Friday, 18 July 2014

Rocketing to Arugula

In my mind the salad herb rocket, or arugula in the US, is a far superior inclusion to the annual produce garden than most lettuce varieties. Love it's complex peppery flavour and it's versatility, it's pretty flower and it's nutricious seeds.

Rocket is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Zinc and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Manganese. It has a good balanced Omega 3 to omega 6 ratio and a zero glycemic index.

Rocket Flower
Rocket can stimulate the body's detoxifying processes as well as stimulate healthy appetite and digestion and will often help with dyspepsia. It can be an effective source of vitamin C and help prevent scurvy as well as being a source of antioxidents.

The seed can be pressed to produce an oil called taramira or jumba oil which upon aging to reduce it's acridity can be used for cooking, dressings, preserving and massage and the pressed seed mass is used as a nutritious animal feed. This oil as been traditionally used for gum pain relief, digestive and diuretic needs. However a side effect sometimes noticed is it's aphrodisiac qualities. Taken in moderation only as the seeds can irritate the thyroid, have an emetic effect and cause some digestive distress.


Rocket, caramelised pear and walnut salad with blue cheese 

Variation with pine nuts

1 large bunch of fresh rocket
2 not quite ripe pears cut into segments
1 table spoon of butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 shot of mead
1/3 cup walnuts
200gm crumbly blue cheese
1/3 cup walnuts chopped (additional)

1 tablespoon bush honey
2 tablespoons vine cotta vinegar
4 tablespoons cold pressed virgin olive oil

caramelising the pear
Melt your butter and brown sugar in a heavy based pan, simmer gently until a caramel forms and add your pear segments and mead, coat well and gently cook your pear until tender.
Turn off the heat and add your walnuts and coat in the hot caramel and allow to cool.
wash and dry your rocket and place on a serving platter, artfully place your pear, walnuts and bluecheese all over the rocket.

Place your dressing ingredients in a glass jar and shake until well mixed and drizzel over your salad
top with raw chopped nuts and serve.

Rocket, Pear and Goat's Cheese Salad

Rocket, Pear and Goat's Cheese Salad

2 pears, sliced (choose a crisp variety)
100gm soft goats cheese
2 handfuls baby rocket leaves
1 teaspoon tomato relish
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Arrange the pear, rocket and cheese for serving
place the relish, oil and seasonings in a jar and shake and pour onto the salad.
Additional fresly ground pepper to serve.

Rocket Pesto 

Rocket Pesto

large bunch of garden fresh rocket
large handful of grated parmesan 
1/2 cup roasted cashews
1/3 cup of cold pressed virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice (mandarin juice is quite tasty too)
salt & pepper to taste

blend the rocket, oil, cashews & juice together mix in the parmesan and season.

Rocket Pesto Linguini
Pasta with Rocket carbonara

Enjoy with pasta, salad, hot and cold meats. 

Using petals as a garnish
rocket petal garnish for
buttered parsnip mash

I love using the whole of the plant where possible and to this end the delicate petals have found their way into our menu as a garnish. A touch of elegance and gentle harmony is never out of place.

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