Your next food: Smashing spinach

Smashing spinach

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Spinach is one of the healthiest things you could eat! It’s bursting with green goodness. Now it’s not much to look at really – like a leaf but it tastes much better than we imagine the average leaf from a tree would! And definitely healthier: according to Wikipedia spinach has the following good stuff in it: vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, folate, betaine, iron, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids) it’s practically a multi-vitamin in a leaf!

You can eat spinach raw or cooked and you’ll find both baby spinach and normal spinach in the shops – the difference? Nope, baby spinach isn’t only for babies, it just means the leaves are smaller because they haven’t grown so much yet.

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Spinach is sold in the vegetables section of the supermarket in quite large bags…you might well wonder how you’ll fit such a huge amount into your meal…which brings us to..

THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING SPINACH ACT!

There’s a funny thing that happens to spinach when you cook it. It’s a bit like magic really.

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Your pan can end up looking full like this but don’t worry, the leaves do what’s called wilting – they shrivel up and go MUCH SMALLER (huh why have we gone bigger with our words there then!?)

Remember that you will gain another FAB FUN FOOD CLUB point for trying spinach (our fourth food!) Have you got your mum and dad to make you a reward chart for all this yet? If not, you could make one yourself!

What is it used for?

Sometimes spinach is served as a vegetable, pretty much on its own or maybe creamed (with cream added to it) with a main meal. Other times it’s used as an ingredient in all sorts of dishes. It’s very popular in Italian cooking, but also in Asian meals too.

OK ready to try it? Here are your ideas and recipes for food 4: spinach

OUR OWN HOMEMADE SPINACH AND BROCCOLI SOUP (serves three to four)

Ingredients:

1 onion

2 cloves garlic

a splodge of olive oil (about two tablespoons if you want to measure it)

500g of broccoli chopped into chunks/ florets

250g spinach

1.25 litres of veg stock (we use stock cubes)

A dash of cream or creme fraiche for each bowl at the end

Chop the onion into smallish pieces. Add to a large pan and fry over a medium heat for about five minutes until soft but not browned. Add the garlic and fry for another minute, then throw in the chopped up broccoli and pour in the stock.  Simmer all this for about 10 minutes then add the spinach too (it’ll probably fill the pan!). Simmer for a further five to 10 minutes – you want the broccoli to be tender if you prod it with a fork. Then use a blender to smooth it down. We use a stick type blender in the pan as this saves on the washing up and potential spillages with transferring the soup from the pan to a proper blender jug!

Serve in warm bowls adding about a good splodge of cream or creme fraiche to each bowl – diners can stir this in to make their soup creamy.

RICEY SPINACH (AND MUSHROOM) RISOTTO

Risottos are brilliant for mid-week family dinners. Once your grown-ups get used to cooking them, they can start experimenting with what they ‘chuck’ in too. Spinach is a real winner here:

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3245/mushroom-and-spinach-risotto

SUPERBLY SPINACHY (AND CHEESY) LASAGNA

http://www.riverford.co.uk/feed/in:recipes/spinach-mushroom-lasagne/

Remember nothing ventured nothing gained is our motto at FFF. If you don’t like it, you won’t have lost anything.

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