eat in the living room with a plate on our laps so we could watch Doctor Who!
It consisted for freshly baked bread (sliced thickly with butter) various cheeses and pickles and a big jug of Celery. It was the Celery I remember more than anything as it always seemed very crisp and crunchy and we were allowed to put a little salt on it for taste. Now I use Celery all the time in cooking and find it gives another slight change to flavouring soups, curries and stews. Of course the lack of calories is a big bonus in any recipe I try these days!
Celery and Radish Coleslaw
1 large carrot
4 sticks celery
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp natural yoghurt
Coarsely grate the radishes and carrot, then finely slice the shallots and celery. Mix together the white wine vinegar, mayonnaise and yoghurt and season. Add to the vegetables and combine well until everything is coated.
Celery, Avocado and Walnut Salad
4 rashers of smoked bacon
4 sticks of celery, cut into strips lengthways 4cm x ½ cm
2 avocados skinned and diced
40g chopped walnuts
4 spring onions cut into strips
Juice of 1 lemon
Portions of mixed leaf salad
Grill the bacon on a wire rack so the fat can escape and the bacon crisps up. Cut the bacon into strips. Mix the celery, avocado, walnuts and spring onions together in a bowl with the lemon juice. Fold in the mayonnaise to bind the salad together. Arrange the salad leaves on plates and spoon the celery mixture into the centre. Garnish with the crispy bacon.
Tuna Steaks with Sweet and Sour Celery
4 fresh tuna steaks
2 celery hearts, rinsed and chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp capers
4 tsp unrefined sugar
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onion and cook for 3-4 mins. Add the chopped celery and cook for a further 3-4 mins until beginning to soften. Stir in the tomatoes and cook over a medium heat until the tomatoes become pulpy. Add the capers, sugar and vinegar. Turn up the heat and cook until the vinegar has evaporated. Set aside. Heat a griddle and brush the tuna with a little oil and season. Place the tuna in the hot pan and cook for about 3 minutes on each side. (1 min each side for rare, 4 mins each side for well done). Serve the fish topped with the celery mixture and scatter over chopped parsley. Season to taste.
Celery Rosti with Poached Egg
4 sticks of celery cut into very fine strips 3cm
1 bunch of coriander, chopped
1 large potato, peeled and grated
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Sweet chilli sauce
½ tsp chilli powder
Olive oil for frying
4 slices of goats cheese 1cm thick
Dash of vinegar
Preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF/Gas 7. Mix the celery, coriander and grated potato together. Season and add a few drops of chilli sauce and the chilli powder. Divide the mixture into 4 and shape into patties. Fry in the oil in a shallow pan turning over once they have set to lightly brown on both sides (about 5-6 minutes). Transfer the rosti to a lightly oiled baking tray and place in the oven for 15 minutes to finish off the cooking. Place a slice of cheese on top of each rosti and put under a hot grill until lightly browned. Meanwhile poach the eggs in deep simmering water with a little vinegar for 3-4 minutes. Place the rosti on plates, add the poached egg on top and drizzle with the chilli sauce. Serve with a green salad and baby new potatoes.
Celery and Potato Soup
5 celery sticks, chopped, leaves reserved
100g potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 leek, trimmed and sliced
700ml vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
300ml semi-skimmed milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
To serve – 50g Stilton, crumbled (optional)
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat. Add the celery, potatoes and leeks and cook gently for 5 minutes. Pour the stock into the pan and add the bay leaf. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender. Remove the bay leaf. Cool slightly. Using a draining spoon, lift out the vegetables and put them into a blender or food processor with some of the liquid. Whizz to a purée. Return the purée to the pan with the rest of the liquid, add the milk and heat gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into warm bowls and grind a little more pepper over the top. Scatter over the chopped celery leaves to garnish and add some crumbled Stilton, if liked.