Coco de Paimpol

Coco de Paimpol

Coco de Paimpol

 

The first of the Coco de Paimpol usually arrive early in July.  These semi-dry white haricot beans have an AOP designation of origin so only beans grown in a small coastal area of Brittany can be named Coco de Paimpol.  The temperate climate in this area allows for a long, slow growing period producing thin-skinned pods and a tender seed coating.  The plants are uprooted once the beans have reached the stage when the pods are just beginning to show signs of drying and then harvesting is done by hand. 

 

The pods of Coco de Paimpol are pale yellow/cream with light violet markings – less showy and smaller than a Borlotti.  The bean has a delicious nutty flavour and cooks quickly to a particularly creamy consistency. That creaminess pairs beautifully with fish – a pan-fried fillet of cod, or other white fish on a bed of Coco de Paimpol with, maybe, a few Girolles mushrooms would be my choice.  For a tasty, nutritious, vegetarian dish, pod the beans and cook them for 2-3 minutes.  Add them with a little of the cooking water to sliced onion which has been cooked in oil until soft, chopped tomato, thyme leaves, salt and pepper; pour into a gratin dish, cover with breadcrumbs and bake in the oven to brown the crumbs and bring all the flavours together.

 

Sweetcorn

Sweetcorn

  English Sweetcorn/Corn-on-the-cob    Photo © Evie Saffron Strands

English Sweetcorn/Corn-on-the-cob

Photo © Evie Saffron Strands

Sweetcorn/Maize

 

Corn, or Maize, was domesticated in Mexico 7,000-10,000 years ago.  Originally barely the size of an ear of wheat, it was developed by Inca and Mayan farmers into the long, plump, cigar-shaped cobs we know today.  Within a generation of Spanish Conquistadors bringing it back to Europe, corn was being grown throughout southern Europe.  It was prized in southern Europe as a cereal crop for making cornbreads and turned into porridges like polenta in Italy, and pulientas in Spain. 

 

Initially in the UK, maize was valued only as a feed for poultry then, later, as something you could refine into cooking oil.  The liking for sweet corn-on-the-cob came late to British tables, influenced by the American taste for it.  Now, as the British climate warms, good corn-on-the-cob can be grown here to follow on from the French harvests we buy.

 

Sweetcorn should be cooked as soon as possible after harvest as its natural sugars quickly convert to starch.  Right now we are getting plump, sweet corn-on-the cob from Kent growers.    If you plan to boil your cobs, this should take up to 10 minutes, but remember not to add salt to the cooking water as the kernels will toughen.  

 

Whether you boil them or cook them on the barbecue, smothering them in butter or olive oil is a good idea, as is a seasoning of sea salt and, maybe, some chopped chillis to challenge the sweetness.  You can slather the warm cobs with crab butter or slice the kernels from the cob and make a crab and sweetcorn soup.  Alternatively, you could cream your sweetcorn: slice the kernels from the cob and place them and any juices from the cob into a small pan, add a knob of butter and a sprig of thyme, cover and cook on a moderate heat for about 5 minutes until the grains have softened then add salt, pepper, 2-3 tablespoons of double cream and top with a poached egg.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

 Vesuvius tomatoes   Photo © Puntarelle&Co       Tomatoes      What started out as small bitter berries growing wild in western desert areas of South America, were domesticated by the Aztecs and transformed into  tomatl  (plump fruit).  Despite the fact Tomatoes were first brought to Spain from Mexico in the 15th century, they were viewed with suspicion here until the 19th century. We took much more readily to the imported potatoes and tobacco, despite the fact all three belong to the same plant family – Nightshade.  It was the tomato’s perceived resemblance to Deadly Nightshade that held up our acceptance of what is now a firm favourite on our continent.     Good Tomatoes are the defining taste of summer and now is the time eat your fill and preserve, preserve, preserve.  The tastiest tomato is rarely the best-looking one – but then beauty is in the beholder.  The more imperfect its appearance, the more interesting its flavour can be.  Store them stalk-side down on your kitchen counter, not in the fridge, to enjoy them at their most flavourful.  We source most of our tomatoes from Italy and France but when growing conditions are right – as they surely are this year – we buy English ones too.  Now, in late July, Italy is to the fore.  You will find the  Sorrento , grown in the rich volcanic soil around Mount Vesuvius - don’t be fooled by their scarred appearance, their fleshiness and taste is exceptional; the meaty  Cuore di Bue  (ox heart), originally grown in Liguria, are coming in from Sicily now; Cherry and Datterini are here too.  As I write we are keeping our eyes peeled for good English tomatoes for this week’s selection.     The Tomato’s relatively low-sugar content for a fruit (3%), along with its high amounts of savoury glutamic acid, is why we treat it most often as a vegetable.  Rich in Vitamin C, the red varieties deliver a high does of the antioxidant Carotenoid Lycopene.  Studies have shown that concentrating tomatoes down into a paste or sauce makes the antioxidant particularly potent.     The sweet/acid character of tomatoes pairs particularly well with herbs like basil, marjoram/oregano, and thyme.  The tomato appreciates salt and salty foods like anchovies, cheese and olives and a cream tempers its acidity.  In the current hot weather thoughts turn to a soothing cold tomato soup; or peppery   Gazpacho; a no-cook Middle Eastern Fattoush bread salad or Greek Feta salad; or simply selecting the ripest tomato in your bag, slicing it, adding salt and a good olive oil.       With a little cooking you could have  Simon Hopkinson’s  Creamed Tomatoes on Toast; a Tomato Risotto – I like the suggestion from  Rachel Roddy  in  her ‘A Kitchen in Rome’  column for  The Guardian Cook  to add a shot of Martini Rosso for a “nip of sharp sweetness”.   https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jul/23/rachel-roddy-recipe-tomato-risotto   You could stuff large tomatoes with rice and bake them slowly in the oven; make a mousse, a sauce or even a jelly.  Bring out the tomato’s fruit nature and make it into a dessert.   Kitty Travers  includes a recipe in her  La Grotta Ices  book for Tomato and white peach sorbet which emerges an elegant shade of shell pink, tasting softly sweet and fruity – just the thing for cooling down in this incredibly hot summer.

Vesuvius tomatoes

Photo © Puntarelle&Co

 

Tomatoes

 

What started out as small bitter berries growing wild in western desert areas of South America, were domesticated by the Aztecs and transformed into tomatl (plump fruit).  Despite the fact Tomatoes were first brought to Spain from Mexico in the 15th century, they were viewed with suspicion here until the 19th century. We took much more readily to the imported potatoes and tobacco, despite the fact all three belong to the same plant family – Nightshade.  It was the tomato’s perceived resemblance to Deadly Nightshade that held up our acceptance of what is now a firm favourite on our continent.

 

Good Tomatoes are the defining taste of summer and now is the time eat your fill and preserve, preserve, preserve.  The tastiest tomato is rarely the best-looking one – but then beauty is in the beholder.  The more imperfect its appearance, the more interesting its flavour can be.  Store them stalk-side down on your kitchen counter, not in the fridge, to enjoy them at their most flavourful.  We source most of our tomatoes from Italy and France but when growing conditions are right – as they surely are this year – we buy English ones too.  Now, in late July, Italy is to the fore.  You will find the Sorrento, grown in the rich volcanic soil around Mount Vesuvius - don’t be fooled by their scarred appearance, their fleshiness and taste is exceptional; the meaty Cuore di Bue (ox heart), originally grown in Liguria, are coming in from Sicily now; Cherry and Datterini are here too.  As I write we are keeping our eyes peeled for good English tomatoes for this week’s selection.

 

The Tomato’s relatively low-sugar content for a fruit (3%), along with its high amounts of savoury glutamic acid, is why we treat it most often as a vegetable.  Rich in Vitamin C, the red varieties deliver a high does of the antioxidant Carotenoid Lycopene.  Studies have shown that concentrating tomatoes down into a paste or sauce makes the antioxidant particularly potent.

 

The sweet/acid character of tomatoes pairs particularly well with herbs like basil, marjoram/oregano, and thyme.  The tomato appreciates salt and salty foods like anchovies, cheese and olives and a cream tempers its acidity.  In the current hot weather thoughts turn to a soothing cold tomato soup; or peppery Gazpacho; a no-cook Middle Eastern Fattoush bread salad or Greek Feta salad; or simply selecting the ripest tomato in your bag, slicing it, adding salt and a good olive oil.  

 

With a little cooking you could have Simon Hopkinson’s Creamed Tomatoes on Toast; a Tomato Risotto – I like the suggestion from Rachel Roddy in her ‘A Kitchen in Rome’ column for The Guardian Cook to add a shot of Martini Rosso for a “nip of sharp sweetness”.  https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jul/23/rachel-roddy-recipe-tomato-risotto

You could stuff large tomatoes with rice and bake them slowly in the oven; make a mousse, a sauce or even a jelly.  Bring out the tomato’s fruit nature and make it into a dessert.  Kitty Travers includes a recipe in her La Grotta Ices book for Tomato and white peach sorbet which emerges an elegant shade of shell pink, tasting softly sweet and fruity – just the thing for cooling down in this incredibly hot summer.

Blackcurrants

Blackcurrants

  Blackcurrants    Photo © Evie Saffron Strands

Blackcurrants

Photo © Evie Saffron Strands

Blackcurrants

 

A cool region plant, the Blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum) thrives in the British climate.  Much more acidic than white or red currants, it is closer in this regard to its relation the Gooseberry.  Its intense aroma comes from the many spicy terpenes, fruity esters and a sulphur compound that is also to be found in gooseberries, green tea and Sauvignon Blanc wines.  

