rainbow chard & lady peas


Last week it was all “heat wave” and “sunshine” and now it’s back to grey skies and threats of rain. Whatever, I’m going with the flow. I’ve got my head in the clouds anyway. Cornelius and I are planning a trip to Europe soon and we’ve been searching all over for the cheapest flights, browsing through travel books, and making lists on “must see” things to do. I’m all open to suggestions, tips, where to eat and stay (all on the uber-cheap, however!) in London, Belgium (Brugge, Brussles, Antwerp), the Netherlands (Amsterdam, Haarlem, Utrecht), Berlin and Lithuania. It’s my first trip to Europe and last week received my passport in the mail. I’m so excited!

I made this meal on Sunday night when it was still hot outside and it made the perfect simple supper. I had come home with some fantastic rainbow chard from a recent grocery haul and I wasn’t sure exactly what to do with it. I figured I could make pasta with greens again, but I was in the mood for rice and came up with this easy meal. Everything tasted so great together and even though the chard was steamed and wilty it still had a great bite. Topped with some feta cheese and parsley snipped from my garden, it was the perfect meal to sit curled up on the couch while dreaming up travel plans.

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26 comments to “rainbow chard & lady peas”

  1. 1
    hag   July 17, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    That looks really good… I don’t really cook with Chard…but I will give it a go!
    What fun, a European Vacation! though I don’t have any specifics…the best thing is to rent an appartment in a city. It is usually cheaper, especially if you are there about a week or more, they have a kitchen [image using local ingredients and creating excellent dishes]and sometimes have laundry facilities…savings there. You can take train day trips to close towns or cities. They are also usually located in cool areas of the city too. Too bad you are not going to Paris…I know of a ‘bijou’ place, that is super cheap. Have Fun!

  2. 2
    Katerina   July 17, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    Fully just snorted. Lady peas indeed. tee hee.

  3. 3
    Joanne   July 17, 2007 at 5:16 pm

    I’ don’t believe I have ever tried swiss chard before, is it anything like rapini? or kale? I love both!

    This dish looks so fresh and lush. I always have chick peas on hand and feta too…so I can certainly make this dish likety split.

    Oh, I never realized this is your first trip to Europe. I’m sure you will have a fantastic time. Enjoy the food!

    You know – one thing I find really fun is to go to a supermarket in the country I am visiting and
    pick up some groceries (local products) like cheeses, breads, cold cuts, various condiments and go to a park, make some sandwiches and have a nice picnic.

    After all “everybody likes sandwiches” – even in Europe :D :D

  4. 4
    Sinny   July 18, 2007 at 2:34 am

    Cheap food suggestions in London:

    First rule, stop converting pound sterling to any other currency. You’d get sick to your stomach and not want to eat anything!

    If you’re looking for budget eats, I’d recommend going to a bookstore and get a copy of “Time Out Cheap Eats” (or just bring post-it notes and a pen). They list a lot of options for cheaper restaurant meals.

    I found that Indian restaurants give a pretty good bang for your buck. Soho Spice, which is on Wardour Street (lots of restaurants there), has a great pre-theatre special of 2 courses for 7 pounds.

    My personal favorite was a chain restaurant called Nando’s. They serve grilled chicken with spicy sauces that is quite yummy.

    For English affairs (say, bangers and mash), your closest pub is the place to go.

    For a quick lunch, Pret has prepackaged gourmet-ish sandwiches to go. It’s great for a picnic on Trafalgar Square on a sunny day.

    And…definitely check out the street markets listed in your guidebook if you have the luxury of a flat with a kitchen.

    I wish I had gone to the other cities that you mentioned. Have fun!

  5. 5
    Patricia Scarpin   July 18, 2007 at 5:51 am

    This is what I call a dish I would eat and ask for seconds without feeling guilty! :)

  6. 6
    Lan   July 18, 2007 at 7:44 am

    I’m in London and have been reading and enjoying your blog for about a year or more.

    If you’re coming to the UK before October, there are university halls of residence in all the major cities, where you can rent rooms with use of kitchens or even small flats very cheaply. I can send you links if you want to e-mail me.

