Friday, 31 August 2012

Update and recipe!

Hello All!

I have had a little break away from the blog and am now feeling very refreshed and enthused.

We have finaly received planning permission to put up two polytunnels on the land. We purchased one tunnel earlier in the year with a view to put it up at the of the summer so the planning permission has arrived just in time.
Polytunnels will really help us extend our growing seasons. As well as tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers in the summer we will grow salads and oriental greens in the winter and a range of spring crops that would otherwise come much later. Carrots, sugar snap peas, spring onions and spring greens will help bridge what is often called the ‘hungry gap’ in late spring.
We will hopefully have the tunnel delivered and start putting it up in the next couple of weeks any help will be greatfully apreciated.

Here is a bumper load of recipes ! 

In the hope of an Indian summer, this week we’re giving some salad recipes.  These recipes both incorporate mayonnaise, so I would suggest serving them with simple accompaniments to prevent them seeming overly rich.  Cold ham, poached salmon or a green salad can all work well.

Potato Salad
Serves 2-3
500g small new potatoes
6 spring onions
A small bunch chives or garlic chives
1) If the potatoes are oddly sized cut them into similar sized pieces, you want them to be about bite sized.  Put them into a pan of water and boil until they’re cooked; they should drop off a knife quite easily when prodded.
2) While the potatoes are cooking finely chop the spring onions and the chives and put them into a bowl big enough to take all the ingredients.
3) Mix equal quantities of mayo and yoghurt together and season well.
4) Once the potatoes are cooked drain them and set aside to cool a little; leave the lid off to prevent them from getting soggy.
5) Add the potatoes and the dressing to the alliums, stir together and
serve cold.

Serves lots (we fed eight from it the other day, with a selection of
other salads)
1 small cabbage
1 onion
2-3 carrots
1 fennel bulb (optional)
Wine vinegar
Good quality mayonnaise
1) Finely slice an onion, put it into a bowl and drizzle over some vinegar.  Leave it while preparing the other ingredients, giving it the occasional stir.  The vinegar reduces the harshness of the onions, helping it to integrate with the other ingredients.
2) Remove the tough outer leaves of the cabbage and reserve for another recipe.  Then quarter the cabbage from root to point.  Shred each quarter finely into matchsticks.  If you’re using it, quarter the fennel the same way as the cabbage and slice finely into similar sized pieces.  Grate the carrot.
3) Drain the onion, discarding the vinegar
4) Mix the vegetables together in a large bowl then add a good dollop of mayonnaise stirring it through.  Make sure the vegetables are well coated but don’t use too much mayo, or you won’t taste
the vegetables.
5) Season to taste

Middle Eastern patty-pan squash
This recipe is equally good with patty pans or with courgettes.  It’s great with grilled fish.  This week we’re having it with Marine Stewardship Council certified Hake which we will lightly coat in seasoned flour and then fry on both sides in butter.

From Nigel Slater’s Tender volume 1.  This is a wonderful book full of simple and inspiring vegetable dishes both the veggy and the omnivorous.

Enough for 2

 About 400g courgettes, patty pan squash or other summer squash
2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
A handful of mint leaves
A small handful flat parsley leaves
The juice of half a lemon
Cut the courgettes or squash into short lengths (think chunky chips)

    Peel and coarsely chop the garlic and fry for a minute over a medium heat, then throw in the squash. 

Cook in the oil until light gold and tender.

Add the mint and parsley

Turn up the heat and add the lemon juice, let it bubble briefly

Crumble over some sea salt and serve immediately.

Aloo Palak (New Potatoes and Spinach)

From Gupareet Baines, Indian Superfood.

For four as a side dish

1 tablespoon oil (Mr Baines suggests olive oil but I opt for a high temperature oil such as groundnut).
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp nigella seeds (sometimes sold as black onion seeds)
½ tsp mustard seeds
A piece of fresh ginger the size of a matchbox, peeled and cut into small batons
4 garlic cloves
1 tsp turmeric
6 baby new potatoes, cooked and cut into quarters
A couple of green chillies finely chopped (or up to six if you like your food hot), finely chopped
400g spinach leaves

Get a wok really hot and then add the oil, heating that until it’s nearly smoking.

 Add the cumin, nigella and mustard seeds and cook until they start to pop then add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry briefly, then add the turmeric and mix well.

    Throw in the potatoes and chillies and stir-fry until they’re heating through, then add the spinach, mixing it in, and stir-frying it until it’s wilted.

    Season to taste and serve immediately.

These wonderful recipes were compiled by a brilliant member of the CSA steering group!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

What a WEEK! ...and a bit

Wow, this week has been full!

When I last blogged we'd just given out the first veg share, following that work day/ first social event and then we did the share all over again.
Here are a few pics from that first pick up!