 

The Blackcurrant’s resinous character needs to be tamed by briefly cooking with sugar and a little water to reveal its qualities.  The Blackcurrant is not only versatile and delicious but exceptionally rich in vitamin C and antioxidants.  Its strength of flavour means a little goes a long way.  Blackcurrants also freeze extremely well.

 

The leaves of the blackcurrant shouldn’t be overlooked.  They are highly aromatic and can be infused in a syrup or a custard to impart a flavour which Kitty Travers of La Grotta Ices interprets as “white acid drops”.  

 

Their season is relatively short but you can normally expect to see blackcurrants from early- to mid-July and into August.  The French value them mainly for the making of their Crème de Cassis cordial – essential for the white wine aperitif, Kir.  Much of the UK Blackcurrant crop is harvested for a well-known sweet, sticky blackcurrant drink but we buy ours from our favourite fruit farm in Kent.  As well as selling them by the punnet, they go into our London Fermentary healthy, tangy Blackcurrant Water Kefir.

 

Blackcurrants pair well with mint, anise, chocolate and coffee flavours.  They respond exceptionally well to cream.  High in natural pectin, they are easy to preserve and make a deeply flavoured syrup, jelly (good stirred into meat juices) or jam; a highly aromatic sorbet and a luscious ice cream; outstanding with a creamy syllabub or a posset; a crumble or pie, on their own or teamed with pears; and they’re a wonderful addition to a Summer Pudding with raspberries - Nigel Slater champions a Blackcurrant and Blackberry version of Summer Pudding, with the proviso that plenty of cream be deployed. 

 

  Blackcurrant blossom    Photo © Evie Saffron Strands

Blackcurrant blossom

Photo © Evie Saffron Strands

Monthly news - July 2018

Monthly news - July 2018

  Percocha peaches Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Percocha peaches Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

July

It took a while to make an appearance but finally, in the last week of June, summer arrived and with it the glorious fruits of summer.  July is the time to make the most of these vitamin and mineral-rich seasonal fruits by eating them now at their peak or preserving them for later in the year.

 

For the month of July, here is the key short-season produce you can expect to find at Puntarelle & Co along with all the usual staples:

 

English Soft fruits have been loving the heat and we are lucky to have hand-picked berries from John, our Apple and Pear grower in Kent.  Both  Strawberries   and Raspberries are fabulous this year.  Locally-grown English Raspberries, in particular, are unbeatable for flavour.  We use these Kent-grown berries in our London Fermentary Kent Raspberry Water Kefir.  We also get Blackberries from the same farm in Kent. Large, plump and deeply-flavoured, they are bursting with juice.  It’s proving to be a great year for British Blackcurrants too.  Gooseberries should be around until mid-July and British Cherries are starting to arrive, taking over from the lovely Provence/French, Italian and Spanish ones we have had for a few weeks now.

  Summer Peaches Puntarelle & Co

Summer Peaches Puntarelle & Co

We are loving our fruits from France, Sicily and other parts of Italy this year.  They are all in their sun-ripened glory in July.  We have Peaches  - yellow, white, blood, flat and percocha.  Nectarines too.  All ripe and ready to eat or cook with.  A highlight of the month of July for London Fermentary is our Peach Water Kefir infused with lemon verbena and raspberry.  Apricots  are arriving from Southern Italy, they are small but have good flavour. We are expecting to change over to French (hopefully, Bergeron) 

Melons are popular at Puntarelle in this warm weather that encourages us to eat more cooling fruits.  We are getting our Green Fioroni Figs from Puglia at the moment - large and very juicy.

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English Peas

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

 

On the vegetable side, the highlights for July are English Peas . The harvests are as sweet and plentiful as they were last year.  English Broad Beans  are excellent this year too.   We will move into the British Sweetcorn season in July, taking over from the Continental corn cobs.  We look forward to its arrival as the British is usually the best of the crop.  All British grown herbs are in their prime too!

We expect to get particularly good sun-ripened Italian Ox-Heart Tomatoes (Cuore di Bue) and Vesuvius tomatoes, both varieties are meaty, juicy and very delicious. 

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Vesuvius Tomatoes

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

 

London Fermentary News

IMG_7092 2.JPG

On the London Fermentary side of our business, we are delighted to announce our first Inspirational Fermentation Course was completed with great success this summer. The results were exceptional.  Thank you to all who attended. It was such a pleasure to teach our first group of talented and creative people.  Dates for the next course are set for September 2018.  Visit www.londonfermentary.com to book your place (only 5 spaces still available at time of writing).


This is an easy recipe from Evie’s blog for turning ripe cherries into a more special dessert.  

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Cherries with almonds & Sabayon

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

 

Sabayon is so easy to make.  It takes only 2 minutes of whisking with an electric whisk if you want a warm frothy sauce to eat immediately, 5 minutes to produce a 'creamier' one. If you want to make it up to an hour ahead (the one in the photograph above), you just need to keep whisking it off the heat until it has cooled.  This stops it separating before you get to eat it.

Cherries with almonds & Sabayon sauce
(Serves 4)

300g cherries
2 tablespoons elderflower cordial
1-2 teaspoons caster sugar
4-5 almonds

For the Sabayon:
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon caster sugar

Melons

Melons

  Melons    Photo © Puntarelle & Co       Melons      Melons are fruits of the  Cucumis melo  and closely related to the cucumber.  The exception is the Watermelon ( Citrullus lanatus ) which is a scrambling and trailing vine eaten by the Egyptians for some 5,000 years.  In its wild form the Watermelon is very bitter.  Here I want to talk mainly about Melons.  We’ll save Watermelons for a later day.     The melon plant was cultivated in Asia and India and, by the first century, had arrived in the Mediterranean area.  There are many varieties but the most common fall into two categories: ‘Summer Melons’, which appear in early summer and are highly aromatic and perishable – the Cantaloupe, Charentaise and Ogen melon are examples; and ‘Winter Melons’ which are less perfumed and keep longer – the Honeydew, for instance.  The Charentais, with its smooth grey-green rind and highly aromatic dark orange flesh is arguably the best-flavoured melon of all.  The Cantaloupes, also known as Muskmelons, have a creamy-white rind, sometimes streaked with yellow, and a firmer flesh which can be very sweet when they are fully ripe.      Right now, in the last few days of June, we have orange-fleshed Cantaloupes from Italy.  We also have smooth-skinned Honeymoon melons, which are an early ripening variety of the Honeydew.  We have plenty of thirst-quenching Watermelons from Sicily too – perfect for cooling down in this warm spell.        Good melons should seem heavy for their size and, when ripe, will be slightly soft at the stalk end.  The seeds of the melon are edible.  Scoop out the seeds, dry them and roast in a medium-hot oven.  Melon with Bayonne or Parma Ham is a classic pairing; their sweet, perfumed flesh is a good choice for making into a water ice; try halving a melon, deseeding and filling the cavity with raspberries and a tablespoon of sweet wine, like Sauternes; make a melon and ginger jam (with sugar, lemon and preserved ginger); or a melon rind pickle (with sugar, vinegar, lemon, cinnamon and cloves) – one last mention for the Watermelon because this pickle is particularly good made with watermelon rind.   

Melons

Photo © Puntarelle & Co

 

Melons

 

Melons are fruits of the Cucumis melo and closely related to the cucumber.  The exception is the Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) which is a scrambling and trailing vine eaten by the Egyptians for some 5,000 years.  In its wild form the Watermelon is very bitter.  Here I want to talk mainly about Melons.  We’ll save Watermelons for a later day.

 

The melon plant was cultivated in Asia and India and, by the first century, had arrived in the Mediterranean area.  There are many varieties but the most common fall into two categories: ‘Summer Melons’, which appear in early summer and are highly aromatic and perishable – the Cantaloupe, Charentaise and Ogen melon are examples; and ‘Winter Melons’ which are less perfumed and keep longer – the Honeydew, for instance.  The Charentais, with its smooth grey-green rind and highly aromatic dark orange flesh is arguably the best-flavoured melon of all.  The Cantaloupes, also known as Muskmelons, have a creamy-white rind, sometimes streaked with yellow, and a firmer flesh which can be very sweet when they are fully ripe. 

 

Right now, in the last few days of June, we have orange-fleshed Cantaloupes from Italy.  We also have smooth-skinned Honeymoon melons, which are an early ripening variety of the Honeydew.  We have plenty of thirst-quenching Watermelons from Sicily too – perfect for cooling down in this warm spell.   

 

Good melons should seem heavy for their size and, when ripe, will be slightly soft at the stalk end.  The seeds of the melon are edible.  Scoop out the seeds, dry them and roast in a medium-hot oven.  Melon with Bayonne or Parma Ham is a classic pairing; their sweet, perfumed flesh is a good choice for making into a water ice; try halving a melon, deseeding and filling the cavity with raspberries and a tablespoon of sweet wine, like Sauternes; make a melon and ginger jam (with sugar, lemon and preserved ginger); or a melon rind pickle (with sugar, vinegar, lemon, cinnamon and cloves) – one last mention for the Watermelon because this pickle is particularly good made with watermelon rind.

 

  Sicilian watermelons     Photo © Puntarelle & Co

Sicilian watermelons

Photo © Puntarelle & Co

Gooseberries

Gooseberries

  Gooseberries    Photo © Evie Saffron Strands

Gooseberries

Photo © Evie Saffron Strands

Gooseberries

Currants and Gooseberries are all species of the genus Ribes and are cold climate fruits, growing most happily in Northern Europe and North America.  Gooseberries grow best in cool, damp conditions so the UK is excellent for them.  They are normally the first fruits of Spring and the bushes can remain productive into August.  The first fruits are sharp, hard and green and need plenty of sugar, but it’s then that their unique flavour is most pronounced.  If you want a sweeter gooseberry, wait a few weeks for the green globes to mellow to a pale green/gold or go for a red variety like Pax.  Given a bit of heat and sun, later in the season you can reduce the amount of sugar you need to add to them.  

