Vegetables are on everyone’s minds at this time of year - as most of us try to make a fresh, healthier beginning.
Luke French, executive head chef at Sheffield’s The Milestone Group, wants to shine a light on how green produce can be so much more than a side dish to a meaty main.
His charred hispi cabbage with almond pesto and smoked bacon features in the restaurant group’s latest book - called Blood, Sweat and Beers - and has the sweeter, pointy vegetable at its heart.
“We would like to share this recipe as it showcases our love for vegetables, how they are so interesting and can be the showcase to a dish”, said Luke.
“Hispi cabbage is bang in season and at its best right now.
“ This recipe just highlights a way to created a luxury dish from a very humble and cheap cabbage.
“ The hispi costs about 70 pence in the shops at the moment and the pancetta slices can be substituted for bacon if needs be.”
Blood, Sweat and Beers was released to celebrate a decade in business for the group.
It features dishes from the original venue in Kelham Island, which grew from an industrial shell to gastro pub to being crowned Britain’s best restaurant by fiery chef Gordon Ramsay.
And there are also dishes from sister venues The Wig and Pen on Campo Lane in the city centre, as well as pizza and beer eatery Craft and Dough, which has a site in Kelham Island and another in the former Fancie venue on Ecclesall Road.
Fans can try their hand at dishes directly from the kitchens of the four restaurants, and as diverse as apple and pork sausage roll with Bloody Mary ketchup to duck hearts, celeriac, Yorkshire blue and port.
There are also cocktails and desserts, such as the famed sticky toffee pudding that sparked complaints when it was temporarily removed from the menu. There is an overall emphasis on using home-grown ingredients such as those in the restaurant allotments, or locally sourced ones.
Luke said: “The title comes from our journey.
“The past ten years have taken blood, sweat and beers to create The Milestone Group. We have loved every minute, but like life it has its highs and lows, which take grit and determination to keep going and at the end of the day a cold beer.
“We wanted our decade in cooking to be a celebration year and sharing our recipes, thoughts, photos and secrets is a great way to thank our guests over the last ten years.”
Blood, Sweat & Beers costs £15 and is available from the group’s venues.
Recipe by Luke French - Charred hispi cabbage
1 Hispi cabbage, quartered
1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
50g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
50g flaked almonds, toasted
50ml extra virgin olive oil
15ml lemon juice
10g caster sugar
Vegetable oil for frying
Place all of the ingredients except the salt, cabbage and pancetta in a food processor and blend until a course textured pesto is achieved, season with salt to taste and set aside.
Place the pancetta slices on a heavy baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper, then cook in the oven at 180°c until golden and crispy.
Finally drain off the excess fat on kitchen paper and leave the slices to cool.
Heat a large non-stick frying pan and add a little vegetable oil, then place the cabbage hearts flat side down and caramelise heavily on both sides.
Remove the cabbage hearts from the pan and place on a tray .
Spoon over the almond pesto, then break up the crispy pancetta and sprinkle it on top of the pesto.