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Goats’ Cheese Cabbage “Puddings” with Red Onion Marmalade

In Tescos I saw some small metal pudding basins the sort you would see used in chipshops for those “Hollands” mini steak and kidney puddings. I also had been wondering what to do with the Savoy cabbage that was sat at home and needed eating for dinner today. I’ve done stuffed cabbage leaves before, so the idea of cabbage puddings came into my head. The fact you’re reading this means they worked, but I had no idea before I started whether it would just turn into a squidgy mess or not.

The cheese used is “Capricorn” a soft white goats’ cheese that has a similar texture and ripening pattern to Brie. They come in small rounds about 7cm diameter and 7cm high. They don’t taste overly “goaty” but they are more interesting than Brie. You can, of course, use any similar cheese you like.

You could use large ramekins instead of the pudding basins.

You will need for 4:

Ingredients

4 small (8cm across) pudding basins and 4 similarly sized ramekins.
1 medium Savoy cabbage (actually any cabbage would do, but you need some large outer leaves)
1 round soft cheese, “Capricorn”
Red or Green Pesto
Mint jelly (or any good conserve, like blackcurrant with whole fruits in)
4 eggs
Caraway seeds (optional, but I like it in cabbage dishes).
4 red onions
Honey
Olive oil for frying

Goats Cheese Cabbage Puddings and Red Onion Marmalade

Method

Put the plates in the oven to warm at 100C. This dish is served on the plates and if they aren’t hot the food will get cold whilst you are arranging it.
Peel the onions and take a 1 cm slice from the centre of each of them and set aside.
Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a very heavy pan. Don’t let the oil get too hot.
Coarsely chop the rest of the onions and put in the hot oil, stirring to make sure they are completely covered in oil and set on a very low heat. The onions should be translucent by the end NOT brown.
Take eight of the large outside leaves from the cabbage. Cut out the central stem from each and lay flat in a stack in a large pan or steamer.
Boil water in a kettle and blanche the leaves by pouring the boiling water over them and then bring the water to the boil and let the leaves simmer for 6-10 minutes. They should be soft enough to fold without resisting but not so they fall apart.
Remove the leaves from the pan and set aside to cool.
Slice the remaining cabbage into 4 thick slices. Sprinkle a few caraway seeds over each slice and place in the pan you had been cooking the leaves in, add more water if necessary, and cook until tender.
Steam the 4 onion slices (I just put them on top of the cabbage for 5-10 minutes) so they are softened.
Get a lidded pan (I used a frying pan) that is big enough to stand the 4 ramekins together.
In each ramekin, put 1 tablespoon of oil and place in the pan. Fill the pan with water up to halfway up the ramekins. Boil the water and then break an egg into each ramekin. Reduce the heat to simmer and put the lid on the pan. Poach the eggs until they are just set (they are going to get cooked some more, so don’t overdo it at this stage).
Cut the cheese lengthways so you have four disks.
Put a teaspoon of oil into each basin and make sure the bottom and sides are covered.

To assemble the puddings, put a round of cheese onto the middle of one of the cabbage leaves. Push the cheese and leaf into one of the dishes so the leaf lines the dish. Put 2 teaspoons of pesto and one of jelly onto the top of the cheese. With a spoon, lift a set egg from its ramekin and place on top of the pesto to form a lid for the dish – you will need to ease it in so the cabbage leaf stays round the side of the dish and doesn’t go under the egg. Then cover with another cabbage leaf, feeding the edges into the side of the dish to seal it.

When you have repeated this for all four dishes, return them to the frying pan, add more water if necessary and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
Whilst these are simmering, add a tablespoon of honey to the red onions and stir in well. These should turn to a thick, marmalade within 2-3 minutes, so be careful not to burn at this point.
Finally to assemble the dish, take one of the hot plates, place a thick slice of cabbage in the centre, add one of the onion slices, then turn out one of the puddings and place on top. Finally garnish with the onion marmalade and perhaps some slices of tomato or whatever you fancy.

Note, to turn out the pudding, use a fish-slice. Put the fishslice over the pudding basin, then turn the pudding basin and the fishslice over so the fishslice is now underneath and place on a firm surface. Tap the bottom of the basin a few times. Lift the basin over the plate keeping the fishslice underneath and when in position slide the slice out from underneath and hopefully the pudding will slip out of the basin cleanly without breaking.

Dave Wardell

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