Funny Hurried Yummy Summer Honey Kohl Rabi Stir-Fry

16 06 2009
yours in 15 minutes!

yours in 15 minutes!

Last night’s dilemma:

We have 30 minutes before we have to leave the house.

We’re starving.

Cue “Flight of the Bumble-Bee” and chopping for my life…

It was stir fry time!

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April’s Second Veggie-in-the-Spotlight: Spinach

23 03 2009

spinach

spinach

When is Spinach in Season?
Spinach is best from April to September.

How to Buy
Look for bright leaves and a fresh smell. Avoid anything even slightly yellow or slimy.

How to Store
Keep spinach in the salad drawer, but NEVER wash before storing it – it will get very soggy!

Nutrition
Spinach leaves are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin K, calcium, folic acid and antioxidants. It is a good source of iron, but not as good as Pop-Eye would have us believe! 1 cup of lightly cooked spinach contains 1/3 of a woman’s recommended daily intake of iron, but a cup of cooked spinach is a lot of spinach!

Spinach Secrets
Spinach originated in Iran and didn’t arrive in Europe until the 11th Century. It was imported to Spain and when it arrived in Britain, it was known as the “Spanish Vegetable”.

Like tomatoes, lightly cooking spinach makes it easier for the body to absorb the nutrients it contains. For example, 1 cup of cooked spinach contains 10 times your daily requirement of Vitamin K, 6 times the amount of raw spinach.

How to Prepare Spinach
The absolute key with spinach is to wash it well. It tends to pick up grit and soil and nothing spoils a dish as easily as lumps of gravel in your lasagne!

If you’re going to eat spinach raw in a salad, or if you’re going to saute it, then once it’s washed you need to pat it dry again.

How to Cook Spinach

new recipe

new recipe

Check out this brand new recipe:

Tom’s Breakfast Spinach Special
Let us know how you feel about spinach using the comments box down there, and if you try the new recipe, perhaps you’d send us a photo? We were so hungry we ate it before we remembered to take its picture!





Out with the Old … in with the New… Potatoes

18 03 2009
new potatoes

new potatoes

The last of the stored potatoes were probably finished off in February, and we won’t be seeing the “big boys” of the potato world again now until late June. So it’s just as well that the newbies are starting to arrive and will be with us until the end of July : )

Shopping

Best to get the mucky ones rather than the washed ones as the mud helps keep them fresh and blemish free.

Cooking

If you eat organic, you probably don’t peel your taters anyway, but newbies are even lower maintenance, because you don’t even need to chop them before cooking. Just a quick wash and a plunge into boiling water and you’re cooking (groan).

Storing

If you keep them cool and shaded, they should last a few days after buying them. If you can resist them, that is!

Recipes

And now it’s over to you…

What do you most like to do with new potatoes? Share your recipes here and we’ll get them added to the main database with your name on them. And do send us your photos … Always good for getting a lunch time tummy rumbling.

The VegBox Team





March’s Second Veggie-in-the-Spotlight: Brussels Sprouts!

3 03 2009
sprouts away!

sprouts away!

We just had to do it.

Like the roots we’re also saying goodbye to in March, it’s their last month with us before they pack their cases (like the picture?!) and migrate to cooler climes, not to return until December. And a little like this month’s other Veggie-in-the-Spotlight, they’re still misunderstood and they still haven’t made it to the sunglasses-sporting veggie A-list.

So, here’s some stuff that you may not have known about Brussels Sprouts:
1. They were cultivated in Belgium from cabbages. Hence the name.
2. They’re an excellent source of Vitamin C, with just 6 lightly cooked sprouts containing an adult’s recommended daily allowance. They’re also packed with Vitamin D and folic acid, which are both common deficiencies in our modern diet.
3. If cooked right, they should have a pleasant, nutty flavour.
4. Like cauliflower, it’s the sulphur released during cooking that gives Brussels Sprouts their infamous smell. So the less time you cook them for, the less they’ll stink!
5. They’re migratory*.

*OK, no they’re not. But it’s a funny thought.

How To Choose

  • If you have the option, get your sprouts still on the stalk, because they’ll keep for longer.
  • If you’ve got them already off the stalk, choose sprouts that still feel firm, with as little yellowing of the outer leaves as possible.

How To Store

  • They keep for longer if still on the stalk – up to 10 days in the fridge.
  • If already detached from the stalk, they’ll keep for about 5 days in the salad drawer of your fridge

Our Favourite Brussels Recipes

Remember the annual “sprout peddling” competition?

Here are the winning recipes, past and present:

three sprouty winners

three sprouty winners

Sauteed Brussels and Applestill our favourite, thanks to Nadja.

Garlic & Almond Sprouts – a creamy dish that has converted several friends…

Brussels Sprout & Pine Nut Salad – no chance of stink with this one, and the balsamic works perfectly!

So be honest, folks – will you be giving Brussels a sumptuous send off? Or are you determined to hand them their hats?





In Season in April

2 03 2009
watercress

watercress

April is always our favourite month. April Fool’s Day, Easter Sunday, World Health Day, showers, rainbows, and a certain someone’s birthday ; )

Here’s a look at the list of seasonal veggies which April will bring with it.