    Re what someone said about sausage and mash. The pubs in central London are generally very touristy and the ‘English’ food is a poor rip off. Look for a gastropub instead – you pay a bit more but the food is much better – eg. Anchor and Hope is in SE1 but still very central. Or look for the S+M chain for great sausages and mash of all description.

    You’ve chosen some fabulous cities there; I love all of them, but my favorite is Vilnius. It’s very cheap still. I recommend the cepellini and kepta duona.

  7. 7
    Sara   July 18, 2007 at 10:36 am

    Oh, I’m so excited for you! Here’s to hoping you’ll blog about your trip.

  8. 8
    kickpleat   July 18, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    hag, give the chard a try! it’s good! thanks for the idea of getting an apartment…we might just do that!

    heehee, katerina :)

    joanne, it’s really good…it’s close to mustard or collard greens. as for europe, we definitely plan on making lots of picnic lunches. that’s how cornelius survived europe in the past!

    sinny, i’m definitely looking forward to lots of indian food in london! thanks for the time out recommendation too.

    patricia, seconds are expected :)

    denzylle, thanks for stopping by & i love your insider tips. glad that vilnius is still cheap!

    sara, i’ll definitely blog about the trip!!

  9. 9
    Martine   July 18, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    I’m sure you’re consulting tons of different books, but I thought I’d shoot a recommendation your way.

    http://www.greateatsandsleeps.com

    I’ve used her books for Paris and Italy, and found that her descriptions were always spot-on and I was never disappointed.

  10. 10
    VeggieGirl   July 18, 2007 at 5:59 pm

    this is a FANTASTIC recipe!!! I’m obsessed with rainbow/swiss chard and chickpeas – I love that this dish incorporates both ingredients. Since I’m vegan, I’ll leave out the feta cheese when I make this – thanks for sharing this recipe!

  11. 11
    dynagrrl   July 18, 2007 at 6:08 pm

    AirTransat is probably your cheapest tickets, and they now fly into Heathrow. We booked tickets some time ago and got them for around $450 (tax INCLUDED) for roundtrip Toronto to London.

    In London, you must go to the Borough Market, which is an excellent food market. It’s honestly like foodie heaven. And then for high tea, there’s Liberty on Oxford Street, which is a department store, but has an amazing tea room on it’s second floor.

  12. 12
    kickpleat   July 18, 2007 at 6:35 pm

    martine, that looks like a great series! i’ll put a hold on it at the library right away. thanks!

    veggiegirl, this is a pretty tasty meal! enjoy.

    dynagrrl, thanks for the tips. in june we saw flights to london for $199 return. sigh! we’re leaving at peak time so no discounts for us!

  13. 13
    Monika K   July 18, 2007 at 10:54 pm

    This recipe sounds off the chart!

    You’re going to have such a great time in Europe – I loved Belgium, especially Brugge. (We rode on the canal, visited the chocolate museum, and enjoyed the national Begian favorite – fried food! Oh yeah, and beer).

    Can’t wait to hear about your adventures!

  14. 14
    Anonymous   July 19, 2007 at 5:37 am

    In Berlin, there is the most perfect bakery. If you go on the street: Kastanien Allee which is near the S-Bahn station ‘Eberswalder Strasse’, just follow the street and you’ll end up at a bakery called “Napoljonska”. My boyfriend and I went there and ate an obscene amount of food, they have a selection ofreally pretty and yummy open faced sandwiches, we had one that was topped with cream cheese mixed with green onions and then topped with more green onions, cucumber, and radishes. We also had a sandwich that was topped with hardboiled eggs and bits of bacon and chive, if you aren’t hungry though, then I’d recommend the one with topped with cream cheese, green onions, cucumberes,a nd radishes. They have really nice tarts and pies, like coconut, cherry, apple but the chocolate one is incredible, and you must have it. They also have cookies, yoghurt with fruit and muesli, and colorful candy in really nice jars. The bakery is incredibly cosy, decorated with cute vintage everything, and it’s just absolutely wonderful and you must go!

