Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten

Superfoods from the Garden

My newest book will be in the shops from March 2011 and you can order it now!

Superfoods from the Garden by Michael van Straten is published by CICO Books at £14.99, and available from all good bookshops.

Or call 01256 302699 quoting GLR5IP to purchase a copy at the special price of £12.99 (including free p&p UK only)

View Michael’s book online:

Some Recipes From My New Book

Filo Cauliflower Tart With Red Onion And Maple Syrup

It may sound just a little bizarre to add maple syrup to cauliflower, onion and goats’ cheese, then bake them all together in a filo pastry tart, well I suppose it is. But this recipe from one of my elderly neighbours, here in deepest rural France actually came from her daughter. She lives in Canada now and enjoys the fusion of traditional French cooking with the flavours of her New World.

This is simple, very tasty and takes no more than 40 minutes from start to eating.

Use a deep flan tin or dish, 24 cms, 9.5 inches diameter

Preheat the oven to 220°C, 425°F, gas mark 7

400 g 14 oz trimmed cauliflower
4 sheets of ready made filo pastry
4 flat, round goat’s cheeses
2 red onions
60ml/4 tbs maple syrup
extra virgin olive oil
salt and fresh ground black pepper

Oil the sheets of filo one at a time
Place in a deep baking dish on top of each other, leaving the corners standing up.
Cut the cauliflower into small floret’s and cook in salted, boiling water for ten minutes, drain and cool a little.
Cut the cheeses into thin, round slices and cover the pastry with them
Sprinkle with half the finely sliced onions
Cover with the cauliflower, add the rest of the onions and season
Drizzle the maple syrup over the top
Put in hot oven for 15 minutes or till the tart starts to brown

Although cauliflower doesn’t contain chlorophyll, unless you eat some of the tender protective green leaves, it’s an exceptionally healthy vegetable. It’s rich in cancer protective glucosinilates, anti-bacterial sulphur compounds and sulforaphane, a chemical released when the plant is chopped or chewed. This stimulates the liver to produce enzymes, which kill of colon cancer cells and may even help prevent the spread of breast cancer cells. An average portion provides a day’s dose of vitamin C and substantial amounts of folic acid, fibre and vitamin B6, as well as a good supply of other vitamins and minerals.

Lamb Parmentier

This is a delicious healthy take on the traditional shepherd’s pie. You may think the picture looks more like a pudding with cream on top, but I was captivated by this dish when it was served to me in a tiny bistro opposite the great food market in the beautiful French city of Tours. This restaurant built its reputation on the imaginative use of the freshest possible ingredients gathered from the market first thing each morning.

110g/4oz slightly salted butter
500g/18oz potatoes, steamed or boiled and mashed to a smooth puree with 50g/2oz butter, 30ml/1fl oz cream and two twists of nutmeg. Keep hot
2 medium carrots, peeled and cubed
2 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed and finely chopped
2 medium shallots, peeled and finely chopped
600g/1.25lbs minced lean lamb
15ml/1tbspn tomato puree
75g/3oz fresh or frozen peas
1 bouquet garni – make your own by tying thyme, rosemary and bay leaves together with a piece of string.
125ml/4fl oz red wine
125ml/4fl oz vegetable stock
Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6
Put 55g/2oz of the butter into a frying pan with the carrots, garlic and shallot. Cook gently for about 5 mins until the vegetables are soft but not brown
Add the lamb, tomato puree, peas, bouquet garni and sauté, stirring constantly, for another 5 mins
Pour in the red wine and vegetable stock, stir well, simmer and leave to reduce for 15 mins. Remove the bouquet garni.
Divide the lamb between four glass preserving jars. Top with the potato and put into the oven to heat through – about 10mins
If you want to be more traditional, put the meat into an oven-proof dish, cover with the potato and put into the pre-heated oven for 20 mins.
This meal provides masses of protein for growth, strength and repair; carbohydrate for energy; cancer, eye and skin protective beta carotenes and cholesterol reduction from the shallots.

Smoked Salmon With Lentils Onions And Carrots

Our local fishmonger is just fantastic and the shop is always full of customers, especially on Sunday mornings when they come to collect their orders of oysters, crab, lobster, prawns, langoustines, tiny brown shrimps, scallops and giant whelks; all beautifully arranged on a bed of ice. People come from far and wide and queue patiently half way down the street.

He also smokes his own salmon, kippers, bloaters, sprats, eels and haddock, done without the synthetic colours and with the least possible amount of salt. His wife gave me this recipe and it works just as well with all the smoked fish except the haddock.

Here you have the best source of omega 3 fatty acids, some vitamin D that you must have to absorb calcium and build strong bones; a whole day’s fibre and folic acid, as well as large quantities of iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese. In addition there is more than enough protein for a super active day.

250g/9oz green Puy lentils, well washed and drained
1 large carrot, peeled and cubed
I large red onion, chopped
4 slices of smoked salmon, organic if possible
25g/1oz unsalted butter
1 bouquet garni
125ml/4oz low fat natural yoghurt
15ml/1tbs balsamic vinegar
400ml/14fl oz vegetable stock, home made if you can
30ml/2tbs rapeseed oil, non GM
A small bunch of chives
Coarse sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Put the butter and the oil in a thick bottomed saucepan and melt on a low heat
Sweat the onions and carrots in the pan until soft but not brown – about 10 minutes
Add the lentils, stir well to coat and cook for another 10 minutes
Pour in enough stock to just cover and let them simmer for 20 minutes
Add the bouquet garni, a pinch of salt and plenty of pepper
Simmer for a further 15 minutes or until the lentils are just cooked
Strain and leave to cool, covered
Whisk the vinegar and yoghurt in a bowl and lightly season

To serve; arrange the lentils on an oval platter, pour on the yoghurt, place the rolled slices of salmon on top and decorate with the chives.

Upside Down Cake Of Rice, Meat, Veg & Fried Egg

Well, it may sound bizarre, but don’t mock it till you’ve tried it. This is a genuine “Sorlin” recipe from the landlord of the pub that used to be at the bottom of my garden in Buckinghamshire.

Most days there was a Sorlin pie, casserole, soup or, in this case, a Sorlin Surprise on his menu. The unwary stranger would look puzzled and ask what these dishes were; “it’s all in there, chum” came the reply describing these wonderful left over recipes.

And the nutrients are all in here too.

6000g/20oz cooked rice
2 small steaks, cut in slivers
2 chicken breasts, cut in slivers
2 turnips
2 carrots
½ a white cabbage
a few red lettuce leaves
1 large red onion
6 mushrooms
4 free range eggs
4 sprigs of fresh coriander
a pinch of powdered ginger
30ml/2tbspns light soy sauce
45ml/3tbspns peanut oil

This looks like a lot of work and hours of time, but believe me it is easy and in well under an hour you will serve up a real surprise dish for four hungry people.

Apart from being a treasure chest of immune and body building nutrients, it has significant amounts of nearly all the essentials.

Peel the turnips and carrots, wipe the mushrooms
Cut them all into sticks
Finely chop the cabbage, onion, lettuce and coriander
Heat a large wok with some of the oil
Brown the meat and remove from wok
Add all the vegetables and ginger and some more oil and stir fry for about ten minutes
Add back the meat and the soy sauce to heat through
Oil four bowls and fill to about 1/3 with the mixture
Cover with the rice, tapping it all firmly down
Whilst the eggs are frying, cover each bowl with a plate, tip upside down and shake gently to free the contents
Put one egg on top of the pyramid and serve.

It is easier if you four bowls the same size. Pyrex or white mixing bowls work well, though I have some soup bowls that are just the right size.


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