The plan was to use Lincolnshire spinach (Good King Henry) in this recipe by ShopCookMake for Vegan Potato & Spinach Balls. But I didn't have enough leaves in the backyard and found it had mostly died back at the more exposed allotment. Shame really - I was quite looking forward to tweeting about Good King Henry's Potato Balls!
So I decided to use perennial sea beet instead. It's a good opportunity to show a photo of the true sea beet I'm growing now:
|Sea beet Beta vulgaris maritima|
rather than the imposter I was inadvertently growing in 2013 (and blogged about here):
|Probably leaf beet Beta vulgaris cicla|
This came to me as seed from a seed company labelled as Beta vulgaris maritima but the young plants looked rather like leaf beet (perpetual spinach). I thought that perhaps the plants would develop the almost leathery texture of sea beet leaves as they got older and initially I sold a few young plants as sea beet. When I had a chance to collect some wild seed myself and grow it out the difference was clear; the new seedlings were stouter individuals with thicker leaves from the start. Either the original seed was from leaf beet or perhaps from a sea beet plant which had crossed with leaf beet. (If you were an unfortunate recipient of an untrue sea beet plant, probably in late 2012 or early 2013, please get in touch so I can send you a replacement).
The baked sea beet and potato balls were quick to make following the method and quantities in the original recipe.
|Sea beet leaves|
I just cooked the chopped sea beet with chopped garlic in a little white wine and combined them with the mashed potato, herbs and cumin before forming them easily into balls.
|In the making...|
(I added some sorrel leaves for a lemony touch to mine and plenty of salt and pepper.) They were baked on a greased tray for fifteen minutes in a hot oven.
They tasted just as you would expect - flavoursome spinachy balls of mashed potato! I think some toasted cumin seed would have made them more special but they went down very well all the same - Stew had six!