Sea beet paté – a winter delicacy

Whilst on the look out for storm damage along Rhyl’s coastline last week, following the December 6th massive tidal surge, I picked some sea beet leaves for my tea and to use in this year’s Christmas lunch. The leaves are a bit tough this time of year but the smaller ones are still fine to cook. An easy and quick way to use them is to steam the leaves in a little boiling water until they turn dark green then chop very finely and mash them into a paté with cottage cheese, black pepper and nutmeg (add some finely chopped cooked mushrooms as well if you like). The mixture is  delicious on oatcakes at any time of year and particularly good as a filling for vol-au-vents or filo pastry parcels at festive winter parties. Sea beet leaves can be substituted in any recipe that asks for spinach. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s creamed sea beet gratin recipe earlier this year is well worth a try (but best made with young  leaves in spring). See