25 January 2016

Are chard roots edible? (and are they worth eating?)

At the weekend, I was clearing some old chard plants from a bed, and was surprised by quite how large their roots were. Some of them were the size of a large carrot. It got me wondering, are they edible? And if so, are they worth eating? The edibility question is easily answered. Chard is a close relative of the beetroot, and they share a common ancestor. From this common ancestor, our forefathers developed two strains, beetroot primarily for its sweet roots, and chard for its tasty leaves. Chard has a biennial life cycle, and in its first year mainly puts on green growth. When it overwinters, some of its leaves die back, and the plant develops a large root in which it stores energy, from which to put forth a flower stalk the following spring. Chard's closeness to beetroot means that this root clearly can be eaten, which leaves the second question, is it worth it?

Chard roots

4 January 2016

Braised duck with peas

Braised duck with peas is something of a French classic, and is what we enjoyed for Christmas dinner chez Room for a Radish. Although fresh peas are in season in summer, the dish works equally well with frozen peas, and in many ways seems more suited to cold winter evenings than the summer. I take the legs off the duck and confit them - partly because I find the legs a bit dull braised, but mostly because I love confit duck. If you are in a hurry you can miss out the confiting. Depending on how many people you are feeding, you can either eat the confit legs with the rest of the duck, or save them for another day. The recipe uses a fairly large duck, and should feed four or five people, but if you have fewer diners simply purchase a smaller duck. The recipe also works nicely with mallard.

Braised duck with peas