 

This week we have our first gooseberry harvest from our preferred farm in Kent so you can see for yourself how they develop as the season progresses.

 

Gooseberries pair wonderfully with elderflowers, imparting a muscat flavour, and the Elder usually produces its flowers at just the right time for the first gooseberry harvests.  Just add a flower head to the poaching pan.  The fruits are packed with vitamin C, and are rich in pectin, so they are excellent for jam-making.  Made into a sharp compote or chutney they are excellent for cutting oily fish such as mackerel, or fatty meats like pork or goose.  The possibilities for puddings are many, from crumbles, tarts, jams, jellies, syllabubs and fools to sorbets, parfaits and ice creams.  They make a fine Eton Mess-like pudding and are gorgeous baked into a buttery-pastry pie.  Keep in mind that Gooseberries love cream.

  Gooseberries and Elderflowers    Photo © Evie Saffron Strands

Gooseberries and Elderflowers

Photo © Evie Saffron Strands

Raspberries

Raspberries

  Raspberries    Photo © Evie Saffron Strands       Raspberries      The  Raspberry  is a delicate fruit which, once ripe, doesn’t take kindly to being kept waiting.  It’s sensitive to damp warmth which can quickly turn the berries to mildewed wretchedness.  Sometimes, in just-picked fruit, to the untrained eye, there is no evidence of its presence but once that musty flavour hits the tongue it’s a taste never forgotten – by me anyway.  Grown well, the berries are sweet/sharp, bursting with juicy wine-like flavours and carrying floral aromas ranging from rose to violets.  We like to bide our time and buy our raspberries direct from our favourite grower in Kent.  This way we know they have been carefully raised and harvested, and time from farm to plate is kept to a minimum.  We use these raspberries in our much loved   London Fermentary    Kent   Raspberry Water Kefir  too.       All berries which grow on canes – raspberry, blackberry, Loganberry etc – are members of the genus  Rubus , part of the rose family.  The delicacy of the fruit belies the fact that cultivated raspberries derive from wild plants that thrive as far north as Alaska.  This explains why cultivated raspberries from northern climes, like Scotland grow so well and are rightly prized.  The British raspberry crop is only just getting going but the season is surprisingly long.  Southern-grown berries from summer-fruiting canes peter out but the Scottish season takes overs.  Then there are the autumn-fruiting varieties too which can mean British raspberries are around until well into autumn.     Raspberries are a fruit best eaten raw, though they will stand a little warmth to bring out their juices.  If you keep them in the fridge, it’s important to allow them to reach room temperature to bring out their flavour before eating.  They pair wonderfully well with warm baked peaches. Cream is very much a friend.  If you have a peach, raspberries and cream you have the essentials for a Peach Melba.  A Victoria Sponge Sandwich cake eaten outside on a warm day is quintessentially English.  Sandwiching the sponge layers with raspberries and cream makes it more special than using raspberry jam.  A few drops of rosewater can raise the flavour of less perfumed berries - delicious with meringue and cream, turned into a summer berry Pavlova or a variant of Eton Mess.  If you need to, the berries freeze well and, whizzed up from frozen in a food processor, make an easy sorbet.  As an alternative, you can puree the raw berries with sugar (around 3:1 fruit:sugar) to make a syrup to ripple through vanilla ice cream.     

Raspberries

Photo © Evie Saffron Strands

 

Raspberries

 

The Raspberry is a delicate fruit which, once ripe, doesn’t take kindly to being kept waiting.  It’s sensitive to damp warmth which can quickly turn the berries to mildewed wretchedness.  Sometimes, in just-picked fruit, to the untrained eye, there is no evidence of its presence but once that musty flavour hits the tongue it’s a taste never forgotten – by me anyway.  Grown well, the berries are sweet/sharp, bursting with juicy wine-like flavours and carrying floral aromas ranging from rose to violets.  We like to bide our time and buy our raspberries direct from our favourite grower in Kent.  This way we know they have been carefully raised and harvested, and time from farm to plate is kept to a minimum.  We use these raspberries in our much loved London Fermentary Kent Raspberry Water Kefir too.  

 

All berries which grow on canes – raspberry, blackberry, Loganberry etc – are members of the genus Rubus, part of the rose family.  The delicacy of the fruit belies the fact that cultivated raspberries derive from wild plants that thrive as far north as Alaska.  This explains why cultivated raspberries from northern climes, like Scotland grow so well and are rightly prized.  The British raspberry crop is only just getting going but the season is surprisingly long.  Southern-grown berries from summer-fruiting canes peter out but the Scottish season takes overs.  Then there are the autumn-fruiting varieties too which can mean British raspberries are around until well into autumn.

 

Raspberries are a fruit best eaten raw, though they will stand a little warmth to bring out their juices.  If you keep them in the fridge, it’s important to allow them to reach room temperature to bring out their flavour before eating.  They pair wonderfully well with warm baked peaches. Cream is very much a friend.  If you have a peach, raspberries and cream you have the essentials for a Peach Melba.  A Victoria Sponge Sandwich cake eaten outside on a warm day is quintessentially English.  Sandwiching the sponge layers with raspberries and cream makes it more special than using raspberry jam.  A few drops of rosewater can raise the flavour of less perfumed berries - delicious with meringue and cream, turned into a summer berry Pavlova or a variant of Eton Mess.  If you need to, the berries freeze well and, whizzed up from frozen in a food processor, make an easy sorbet.  As an alternative, you can puree the raw berries with sugar (around 3:1 fruit:sugar) to make a syrup to ripple through vanilla ice cream.  

 

June 2018 Seasonal News

June 2018 Seasonal News

June

  English Strawberries     Photo © Puntarelle & Co

English Strawberries

Photo © Puntarelle & Co

From July 2018, after over a full calendar year in the original style, we will be changing the format of our Monthly Seasonal Produce News to introduce a structured, interactive presentation.  But for the month of June, here is the key short-season produce you can expect to find at Puntarelle & Co along with all the usual staples:

English Produce

Fresh Peas

The first Broad Beans

Spring Onions

Spinach

Coriander

Strawberries

Raspberries

Gooseberries

  Italian Borlotti Beans  &  French Corn     Photo © Puntarelle&Co

Italian Borlotti Beans  &  French Corn

Photo © Puntarelle&Co

Italian Produce

Green Figs from Sicily

Crunchy Romano Courgettes

The first Peaches and Nectarines

White Peaches

Flat Peaches

Ruby Apricots

Green & Yellow  Beans

Ligurian Basil

Datterino & Costaluto tomatoes

Melons

The first Borlotti Beans

Photo © Puntarelle & Co

 Peaches at Puntarelle&Co 

Peaches at Puntarelle&Co 

 

French Produce

Corn-on-the-Cob

Cherries

Apricots

White Peaches

 

 

Spanish Produce

Apricots

Cherries

White Peaches

Corn-on-the-Cob

 


 London Fermentary Inspirational Fermentation Course 

London Fermentary Inspirational Fermentation Course 

London Fermentary News:

We have two pieces of news on our London Fermentary products this month.  

 

Firstly, from Saturday 9 June we will have our ‘Kegerator’ operational so you will be able to buy your favourite Water Kefirs in 1 litre refillable bottles.

 

Our second piece of news is that we have announced dates for our first Inspirational Fermentation course – 12, 19 & 26 June.  Held over three weeks, one 3-hour session per week, this Inspirational Fermentation Course is designed to give participants a good understanding of the fermentation process.  Link to our London Fermentary Events page to get inspired. 

 

  Baked Apricots with marzipan filling & almond crumble    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Baked Apricots with marzipan filling & almond crumble

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

When writing last week on the subject of Apricots - which are now arriving in greater quantities and better quality - we mentioned this recipe from one of our favourite food books Honey & Co: The Baking Book by Sarit Packer & Itamar Srulovich.  Here is the recipe in more detail:

 

Baked Apricots with marzipan filling & almond crumble

(Serves 6)

 

12 ripe apricots

120g marzipan

60g soft butter

100g demerara sugar

 

For the crumble:

100g almonds, roughly chopped

20g sesame seeds

a pinch of fennel seeds

a pinch of ground mahleb or cardamom

a pinch of sea salt

50g runny honey

1 tsp oil

 

Cream to serve

 

Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan).

Cut the marzipan into 12 pieces.  Partially halve the fruits and remove the stones.  Stuff each fruit with a slice of marzipan and reclose it.  Brush each with soft butter and roll in demerara sugar before roasting for around 10 minutes until soft.  Mix the crumble topping ingredients and spread it thinly on a baking tray.  Roast in the oven until crisp.  Serve two apricots per person, with cream (their suggestion is for a 50/50 mix of double and soured cream whipped with a little brandy) and scatter some crumble over the top.   