    Also on Kastanien Allee is an italian restaurant called “La Famiglia” (I think the spelling is a bit off, but it has an orange sign, if that helps), but they always have a great daily special and also a daily menu and a permanent menu and the price isnt that bad either. When I was there, I had a tagitalle with a veal ragu sauce, and it tasted wonderful. For dessert, a really delicious chocolate mousse.

    Kastanien Allee is a really good area to walk in, nice little shops to look at and explore!

    Enjoy Europe!

    -ellen

  15. 15
    kickpleat   July 19, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    thanks monika! i’m so excited for belgium the most….as i’m sure it will have the best food!

    ellen, thank you so much!! i’m totally going to take note of these…especially that bakery. i love bakeries!!

    lydia, i’ve heard nothing but good things about the bulldog…unfortunately it’s also really booked. we’ll see if they have anything when we arrive, but if not, we’ll have to find something elsewheres! thanks :)

  16. 16
    Lydia   July 19, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    I’ve only been to London and Amsterdam on your list- I’m sure you can muddle through, but I do suggest the Spitalfields Market, which has amazing food and lots of cool stuff, and then you can go the nearby flower market (I forget the name, but it’s a scene) and Brick Lane for some curry and super awesome cheap bagels. It’s all walkable. Besides that, the food in London didn’t amaze me, except for the supermarkets.

    In Amsterdam you must stay at the Bulldog. It’s the nicest hostel I’ve ever stayed at, and you’re talking to a girl who works for the competition.

  17. 17
    i*   July 20, 2007 at 2:03 am

    tips for Belgium:
    visit Bruges, but do not miss Ghent – that’s between Bruges and Brussels, there’s a lot to see as well, and the city isn’t as calm as Bruges. check out http://www.use-it.be for nice trips & tips and sublime B&B;’s for a lot less money as a hotel! (Bruges, Antwerp, Brussels and Gent)
    what kind of restaurant are you looking for in Belgium?

  18. 18
    i*   July 20, 2007 at 2:04 am

    ok – let’s make that: what kind of food are you looking for in Belgium?

  19. 19
    kickpleat   July 20, 2007 at 9:05 am

    i*, thanks for the link and we’ll definitely stop in ghent (and may even set it up as our home base since it’s so close to everywhere we want to go!). as for food in belgium, whatever is cheap is good :)

  20. 20
    Tanya   July 20, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    as denzylle mentioned….university accomodations. my husband I just returned from a trip abroad and I spent the better part of my time in university dorms. specifically in London we stayed at King’s College Hampstead off of Finchley Road. Breakfast is included with the price of the room. If you end up going towards Hampstead, let me know. We ate at a fantastic pub in Hampstead that I can tell you how to get to (I hope!).

    I second not converting the pound to your local currency. You just have to go with it. We had a lot of “picnics” with purchases from Marks & Spencer and small wine/cheese shops. So good! And for me there were lots of veggie options, and the brits are great about labeling their food “Suitable for Vegetarians.”

    If you do go to London or Edinburgh (I was there for three weeks), let me know!

  21. 21
    lizzie   July 22, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    Go to the V & A in London – free and worth every penny – also the Tate Modern and a walk on the Millenium Bridge from there to St. Pauls. If its a toss up (moneywise)between St. Pauls or Westminster Abbey – go to the Abbey.

  22. 22
    i*   July 23, 2007 at 6:50 am

    kickpleat, check this site as well: pictures, dates and prices, all in one: http://www.bedandbreakfast-gent.be/en/home.php

