Tag Archives: seasonal

Christmas coleslaw

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After seasonal excess, I crave a dish to revitalise my innards and reboot my digestion.

“Oh, herbacious treat! ‘Twould tempt the dying anchorite to eat…”

I love new age raw, as in for instance Kate Magic.

And coleslaw is a classic.

Ah, the classics never let you down. Tried-and-tested, refined by human habit, a classic endures for good reason.

Coleslaw traditionally uses cabbage, a seasonal winter vegetable brimming with goodness.

I use organic ingredients to get maximum nutritional benefits. Plus its farming practices save the soil and the bees.

Coleslaw recipe

Basically grate, grate and shred, shred as finely as possible. (How I bless my power-tool, the food processor) then cover liberally with luscious dressing.

1lb 8 oz (680g) each of grated carrots and white cabbage

1 pint (0.6L) well-blended dressing made truly-tangy with lemon juice and crushed garlic
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– Juice of 1.5 lemons (organic lemons are more juicy because growth is steady not boosted by artificial fertiliser).
– 3-4 garlic cloves
– olive oil (organic ensures authenticity)
– balsamic vinegar
– natural yogurt (or replace with additional oil and vinegar)
– seasoning.

Thanks to nudge from John (below): I estimate for 500 ml dressing 300 ml yogurt + 250 ml olive oil with remaining ml: balsamic + lemon juice. I would squeeze the lemon juice and then add balsamic to taste (a good slosh).

Put the copious amounts of grated scrubbed/peeled raw carrots and finely shredded cabbage. Add the dressing, mixing well.

Versatile, serve it solo or with all manner of dishes including curries and hey – that left-over Christmas roast.

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Courgette Cake

Squash at Better Food, Bristol

‘Tis the season of squash. Here are organically-grown squash at Better Food Company, Bristol.

Courgettes, or zucchini, are part of the squash family. Squash are one of the Three Sisters (along with maize and beans) planted by Native Americans.

Squash contains gentle soluble fibre, immune-boosting vitamins and minerals plus complex carbohydrates for slow release energy.

This recipe for Courgette Cake is from Make More of Squashes, which I co-wrote with recipe-writer, Patricia Harbottle, and her son-in-law, organic gardener, Peter Chadwick.

The book and its companion, Make More of Beans & Peas, are part of the Make More of Vegetables series – with some non-vegetarian recipes but all with veg as the star. And with instructions on how to grow from seed too!

Make More of Beans & Peas

Buy here from the blog Pete set up with Sue Richardson.

Peter Chadwick died in August. Rest in peace, Pete. This post is for you and your lovely wife, Sue Richardson, who helps people write the right book.

Courgette Cake

Using vegetables in cakes makes wonderfully moist cakes (so butter cream filing is optional). If you do not have self-raising flour or baking powder, experiment with adding two more eggs to lighten the mixture instead. If so, allow cake to bake a little longer in the oven.

Ingredients

Cake: 250g (9oz) coarsely grated courgettes + 2 large eggs + 120g (4oz) caster sugar + 120ml (4fl oz) rapeseed or sunflower oil + 225g (8oz) self-raising flour + 1 tsp baking power + pinch each of ground cinnamon and nutmeg and salt + zest of one large orange (keep 1 tsp for icing). Grate orange to get its zest. Or try lazy method. I use a potato-peeler on the orange, then snip the strips of peel – gives strong orangey taste.

Filling: 120g (4oz) softened unsalted butter + 225g (8oz) icing sugar + 1 tsp orange zest (from large orange above) + juice of half of the large orange.

1. Put grated courgettes in colander and drain for 30 minutes. Press down with a saucer or use hands to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

2. Beat the eggs and caster sugar until the mixture thickens, then beat-in oil until amalgamated and creamy, like thick double cream.

3. With a sieve, sift the flour, baking powder, spices and salt into the beaten egg, sugar and oil mixture. Beat well until really well-blended. Stir in the courgettes and orange zest.

4. Grease and line two 20 cm (8 in) cake tins. Pour mixture into prepared tins and bake in 170C (150C for fan oven) or Gas Mark 3 oven for about 30 minutes.

5. Keep oven door closed for first 25 minutes then test cakes with your finger tip. Cakes should be firm to touch. If not, bake for a further 5-10 minutes. Leave in their tins for 5 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to cool.

6. Optional butter cream filling: Beat butter and icing sugar and stir in zest and orange juice to make light butter cream. When cakes are cold, spread the filling over one cake and sandwich the other on top.

This cake keeps well in an airtight tin. Try it with lemons or limes instead of the orange.

Hope you like this seasonal recipe.

Amazing asparagus

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I had never tasted asparagus so tender and young before. Out of this world.

Asparagus in the UK has a short season from May to mid-June.

Well, it used to.  The season now starts  in April in the UK. When a fellow food blogger bought hers last week, I was surprised – that’s climate change for you.

In supermarket-land, they appear all year long, spears the regulation length, lined up in rows in small plastic boxes. They look pretty – and are pretty tasteless.

The supermarkets now race to get seasonal British-born asparagus on their shelves.

Waitrose failed the test yesterday according to my mum, the queen of real food lovers. Shocked by its offering of Peruvian asparagus, my 80+ mum made a special trip to Marks & Spencers for the British kind. (Reader, thus is my provenance).

It’s not that I am jingo-istic, set against Johnnie-foreigner.

Nooooo, hardly. a) I believe in a world without borders b) I am of foreign-blood myself.

My love of seasonal stems from common sense. Eating food grown as near to where I live tastes fresher. Looking at the bigger picture, my spears’  journey-to-market is less polluting too.

My asparagus came 10 minutes away by foot thanks to the local organic grower setting up stall in the self-build eco-houses at St. Werburgh’s every Thursday afternoon until 6.30pm.

Mike is going to check the name of the grower for us next week. We hope to find out more how it was grown, as growing it organically is supposed to be hard.

He barely steamed the young spears then latticed them over fried brown rice, chilli and mushrooms (above).

We love brown rice but let’s face it, that’s hardly local.

So, Little Englander or bigger picture and more taste? Why do you like local food?

Stop press: Wrington Greens sell their fresh organic veg every Thursday 4.30-6.30pm at the Self-Build homes at Ashley Vale, St. Werburgh’s – please buy if you like to be wowed…

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Mackerel, summer fish

I went for a walk with Mike and his friend Alan on the coast of north Cornwall, down a farmland path to the secluded beach of Tregardock where the sea is wild against the looming rocks. The nearest town is Port Isaac where this Cornish mackerel came from, landed that day.

Alan baked it for 20 minutes in the oven with butter and served it with steamed broccoli and asparagus. Opportunistically, it dawns on me that Alan was serving up a dish fit for a blog competition on seasonal eating.

Mackerel, said Alan, is a summer fish, while broccoli is also in season. But asparagus? Feeling like the Seasonal Police, I quizz Alan about its provenance. Oh dear, has seasonal-awareness turned me into an officious and impolite guest? He assures me Cornwall’s warm climate allows asparagus a longer season, and is not offended. Nevertheless this moment sums up the fine balance I tread between being a real food lover – and a prig.

Alan serves the dish with a leek-and-cheese sauce which adds a luxuriousness to everything and soon all thoughts of seasonal-criteria fade as I give myself to the pleasure of eating. It was delicious, tasty and went down a treat. What more do I want?