 

Apricots

Apricots

  Ruby Apricots    Photo © Puntarelle&Co Ltd        Apricots      The Apricot tree blossoms early, soon after the almond, which means that the flowers are very often caught by frost.  The Apricot is a difficult fruit to grow in the UK as the fruits also need to ripen on the tree.  Not that some fruit farmers in southern England don’t try – apricot trees have been cultivated here since the mid-16th century - but success remains a hit and miss affair, subject to the vagaries of our weather.  This is a shame because two of the best varieties of Apricot – Blenheim and Moorpark – were originally bred in England.  In favourable years, the English-grown crops can be good but most often we have to treat them as cookers.       For Apricots that need very little embellishment, we turn to the warmth of Italy and France, though varieties are limited.  It’s possible to bring out the floral, tropical flavours even in early fruits if you treat them right.  Early crops are best turned into jam, compote, sorbet or pureed for ice cream.  They can also add a lovely sweet-sharpness to savoury stews.  By the end of June Apricots from southern Europe can usually be eaten just as they come.  Generally, the stronger the colour, the sweeter the fruit, and the simpler their treatment should be.     Apricots have an affinity with almonds.  If you crack open an apricot stone you’ll find within a small almond-like kernel, or noyaux, which you can add to your recipe for a touch of bitter almond flavour.  Don’t overdo it, though, as the noyaux contains amygdalin, a compound which converts to cyanide in the body.  Roasting the kernel first extracts this compound.  Green Almonds are around at the same time as Apricots so try poaching apricots with a little sugar and a vanilla pod until soft but not collapsed and serve scattered with slivers of green almonds; make an Apricot Tart or Galette; with early fruits, make Apricot Jam, for sure; stuff them by halving and pitting the fruit, place cut-side-up in a dish and scatter an almond crumble topping over them before roasting on a medium heat; or make the delicious recipe for  Baked Apricots with marzipan filling and almond crumble  from  Honey&Co: The Baking Book  – partially halve and pit the fruits, stuff with a slice of marzipan, brush them with soft butter and roll in demerara sugar before roasting until soft.  Honey&Co make an almond crumble topping flavoured with mahleb (a spice made from cherry kernels), spread it thinly on a baking tray and roast until crisp.  Put the two elements together and serve with cream (their suggestion is for brandy cream).   

Ruby Apricots

Photo © Puntarelle&Co Ltd

 

Apricots

 

The Apricot tree blossoms early, soon after the almond, which means that the flowers are very often caught by frost.  The Apricot is a difficult fruit to grow in the UK as the fruits also need to ripen on the tree.  Not that some fruit farmers in southern England don’t try – apricot trees have been cultivated here since the mid-16th century - but success remains a hit and miss affair, subject to the vagaries of our weather.  This is a shame because two of the best varieties of Apricot – Blenheim and Moorpark – were originally bred in England.  In favourable years, the English-grown crops can be good but most often we have to treat them as cookers.  

 

For Apricots that need very little embellishment, we turn to the warmth of Italy and France, though varieties are limited.  It’s possible to bring out the floral, tropical flavours even in early fruits if you treat them right.  Early crops are best turned into jam, compote, sorbet or pureed for ice cream.  They can also add a lovely sweet-sharpness to savoury stews.  By the end of June Apricots from southern Europe can usually be eaten just as they come.  Generally, the stronger the colour, the sweeter the fruit, and the simpler their treatment should be.

 

Apricots have an affinity with almonds.  If you crack open an apricot stone you’ll find within a small almond-like kernel, or noyaux, which you can add to your recipe for a touch of bitter almond flavour.  Don’t overdo it, though, as the noyaux contains amygdalin, a compound which converts to cyanide in the body.  Roasting the kernel first extracts this compound.  Green Almonds are around at the same time as Apricots so try poaching apricots with a little sugar and a vanilla pod until soft but not collapsed and serve scattered with slivers of green almonds; make an Apricot Tart or Galette; with early fruits, make Apricot Jam, for sure; stuff them by halving and pitting the fruit, place cut-side-up in a dish and scatter an almond crumble topping over them before roasting on a medium heat; or make the delicious recipe for Baked Apricots with marzipan filling and almond crumble from Honey&Co: The Baking Book – partially halve and pit the fruits, stuff with a slice of marzipan, brush them with soft butter and roll in demerara sugar before roasting until soft.  Honey&Co make an almond crumble topping flavoured with mahleb (a spice made from cherry kernels), spread it thinly on a baking tray and roast until crisp.  Put the two elements together and serve with cream (their suggestion is for brandy cream).

 

  Baked Apricots with marzipan filling & almond crumble    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands    

Baked Apricots with marzipan filling & almond crumble

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

 

Strawberries

Strawberries

  Strawberries    Photo ©Puntarelle & Co        Strawberries   Almost all modern cultivated  Strawberry  varieties derive from two American species,  Fragaria virginiana  from North America and  Fragaria chiloensis  from South America.  It wasn’t until the plants were cross-polinated in France in the 18th century that the large, commercially-grown, strawberries we know today became popular, supplanting the European Wild Strawberry varieties we had enjoyed here.  While some recent introductions may be viewed as a hybridisation too far – bred for resilience, size and sweetness at the cost of flavour – with others it’s not difficult to see why they were favoured over the small wild berries.  The larger, sweeter cultivated varieties can usually be kept at least a couple of days.  The small European wild strawberry,  Fragaria Vesca , or, as the French call it,  fraise de bois  still has its place but is best eaten very soon after picking before its intense fragrance dissipates.   We get some early varieties from France and Italy, notably the French  Gariguette  which we will have again this week, though at a more reasonable price than at the start of harvest.    The early summer English outdoor-grown fruit, ripened by the sun, are worth waiting for.  This week, the third week of May, we have the first arrival from our preferred farmer in Kent.  The variety is  Elizabeth , which will be followed by  Jubilee  over the next few weeks.  It’s hard to beat the simple pairing of Strawberries and cream.  Strawberry ice cream is divine.  Try slicing a strawberry into a glass of red or white wine.  Add a few berries to poached rhubarb or try pairing strawberries with a few rose petals or leaves of lemon verbena.  If you want something a little different, orange zest, balsamic vinegar or black pepper all complement strawberries.  As the season progresses and prices come down, they also make an incredibly fragrant jam.  Be sure to add lemon juice for a good set as the pectin levels in strawberries is very low.   

Strawberries

Photo ©Puntarelle & Co

 

Strawberries

Almost all modern cultivated Strawberry varieties derive from two American species, Fragaria virginiana from North America and Fragaria chiloensis from South America.  It wasn’t until the plants were cross-polinated in France in the 18th century that the large, commercially-grown, strawberries we know today became popular, supplanting the European Wild Strawberry varieties we had enjoyed here.  While some recent introductions may be viewed as a hybridisation too far – bred for resilience, size and sweetness at the cost of flavour – with others it’s not difficult to see why they were favoured over the small wild berries.  The larger, sweeter cultivated varieties can usually be kept at least a couple of days.  The small European wild strawberry, Fragaria Vesca, or, as the French call it, fraise de bois still has its place but is best eaten very soon after picking before its intense fragrance dissipates. 

We get some early varieties from France and Italy, notably the French Gariguette which we will have again this week, though at a more reasonable price than at the start of harvest.    The early summer English outdoor-grown fruit, ripened by the sun, are worth waiting for.  This week, the third week of May, we have the first arrival from our preferred farmer in Kent.  The variety is Elizabeth, which will be followed by Jubilee over the next few weeks.

It’s hard to beat the simple pairing of Strawberries and cream.  Strawberry ice cream is divine.  Try slicing a strawberry into a glass of red or white wine.  Add a few berries to poached rhubarb or try pairing strawberries with a few rose petals or leaves of lemon verbena.  If you want something a little different, orange zest, balsamic vinegar or black pepper all complement strawberries.  As the season progresses and prices come down, they also make an incredibly fragrant jam.  Be sure to add lemon juice for a good set as the pectin levels in strawberries is very low.

 

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Tarragon

Tarragon

  Tarragon    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands       Tarragon       Tarragon  (or Estragon),  Artemisia dracunculus , is a native of western and northern Asia and a member of the lettuce family.  There are two varieties of this herb – the wild one that’s often called Russian Tarragon and which has quite a harsh flavour; and French Tarragon, which is more delicate and has a distinct anise aroma.  The French variety has more uses in the kitchen.       Tarragon combined with chervil, parsley and chives makes the French classic  fines herbes  mix.  It has many uses in French cuisine, from flavouring sauces to adding to chicken, fish and egg dishes.  A simple omelette aux fines herbes is a beautiful thing.  Tarragon is the essential herb to create the classic béarnaise sauce.  Tarragon compliments asparagus when paired with eggs and it brings a welcome bitter anise note to temper the sweetness of both peas and carrots.  Try slow-cooking courgettes in olive oil and butter until soft and mushy, add chopped tarragon and season – delicious just with bread or served with lentils.  Or soften a chopped shallot in butter, add sliced mushrooms and cook to brown, then finish with a little extra butter, a splash of cream and some chopped tarragon. Pile onto toast.       Fatty fish, particularly salmon, and sea trout, are good with a creamy tarragon sauce.  Melted butter scented with tarragon poured over Lobster is a great simple way to serve a luxurious ingredient.     Georgian and Caucasian food is becoming more appreciated in London of late, thanks in large part to the work of food writer Olia Hercules.  There is a distinct fondness for the herb tarragon, or  tarkhuna  which is also the name of a tarragon- flavoured soft drink of the region.  Tarragon, onion and eggs (and sometimes greens) are combined as a filling for a leavened yogurt dough pie.  There’s a stew of lamb or veal, punchy with tarragon, called  Chakapuli ; and there’s  Kharcho,  a stew made from chicken which is fragrant with tarragon.  You can make a cordial from lemon, tarragon and cucumber too – maybe a bit more interesting than lemonade.     And don’t just think of tarragon for savoury dishes.  The herb brings a wonderful anise flavour to nectarines, peaches and plums.  Oven-bake the fruits, sliced in half and stone removed, in a little sugar syrup and a few leaves of tarragon, for an easy pudding.  Or make a tarragon-infused custard for ice cream and fold through a puree of peach or nectarine.     You can preserve any leftover tarragon by hanging it up to dry, or you can preserve it as Tarragon butter.  Simply chop the herb and add to creamed butter, roll into a log and freeze for using by the slice as you need it – maybe on a juicy steak or a fillet of fish.       As I write this in late spring you’ll find the best tarragon is coming through our arch right now – and, of course, we use it in our London Fermentary ferments.   

