Tuesday, 2 May 2017

May 2011: green greens





Did you know that veg (and fruit) with dark colours are far healthier than lighter ones? A red-leaved lettuce contains ten times more quercetin [1] than the pale heart of an iceberg. The rougher green tops of leeks, the outside leaves of cabbage or lettuce, will do you far more good than their light-coloured  parts. To get health value for your money, (slowly) accustom yourself to eating more of your greens' greens, not just their tender hearts!

Why buy SEASONAL? Seasonal food is fresher, tastier, more nutritious. Seeds germinate at the right time, so plants are stronger and disease resistant. Out-of-season food is forced in artificial conditions, needs more fertilisers. Food left to ripen on the plant contains more nutrients and tastes better.
Why buy LOCAL? 40% of all lorries work for the food industry. That's not counting boats and planes.
Why buy ORGANIC? Organic food tastes better, leaving us less inclined to snack, or add fancy sauces. Reducing the amount we buy we can afford food that's better for us and the countryside. Local organic suppliers are often cheaper than organics in supermarkets. Try a farmer's market, or if time is precious, order a veg box.
For more information, recipes and 'how to store veg', see www.vegbox-recipes.co.uk.

SOW:
direct: beet, calabrese, carrots (though June sowings get less rootfly), french/runner beans, kohlrabi, lettuce, pak choi, sweetcorn, swede, spring onions, spinach (beet), courgettes, marrows, (sugar) peas. If pea moth's a problem, wait till mid May.
in seedbed to transplant: leeks, cabbage, cauli, sprouting broccoli (early May), kale.
in trays: beans, courgettes, cucumbers, melon, pumpkins, pepper, sweetcorn, tomatoes.
plant out: cauli; cucumbers, marrows, pumpkins, squashes late May.

EAT:
Veg: spring greens, cabbage, chard, cauli, spinach, salad leaves/lettuce, radish, rocket, asparagus, sorrel, watercress, rhubarb, seakale.
Herbs: chives, parsley, mint, lovage, summer savoury and chervil.
Wild food: broom buds, chives, dandelions, fat hen, hogweed shoots, hop shoots, meadowsweet, sea spinach, sorrel, watercress, wild fennel, wild garlic, wild rocket.
Game: wood pigeon, guinea fowl, rabbit, duck.
Your fishmonger may sell samphire: serve fresh in salads or have as veg with melted butter. Wash thoroughly and don't add salt.

Shredding spring cabbage: remove outer leaves, roll these up and shred with knife. Cut remaining cabbage into quarters lengthways. Remove core and slice across the leaves into ½cm strips.

MACKEREL with GINGER (and RHUBARB) for 2.
2 mackerel fillets, 2cm ginger root peeled and grated to a mush, 1 tblsp butter, (1 rhubarb stem, 2 tblsp brown sugar).
(If using rhubarb, chop and place in pan with sugar and some water. Simmer till the rhubarb is soft and the water absorbed. Reserve).
Melt butter, fry mackerel skin-side down for 4 mins until crisp. Spread mashed ginger on the uncooked top, flip, fry for 3-4 mins. Rest for 5 mins. Serve (topped with the rhubarb).

GARLIC SPINACHserves 4 - nice with boiled potatoes and fish.
2 onions, 3 cloves of garlic, 300g spinach, olive oil.
Chop onion, crush garlic. Wash spinach leaves. Saute onions and garlic for a few mins. Remove tough stalks from spinach and chop the leaves: add to onion pan. Cover and saute for 4 mins, or longer if you like. Serve immediately. 

SEARED TOFU with GARLIC, SWISS CHARD and PINE NUTS for 4.
600g chopped Swiss chard, 2 tblsp pine nuts, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 250g firm tofu, drained and sliced crosswise into 1cm slices, butter, 2 minced garlic cloves, minced.
Combine soy and pepper in a dish, add tofu and leave to soak for a bit. Sauté pine nuts until golden, shaking often, remove from pan. Put tofu in the pan and sear until golden brown, 2 mins per side. Remove from pan, keep warm. Add garlic and chard, cover and sauté for 10 mins while stirring every so often. Transfer to plates, top with tofu and nuts. Good with boiled potatoes.

SAVOURY SPRING CABBAGE serves 4
Ab. 600g finely chopped cabbage, 1 finely chopped onion, 2 chopped rashers streaky bacon, 50g butter, pinch of grated nutmeg.
Heat butter, add all ingredients, cover pan and cook very gently for 20 minutes until cabbage just tender, shaking the pan frequently.

DRESSED SPRING CABBAGE
1½ tbsp cider vinegar, 2 rashers smoked bacon cut into small strips, 1 tbsp butter, 1 shredded spring green cabbage.
Mix vinegar with 1 tbsp water. Fry the bacon in butter until golden, then lift onto a plate. Add the cabbage to the pan, cook for 10 mins, then stir the dressing through. Return the bacon to the pan and cook for 1 more min to warm through. Season and serve.

Next issue: sleep. 

[1] www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/health-benefits-of-quercetin/