    food *** I’m still thinking, going out for dinner is cheapest in Brussels, for example if you leave the trainstation in Brussels(Midi/South/Zuid), if you turn to the side of where the IBIS-hotel is (because you have two different ways of leaving the station), you’ll see a street parallel to the station, head to the left, just before you’l meet a major street again, there are small streets at your right: take the last (I think, or the second-last) before you’re at the big street, in there you’ll find Greek restaurants called Athanas and Athenes, they’re really good and cheap: you just enter the kitchen and point out what you want to have, and then it will be brought to you. It’s good food, it’s cheap and it’s a great place to be. there’s more in Brussels at cheap prices, just don’t go to near to the very touristic places. plus: there are the medium-priced-but-o-so-good places, like (and I think you can google them all, so I’ll just mention them by name) Den Boer (fishrestaurant), Pré-salé (Vlaanderenstraat), Fin de siècle, Ache-pot, Chez Henri,… – there’s a lot…
    if you’re at the seaside (Ostend is like 15 minutes away from Bruges): cheap and good: buy shrimps in a fishstore (grey small Northseashrimps), you take the head in one hand, the tail in another, you push them gently towards eachother, then you peel of the head, and you peel of the tail – that and a glass of white wine, or, realy into tradition, a glass of Rodenbach-beer. Enjoy! Ostend: mussels are good, numerous and not overpriced at De Kombuis (ask people, Ostend isn’t that big and it’s on a main road)(small restaurant), ‘garnaalkroketten’ (a special way of frying shrimp) at Café du Parc (part of the big and old and beautiful (at the outside)Hôtel de Parc (easy to find), or go and look for Stad Kortrijk for fish – that’s Ostend.
    do not eat in Bruges if you want to keep things cheap, I haven’t found a decent and cheap restaurant in Bruges yet…
    Gent: http://www.restorood.be is excellent in price/quality, you should see Martino at Woodrow Wilson square (called ‘het Zuid’), Mineral (Onderbergen) is more pricy, but really good, for steak: go to the Progrès at the Korenmarkt (cornsquare), you have supermezze (cheap and super) at Mezze Bar (Ottogracht), in a small street to/from the Vrijdagsmarkt you’ll find the Fin du monde, great place, further at Sleepstraat, there are a lot of Turkish pizza places, if you like them, they’re cheap as well, well- there’s a lot…to keep things short.
    enjoy, have fun, and please – don’t start counting calories

  23. 23
    Lan   July 23, 2007 at 6:57 am

    Re a couple of things other Londoners (or those who have visited London) have mentioned -

    Don’t be tricked into paying at the Tate (if you’re budget conscious). You only pay to see current exhibitions. The permanent collection (quite enough for one visit) is free. That applies to both Tate Britain and Tate Modern. The latter is the one opposite the
    Millenium Bridge.

    And the markets – Borough (food) Market is highly recommended but get there early Saturday morning.

    Columbia Road flower market and Spitalfields are only open Sundays. However, I’m not sure you’d need to visit a flower market when you’re on vacation and can’t buy. Spitalfields Market is OK, I guess, but the bagel bakery is PACKED on a Sunday and the Indian restaurants on Brick Lane have all had their day. If you’re in that neighborhood, try Cafe Spice Namaste (not Brick Lane, but walking distance) or check the Time Out Restaurant Guide for one of the many other great Indian restaurants in London.

    The suggestion to check the TORG was a good one. You can read it and make notes forever (and the weekly what’s-on-in-London, Time Out mag) if you go some place where they don’t mind browsers like Borders. But don’t try that in any old newsagents or you’ll be asked if you’re buying it.

    For basic foods if you’re self catering, or for picnics, I agree with the M+S suggestion, also Waitrose (not in the centre of town) or even Tesco. Pret a Manger is good but expensive.

  24. 24
    Meghan   July 23, 2007 at 9:24 am

    That looks delicious!

  25. 25
    byb monster   July 28, 2007 at 7:53 pm

    I really like your blog! I’m going to be in Vancouver next week and was wondering if you know where any good farmer’s markets or other markets are. :)

  26. 26
    Spatial Stitches   September 23, 2008 at 10:07 am

    This was SO YUMMY! Such a nice change from how I usually make chard. We love lime so I used two. I only had fresh tomatoes, so I chopped them up and tossed them in. Worked great.

    We ate it with a spoon and a big hunk of focaccia bread that I picked up at the farmers market that morning, instead of rice. Delish.

    Thanks for all your work and sharing!

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