Tarragon

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

 

Tarragon

 

Tarragon (or Estragon), Artemisia dracunculus, is a native of western and northern Asia and a member of the lettuce family.  There are two varieties of this herb – the wild one that’s often called Russian Tarragon and which has quite a harsh flavour; and French Tarragon, which is more delicate and has a distinct anise aroma.  The French variety has more uses in the kitchen.  

 

Tarragon combined with chervil, parsley and chives makes the French classic fines herbes mix.  It has many uses in French cuisine, from flavouring sauces to adding to chicken, fish and egg dishes.  A simple omelette aux fines herbes is a beautiful thing.  Tarragon is the essential herb to create the classic béarnaise sauce.  Tarragon compliments asparagus when paired with eggs and it brings a welcome bitter anise note to temper the sweetness of both peas and carrots.  Try slow-cooking courgettes in olive oil and butter until soft and mushy, add chopped tarragon and season – delicious just with bread or served with lentils.  Or soften a chopped shallot in butter, add sliced mushrooms and cook to brown, then finish with a little extra butter, a splash of cream and some chopped tarragon. Pile onto toast.  

 

Fatty fish, particularly salmon, and sea trout, are good with a creamy tarragon sauce.  Melted butter scented with tarragon poured over Lobster is a great simple way to serve a luxurious ingredient.

 

Georgian and Caucasian food is becoming more appreciated in London of late, thanks in large part to the work of food writer Olia Hercules.  There is a distinct fondness for the herb tarragon, or tarkhuna which is also the name of a tarragon- flavoured soft drink of the region.  Tarragon, onion and eggs (and sometimes greens) are combined as a filling for a leavened yogurt dough pie.  There’s a stew of lamb or veal, punchy with tarragon, called Chakapuli; and there’s Kharcho, a stew made from chicken which is fragrant with tarragon.  You can make a cordial from lemon, tarragon and cucumber too – maybe a bit more interesting than lemonade.

 

And don’t just think of tarragon for savoury dishes.  The herb brings a wonderful anise flavour to nectarines, peaches and plums.  Oven-bake the fruits, sliced in half and stone removed, in a little sugar syrup and a few leaves of tarragon, for an easy pudding.  Or make a tarragon-infused custard for ice cream and fold through a puree of peach or nectarine.

 

You can preserve any leftover tarragon by hanging it up to dry, or you can preserve it as Tarragon butter.  Simply chop the herb and add to creamed butter, roll into a log and freeze for using by the slice as you need it – maybe on a juicy steak or a fillet of fish.  

 

As I write this in late spring you’ll find the best tarragon is coming through our arch right now – and, of course, we use it in our London Fermentary ferments.

 

  Tarragon    Photo ©Puntarelle&Co Ltd

Tarragon

Photo ©Puntarelle&Co Ltd

May 2018  Seasonal News

May 2018 Seasonal News

  English Asparagus     Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands       MAY       This time last year we were talking of having had English Asparagus at the beginning of April, only for it then to be hit by late frosts.  This year we collected our first Kent-grown crop last week.  Despite it feeling late, it was around St George’s Day which is the traditional time for starting to cut the crop.  It’s hard to resist people’s desire for earlier harvests but nature knows best and this year’s first cut of English Asparagus from our preferred grower was definitely worth the wait.       April passed in the UK feeling very similar to March.  Save for a few days of warmth mid-month, conditions have been unseasonably cold in most of Europe delaying spring planting.  Italy did provide us with Broad Beans, Peas and Cucumbers; France delivered Wet Garlic and Fraise Clery Strawberries; and the UK produced Jersey Royals, Wild Garlic, Sprouting Broccoli, field-grown Rhubarb and the first good Asparagus.  A burst of sun arrived in the form of Mangoes from India, including Alphonso.  We are definitely overdue some good growing weather.        

English Asparagus

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

 

MAY

 

This time last year we were talking of having had English Asparagus at the beginning of April, only for it then to be hit by late frosts.  This year we collected our first Kent-grown crop last week.  Despite it feeling late, it was around St George’s Day which is the traditional time for starting to cut the crop.  It’s hard to resist people’s desire for earlier harvests but nature knows best and this year’s first cut of English Asparagus from our preferred grower was definitely worth the wait.  

 

April passed in the UK feeling very similar to March.  Save for a few days of warmth mid-month, conditions have been unseasonably cold in most of Europe delaying spring planting.  Italy did provide us with Broad Beans, Peas and Cucumbers; France delivered Wet Garlic and Fraise Clery Strawberries; and the UK produced Jersey Royals, Wild Garlic, Sprouting Broccoli, field-grown Rhubarb and the first good Asparagus.  A burst of sun arrived in the form of Mangoes from India, including Alphonso.  We are definitely overdue some good growing weather.     

 

  Wet Garlic    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands      As a result of the weather, now  at the beginning of   MAY , you will find the following at Puntarelle & Co:     Earthy, saline  Jersey Royal Potatoes  and versatile  Cypress Potatoes .  Vitamin C, iron and calcium-rich Spring  Nettle Tops , both English and French (bag with care!).  Some late English  Wild Garlic  leaves.   Watercress  from our preferred English grower, Kingfisher.   UK-grown sweet, juicy  Cucumbers  and mild, crunchy  Spring Onions .  Italian  Ridged Cucumbers    From Italy,  Romano  and  Tondo Courgettes .   Wispy  Wild Asparagus  and  Bruscandoli  (hop shoots) from Italy.  From our Kent Grower, English green  Asparagus , both fat-speared and thin sprue, tasting really delicious this year.  Also European purple and white  Asparagus  varieties.  New Spring season  Rainbow Chard  from Italy.    Italian  Peas    and  Broad Beans .  Fat, sweet, stems of  Wet Garlic  from France (don’t forget most of the stalk is useable too.   Outdoor-grown Rhubarb , picked up from our preferred farmer in Kent who also grows our Asparagus.   Strawberries  this week are from France and Italy.  We expect English ones in a couple of weeks’ time.  There are  French Heritage Tomatoes  along with large  Pineapple Tomatoes , and the salty, crunchy  Marinda  and  Camone   Tomatoes    that have seen us   through winter are still with us.  Spring varieties of  Radish .  Cool weather harvests of bitter  Radicchio  and  Chicories  like  Puntarelle  and  Cime de Rapa  from Italy are still with us and there are  Tropea Onions .   Spinach  varieties including French.  New season  Aubergines  from Italy are now coming in more variety of sizes and shapes.   Green and Purple Artichokes , large and small.     St George’s Mushrooms  again (one thing that wasn’t late this year) and  Morel Mushrooms  too.  As always, we have seasonal herbs but we have pots of growing  Spring Herbs  as well.  It’s a lean time for European fruits but the  Nespole  from Italy are in.   

Wet Garlic

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

 

As a result of the weather, now at the beginning of MAY, you will find the following at Puntarelle & Co:

 

Earthy, saline Jersey Royal Potatoes and versatile Cypress Potatoes.

Vitamin C, iron and calcium-rich Spring Nettle Tops, both English and French (bag with care!).

Some late English Wild Garlic leaves.

Watercress from our preferred English grower, Kingfisher. 

UK-grown sweet, juicy Cucumbers and mild, crunchy Spring Onions.

Italian Ridged Cucumbers 

From Italy, Romano and Tondo Courgettes

Wispy Wild Asparagus and Bruscandoli (hop shoots) from Italy.

From our Kent Grower, English green Asparagus, both fat-speared and thin sprue, tasting really delicious this year.  Also European purple and white Asparagus varieties.

New Spring season Rainbow Chard from Italy.  

Italian Peas and Broad Beans.

Fat, sweet, stems of Wet Garlic from France (don’t forget most of the stalk is useable too.

Outdoor-grown Rhubarb, picked up from our preferred farmer in Kent who also grows our Asparagus.

Strawberries this week are from France and Italy.  We expect English ones in a couple of weeks’ time.

There are French Heritage Tomatoes along with large Pineapple Tomatoes, and the salty, crunchy Marinda and Camone Tomatoes that have seen us through winter are still with us.

Spring varieties of Radish.

Cool weather harvests of bitter Radicchio and Chicories like Puntarelle and Cime de Rapa from Italy are still with us and there are Tropea Onions.

Spinach varieties including French.

New season Aubergines from Italy are now coming in more variety of sizes and shapes.

Green and Purple Artichokes, large and small.  

St George’s Mushrooms again (one thing that wasn’t late this year) and Morel Mushrooms too.

As always, we have seasonal herbs but we have pots of growing Spring Herbs as well.

It’s a lean time for European fruits but the Nespole from Italy are in.

 

  Broad Beans    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands      So, what produce can we  expect  to come through our doors  in MAY ?     Earthy, saline  Jersey Royal Potatoes  and some  French new potatoes  too.   Vitamin C, iron and calcium-rich Spring  Nettle Tops , both English and French (bag with care!).   Watercress  from our preferred English grower, Kingfisher.   UK-grown sweet, juicy  Cucumbers  and mild, crunchy  Spring Onions  will continue.   Ridged Cucumbers  for preserving from Eastern Europe.  Increasing varieties of  Courgettes  from Italy.  Wispy  Wild Asparagus  from Italy.  From our Kent Grower, English green  Asparagus , both fat-speared and thin sprue.  Also European purple and white  Asparagus  varieties.   Rainbow Chard .    Italian  Peas    and  Broad Beans .  Fat, sweet, stems of  Wet Garlic  from France (don’t forget most of the stalk is useable too).   Outdoor-grown Rhubarb , picked up from our preferred farmer in Kent who also grows our Asparagus.   Strawberries  from France and Italy.  Early English ones from our favourite grower should be with us by the third week in May.   French Heritage Tomatoes , large  Pineapple Tomatoes  and, hopefully, some other interesting varieties.  Spring varieties of  Radish .  Italian  Tropea Onions  and French  Grelot Onions .   Spinach  varieties including French.  New season  Aubergines  from Italy in a variety of shapes and sizes.   Seasonal herbs including pots of growing  Spring Herbs .  It’s still a lean time for European fruits but expect  Nespole  from Italy throughout the month.   