In between that we have been planting Pak Choi, Chinese Cabbage, Chicory, Endive, Winter Radish, Kohlrabi, Turnips and more Coriander.

The work day and social were held back to back as one event on Saturday 4th.
The sun shone for most of the day with only one shower to hide from.

The workday task was weeding the carrots, and the results are great, the Carrots were doing well but now they are in prime condition to be a great crop.

Unsurprisingly given the damp warm conditions we have blight coming through the Potatoes but we will still have potatoes into the autumn, after which the CSA steering group will decide if we buy in local organic potatoes to go through the winter with.

French beans doing really well, carrots great after work party weeded, leeks coming on well for autumn Squash starting to fruit, things are good ont the farm.

I thought I would post up the recipes that have been going out with the veg shares.

These have been compiled by a brilliant member of our steering group!

Not quite Nicoise

Not quite because there is no fish in it, and I’m not sure it needs the olives either, so I often leave them out, or use capers instead.  Based on Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s recipe in River Cottage Veg Every Day.

For two (multiply up for more people)

250g new potatoes

120g French beans cut into about 5-6cm lengths

3 eggs.  We always use organic or alternatively what I think of as very free range (the sort from hens that peck in back yards rather than the ones that just comply to the lowest legal standard for free range).  Not only do they have a better life but they taste so much better as well.
A couple of large handfuls lettuce

A couple of sprigs of basil (about 8 leaves)

A scattering of tiny black olives or capers

Salt and pepper

For the dressing you need a tiny garlic clove (one of the little useless ones from the middle that you never know that to do with – or is that just me?); One and a half tablespoons good olive oil; half a tablespoon wine vinegar; half a teaspoon Dijon mustard and a pinch of sugar.

1.       Cut the potatoes so they are similar sizes and boil until cooked.  You need to cook the eggs and French beans at the same time.  I usually steam the beans over the pan and drop the eggs into the boiling potato water for the last four minutes of their cooking time.  Saves washing up multiple pans.

2.       While the spuds, eggs and beans are cooking wash and dry the lettuce (a salad spinner really helps here, one of the few gadgets that gets cupboard space in our house) and pile into a large dish.

3.       Once the eggs, potatoes and beans are cooked drain them and leave to cool.

4.       In the meanwhile make the salad dressing by crushing the garlic clove to a paste with a bit of grainy sea salt and then put it and the rest of the ingredients into a little glass jar.  Screw on the lid and shake like mad until it all emulsifies into a gorgeous golden coloured goo.

5.       When the potatoes and eggs are cool enough to handle first cut the potatoes into wedges or chunks and toss them with a bit of dressing with the green beans.  Toss the lettuce leaves with some more salad dressing.  Peel the eggs and cut into quarters.

6.       Assemble the salad by gently tossing the lettuce, beans and potatoes together in their bowl, adding the pieces of egg and the olives or capers if you’re using them.  Then scatter over the shredded basil, drizzle with the rest of the salad dressing and season with salt and pepper.

Krystof Potatoes

These are named after the wonderful Polish chef who inspired this recipe by serving me something similar several years ago.  They make a great summery alternative to roast potatoes.

Take small new potatoes, if necessary cutting them so they are not too dissimilar in size.  Put them in a bowl with a tablespoon or so of olive oil, coarsely ground salt and pepper and some woody herbs.  Thyme is good, but as often as not we use dried oregano.  Toss the potatoes and flavourings together and pour into an ovenproof dish large enough so they can lie in a single layer but small enough so there is not too much space around them.  Cook in the oven at about 200 degrees centigrade (gas mark 6) until they have a crispy outer but are cooked through to the point of a knife.  They usually take about 45 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes and the vagaries of the individual oven.

Oma’s French beans

My Belgian grandmother’s recipe.  A lovely alternative to simply boiling them.

Boil French beans until they are just cooked, meaning they cut crisply in half when you try one on the pan.  Drain and refresh them (run under cold water to stop them cooking and help them keep their colour).  Allow them to dry.  In a heavy bottomed pan on a low heat gently sweat a finely chopped shallot in butter until they go sort of translucent, but don’t let them brown at all, then briefly sauté the beans in the shallot and butter mixture until they’re hot and coated in the oniony butter.  Season with salt and pepper, then serve with the onions scooped over the top.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

First Veg share!

Bennison Farm CSA reached a milestone today!
The bags looked truly delicious, very green, fresh and inviting. The feedback from Veg share members has been so warm and enthusiastic we feel bowled over. The whole CSA has accomplished much in the last few months, so well done all members, the Steering group, growers and all!

I will post the full selection of photos tomorrow but for now I'm going to my fav up and thence off to bed :D

Two lovely Veg share members having a look to see what was in their share.