Wednesday, 1 February 2017

February 2013: strange foods


Since when do we depend for our very lives on foreign food? Oranges for vitamin C, bananas for energy, we can't seem to live without pasta, noodles, pizzas ....
We can eat from our garden all year round, even the 'hungry gap' (April-May), with proper planning and advise, can be filled. If you don't grow your own it's still easier: just go to the shop. Leeks! Cabbage! Kale! Pumpkins! Beetroot! Potatoes! Carrots! Parsnips! Swede! All you want in the way of vitamins, minerals and carbs to keep your belly full and warm. With some good old butter to help us absorb the goodness .... for remember, it's the diet products which make you fat. [1]
Beetroot, swede, parsnips and carrots can all be grated raw and, with a chopped apple (plus maybe a bit of corn salad, or rocket?) make a lovely and wholesome salad. Who could want for more?

Veg: beet, broccoli, brussels, squash, cabbage, carrots, chard, celeriac, kale, leek, parsnip, potato, pumpkin, rocket, spinach, swede, turnip, jerusalem artichoke, chicory, celery, corn salad, endive, kohlrabi, salsify, winter purslane.
Meat: goose, mallard, partridge, pheasant, venison.
Fish: bib, cockles, crab, dab, flounder, lobster, mackerel, oysters, pollack, scallops, whiting.

If the weather is suitable: garlic, early peas, carrots, parsnips, green/red cabbage, onion sets. Apple trees, if the weather isn't too severe and the ground not waterlogged or frozen. 

If you like 
celery but can't be bothered to grow the proper stuff, try celery leaves, and use them as you do parsley. (
Impatient for new greens? Grow pea shoots: and here are some recipes:

The SWCAA is a non-profit organisation offering help and support to allotment holders and gardeners throughout the country. See

700g diced parsnips, 1 sliced onion, 40g butter, 2 tsp curry powder, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1.2ltr water, salt, pepper, 150ml single cream, paprika, parsley.
Melt butter, add onion, saute for 6 mins. Add parsnips, saute for 3 mins. Stir in curry powder and cumin, cook for 2 mins. Add water, season, bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until veg are tender. Mash or puree. Season, add cream and reheat but don't boil. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley.

400g shredded kale, 150g (frozen) peas, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds (or some mustard), 1/2 tsp turmeric, chillies or chilli powder, ginger (pref. fresh grated), juice 1 lemon, 1/2 tsp ground coriander, oil.
Heat oil, sizzle cumin and mustard seeds for 1 min, add chilli, ginger and turmeric. Fry until aromatic, add kale, salt, peas and bit of water. Cover and cook for ab. 5 mins until kale has wilted. Add lemon juice, ground coriander, mix, serve.

2 leeks quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced; 1lb floury potatoes, cut into 1" pieces, butter, 360ml water, 40ml sour cream.
Melt butter, add leeks; sauté until just beginning to color, 5 mins. Add potatoes and water. Season with salt. Bring to boil. Cover; boil until potatoes are tender. Uncover; boil until almost all liquid evaporates. Mash potatoes coarsely; mix in sour cream.

400g kale, olive oil, 2 cloves garlic (mince 5 mins prior to heating to maximize the activity of the cancer fighting molecules), splash of balsamic vinegar, (black sesame seeds).
Remove the kale leaves from the stems and chop coarsely. Wash and shake them but leave slightly damp. Heat oil, saute the garlic (do not let it brown), gradually add the kale while stirring until all the leaves are slightly wilted. Cover, cook on low heat until leaves are tender, (5-10 mins depending on age of leaves). Stir a few times, make sure the pan does not go dry (add a tbsp of water at a time if needed). Sprinkle with a dash of vinegar and sesame seeds before serving.

6 large scallops, 1 sharp apple, 2 handfuls of corn salad, some lemon juice and zest, salt, pepper. 
Cut apple in strips. Mix with lettuce, zest, oil, seasoning. 
For the scallops: heat 1 tblsp of oil. Lay scallops on board, pat dry, season one side. Think of the pan as a clockface and add scallops, seasoned side down, in a clockwise order, then fry 1-2 mins. Season other side, flip over and repeat. Squeeze lemon over and shake pan. Divide salad between 2 plates, arrange scallops around each pile. Garnish with remaining zest, serve immediately.

500g shredded cabbage, 100ml double cream, 200ml water, thyme, 25g butter, salt.
Bring salted water to the boil, add cabbage. Cover and cook for 5-7 mins, or until softened, Stir in cream and thyme. Uncover and cook for a few mins, until cabbage is completely softened and liquid has practically evaporated, stir in butter and serve.

This recipe was a question of: what have I got in my larder? So adapt if you like:
Kale: 80g after taking out the thicker stalks; 130g cooked potatoes, onion not too big, 10g hazelnuts, cooking apple, soy, salt, pepper, butter.
Slice onion, cut up kale, cube potatoes and apple. Saute onion and kale in butter, stir till it has shrunk a bit, add potatoes and apple. Halve nuts, add. Stir regularly. Season when done.  

PINK PANCAKES: 6 pancakes, breakfast for 2.   
120ml finely grated raw (or cooked) beetroot, 120ml grated apple, 1 egg, 240ml flour, 2 heaped tsp baking powder, 120ml water, ½ tsp of mixed spice, salt, olive oil, butter, honey.
Whisk egg until frothy. Add flour, baking powder, salt, then water. Give it a good whisk. Fold in apple, beet and spice. Heat oil, drop dessert spoonfuls of the batter into the pan centre. When it starts to bubble up, flip over and cook for 2 mins or so. Don't press pancake down as it cooks as this will press out the air bubbles. When all your pancakes are cooked, put butter on top of each. Serve with honey.

Guardian seasonal food chart
What's in season when
River Cottage seasonal guide,,1925343,00.html
VegBox Recipes
[1] Just for example:

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