Broad Beans

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

 

So, what produce can we expect to come through our doors in MAY?

 

Earthy, saline Jersey Royal Potatoes and some French new potatoes too. 

Vitamin C, iron and calcium-rich Spring Nettle Tops, both English and French (bag with care!).

Watercress from our preferred English grower, Kingfisher. 

UK-grown sweet, juicy Cucumbers and mild, crunchy Spring Onions will continue.

Ridged Cucumbers for preserving from Eastern Europe.

Increasing varieties of Courgettes from Italy.

Wispy Wild Asparagus from Italy.

From our Kent Grower, English green Asparagus, both fat-speared and thin sprue.  Also European purple and white Asparagus varieties.

Rainbow Chard.  

Italian Peas and Broad Beans.

Fat, sweet, stems of Wet Garlic from France (don’t forget most of the stalk is useable too).

Outdoor-grown Rhubarb, picked up from our preferred farmer in Kent who also grows our Asparagus.

Strawberries from France and Italy.  Early English ones from our favourite grower should be with us by the third week in May.

French Heritage Tomatoes, large Pineapple Tomatoes and, hopefully, some other interesting varieties.

Spring varieties of Radish.

Italian Tropea Onions and French Grelot Onions.

Spinach varieties including French.

New season Aubergines from Italy in a variety of shapes and sizes. 

Seasonal herbs including pots of growing Spring Herbs.

It’s still a lean time for European fruits but expect Nespole from Italy throughout the month.

 

  Nespole/Loquats    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands       Focus on:       Nespole  have   arrived from Italy.  In early spring, just as our stores of apples are emptying and before strawberries come good, they are a welcome sight.  Looking a little like apricots, they can be smooth or slightly downy-skinned and vary from yellow to orange.  They have a succulent flesh, a little tart, a little sweet with a tropical fragrance.  They are a fragile fruit that keep only a couple of days at room temperature but up to a week in a cool place.  They can be poached in sugar syrup and simply served with yogurt or ice cream, or added to a fruit salad.  Under-ripe fruits make good jam and jelly, or chutney which goes well with fatty meats like roast pork.     

Nespole/Loquats

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

 

Focus on:

 

Nespole have arrived from Italy.  In early spring, just as our stores of apples are emptying and before strawberries come good, they are a welcome sight.  Looking a little like apricots, they can be smooth or slightly downy-skinned and vary from yellow to orange.  They have a succulent flesh, a little tart, a little sweet with a tropical fragrance.  They are a fragile fruit that keep only a couple of days at room temperature but up to a week in a cool place.  They can be poached in sugar syrup and simply served with yogurt or ice cream, or added to a fruit salad.  Under-ripe fruits make good jam and jelly, or chutney which goes well with fatty meats like roast pork.  

 

  Raw Asparagus Salad    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands         We collected the first cut of English Asparagus from our Kent Grower last week and, despite a return to lacklustre weather, the English season is definitely under way.  Here is a recipe, inspired by our friends at 40 Maltby Street, celebrating the early spears which are delicious eaten raw.  It also makes a few spears go a long way.        Raw Asparagus Salad   (Serves 4 as a starter)   8-12 asparagus spears A handful of pea-shoots  A few mint leaves 1 tbsp lemon juice 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil Salt & pepper  Snap the tough ends off the asparagus.  Cut a diagonal slice off the bottom of each spear then slice them thinly.  Add salt and pepper to the lemon juice and mix.  Whisk in the olive oil to emulsify.  Toss the sliced asparagus and the pea shoots in the dressing.  Pile onto plates and serve.  (Add a few curls or a grating of Italian Parmesan or English Berkswell cheese if you like).     

Raw Asparagus Salad

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

 

 

We collected the first cut of English Asparagus from our Kent Grower last week and, despite a return to lacklustre weather, the English season is definitely under way.  Here is a recipe, inspired by our friends at 40 Maltby Street, celebrating the early spears which are delicious eaten raw.  It also makes a few spears go a long way.  

 

Raw Asparagus Salad

(Serves 4 as a starter)


8-12 asparagus spears
A handful of pea-shoots

A few mint leaves
1 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper

Snap the tough ends off the asparagus.  Cut a diagonal slice off the bottom of each spear then slice them thinly.  Add salt and pepper to the lemon juice and mix.  Whisk in the olive oil to emulsify.  Toss the sliced asparagus and the pea shoots in the dressing.  Pile onto plates and serve.  (Add a few curls or a grating of Italian Parmesan or English Berkswell cheese if you like).  

 

Asparagus

Asparagus

  English Green   Asparagus    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands       Asparagus       Asparagus  grows from long-lived rhizomes that spread underground.  The spears are the tender young shoots of  Asparagus officinalis  that grows into a fernlike plant over a metre tall when harvesting ends.      The spears start pushing through the ground in early Spring.  In recent years, a variety of ‘early-season’ asparagus has been developed enabling some producers to get an Asparagus crop to market ahead of the game.  Normally, the asparagus farmer has a few weeks of frantic activity harvesting the crop for market, and then it's all over until next year.  Traditionally, in the UK, the season begins around St George's Day (23 April) and by mid-Summer's Day cutting should stop.  The plants continue to put up spears but these are allowed to grow into tall fronds that photosynthesise in order to build up nutrients in the rhizome for next year's crop.  In November the plant is cut back to ground level.       It takes about three years for an asparagus crown to become established and, if treated right, it can be productive for 10 years.  Harvesting of Asparagus has to be done by hand. The white version is even more labour intensive as the growing spears have to be banked-up with soil to produce the blanched stems.  Popular since the 18th century, white asparagus has a more delicate flavour than the green.  If exposed to light after harvest, white asparagus will turn yellow or reddish.  Purple varieties of asparagus are high in anthocyanins, though, like other purple and red coloured vegetables, cooking results in loss of this colour and it turns green.      This all adds up to making asparagus one of the most expensive treats of spring and early summer.  Freshness is key to taste so, when you do finally get your hands on it, don't let it linger in the fridge or it will lose its sweetness.  The spears are packed with beneficial nutrients - vitamins A and C, folic acid, potassium and iron.  They have a natural snap-point separating the tough from the tender parts, so, it’s best to bend the spear and snap off the base rather than cut it for cooking.  Young, fresh spears don’t need to be peeled but later ones benefit from peeling the lower 6cm or so.       The first, fresh Asparagus are fantastic eaten raw.  Slice thinly, and toss in a vinaigrette of lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.  The wispy early spears marketed as ‘Wild Asparagus’, or later thin spears known as sprue, are wonderful for par-boiling then adding to an omelette or frittata.  Thicker spears can be plunged into boiling water for a few minutes until just tender – melted butter, mayonnaise or hollandaise sauce are good accompaniments.  Asparagus has an affinity with eggs so pairing them is a very good idea.  To cook the spears on a griddle or to roast them in the oven in olive oil, par-boiling for one minute in boiling water first is recommended.       In this the week of St George’s Day, the English crop of Green Asparagus is thrusting through the soil to join the green, white, purple and wild Asparagus coming in from the rest of Europe.   

English Green Asparagus

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

 

Asparagus

 

Asparagus grows from long-lived rhizomes that spread underground.  The spears are the tender young shoots of Asparagus officinalis that grows into a fernlike plant over a metre tall when harvesting ends. 

 

The spears start pushing through the ground in early Spring.  In recent years, a variety of ‘early-season’ asparagus has been developed enabling some producers to get an Asparagus crop to market ahead of the game.  Normally, the asparagus farmer has a few weeks of frantic activity harvesting the crop for market, and then it's all over until next year.  Traditionally, in the UK, the season begins around St George's Day (23 April) and by mid-Summer's Day cutting should stop.  The plants continue to put up spears but these are allowed to grow into tall fronds that photosynthesise in order to build up nutrients in the rhizome for next year's crop.  In November the plant is cut back to ground level.  

 

It takes about three years for an asparagus crown to become established and, if treated right, it can be productive for 10 years.  Harvesting of Asparagus has to be done by hand. The white version is even more labour intensive as the growing spears have to be banked-up with soil to produce the blanched stems.  Popular since the 18th century, white asparagus has a more delicate flavour than the green.  If exposed to light after harvest, white asparagus will turn yellow or reddish.  Purple varieties of asparagus are high in anthocyanins, though, like other purple and red coloured vegetables, cooking results in loss of this colour and it turns green. 

 

This all adds up to making asparagus one of the most expensive treats of spring and early summer.  Freshness is key to taste so, when you do finally get your hands on it, don't let it linger in the fridge or it will lose its sweetness.  The spears are packed with beneficial nutrients - vitamins A and C, folic acid, potassium and iron.  They have a natural snap-point separating the tough from the tender parts, so, it’s best to bend the spear and snap off the base rather than cut it for cooking.  Young, fresh spears don’t need to be peeled but later ones benefit from peeling the lower 6cm or so.  

 

The first, fresh Asparagus are fantastic eaten raw.  Slice thinly, and toss in a vinaigrette of lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.  The wispy early spears marketed as ‘Wild Asparagus’, or later thin spears known as sprue, are wonderful for par-boiling then adding to an omelette or frittata.  Thicker spears can be plunged into boiling water for a few minutes until just tender – melted butter, mayonnaise or hollandaise sauce are good accompaniments.  Asparagus has an affinity with eggs so pairing them is a very good idea.  To cook the spears on a griddle or to roast them in the oven in olive oil, par-boiling for one minute in boiling water first is recommended.  

 

In this the week of St George’s Day, the English crop of Green Asparagus is thrusting through the soil to join the green, white, purple and wild Asparagus coming in from the rest of Europe.