Please do use the comments box below to let us know which ones you’d most like us to feature in the coming weeks.

Asparagus (towards end of month), Cabbage, Endive, Mushrooms, Purple sprouting broccoli, Radishes (early), Rhubarb, Sorrel, Spinach, Spring Greens, Spring Onions, Swiss Chard, and Watercress.

And who out there would like to help me understand the difference between Endive and Chicory, because I still have some confusion when it comes to that topic!

The VegBox Team





The Last of the Root Veggies … aka What to do with Swede

2 03 2009
ready to go in the lunch-box

ready to go in the lunch-box

March has arrived. And March is an important month in the seasonal food calendar. Because it’s the last month of the winter root vegetables. For many of you lovely folks, this isn’t coming a day too soon!

After all, how many swedes can one girl eat?

Just when we thought we couldn’t find any more ways of making root veg interesting for you, reader Paula J presented her trump card.

Paula says “I had the most enormous swede delivered in my veg box last week and was immediately returned to my childhood when mashed carrots and turnip was the standard accompaniment to all roast meats. This came along with boiled potatoes. Now I have not eaten boiled potatoes (except new!) since then, so you can imagine my trauma when faced with the prospect of swede!

Anyway a quick trawl through a recipe book left me inspired to adapt an Italian Style Turnip Soup with what I thought was a great result. And the end of my childhood swede trauma!”

Paula J’s Italian-style Swede Soup

Ingredients
Serves 4

1 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
3 rashers streaky bacon (optional)
1 large swede, diced
1 handful quinoa
stock
chopped parsley

Method
1. Heat 1tbs olive / rapeseed oil and 1tbs butter in a large pot
2. Gently fry a chopped onion and 3 rashers of chopped streaky bacon (optional) for about 5 mins.
3. Add the chopped swede and continue to fry for 5 – 10 mins until the swede begins to soften.
4. Add a handful of quinoa, cook for a couple of mins until coated with oils.
5. Add enough stock to cover and cook until the quinoa is tender. I added a little thickener at the end and also some chopped parsley.

Time From Cupboard-To-Table
30 minutes

When Can I Cook This?
Swede is in season in the UK in October, November, December, January, February and March

Over to you. Use the comments box below to tell us what tricks you have up your sleeves for getting through the last month of root vegetables for this year.





April’s First Veggie-in-the-Spotlight: Sorrel

2 03 2009
sorrel leaves

sorrel leaves

April means no more root veggies, and a big hello to sorrel (amongst many other things). We haven’t featured sorrel before, so it seemed about time, and who better to help us out than our friends over at the award-winning Warborne Organic Farm in Hampshire.

The lovely Sophie sent us the deliciously simple recipe below for Sorrel Omelette, straight from the kitchen of one of their own box scheme customers, a self declared avid fan of sorrel.

And while Sophie was chatting with us over the virtual farm-fence, we were excited to learn that the family at Warborne are once again holding an Open Day, this time an Easter-themed one.

Still reeling slightly from the resounding success of  the TV series about them (“Farm Life” on Animal Planet), the Heathcotes will be swinging the gate open from midday till 4pm on Sunday 12th April. There’s no charge for entry, and visitors can look foward to:

  • a self-guided tour and Easter Egg Hunt in their tunnels, veg fields and livestock to see where and how they grow delicious organic produce with minimal food miles and maximum taste;
  • food tastings;
  • shearing demonstrations in the barn, and
  • organic, homemade goodies and refreshments from their farm kitchen.

Address: Warborne Organic Farm, Warborne Lane, Boldre, Hants SO41 5QD

Tel: 01590 688488

URL: www.warbornefarm.co.uk

sorrel omelette recipe

sorrel omelette recipe

Recipe Spotlight: Sorrel Omelette

Ingredients
(Serves one hungry person)

1 good handful of sorrel
40 ml milk
3 organic eggs
Salt and pepper
Veg oil or butter

Method

1. Whisk 3 eggs in a large bowl, along with seasoning and milk.
2. Rinse the sorrel in clean water, and drain. Roll the leaves and roughly chop or tear the leaves.
3. Heat butter or oil in a small frying pan on a medium heat.
4. Pour the mixed eggs into the frying pan.
5. Let the bottom of the omelette cook slightly before adding the sliced sorrel.
6. Using a spatula mix the leaves slightly in to the eggy mixture.
7. Finish cooking the omelette until done as preferred.
8. Serve alongside a good crusty roll.

Time From Cupboard-To-Table
20 minutes

When Can I Cook This?
Sorrel is in its prime in the UK in April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December

Fact Spotlight: More about Sorrel

Sorrel is a green leaf (very easy to grow in pots if you have limited space) that can be used raw or cooked. It is usually the young leaves, that are lemon-y and have a little kick to them, that are best in salads. Later on in the season, sorrel is better cooked, and is traditionally used in sauces for fish or in soups.

As with all other leaves, the best flavour and nutrition comes from leaves that are crisp and bright in colour. Sorrel should only be stored for a few days in the salad drawer in the fridge.

So that’s all from us on sorrel… Let us know whether you’ve used it yet, whether you try out this recipe, and, if you do head over to the Warborne Farm Open Day, let us know all about it using the comments box.

The VegBox Team