Local, seasonal, cheap and good for you: in the UK 45 million rabbits do £150 million damage a year. Wild RABBIT is practically organic, lean and tasty. They give us quality protein, and iron, vitamins B3 and B12, phosphorus and selenium. Ask your butcher, or shoot one. They're at their best now. For recipes, see bit.ly/NrHKIM and www.chanctonburygame.co.uk/recipes/rabbitrecipes.html.
Especially for vegetarians: think when you eat SOY. Not only is it high-spray and intensively-farmed, most of the US crop is genetically modified. Soy is so popular (human/animal food, biofuels), they cut down vast chunks of rainforest to grow it. It's not suitable for young boys, due to its oestrogen content. Soy contains five toxins, chemicals that plants developed to stop predators. They can lead to bloat, less digestibility, kidney stones, leaky gut. These are only inactivated when soaked and fermented as done traditionally in Asia, so the way to eat soy is as miso, tempeh or natto *1).
Veg: broad/runner/french beans, marrow, squash, courgette, lettuce, turnip, peas/mangetout, aubergine, pepper, spinach, chard, sweetcorn, shallots, tomatoes, cauli, carrots, cabbage, beet, globe artichoke, cucumber, fennel, radish, kohlrabi, calabrese, pak choi, chicory, endive, samphire.
Fish: dab, mackerel, seabass, black bream, crab, mussels, scallops.
Meat: rabbit, lamb, wood pigeon, duck, goose, grouse, partridge, venison.
Look also for puffballs and the first hazelnuts.
spring cabbage, spinach, turnips, oriental vegetables, landcress, rocket, corn salad, winter lettuce, winter purslane. Plant overwintering onion sets, garlic.
1 rabbit, cut up, 1 tblsp butter, 1 tblsp vegetable oil, 1 onion cut into eighths, 2 diced carrots, 360ml apple cider, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp dried thyme, 1 bay leaf, 4 crushed peppercorns, 2 cooking apples.
Brown rabbit pieces in the butter and oil. Remove with a slotted spoon. Saute carrots and onions for a few mins. Stir in cider, salt, thyme, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Heat to boiling and add rabbit pieces again. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 3/4 hour until rabbit is tender. Stir occasionally. Core and quarter apples, add. Cover and simmer 10 to 15 mins, until apples are just tender. Discard bay leaf.
FRENCH BEAN SALAD
500g French beans, 1 finely sliced red onion, 2 tomatoes, 4 tblsp almonds, 180ml basic dressing.
Top'n tail beans, cook 7 minutes, drain. Slice tomatoes thinly, arrange round 4 plates, beans in center, sprinkle with onion and pecans. Spoon dressing over, serve. You can of course add any herbs you like.
MARROW WITH TOMATO AND ONION, serves 4-6.
Marrows are excellent cooked in a tasty sauce: they absorb the juices. *2)
30g butter, 2 chopped onions, 1 chopped garlic clove, 1peeled, seeded and cubed marrow, 6 skinned and chopped tomatoes, 2 tblsp tomato puree, 2 tblsp chopped fresh or 2 tsp dried mixed herbs, salt, pepper.
Melt butter, gently fry onions and garlic 5 mins. Add marrow, cook 5 mins. Stir in the rest, cover and simmer 30 mins. Season, serve at once.
MARROW (OR COURGETTES) IN CREAM SAUCE
1 medium to large marrow, 30g butter, 2 tsp cornflour, 1 tbsp water, 1 tbsp dried dill weed, salt and pepper, 150ml sour cream.
Peel the marrow and finely chop or grate. Cook with butter, stirring from time to time, just until it begins to soften. Mix cornflour with water, add. Stir, cook for 3 minutes. Add dill, salt, pepper and stir in cream. Warm through gently: serve hot, with roast meat, chicken or fish and potatoes.
COURGETTE AND PARMESAN SOUP
60ml olive oil, 1 tbsp chopped garlic, handful chopped basil, sea salt and white pepper, 1kg green courgettes, cut lengthways into quarters then into 1cm slices, 750ml chicken stock, 60ml single cream, handful flatleaf parsley, chopped, 50g freshly grated parmesan, extra to serve.
Heat oil over medium heat. Cook garlic, basil, salt and courgette slowly for 10 mins. Add white pepper, pour in stock, simmer for 8 mins uncovered. Remove from heat. Put 3/4 of the soup mix into food processor and blend. Return mix to pan, stir in cream, parsley, parmesan. Ladle into a bowl, season to taste with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle over more parmesan. Serve with bread and green salad.
STAMPPOTJE BLOTE BILLETJES in het GRAS - a variation on a traditional Dutch recipe, for 5-6 people.
The name does not translate very well, but it's to do with bare little buttocks and grass.
This is winter fare, really, but I like my runner beans fresh and not frozen or, like they used to do in Holland, salted. Just try find a wintery day in September, or postpone and use frozen after all.
500g runner beans, 1.5k floury potatoes, 1 tin 400g (large) white beans, 200g crème fraîche, 200g rocket, 100g butter, ab. 240ml milk or (cooking) water, salt, pepper, nutmeg.
Cook potatoes in salted water. Cut runner beans in long strips, cook for 8-10 mins, not too well done. Heat up the white beans. Make the potatoes into a creamy mash with butter, liquid and creme fraiche. Mix in chopped rocket. Drain both types of beans and mix into mash. Season with peper, salt, nutmeg. this is nice with meatballs or similar, but has enough protein in itself.
If you suffer from HAYFEVER, having a daily spoonful of local honey throughout the year (don't wait till the symptoms start!) is supposed to help. Not being a sufferer, I have never been able to test this myself, but it seems worth trying and not too painful.
And to everyone who is interested in food, I recommend the chronicles of Hannah, whose home is "a haven for discarded but wise food traditions, a refuge for compost, and the site of a daily experiment in eating": http://healthyfamilychronicles.blogspot.com.
*2) More marrow recipes at www.cookitsimply.com/category-0020-0c201.html; or search 'marrow rum'!
Next month: eat organic; honey.