 

  Wild Asparagus    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands    

Wild Asparagus

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

 

Cucumbers

Cucumbers

  Italian Ridged Cucumbers    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands    Cucumbers   The first cucumbers were cultivated in India around 3,500 years ago.  It took a thousand years for cultivation to reach as far as the Mediterranean region.  Now, the Cucumber is the second most valued  Cucurbit  (member of the gourd family) throughout the world – the first being the watermelon.  The cucumber is around 95% water (the watermelon around 92%) but both are good sources of essential vitamins and minerals.  Unsurprisingly, both are at their refreshing best eaten raw and cool. The larger a cucumber grows the milder it gets and the higher its natural sugar content becomes – though this is a modest 1-2%.       With older varieties of cucumber, the male flowers needed to be removed to prevent a bitter flavour developing but that astringency has been bred out of modern varieties.  Breeders too have taken out the ‘windy’ element associated with older types - ‘Burpless’ varieties are the norm now.    Fermented Cucumbers, or Acidified Pickled Cucumbers which produces a less complex flavoured pickle, are better made with small, thicker-skinned varieties of cucumber.  We buy Eastern European grown ones especially for this treatment as they stand up to the ‘pickle’ solutions without turning to mush as thin-skinned types do.  Marinating them in a sweet dill pickle is the easiest of methods for preserving them when they are at their best.  There are also ‘Armenian Cucumbers’, which are actually a form of African melon, and their relative the Gherkin whose true fruits are quite rounded.     The subtle, grassy, flavour and melon-like aroma of Cucumber is well matched to dill, both the green herb and the seed which is well known for its digestive properties.  Scattering borage flowers on a cucumber salad deepens its flavour, as well as making it look beautiful, whereas a sprig of mint contrasts.  Cucumber has an affinity with soft, creamy cheeses and yoghurt.  It can also be paired with its close relative the melon, especially the green-fleshed Galia type, in a cold soup or salad.  There’s ‘Salad Elona’ which calls for slices of cucumber and strawberries to be seasoned with salt, pepper and sugar and a little dry white wine or wine vinegar.  Or you can make a Cucumber salad by marinating thinly sliced shallot in lemon juice for 15 minutes, whisking in olive oil then pouring this over thinly sliced cucumbers.  Serve with yoghurt and mint.  You can cook with cucumber.  If you are including it in a sauce you might want to salt it first to draw out some of the water. There are recipes for creamy Cucumber soups to be served hot, and brothy versions to be served chilled.  For an accompaniment to baked or poached fish, sauté diced cucumber, peeled or unpeeled, in a little butter until just tender, add salt and pepper, diced tomatoes and chervil or dill fronds.    

Italian Ridged Cucumbers

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Cucumbers

The first cucumbers were cultivated in India around 3,500 years ago.  It took a thousand years for cultivation to reach as far as the Mediterranean region.  Now, the Cucumber is the second most valued Cucurbit (member of the gourd family) throughout the world – the first being the watermelon.  The cucumber is around 95% water (the watermelon around 92%) but both are good sources of essential vitamins and minerals.  Unsurprisingly, both are at their refreshing best eaten raw and cool. The larger a cucumber grows the milder it gets and the higher its natural sugar content becomes – though this is a modest 1-2%.  

 

With older varieties of cucumber, the male flowers needed to be removed to prevent a bitter flavour developing but that astringency has been bred out of modern varieties.  Breeders too have taken out the ‘windy’ element associated with older types - ‘Burpless’ varieties are the norm now.  

Fermented Cucumbers, or Acidified Pickled Cucumbers which produces a less complex flavoured pickle, are better made with small, thicker-skinned varieties of cucumber.  We buy Eastern European grown ones especially for this treatment as they stand up to the ‘pickle’ solutions without turning to mush as thin-skinned types do.  Marinating them in a sweet dill pickle is the easiest of methods for preserving them when they are at their best.  There are also ‘Armenian Cucumbers’, which are actually a form of African melon, and their relative the Gherkin whose true fruits are quite rounded.   

The subtle, grassy, flavour and melon-like aroma of Cucumber is well matched to dill, both the green herb and the seed which is well known for its digestive properties.  Scattering borage flowers on a cucumber salad deepens its flavour, as well as making it look beautiful, whereas a sprig of mint contrasts.  Cucumber has an affinity with soft, creamy cheeses and yoghurt.  It can also be paired with its close relative the melon, especially the green-fleshed Galia type, in a cold soup or salad.  There’s ‘Salad Elona’ which calls for slices of cucumber and strawberries to be seasoned with salt, pepper and sugar and a little dry white wine or wine vinegar.  Or you can make a Cucumber salad by marinating thinly sliced shallot in lemon juice for 15 minutes, whisking in olive oil then pouring this over thinly sliced cucumbers.  Serve with yoghurt and mint.

You can cook with cucumber.  If you are including it in a sauce you might want to salt it first to draw out some of the water. There are recipes for creamy Cucumber soups to be served hot, and brothy versions to be served chilled.  For an accompaniment to baked or poached fish, sauté diced cucumber, peeled or unpeeled, in a little butter until just tender, add salt and pepper, diced tomatoes and chervil or dill fronds. 

 

  English Cucumbers    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

English Cucumbers

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

april 2018 seasonal news

april 2018 seasonal news

  Seasonal Table at Puntarelle@Co    Photo ©Puntarelle&Co Ltd       APRIL       This time last year we were talking of the new spring planting season in the UK being properly under way.  How different things are this year.  We may be looking forward to Asparagus and early strawberries, but the outdoor grown English asparagus from our Kent growers is 2-3 weeks away.  Last year we had the first cut 19th of March.  But we should remember that last year was unusual.  A mild start to Spring meant an early harvest but Asparagus towards the end of April is actually the norm.  Only the bigger producers can get a crop to market earlier.  A few boxes of strawberries grown under cover are coming in but there will be a bit of a wait for the sunkissed ones.       While we wait for the sun to appear, we’re grateful for the English Wild Garlic leaves, Spring Nettle Tops and Jersey Royal Potatoes that are available.  Glad too to have Italian Broad Beans, Peas, Asparagus and Hop Shoots.  And to have the Wet Garlic bulbs from Morocco that have been arriving for the past three weeks which changed to Italian this week.   

Seasonal Table at Puntarelle@Co

Photo ©Puntarelle&Co Ltd

 

APRIL

 

This time last year we were talking of the new spring planting season in the UK being properly under way.  How different things are this year.  We may be looking forward to Asparagus and early strawberries, but the outdoor grown English asparagus from our Kent growers is 2-3 weeks away.  Last year we had the first cut 19th of March.  But we should remember that last year was unusual.  A mild start to Spring meant an early harvest but Asparagus towards the end of April is actually the norm.  Only the bigger producers can get a crop to market earlier.  A few boxes of strawberries grown under cover are coming in but there will be a bit of a wait for the sunkissed ones.  

 

While we wait for the sun to appear, we’re grateful for the English Wild Garlic leaves, Spring Nettle Tops and Jersey Royal Potatoes that are available.  Glad too to have Italian Broad Beans, Peas, Asparagus and Hop Shoots.  And to have the Wet Garlic bulbs from Morocco that have been arriving for the past three weeks which changed to Italian this week.

 

  Morel Mushrooms    Photo ©Puntarelle&Co Ltd        At the beginning of April , as I write this,  you will find :     Earthy, saline  Jersey Royal Potatoes .   Vitamin C, iron and calcium-rich Spring  Nettle Tops , both English and Italian (bag with care!).   Wild Garlic  leaves, this week English ones and we have  Watercress  from our preferred English grower too.   The first of the season’s UK-grown sweet, juicy  Cucumbers  and mild, crunchy  Spring Onions  have arrived.  The First Italian  Ridged Cucumbers  and  Romano Courgettes .   Wispy  Wild Asparagus  from Italy, as well as fat spears of the purple and white  Asparagus  varieties.  The last of the  Purple Sprouting Broccoli  but there’s new Spring season  Rainbow Chard  from Italy.    Again this week, sweet Italian  Peas    and  Broad Beans  and bulbs of  Wet Garlic  from Italy too.   Outdoor-grown Rhubarb , from our preferred farmer in Kent, has taken over from Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb.  Just a few boxes of English-grown  Strawberries  this week but we do have beautiful Strawberries from Italy.  There are  English Heritage Tomatoes  too along with large  Provence Tomatoes , and the  Marinda  and salty, crunchy  Camone   Tomatoes    that have seen us   through winter are still with us.   Radishes  are changing from winter varieties to spring ones and this week, we have French  Heritage Radishes .  Cool weather harvests of bitter  Radicchio  and  Chicories  like  Puntarelle  and  Cime de Rapa  from Italy are still with us and there are  Tropea Onions  and  Spinach  too.  New season  Aubergines  from Italy are now coming in more variety of sizes and shapes and there are Spring season  Green and Purple Artichokes , large and small.     St George’s Mushrooms  (one thing that isn’t late) and  Morel Mushrooms  too.  As always, we have seasonal herbs but this week we have pots of growing  Spring Herbs  as well.   

Morel Mushrooms

Photo ©Puntarelle&Co Ltd

 

At the beginning of April, as I write this, you will find:

 

Earthy, saline Jersey Royal Potatoes

Vitamin C, iron and calcium-rich Spring Nettle Tops, both English and Italian (bag with care!).

Wild Garlic leaves, this week English ones and we have Watercress from our preferred English grower too. 

The first of the season’s UK-grown sweet, juicy Cucumbers and mild, crunchy Spring Onions have arrived.

The First Italian Ridged Cucumbers and Romano Courgettes

Wispy Wild Asparagus from Italy, as well as fat spears of the purple and white Asparagus varieties.

