We eat food which isn't good for us, often (but not always!) in the firm conviction that it is.
Who's to blame? The food industry, giving false or insufficient information? Us, for fooling ourselves? For wanting our food too cheap? Bad habits? Greed? Society, for making us work too hard to have time for proper cooking?
Supermarkets make vast profits by exploiting the producer to supply cheap food. If we blame capitalism for putting profits before consumers' wellbeing, we'd probably be right. But even if there were any better systems, this is the one we have to put up with.
The best chance we have of looking after ourselves is to keep our eyes and hearts open, and eat as fresh and local as possible. That way we have more chance to know what's going on. Big enterprises have big money to pay for researchers, reps and publicity, so their money grows even bigger. The farther our food travels, the less we can control it.
If you live in Somerset, there is a marvellous organisation which delivers locally produced food to your home. Where and how it is produced, whether or not it is organic - the information is there, the choice yours, delivery only £3.-. See www.localfooddirect.co.uk or ring 01458 830801 or 07967371422. Or find a local box scheme at www.vegbox-recipes.co.uk/veg-boxes/find-a-box-scheme.php.
broad beans, round seeded hardy peas, garlic. Plant named varieties of garlic rather than using left-over cloves, to avoid introducing disease.
Veg: cabbage, brussels sprout tops, calabrese, cauliflower, endive, leeks, swede, beet, carrots, celery, celeriac, chard, chicory, kale, cavolo nero, kohlrabi, parsnips, pumpkins, rocket, salad leaves, spinach, squashes, salsify/scorzonera, turnips, Jerusalem artichokes.
Game's at its best: low-fat, richly flavoured, free-range.
Fish: megrim, crab, lobster, mackerel, mussels, prawns, oysters, pollack, scallops, sea bass, sprats, squid, whiting.
Did you know that carrots contain betacarotene, which we convert into vitamin A? People who have a good intake of this are less likely to suffer from various types of cancer, but only if they have it in food, not as supplements. It is easier to absorb betacarotene when eaten with a little fat, so to get the most of your carrots, stir-fry in a little oil or serve with butter.I prefer my beet grated raw, but you can use cooked beet if you like.
BEET-CARROT (and FENNEL) SALAD
BEET-CARROT (and FENNEL) SALAD
Grate beet, carrot (and Florence fennel). Add herbs, dress, mix. Lovely with seafood.
3 tblsp butter, 1 tblsp olive oil, ab. 2 litres thinly sliced green cabbage, 1 large chopped onion, 8 fresh thyme sprigs, 1.5l stock, 550g apples cut into 1½ cm cubes.
Melt 1 tblsp butter with oil, add cabbage and onion; sauté 5 mins, stirring occasionally. Add thyme sprigs, sauté 1 more min. Add broth, bring to boil, simmer 10 mins. Season. Meanwhile, saute apples 10 mins, stirring occasionally. Season. Remove thyme. Ladle soup into bowls; garnish with apples.
RICH FLORENCE FENNEL SOUP
2 tblsp butter, 2 tblsp vegetable olive oil, 1 onion, sliced, 1 to 2 crushed cloves garlic, 1 roughly chopped fennel bulb, 1 large chopped carrot, 1 cubed potato, 2 chopped tomatoes, 0.75l water, 1 bay leaf, thyme, cream or silken tofu, salt, pepper, chopped parsley.
Heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 1 min. Add garlic and sauté for 1 min. Stir in fennel, carrot and potatoes and cook for 5 mins. Add tomatoes, water and herbs. Bring to boil, cover and cook over low heat until veg is soft, about 20 mins. Blend, stir in cream. Heat through, but don't boil. Season, garnish with parsley.
CABBAGE and CARAWAY SALAD1 finely shredded cabbage, ½ small grated or very finely chopped onion if you like, 2 tblsp lemon juice, 140 ml mayonnaise, 1 tblsp caraway seeds (salt).
Mix, (sprinkle with salt), serve immediately. Is nice also with chopped or grated apple.
CABBAGE with SOUR CREAM45g butter, 1 small cabbage, 230 ml sour cream, 1 egg yolk, 2 tblsp lemon juice, salt and pepper (coriander).
Melt butter slowly. Add cabbage, stir well. Cover and leave to simmer for 15 mins: but don't let it brown. Whisk together sour cream, yolk, lemon, salt and pepper and pour into the pan with the cabbage. Bring to simmering point but don't let boil. Serve immediately.
BEETROOT with SOUR CREAM
1 tblsp chopped fresh parsley/chives, 120ml sour cream, 1 tsp mild mustard, small chopped onion, 500g cooked cubed beet, salt, pepper, water.
Mix parsley, sour cream, mustard, onion and seasoning in saucepanwith a bit of water. Bring to a gentle simmer. Add beet and cook 5-10 mins, until beet is very hot. Serve topped with extra sour cream.
Peel an cut squash into 1½ cm slices, then bite-size cubes. Roughly chop onion. Heat butter and oil: add squash, onion and sauté 10 - 15 mins, until squash is browned. Sprinkle with sage, paprika and sauté 5 more mins.
With love, Annemieke Wigmore, tel 01460 53165, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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