I had been waiting and waiting until the asparagus turned up at the Farmers’ Market and last weekend it finally did. I had heard whispers and rumours that this fine vegetable had pushed its purple head through the soil but didn’t want to get my hopes up until I saw it with my own eyes.
IngredientsYou will need (for one large bowl of salad):
- 2 smoked trout
- 500g potatoes, peeled and diced
- 250g crème fraîche
- Wholegrain mustard
- Fresh tarragon, dill and parsley
- 1 lemon
- Salt and pepper
MethodI got home and I unwrapped the trout. I looked at it somewhat diffidently and with remarkable concentration. I lopped the heads off and was relieved that it was at least half complete. How do I take the skin off? By now there was a faint glisten of moisture about my brow. Due to its being gutted my life was made awfully easy. I took the bottom fin and gave it a pull. It was like peeling an orange.
I can’t tell you how simple it was. What I thought would be a right kerfuffle turned out to be one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done. Once the skin was off, the meat just fell off the bone and I was left with a pile of meat and a complete pile of bones. There were a few strays that I found amidst the pile but I got the blighters.
During my adventures with the trout, a pan full of potatoes had been merrily bubbling away in the background. Once cooked they were drained and left to cool while the dressing was made.
I can see how some might think I’ve recently become obsessed with soup. This is not true but it seems the most appropriate thing to slurp in January. One thing I am obsessed with is Jerusalem artichokes.
Despite their unsociable side effects they are one of my absolute favourite vegetables. Unfortunately I can never seem to get my hands on them or they all get snaffled up by abdominally superior individuals before I can get to them. When I can get them though I always do.
I wrestled for my ugly roots knowing full well they were going to be blended with some leeks. I managed to get 400g of artichokes and 2 leeks. It cost me £1.50. This dish ended up serving four people a light lunch. Bargain.
A new year and many resolutions to break. I decided to start with good intentions however with a fresh, earthy and filling soup.
It had three main ingredients; celeriac, leek and apple. To be frank and somewhat rude, the celeriac is not a looker. If you’ve been through life without the celeriac, please overlook its brutal looks in favour of its wonderful flavour. My apple was half a Russet and half a Kentish somethingorother and rather strikingly large. My leeks were still covered in mud and had a little frost still left from picking in the green ends.
The Farmers’ Market can offer these things in a way that nothing else can. It is for vegetables like this and a hundred other reasons why I love it so much.
What you will need (for two bowls):
- 2 large carrots (2 purple if you can get them)
- Chicken or vegetable stock 400ml
- Garlic clove
- Coriander seeds 1tsp
- Fresh coriander
- Creme fraiche
If you ever manage to get hold of these little beauties, my advice would be to never boil them. Not only does it turn everything else a strange browny purple colour it also takes all the colour out of the carrots.
As I only had change for the one purple carrot I added an orange one too. For the soup, fry the carrots and garlic in a nice hearty sized knob of butter. Put the lid on them and let them soften.
While they do this, dry fry a teaspoon of coriander seeds until they jump around the frying pan and are good and toasted.
I just spent the last week in Dorset. It had me positively wanting to don my walking boots, breathe the fresh air – slightly tainted by manure – and whistle Greig’s Morgenstimmung all day long. Fortunately, my dignity stayed in tact. I was also hampered by the fact I don’t own walking boots and will only walk if there is the promise of food and drink at the other end.
They are so proud of their food down there and Dorset cheeses were offered everywhere I went. They are most excellent. As an homage to Summer, on an almost scorching September day a soup was needed. I found the following things around and about:
To tell you nowt but the truth, my broad beans have been nothing short of prolific. I cannot urge you enough to throw a few broad beans in the ground and watch them develop. They are so nutty and so so green. There’s nothing like picking a few pods and whiling away a few moments popping the little guys out of their silk lined beds. I really enjoy squeezing them out of their old grey skins once cooked. Unless I’m in a rush.
Despite all the care and affection I have given my beans I did manage to whip up some delectable meals and snacks. The first one (apart from eating a few raw off the stalk) was an omelette that I threw some of my emerald delights into. To start, I satisfyingly took the beans out of their homes.