The last of the Purple Sprouting Broccoli but there’s new Spring season Rainbow Chard from Italy.  

Again this week, sweet Italian Peas and Broad Beans and bulbs of Wet Garlic from Italy too.

Outdoor-grown Rhubarb, from our preferred farmer in Kent, has taken over from Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb.

Just a few boxes of English-grown Strawberries this week but we do have beautiful Strawberries from Italy.

There are English Heritage Tomatoes too along with large Provence Tomatoes, and the Marinda and salty, crunchy Camone Tomatoes that have seen us through winter are still with us.

Radishes are changing from winter varieties to spring ones and this week, we have French Heritage Radishes.

Cool weather harvests of bitter Radicchio and Chicories like Puntarelle and Cime de Rapa from Italy are still with us and there are Tropea Onions and Spinach too.

New season Aubergines from Italy are now coming in more variety of sizes and shapes and there are Spring season Green and Purple Artichokes, large and small.  

St George’s Mushrooms (one thing that isn’t late) and Morel Mushrooms too.

As always, we have seasonal herbs but this week we have pots of growing Spring Herbs as well.

 

  Italian New Season Cucumbers     Photo ©Puntarelle&Co Ltd      So, what produce can we expect to come through our doors before the end of  APRIL ?      Earthy, saline  Jersey Royal Potatoes  should see us through April.   Vitamin C, iron and calcium-rich Spring  Nettle Tops  (bag with care!).  English  Wild Garlic  leaves through most of the month.  Sweet, juicy UK-grown  Cucumbers  and Italian  Ridged Cucumbers  may be joined by pickling cucumbers from Eastern Europe this month.  Mild, crunchy English  Spring Onions  throughout the month.  Wispy  Wild Asparagus  from Italy may be joined by some English grown late in the month.  And, if we finally get some sun and warmth, fat spears of  English Aparagus  to look forward to.  There could be more Italian  Wild Hop Shoots  too.  This month sees the last of the  Purple Sprouting Broccoli  but there’s new Spring season  Rainbow Chard  from Italy, along with Italian  Peas    and  Broad Beans  and  Romano Courgettes.   Bulbs of sweet, pungent  Wet Garlic  from France and Italy .   Outdoor-grown Rhubarb , from our preferred farmer in Kent will continue.   Strawberries  from Italy, France and the UK will become more abundant and tastier.  Expect some French  Gariguette Strawberries .    Spring season  English Heritage Tomatoes  and some varieties from France and Italy will arrive this month, easing out the salty, crunchy  Camone  and  Marinda Tomatoes    that have seen us   through winter.   Radishes  are changing from winter varieties to spring ones this month and will arrive in greater quantities.   Watercress  from our preferred English grower and, maybe, some from France.  New season  Aubergines  from Italy in more variety of size and shape.     Green and Purple Artichokes , large and small.     St George’s Mushrooms  and  Morel Mushrooms .  We expect  Nespoli    (Loquats) to arrive from Italy this month.   There may be a chance of English-grown Broad Beans and Peas this month.  Given the unseasonal weather, we shall see.    Pots of growing  Spring Herbs  along with our usual herb sprigs.   

Italian New Season Cucumbers

Photo ©Puntarelle&Co Ltd

 

So, what produce can we expect to come through our doors before the end of APRIL

 

Earthy, saline Jersey Royal Potatoes should see us through April. 

Vitamin C, iron and calcium-rich Spring Nettle Tops (bag with care!).

English Wild Garlic leaves through most of the month.

Sweet, juicy UK-grown Cucumbers and Italian Ridged Cucumbers may be joined by pickling cucumbers from Eastern Europe this month.

Mild, crunchy English Spring Onions throughout the month.

Wispy Wild Asparagus from Italy may be joined by some English grown late in the month.  And, if we finally get some sun and warmth, fat spears of English Aparagus to look forward to.  There could be more Italian Wild Hop Shoots too.

This month sees the last of the Purple Sprouting Broccoli but there’s new Spring season Rainbow Chard from Italy, along with Italian Peas and Broad Beans and Romano Courgettes.

Bulbs of sweet, pungent Wet Garlic from France and Italy .

Outdoor-grown Rhubarb, from our preferred farmer in Kent will continue.

Strawberries from Italy, France and the UK will become more abundant and tastier.  Expect some French Gariguette Strawberries.  

Spring season English Heritage Tomatoes and some varieties from France and Italy will arrive this month, easing out the salty, crunchy Camone and Marinda Tomatoes that have seen us through winter.

Radishes are changing from winter varieties to spring ones this month and will arrive in greater quantities.

Watercress from our preferred English grower and, maybe, some from France.

New season Aubergines from Italy in more variety of size and shape.  

Green and Purple Artichokes, large and small.  

St George’s Mushrooms and Morel Mushrooms.

We expect Nespoli (Loquats) to arrive from Italy this month. 

There may be a chance of English-grown Broad Beans and Peas this month.  Given the unseasonal weather, we shall see.  

Pots of growing Spring Herbs along with our usual herb sprigs.

 

 Fermented Garlic with Lemon,Ginger,Tirmeric&Lemon   Photo ©Puntarelle&Co       NEWS:      Thanks to the feedback and support of our customers, our  London Fermentary  products have grown to the point where we feel it necessary to give them their own social media presence!  If you follow Puntarelle_Co on Instagram and/or on Twitter, we’d love it if you would show your support by also following us   @london_fermentary  on Instagram and/or  @LDNFermentary  on Twitter.  We’ll be able to keep you informed with news, like what seasonal Ferments you can expect to find each month.    And while we are on the subject, filling the gap between winter and spring this month we have a  Honey & Camomile with warming ginger and turmeric Water Kefir  for you.  And, by popular request, our immune-boosting jars of  Honey fermented with garlic, ginger, turmeric and lemon  are back in stock.     Apart from being delicious, these unpasteurised fermented drinks bring beneficial micro-organisms, B vitamins, minerals and enzymes in a slightly sour, zingy, low-sugar form.  More about our range of Fermented products at:   www.londonfermentary.com     

Fermented Garlic with Lemon,Ginger,Tirmeric&Lemon

Photo ©Puntarelle&Co

 

NEWS:

 

Thanks to the feedback and support of our customers, our London Fermentary products have grown to the point where we feel it necessary to give them their own social media presence!  If you follow Puntarelle_Co on Instagram and/or on Twitter, we’d love it if you would show your support by also following us  @london_fermentary on Instagram and/or @LDNFermentary on Twitter.  We’ll be able to keep you informed with news, like what seasonal Ferments you can expect to find each month.  

And while we are on the subject, filling the gap between winter and spring this month we have a Honey & Camomile with warming ginger and turmeric Water Kefir for you.  And, by popular request, our immune-boosting jars of Honey fermented with garlic, ginger, turmeric and lemon are back in stock.

 

Apart from being delicious, these unpasteurised fermented drinks bring beneficial micro-organisms, B vitamins, minerals and enzymes in a slightly sour, zingy, low-sugar form.  More about our range of Fermented products at: www.londonfermentary.com

 

  Spring Nettle Tops    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands      Rich in vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C, iron and calcium, considering  Nettles  as a weed seriously undervalues their nutritional benefits.  Here at Puntarelle & Co we have them in Spring and early Summer when they are at their vigorous best.  Like everything that grows wild, you need to be sure it has grown in a clean environment if you are going to eat it.  Buy from us or, if you have a trusted patch near you, go out and snip the tops.  Take care picking them or filling your bag as they pack a mighty sting until subjected to brief heat or cold.     Here is an idea for using them:      Nettle & Spinach Soup   (Serves 4)     Around 350g (12 oz) nettle tops  Around 350g (12 oz) spinach or chard  50g (2 oz) butter or olive oil  2 leeks or onions, sliced  1 medium potato, diced (optional)  Around 1 litre (1¾ pints) vegetable stock  Salt and pepper  Cream to serve     Wash the nettle tops carefully (they sting until cooked) and the spinach or chard and drain both.  In a large pan, melt the butter and add the sliced leeks or onions.  Cook, without colouring, for 5-10 minutes to soften.  (Add diced potato at this point if you want a heartier soup).  Add the nettles and spinach or chard, cover and cook until just wilted.  Pour in the stock, bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes.   Liquidise then reheat and season with salt and pepper.    Serve with a spoonful of cream atop each bowl of soup.

Spring Nettle Tops

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

 

Rich in vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C, iron and calcium, considering Nettles as a weed seriously undervalues their nutritional benefits.  Here at Puntarelle & Co we have them in Spring and early Summer when they are at their vigorous best.  Like everything that grows wild, you need to be sure it has grown in a clean environment if you are going to eat it.  Buy from us or, if you have a trusted patch near you, go out and snip the tops.  Take care picking them or filling your bag as they pack a mighty sting until subjected to brief heat or cold.

 

Here is an idea for using them:

 

Nettle & Spinach Soup

(Serves 4)

 

Around 350g (12 oz) nettle tops

Around 350g (12 oz) spinach or chard

50g (2 oz) butter or olive oil

2 leeks or onions, sliced

1 medium potato, diced (optional)

Around 1 litre (1¾ pints) vegetable stock

Salt and pepper

Cream to serve

 

Wash the nettle tops carefully (they sting until cooked) and the spinach or chard and drain both.

In a large pan, melt the butter and add the sliced leeks or onions.  Cook, without colouring, for 5-10 minutes to soften.  (Add diced potato at this point if you want a heartier soup).  Add the nettles and spinach or chard, cover and cook until just wilted.  Pour in the stock, bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes. 

Liquidise then reheat and season with salt and pepper.  

Serve with a spoonful of cream atop each bowl of soup.

  Nettle and Spinach Soup    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Nettle and Spinach Soup

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands