SEASONAL PRODUCE NEWS - JANUARY 2018

SEASONAL PRODUCE NEWS - JANUARY 2018

Marinda Winter Tomatoes Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands JANUARY An early nip of frost in December brought a tasty mix of English brassicas to our shelves.  Cabbages, Kales, Brussels Sprouts and Tops all benefited from the cold snap.  Italian bitter greens, Radicchio and Endives came to the fore.  Our mourning for the sweet tomatoes of summer was eased by the arrival of crunchy, salty Marinda and Camone winter varieties.   Weather conditions delayed our longed for Sicilian Tarocco Oranges, though we did have some Moro blood oranges for our customers to take home for Christmas.

Marinda Winter Tomatoes

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

JANUARY

An early nip of frost in December brought a tasty mix of English brassicas to our shelves.  Cabbages, Kales, Brussels Sprouts and Tops all benefited from the cold snap.  Italian bitter greens, Radicchio and Endives came to the fore.  Our mourning for the sweet tomatoes of summer was eased by the arrival of crunchy, salty Marinda and Camone winter varieties.   Weather conditions delayed our longed for Sicilian Tarocco Oranges, though we did have some Moro blood oranges for our customers to take home for Christmas.

Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands As we enter what is normally the coldest month of the year, there is a surprising amount to look forward to in the fruit and vegetable world to cut through the cold and grey.  Vibrant pink Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb, new season citrus; bitter-sweet yellow/green, pink and red Chicories; and the greens and purples of the brassicas are just the start.  As I write we have:   Tender pink stems of Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb.  Seville Oranges for making bitter marmalade and buttery curd. Blood Oranges for juicing or salads. Deep red sweet-sharp Pomegranates. Crunchy, salty Camone and Marinda Winter Tomatoes. Bunches of the Mediterranean succulent Barba di Frate/Agretti/Monk’s Beard. Bitter-sweet Italian Chicoria including Puntarelle (Catalogna) and Cime di Rapa. Several varieties of colourful bitter-sweet Radicchio and, milder, Endive. British Brassicas including Savoy Cabbage, spectacular green and purple hued January King, blistered Black Cabbage (Cavolo Nero), green and purple vitamin and mineral rich Kale, Brussels Sprouts and Brussels Tops which have benefited from a kiss of frost. Beautiful English Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Cauliflower and swirling lime-green Romanesco, with the creaminess of cauliflower and the taste of broccoli.   Root vegetables including Celeriac, Jerusalem Artichokes, Swede, Beetroot and organic Heritage Carrots are all British grown this week, as are the Leeks. A variety of Winter Squash and Pumpkins. Potato varieties this week are Cyprus and Desiree, Maris Piper, and waxy-fleshed Pink Fir Apple and La Ratte. Fresh organic Ginger Root and Turmeric Root. A freshly-stocked londonfermentary.com fridge.

Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

As we enter what is normally the coldest month of the year, there is a surprising amount to look forward to in the fruit and vegetable world to cut through the cold and grey.  Vibrant pink Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb, new season citrus; bitter-sweet yellow/green, pink and red Chicories; and the greens and purples of the brassicas are just the start.  As I write we have:

 

Tender pink stems of Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb

Seville Oranges for making bitter marmalade and buttery curd.

Blood Oranges for juicing or salads.

Deep red sweet-sharp Pomegranates.

Crunchy, salty Camone and Marinda Winter Tomatoes.

Bunches of the Mediterranean succulent Barba di Frate/Agretti/Monk’s Beard.

Bitter-sweet Italian Chicoria including Puntarelle (Catalogna) and Cime di Rapa.

Several varieties of colourful bitter-sweet Radicchio and, milder, Endive.

British Brassicas including Savoy Cabbage, spectacular green and purple hued January King, blistered Black Cabbage (Cavolo Nero), green and purple vitamin and mineral rich Kale, Brussels Sprouts and Brussels Tops which have benefited from a kiss of frost.

Beautiful English Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Cauliflower and swirling lime-green Romanesco, with the creaminess of cauliflower and the taste of broccoli.  

Root vegetables including Celeriac, Jerusalem Artichokes, Swede, Beetroot and organic Heritage Carrots are all British grown this week, as are the Leeks.

A variety of Winter Squash and Pumpkins.

Potato varieties this week are Cyprus and Desiree, Maris Piper, and waxy-fleshed Pink Fir Apple and La Ratte.

Fresh organic Ginger Root and Turmeric Root.

A freshly-stocked londonfermentary.com fridge.

Radicchio Treviso Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands Writing from the viewpoint of the first week of January, here is the produce we expect to have for you in the first month of the New Year:   Tender pink stems of Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb, Blood Oranges for juicing and Seville Oranges for making bitter marmalade and buttery curd and deep-red Pomegranates will all be here throughout the month.  You can expect to see crunchy, salty Camone and Marinda Winter Tomatoes too. The Citrus will get ever-more interesting as the month progresses with our longed-for Sicilian fruits, including Tarocco Oranges, arriving at last. The season for the Mediterranean succulent Barba di Frate/Agretti/Monk’s Beard, which pairs so well with fish, has just started so you will find this on our shelves. Varieties of bitter-leaved Italian Chicória including Puntarelle (Catalogna) and Cime di Rapa along with colourful bitter-sweet Radicchio and, milder, Endive will continue to arrive. British Brassicas including Savoy Cabbage, spectacular green and purple hued January King, several varieties of Kale, including blistered-leaved Black Cabbage (Cavolo Nero), Brussels Sprouts and Brussels Tops will be happy in our cold winter. English Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Cauliflower and swirling lime-green Romanesco with the creaminess of cauliflower and taste of mild broccoli will be in too.   British Root vegetables, of course, including Celeriac, Jerusalem Artichokes, Swede, Beetroot and organic Heritage Carrots. There should be English Leeks too. Potato varieties will include Cyprus and Desiree, Maris Piper, and waxy-fleshed Pink Fir Apple and La Ratte. Those stalwarts of the cold months Winter Squash and Pumpkins will be available throughout the month.   Dessert Apple and Cooking Apple varieties will be in from our Kent farmer, though pears will be coming from farther afield now.   As usual we will have fresh organic Ginger Root and Turmeric Root which we also use at  londonfermentary.com  

Radicchio Treviso

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Writing from the viewpoint of the first week of January, here is the produce we expect to have for you in the first month of the New Year:  

Tender pink stems of Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb, Blood Oranges for juicing and Seville Oranges for making bitter marmalade and buttery curd and deep-red Pomegranates will all be here throughout the month. 

You can expect to see crunchy, salty Camone and Marinda Winter Tomatoes too.

The Citrus will get ever-more interesting as the month progresses with our longed-for Sicilian fruits, including Tarocco Oranges, arriving at last.

The season for the Mediterranean succulent Barba di Frate/Agretti/Monk’s Beard, which pairs so well with fish, has just started so you will find this on our shelves.

Varieties of bitter-leaved Italian Chicória including Puntarelle (Catalogna) and Cime di Rapa along with colourful bitter-sweet Radicchio and, milder, Endive will continue to arrive.

British Brassicas including Savoy Cabbage, spectacular green and purple hued January King, several varieties of Kale, including blistered-leaved Black Cabbage (Cavolo Nero), Brussels Sprouts and Brussels Tops will be happy in our cold winter.

English Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Cauliflower and swirling lime-green Romanesco with the creaminess of cauliflower and taste of mild broccoli will be in too.  

British Root vegetables, of course, including Celeriac, Jerusalem Artichokes, Swede, Beetroot and organic Heritage Carrots.

There should be English Leeks too.

Potato varieties will include Cyprus and Desiree, Maris Piper, and waxy-fleshed Pink Fir Apple and La Ratte.

Those stalwarts of the cold months Winter Squash and Pumpkins will be available throughout the month.

 

Dessert Apple and Cooking Apple varieties will be in from our Kent farmer, though pears will be coming from farther afield now.  

As usual we will have fresh organic Ginger Root and Turmeric Root which we also use at  londonfermentary.com  

Cavolo Nero/Black Cabbage Photo ©Puntarelle&Co Ltd GOOD TO KNOW:  *** Puntarelle & Co will be back from holidays and trading normally from 12/13 January 2018 ***

Cavolo Nero/Black Cabbage

Photo ©Puntarelle&Co Ltd

GOOD TO KNOW: 

*** Puntarelle & Co will be back from holidays and trading normally from 12/13 January 2018 ***

Agretti/ Barba di frate /Monk’s Beard Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands The Mediterranean vegetable Agretti, also known as Barba di frate or Monk’s Beard has the mineral sharpness of spinach with an added grassy succulence that compares with English Samphire.  Boiled briefly in salted water, it makes a fantastic accompaniment to fish and is excellent added to a fish broth.  If you want to make this vegetable the main event, rather than an addition, here’s a simple idea that can be used in two different ways: Agretti with Anchovy Butter (Serves 2) 1 Bunch of Agretti 60g (2 oz) unsalted butter 1 small tin (around 50g) anchovies Pepper Wash the Agretti well, trim off any tough roots before adding to boiling salted water.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, drain and refresh in a bowl of cold water. Melt the butter gently, drain the anchovies of their oil and add the fish to the butter.  Cook, stirring, just until the anchovies break down to form a butter sauce.   Drain the Agretti and add it to the sauce with a grinding of pepper.  Heat through gently. To serve:     Pile onto two slices of toasted bread  OR Add cooked spaghetti, linguine or other ribbon pasta and toss through the sauce to coat the pasta, adding a spoonful or two of pasta water to loosen the mix.  Top with fried breadcrumbs.

Agretti/ Barba di frate /Monk’s Beard

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

The Mediterranean vegetable Agretti, also known as Barba di frate or Monk’s Beard has the mineral sharpness of spinach with an added grassy succulence that compares with English Samphire.  Boiled briefly in salted water, it makes a fantastic accompaniment to fish and is excellent added to a fish broth.  If you want to make this vegetable the main event, rather than an addition, here’s a simple idea that can be used in two different ways:

Agretti with Anchovy Butter

(Serves 2)

1 Bunch of Agretti

60g (2 oz) unsalted butter

1 small tin (around 50g) anchovies

Pepper

Wash the Agretti well, trim off any tough roots before adding to boiling salted water.  Cook for 1-2 minutes, drain and refresh in a bowl of cold water.

Melt the butter gently, drain the anchovies of their oil and add the fish to the butter.  Cook, stirring, just until the anchovies break down to form a butter sauce.  

Drain the Agretti and add it to the sauce with a grinding of pepper.  Heat through gently.

To serve:     Pile onto two slices of toasted bread 

OR

Add cooked spaghetti, linguine or other ribbon pasta and toss through the sauce to coat the pasta, adding a spoonful or two of pasta water to loosen the mix.  Top with fried breadcrumbs.

Garlic based ferments

Garlic based ferments

Garlic-based Ferments Photo ©Puntarelle&Co Garlic-based Ferments In wintertime cold and flu viruses are prevalent and this seems to be accentuated by our current volatile weather.  Our ability to resist these viruses depends on a robust immune system and when it comes to boosting those systems, we believe natural is best.  Here at Puntarelle & Co we have what you need in our fresh fruits and vegetables but with scientific studies showing that the nutritional value of vegetables can be enhanced by lactic acid fermentation, you may want to take a look at our lacto-ferments fridge too.  The bacteria in fermented foods are considered Probiotics, defined as ‘live micro-organisms in food that confer a health benefit on the host'.  Using our inherited knowledge of fermented foods, we have produced a range of fermented foods that our customers have been enjoying during 2017.     Garlic has long been considered to be not only delicious, but also healthy.  In recent years many studies have been carried out into its health benefits with promising results from its effect on lowering bad cholesterol and regulating blood pressure to its anti-microbial and anti-viral properties.  There are lots of peer-reviewed scientific studies if you want to look into this more.  For us, Garlic is an allium that tastes delicious and, we believe, does us good.  Here are two raw slow-fermented products we particularly like and which harness the goodness of Garlic.  As with all fermented products, they are full of beneficial bacteria, taste tangy and sweet and are easy to digest.  An added bonus with Garlic is that the fermentation process removes the odour factor inherent in garlic that puts some people off eating it.   Fermented Garlic Whole raw cloves of garlic slow-fermented over a 3-month period.  The lacto-fermentation process modifies the volatile compounds in garlic that some people find off-putting.  The result is tangy and slightly sweet, easy to digest and appealing, even to children. Use the cloves as you would normally use garlic or enjoy it raw – a way you may not have considered before!   Raw Honey infused with Garlic, Ginger and Turmeric Raw Honey, Garlic, Ginger and Turmeric – all have scientifically proven health benefits in their own right and garlic and honey have long been used as a soothing remedy for coughs and colds.  Ginger and turmeric are added to this slow ferment for their flavour and health-boosting properties.   We suggest one teaspoon every morning with breakfast (not on an empty stomach) for an immune system booster.   Visit our website:  www.londonfermentary.com for more information about our Ferments.   We wish all our customers a Happy New Year!   We look forward to seeing you in 2018 29 & 30 December        We are OPEN 08.00-12.00 but STOCK WILL BE LIMITED 5 & 6 January            We will be CLOSED We will be back on 12 January setting up for back-to-normal trading on Saturday 13 January 2018

Garlic-based Ferments

Photo ©Puntarelle&Co

Garlic-based Ferments

In wintertime cold and flu viruses are prevalent and this seems to be accentuated by our current volatile weather.  Our ability to resist these viruses depends on a robust immune system and when it comes to boosting those systems, we believe natural is best.  Here at Puntarelle & Co we have what you need in our fresh fruits and vegetables but with scientific studies showing that the nutritional value of vegetables can be enhanced by lactic acid fermentation, you may want to take a look at our lacto-ferments fridge too.  The bacteria in fermented foods are considered Probiotics, defined as ‘live micro-organisms in food that confer a health benefit on the host'.  Using our inherited knowledge of fermented foods, we have produced a range of fermented foods that our customers have been enjoying during 2017.  

 

Garlic has long been considered to be not only delicious, but also healthy.  In recent years many studies have been carried out into its health benefits with promising results from its effect on lowering bad cholesterol and regulating blood pressure to its anti-microbial and anti-viral properties.  There are lots of peer-reviewed scientific studies if you want to look into this more.  For us, Garlic is an allium that tastes delicious and, we believe, does us good.  Here are two raw slow-fermented products we particularly like and which harness the goodness of Garlic.  As with all fermented products, they are full of beneficial bacteria, taste tangy and sweet and are easy to digest.  An added bonus with Garlic is that the fermentation process removes the odour factor inherent in garlic that puts some people off eating it.

 

Fermented Garlic

Whole raw cloves of garlic slow-fermented over a 3-month period.  The lacto-fermentation process modifies the volatile compounds in garlic that some people find off-putting.  The result is tangy and slightly sweet, easy to digest and appealing, even to children.

Use the cloves as you would normally use garlic or enjoy it raw – a way you may not have considered before!

 

Raw Honey infused with Garlic, Ginger and Turmeric

Raw Honey, Garlic, Ginger and Turmeric – all have scientifically proven health benefits in their own right and garlic and honey have long been used as a soothing remedy for coughs and colds.  Ginger and turmeric are added to this slow ferment for their flavour and health-boosting properties.  

We suggest one teaspoon every morning with breakfast (not on an empty stomach) for an immune system booster.

 

Visit our website:  www.londonfermentary.com for more information about our Ferments.

 

We wish all our customers a Happy New Year!  

We look forward to seeing you in 2018

29 & 30 December        We are OPEN 08.00-12.00 but STOCK WILL BE LIMITED

5 & 6 January            We will be CLOSED

We will be back on 12 January setting up for back-to-normal trading on Saturday 13 January 2018

CELERIAC

CELERIAC

Celeriac Root Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands   Celeriac   Beige, warty-skinned, a beard of tangled roots, Celeriac is a vegetable with a serious image problem.  It’s a member of the Celery family but couldn’t look more different.  If you’ve eaten Celeriac before, then you know how delicious this root can be.  If you haven’t encountered it, or have felt it best to look away, let us convince you of its merits.   Along with a mild celery flavour, Celeriac has the earthiness you’d expect from a root vegetable but also a minerality and a slightly sweet nuttiness.   It can be boiled, mashed, roasted, made into a soup or eaten raw, making it far more versatile than its strongly-flavoured cousin.  The exposed flesh oxidises quickly, so, unless you are going to use it straight away, you need to drop prepared celeriac into acidulated water to prevent discolouration.     Celeriac makes a great mash, particularly when combined with an equal amount of potato.  Enriched with butter and seasoned, it pairs well with beef and game dishes.  Sliced and layered with an equal quantity of potatoes, a sliced fried onion and a sprig of thyme it works well as a gratin too.  After layering, fill the dish half way up with vegetable or chicken stock, season, top with a little butter and bake in a medium oven, covered for 30 mins, then uncovered for a further 30 mins. It makes a very good soup married with potatoes, onion, garlic, chilli and stock then whizzed to a puree – a little cream and a topping of toasted hazelnuts or fried bacon is a good idea.  If you’re feeling adventurous, you can bake a celeriac whole in a salt crust– maybe one best left to the chefs. We really enjoy Celeriac in its raw state and it’s hard to beat the French classic Celeriac Remoulade – Mix the juice of 1 lemon, salt, pepper, 2-3 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 125ml mayonnaise, and 2 tablespoons of cream in a large bowl.  Slice a medium sized celeriac into juilienne strips and add them immediately to the dressing.  Serve alongside sliced cooked ham or top with sliced raw chestnuts mushrooms and roasted hazelnuts.   But here is our favourite raw salad:  Mix a vinaigrette dressing using good olive oil and a fruity vinegar (quantities 3:1) to an emulsion.  Add salt and pepper and some favourite chopped herbs.  Grate roughly equal amounts of Celeriac, Apple and colourful Heritage Carrots into the dressing.  Add chopped nuts and mix well. Celeriac roots can stay in the ground right through winter if protected from prolonged frosts.  They also sit happily in the fridge so are a great vegetable to keep in.  At this time of year root vegetables come into their own, so next time you’re shopping with us you might want to take a fresh look at that beige, warty-skinned globe.  

Celeriac Root

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

 

Celeriac

 

Beige, warty-skinned, a beard of tangled roots, Celeriac is a vegetable with a serious image problem.  It’s a member of the Celery family but couldn’t look more different.  If you’ve eaten Celeriac before, then you know how delicious this root can be.  If you haven’t encountered it, or have felt it best to look away, let us convince you of its merits.

 

Along with a mild celery flavour, Celeriac has the earthiness you’d expect from a root vegetable but also a minerality and a slightly sweet nuttiness.   It can be boiled, mashed, roasted, made into a soup or eaten raw, making it far more versatile than its strongly-flavoured cousin.  The exposed flesh oxidises quickly, so, unless you are going to use it straight away, you need to drop prepared celeriac into acidulated water to prevent discolouration.  

 

Celeriac makes a great mash, particularly when combined with an equal amount of potato.  Enriched with butter and seasoned, it pairs well with beef and game dishes.  Sliced and layered with an equal quantity of potatoes, a sliced fried onion and a sprig of thyme it works well as a gratin too.  After layering, fill the dish half way up with vegetable or chicken stock, season, top with a little butter and bake in a medium oven, covered for 30 mins, then uncovered for a further 30 mins. It makes a very good soup married with potatoes, onion, garlic, chilli and stock then whizzed to a puree – a little cream and a topping of toasted hazelnuts or fried bacon is a good idea.  If you’re feeling adventurous, you can bake a celeriac whole in a salt crust– maybe one best left to the chefs.

We really enjoy Celeriac in its raw state and it’s hard to beat the French classic Celeriac Remoulade – Mix the juice of 1 lemon, salt, pepper, 2-3 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 125ml mayonnaise, and 2 tablespoons of cream in a large bowl.  Slice a medium sized celeriac into juilienne strips and add them immediately to the dressing.  Serve alongside sliced cooked ham or top with sliced raw chestnuts mushrooms and roasted hazelnuts.  

But here is our favourite raw salad:  Mix a vinaigrette dressing using good olive oil and a fruity vinegar (quantities 3:1) to an emulsion.  Add salt and pepper and some favourite chopped herbs.  Grate roughly equal amounts of Celeriac, Apple and colourful Heritage Carrots into the dressing.  Add chopped nuts and mix well.

Celeriac roots can stay in the ground right through winter if protected from prolonged frosts.  They also sit happily in the fridge so are a great vegetable to keep in.  At this time of year root vegetables come into their own, so next time you’re shopping with us you might want to take a fresh look at that beige, warty-skinned globe.

 

RADICCHIO

RADICCHIO

Castelfranco Radicchio Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands Radicchio There are two main varieties of cultivated chicory – the Endives which come in curly and broad-leaved varieties (which we will cover in a future bulletin) and the Radicchio which is the most colourful member of the chicory family and the one we focus on here. Radicchi is an Italian word for weeds that grow wild in the Mediterranean region.  The Radicchio, and other members of the chicory family (Cichorium) that come through our doors are cultivated varieties of these.  The farming world has worked for thousands of years to reduce bitterness in crops including lettuce, cabbage, cucumbers and aubergines.  But some crops are still prized for this quality and Radicchio is one.  Many cultures take bitterness as a signal of medicinal value. Each variety of Radicchio is named for one of the towns in the Italian Veneto where the crop has PGI (Protected geographical indication) status: Chioggia, round and white-ribbed like a small red cabbage; Treviso, the ‘Prococe’ type having wide burgundy leaves forming a loose head and the later ‘Tardivo’ type that has more tightly packed leaves that curl into a twist at the top; Verona, smaller with deep red leaves and a loose oval shape; and Castelfranco, its creamy yellow rose-like leaves splashed with wine-red being perhaps the most eye-catching.  In Radicchio, the extent of bitter compounds varies with Treviso containing most and Chioggia and Castelfranco the least.  The technique of blanching, growing in cold and dark conditions, (imbianchimento in Italian) brings out the red hues in what would otherwise be a largely green-leaved crop.  

Castelfranco Radicchio

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Radicchio

There are two main varieties of cultivated chicory – the Endives which come in curly and broad-leaved varieties (which we will cover in a future bulletin) and the Radicchio which is the most colourful member of the chicory family and the one we focus on here.

Radicchi is an Italian word for weeds that grow wild in the Mediterranean region.  The Radicchio, and other members of the chicory family (Cichorium) that come through our doors are cultivated varieties of these.  The farming world has worked for thousands of years to reduce bitterness in crops including lettuce, cabbage, cucumbers and aubergines.  But some crops are still prized for this quality and Radicchio is one.  Many cultures take bitterness as a signal of medicinal value.

Each variety of Radicchio is named for one of the towns in the Italian Veneto where the crop has PGI (Protected geographical indication) status: Chioggia, round and white-ribbed like a small red cabbage; Treviso, the ‘Prococe’ type having wide burgundy leaves forming a loose head and the later ‘Tardivo’ type that has more tightly packed leaves that curl into a twist at the top; Verona, smaller with deep red leaves and a loose oval shape; and Castelfranco, its creamy yellow rose-like leaves splashed with wine-red being perhaps the most eye-catching.  In Radicchio, the extent of bitter compounds varies with Treviso containing most and Chioggia and Castelfranco the least.  The technique of blanching, growing in cold and dark conditions, (imbianchimento in Italian) brings out the red hues in what would otherwise be a largely green-leaved crop.  

Treviso Photo © Puntarelle & Co Ltd Served as a salad leaf, Radicchio pairs beautifully with orange.  The chef Florence Knight has a recipe in her book ‘One’ for mildly astringent Castelfranco mixed with prosciutto and toasted hazelnuts and dressed with an orange vinaigrette.  Cooking Radicchio intensifies its bitter qualities and adds a delicious counterpoint to rich, fatty foods – just think of a bacon and dandelion salad.  Subjected to a little charring on a grill, a more bitter Radicchio like Treviso pairs wonderfully well with a soft, creamy cheese like ricotta, goat’s curd or a blue cheese, maybe Gorgonzola, Stilton or Stichelton.  Simply chop the radicchio into quarters, coat lightly in olive oil, season and grill until lightly browned and softened then serve scattered with pieces of the cheese and a vinaigrette dressing.  A few toasted and salted walnuts wouldn’t go amiss.  

Treviso Photo © Puntarelle & Co Ltd

Served as a salad leaf, Radicchio pairs beautifully with orange.  The chef Florence Knight has a recipe in her book ‘One’ for mildly astringent Castelfranco mixed with prosciutto and toasted hazelnuts and dressed with an orange vinaigrette.  Cooking Radicchio intensifies its bitter qualities and adds a delicious counterpoint to rich, fatty foods – just think of a bacon and dandelion salad.  Subjected to a little charring on a grill, a more bitter Radicchio like Treviso pairs wonderfully well with a soft, creamy cheese like ricotta, goat’s curd or a blue cheese, maybe Gorgonzola, Stilton or Stichelton.  Simply chop the radicchio into quarters, coat lightly in olive oil, season and grill until lightly browned and softened then serve scattered with pieces of the cheese and a vinaigrette dressing.  A few toasted and salted walnuts wouldn’t go amiss.  

Round Radicchio Photo © Puntarelle & Co Ltd

Round Radicchio Photo © Puntarelle & Co Ltd

DECEMBER 2017

DECEMBER 2017

Seasonal Produce News - December 2017

January King Cabbages Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands DECEMBER November went out with a cold snap.  Good for the British Brassicas and Root vegetables which will only get tastier for a blast of frost, but continuing cold will be bad news for more tender leaf crops like Chard.  English Apples and Pears were to the fore in November and the variety of new season citrus began to increase.  Another highlight was the arrival of short season Fenland Celery and bitter leaves from Italy in the form of Chicoria and Radicchio.    

January King Cabbages

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

DECEMBER

November went out with a cold snap.  Good for the British Brassicas and Root vegetables which will only get tastier for a blast of frost, but continuing cold will be bad news for more tender leaf crops like Chard.  English Apples and Pears were to the fore in November and the variety of new season citrus began to increase.  Another highlight was the arrival of short season Fenland Celery and bitter leaves from Italy in the form of Chicoria and Radicchio.    

Castelfranco Radicchio Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands Writing on the first day of December, colours and textures catching my eye are smooth and deep-cleft Pumpkins in greens, flame-reds and burnished browns; crinkly-leaved emerald, black/green and purple hued Brassicas; yellow and pale green and orange Citrus, including the first Tarocco oranges; deep red Pomegranates; and frills of Radicchio in yellows, pinks and burgundies.  And then there is our London Fermentary fridge, filled with jars and bottles of vibrant Fermented vegetables, sauces and Water Kefirs.  Scent comes from the boxes of Quince to my left.  Right now we have:   British Brassicas including Savoy Cabbage, spectacular green and purple hued January King, deeply crinkled Black Cabbage (Cavolo Nero), green and purple Kale, Brussels Sprouts and Brussels Tops which have benefited from a kiss of frost. Beautiful English Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Cauliflower and swirling lime-green Romanesco, with the creaminess of cauliflower and the taste of broccoli.   Root vegetables including Celeriac, Jerusalem Artichoke, Swede, and Beetroot are all British grown this week, as are the Leeks and Fenland Celery.  There is French Scorzonera and also organic Heritage Carrots. English Chard growth is slowing so leaves are also coming in from kinder European climes as temperatures fall here.  There is Watercress still from our Sussex Farmer, Kingfisher. Pale green Kohlrabi is here from Italy. Roscoff Onions from France and large, sweet White Onions from Italy. The cold-weather bitter greens from Italy include Puntarelle (Catalogna) and Cime di Rapa.   Bitter leaves in the form of Radicchio Treviso (Prococe and Tardivo types now), yellow, red-flecked Castelfranco, round Chioggia, rose-like Pink Radicchio, and large-leaved green Escarole.  Joining the party this week is the beautiful frilly white/yellow Riccetta.  The mild inner leaves of both Escarole and Riccetta are fantastic in salads while the coarser outer leaves can be cooked. Winter Squash and Pumpkins - Red Kuri (Onion Squash), French Spaghetti Squash and burnished Musquee de Provence Pumpkins and Delica Pumpkins from Italy.  Potato varieties this week are Cyprus and Desiree and both of our waxy-fleshed favourites: English Pink Fir Apple and La Ratte from France.   Dessert Apple varieties from our Kent farmer this week are Cox, Crown Gold, Kent, and Russet.  We have Bramley cooking apples from them too.  The Pears have been particularly good this year and the farm has supplied us with Comice and Conference.  Pomegranates this week are from Spain.  We also have ripe Cachi/Persimmons from Italy. The first Tarocco Oranges from Sicily.  Being early season, they lack blush to the skin and may not yet have developed much colour to the flesh but we welcome their arrival.  There are Italian Navelina, Clementines and Leafy Lemons, and Bergamots too.  We also have good quality Spanish Clementines.   Crunchy, salty winter Camone and Marinda Tomatoes. Fresh organic Ginger Root and Turmeric Root.

Castelfranco Radicchio

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Writing on the first day of December, colours and textures catching my eye are smooth and deep-cleft Pumpkins in greens, flame-reds and burnished browns; crinkly-leaved emerald, black/green and purple hued Brassicas; yellow and pale green and orange Citrus, including the first Tarocco oranges; deep red Pomegranates; and frills of Radicchio in yellows, pinks and burgundies.  And then there is our London Fermentary fridge, filled with jars and bottles of vibrant Fermented vegetables, sauces and Water Kefirs.  Scent comes from the boxes of Quince to my left.  Right now we have:  

British Brassicas including Savoy Cabbage, spectacular green and purple hued January King, deeply crinkled Black Cabbage (Cavolo Nero), green and purple Kale, Brussels Sprouts and Brussels Tops which have benefited from a kiss of frost.

Beautiful English Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Cauliflower and swirling lime-green Romanesco, with the creaminess of cauliflower and the taste of broccoli.  

Root vegetables including Celeriac, Jerusalem Artichoke, Swede, and Beetroot are all British grown this week, as are the Leeks and Fenland Celery.  There is French Scorzonera and also organic Heritage Carrots.

English Chard growth is slowing so leaves are also coming in from kinder European climes as temperatures fall here.  There is Watercress still from our Sussex Farmer, Kingfisher.

Pale green Kohlrabi is here from Italy.

Roscoff Onions from France and large, sweet White Onions from Italy.

The cold-weather bitter greens from Italy include Puntarelle (Catalogna) and Cime di Rapa.  

Bitter leaves in the form of Radicchio Treviso (Prococe and Tardivo types now), yellow, red-flecked Castelfranco, round Chioggia, rose-like Pink Radicchio, and large-leaved green Escarole.  Joining the party this week is the beautiful frilly white/yellow Riccetta.  The mild inner leaves of both Escarole and Riccetta are fantastic in salads while the coarser outer leaves can be cooked.

Winter Squash and Pumpkins - Red Kuri (Onion Squash), French Spaghetti Squash and burnished Musquee de Provence Pumpkins and Delica Pumpkins from Italy. 

Potato varieties this week are Cyprus and Desiree and both of our waxy-fleshed favourites: English Pink Fir Apple and La Ratte from France.  

Dessert Apple varieties from our Kent farmer this week are Cox, Crown Gold, Kent, and Russet.  We have Bramley cooking apples from them too.  The Pears have been particularly good this year and the farm has supplied us with Comice and Conference

Pomegranates this week are from Spain.  We also have ripe Cachi/Persimmons from Italy.

The first Tarocco Oranges from Sicily.  Being early season, they lack blush to the skin and may not yet have developed much colour to the flesh but we welcome their arrival.  There are Italian Navelina, Clementines and Leafy Lemons, and Bergamots too.  We also have good quality Spanish Clementines.  

Crunchy, salty winter Camone and Marinda Tomatoes.

Fresh organic Ginger Root and Turmeric Root.

Romanesco Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands So, in the final month of the year, what produce can we expect to see during the rest of December?   British Brassicas including Savoy Cabbage, spectacular green and purple hued January King, deeply crinkled Black Cabbage (Cavolo Nero), green and purple Kale, Brussels Sprouts and Brussels Tops which get better after a little frost. We expect to have English Purple Sprouting Broccoli through the month.  Cauliflower and Romanesco, with its always-astonishing natural lime-green colour – the creaminess of cauliflower with the taste of broccoli.   British-grown Root vegetables including Celeriac, Jerusalem Artichoke, Swede, and Beetroot, Leeks and Fenland Celery.  There will be Salsify or Scorzonera and also organic Heritage Carrots. English Chard growth is slowing so we can expect leaves to come in from kinder European climes as temperatures fall here.  We expect the Watercress from our Sussex Farmer, Kingfisher, to continue. Roscoff Onions from France. The cold-weather bitter greens from Italy including Puntarelle (Catalogna) and Cime di Rapa should continue.   We should have bitter leaves throughout the month.  Expect to see heads of Radicchio Treviso (Prococe and Tardivo types), yellow, red-flecked Castelfranco, round red/white Chioggia, rose-like Pink Radicchio, large-leaved green/white Escarole and frilly white/yellow Riccetta.  The mild inner leaves of both Escarole and Riccetta are fantastic in salads while the coarser outer leaves can be cooked. Winter Squash and Pumpkins - Red Kuri (Onion Squash), burnished Musquee de Provence Pumpkins and Delica Pumpkins.  Potato varieties are likely to be Cyprus, Desiree and both of our waxy-fleshed favourites: English Pink Fir Apple and La Ratte from France.   Dessert Apple varieties and Bramley cookers from our Kent farmer will continue to arrive.  We should also have Pears which are likely to be Comice and Conference.  Pomegranates throughout the month. Supplies of Tarocco Oranges, and Citrus in general, will increase as the month progresses.   Crunchy, salty winter Camone and Marinda Tomatoes throughout December. Don’t forget our fresh organic Ginger Root and Turmeric Root. On the run-up to Christmas we will have plenty of stocks of Nuts in their shells, Dried Fruits, fresh Cranberries and vacuum-packed Chestnuts.   We will also have more of those juicy Bottle-Nosed Pineapples.

Romanesco

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

So, in the final month of the year, what produce can we expect to see during the rest of December?  

British Brassicas including Savoy Cabbage, spectacular green and purple hued January King, deeply crinkled Black Cabbage (Cavolo Nero), green and purple Kale, Brussels Sprouts and Brussels Tops which get better after a little frost.

We expect to have English Purple Sprouting Broccoli through the month.  Cauliflower and Romanesco, with its always-astonishing natural lime-green colour – the creaminess of cauliflower with the taste of broccoli.  

British-grown Root vegetables including Celeriac, Jerusalem Artichoke, Swede, and Beetroot, Leeks and Fenland Celery.  There will be Salsify or Scorzonera and also organic Heritage Carrots.

English Chard growth is slowing so we can expect leaves to come in from kinder European climes as temperatures fall here.  We expect the Watercress from our Sussex Farmer, Kingfisher, to continue.

Roscoff Onions from France.

The cold-weather bitter greens from Italy including Puntarelle (Catalogna) and Cime di Rapa should continue.  

We should have bitter leaves throughout the month.  Expect to see heads of Radicchio Treviso (Prococe and Tardivo types), yellow, red-flecked Castelfranco, round red/white Chioggia, rose-like Pink Radicchio, large-leaved green/white Escarole and frilly white/yellow Riccetta.  The mild inner leaves of both Escarole and Riccetta are fantastic in salads while the coarser outer leaves can be cooked.

Winter Squash and Pumpkins - Red Kuri (Onion Squash), burnished Musquee de Provence Pumpkins and Delica Pumpkins

Potato varieties are likely to be Cyprus, Desiree and both of our waxy-fleshed favourites: English Pink Fir Apple and La Ratte from France.  

Dessert Apple varieties and Bramley cookers from our Kent farmer will continue to arrive.  We should also have Pears which are likely to be Comice and Conference

Pomegranates throughout the month.

Supplies of Tarocco Oranges, and Citrus in general, will increase as the month progresses.  

Crunchy, salty winter Camone and Marinda Tomatoes throughout December.

Don’t forget our fresh organic Ginger Root and Turmeric Root.

On the run-up to Christmas we will have plenty of stocks of Nuts in their shells, Dried Fruits, fresh Cranberries and vacuum-packed Chestnuts.  

We will also have more of those juicy Bottle-Nosed Pineapples.

Sicilian Early Season Tarocco Oranges Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands GOOD TO KNOW:  As we race towards Christmas, a word about opening hours.  Our Arch at Spa Terminus will be open: 21, 22 and 23 December 08.00-at least 13.00 Please get in touch if you would like to pre-order for collection on any of these days.  We can be contacted by email on: hello@puntarelle.co.uk Throughout December we will be selling our seasonal Water Kefirs as usual.  Going into winter, you can expect flavours that match this festive time with spices, citrus and dried fruit notes to the fore.  Examples are: Pumpkin & Orange Spice Water Kefir With notes of orange, and gingerbread, we think this seasonal Kefir catches the mood of the time of year perfectly.   Beetroot & Ginger Water Kefir We had the idea to harness the natural sugars, earthy flavours and dramatic pigment in beetroot for this spicy Kefir and the results, we think, are very pleasing. Like all our Water Kefirs, these unpasteurised probiotic 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

Sicilian Early Season Tarocco Oranges

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

GOOD TO KNOW: 

As we race towards Christmas, a word about opening hours.  Our Arch at Spa Terminus will be open: 21, 22 and 23 December 08.00-at least 13.00

Please get in touch if you would like to pre-order for collection on any of these days.  We can be contacted by email on: hello@puntarelle.co.uk

Throughout December we will be selling our seasonal Water Kefirs as usual.  Going into winter, you can expect flavours that match this festive time with spices, citrus and dried fruit notes to the fore.  Examples are:

Pumpkin & Orange Spice Water Kefir

With notes of orange, and gingerbread, we think this seasonal Kefir catches the mood of the time of year perfectly.  

Beetroot & Ginger Water Kefir

We had the idea to harness the natural sugars, earthy flavours and dramatic pigment in beetroot for this spicy Kefir and the results, we think, are very pleasing.

Like all our Water Kefirs, these unpasteurised probiotic 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

White Bean and Escarole Soup Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands Escarole is one of the sturdier bitter leaves of the Radicchio family and it’s at its best at this time of year.  It works well in hot dishes, particularly soups and if there was ever a time for hot soups, it’s now.  Any white bean will do for this dish and you can use tinned beans if you prefer.  You could replace Escarole with something like Cime di Rapa if you blanch the greens first.  Cannellini bean and escarole soup 250g dried cannellini beans (500g cooked) 1 whole carrot 1 whole stick of celery Half a white onion 2 plump garlic cloves, sliced 1-2 small dried chillies, deseeded and crumbled A handful of basil leaves, torn (or a little basil pesto) a handful of parsley, roughly chopped At least 6 roughly torn escarole leaves 50g parmesan, plus more to serve Extra virgin olive oil Salt & pepper Soak the beans overnight in plenty of cold water.  Drain and bring to the boil in a large pan of fresh water with the whole carrot, celery stick and half onion.  Reduce to a simmer for an hour or more (depending on freshness of the beans).  When the beans are soft, discard the vegetables.  Remove a quarter of the beans, puree and then return them to the pan to thicken the soup. Gently fry the garlic and chilli in olive oil without browning.  Add the parsley, the fresh basil (if using) and escarole and cook for 1 minute to wilt.  Add this to the pot of beans.  Add grated Parmesan and salt and pepper and the basil pesto (if using).  Serve with a swirl of good olive oil and extra Parmesan. 

White Bean and Escarole Soup

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Escarole is one of the sturdier bitter leaves of the Radicchio family and it’s at its best at this time of year.  It works well in hot dishes, particularly soups and if there was ever a time for hot soups, it’s now.  Any white bean will do for this dish and you can use tinned beans if you prefer.  You could replace Escarole with something like Cime di Rapa if you blanch the greens first. 

Cannellini bean and escarole soup

250g dried cannellini beans (500g cooked)
1 whole carrot
1 whole stick of celery
Half a white onion
2 plump garlic cloves, sliced
1-2 small dried chillies, deseeded and crumbled
A handful of basil leaves, torn (or a little basil pesto)
a handful of parsley, roughly chopped
At least 6 roughly torn escarole leaves
50g parmesan, plus more to serve
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper

Soak the beans overnight in plenty of cold water.  Drain and bring to the boil in a large pan of fresh water with the whole carrot, celery stick and half onion.  Reduce to a simmer for an hour or more (depending on freshness of the beans).  When the beans are soft, discard the vegetables.  Remove a quarter of the beans, puree and then return them to the pan to thicken the soup.

Gently fry the garlic and chilli in olive oil without browning.  Add the parsley, the fresh basil (if using) and escarole and cook for 1 minute to wilt.  Add this to the pot of beans.  Add grated Parmesan and salt and pepper and the basil pesto (if using).  Serve with a swirl of good olive oil and extra Parmesan. 

CHARD

CHARD

Rainbow Chard 

SALSIFY

SALSIFY

Scorzonera Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands Salsify & Scorzonera Salsify and Scorzonera are similar in taste even though they are not varieties of the same plant.  Botanically distinct, Salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius) is identifiable by its pale creamy-brown skin and slightly tapered shape, somewhere between a long thin parsnip and a carrot.  It’s often referred to as ‘White Salsify’.  The darker brown/black root, which hardly tapers at all but looks more like a cigar, is Scorzonera hispanica, commonly called Scorzonera or, confusingly, ‘Black Salsify’.  Further confusion comes from Salsify sometimes being called the “oyster plant” for some past perceived flavour resemblance to the bivalve.  This quality is not generally detectable in modern-day plants, which is probably for the best.   Scorzonera is more common than Salsify and easier to work with.  Being similar in flavour they are interchangeable in recipes.  You are unlikely to be offered Burdock root (Arctium lappa) in the UK but it has a similar appearance and is valued in Japan where it is known as Gobo.  All three are members of the Lettuce family and their leaves are perfectly edible when young.  Salsify and Scorzonera are welcome additions to the root vegetable line-up we rely on so much through the winter months.  Both are high in essential vitamins and minerals and the roots are much appreciated by ingredient-led chefs for their texture and flavour. The texture of Salsify and Scorzonera is crisp and waxy in a similar way to Jerusalem Artichoke but some think their flavour is closer to that of the Globe Artichoke.  Their earthy appearance may not be appealing at first sight but they are easy to prepare and to cook.  After scrubbing them clean, top and tail and cut them into manageable lengths.  Peel them and, as they oxidise quickly, drop the prepared pieces into a bowl of acidulated water to prevent discolouration.  They can then be dried, tossed in oil, sprinkled with thyme, salt and pepper and roasted in a hot oven for around 30 minutes.  But there are other ways to use these roots.  Boil in salted water, or steam, until just tender (not mushy) – thin ones can take around 10 minutes but thicker ones will need around 25 minutes.  The simplest way to serve them is to drain, toss in vinaigrette dressing while still warm and serve at room temperature.  Alternatively, drain, plunge the boiled roots into cold water then dry them on kitchen paper.  Their crisp, waxy texture makes for a wonderful fritter - dip in a light batter and fry in oil. Alternatively, treat them like asparagus and simply cover them with Hollandaise sauce.  You could finish them in butter on a medium heat until they turn golden-brown, adding chopped herbs before serving - particularly good with roasted or casseroled beef or roast chicken - add a splash of cream at the end if you want something richer. Salsify and Scorzonera are in season from October to February so we should have one or the other right through winter.  

Scorzonera

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Salsify & Scorzonera

Salsify and Scorzonera are similar in taste even though they are not varieties of the same plant.  Botanically distinct, Salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius) is identifiable by its pale creamy-brown skin and slightly tapered shape, somewhere between a long thin parsnip and a carrot.  It’s often referred to as ‘White Salsify’.  The darker brown/black root, which hardly tapers at all but looks more like a cigar, is Scorzonera hispanica, commonly called Scorzonera or, confusingly, ‘Black Salsify’.  Further confusion comes from Salsify sometimes being called the “oyster plant” for some past perceived flavour resemblance to the bivalve.  This quality is not generally detectable in modern-day plants, which is probably for the best.  

Scorzonera is more common than Salsify and easier to work with.  Being similar in flavour they are interchangeable in recipes.  You are unlikely to be offered Burdock root (Arctium lappa) in the UK but it has a similar appearance and is valued in Japan where it is known as Gobo.  All three are members of the Lettuce family and their leaves are perfectly edible when young.  Salsify and Scorzonera are welcome additions to the root vegetable line-up we rely on so much through the winter months.  Both are high in essential vitamins and minerals and the roots are much appreciated by ingredient-led chefs for their texture and flavour.

The texture of Salsify and Scorzonera is crisp and waxy in a similar way to Jerusalem Artichoke but some think their flavour is closer to that of the Globe Artichoke.  Their earthy appearance may not be appealing at first sight but they are easy to prepare and to cook.  After scrubbing them clean, top and tail and cut them into manageable lengths.  Peel them and, as they oxidise quickly, drop the prepared pieces into a bowl of acidulated water to prevent discolouration.  They can then be dried, tossed in oil, sprinkled with thyme, salt and pepper and roasted in a hot oven for around 30 minutes.  But there are other ways to use these roots.  Boil in salted water, or steam, until just tender (not mushy) – thin ones can take around 10 minutes but thicker ones will need around 25 minutes.  The simplest way to serve them is to drain, toss in vinaigrette dressing while still warm and serve at room temperature.  Alternatively, drain, plunge the boiled roots into cold water then dry them on kitchen paper.  Their crisp, waxy texture makes for a wonderful fritter - dip in a light batter and fry in oil. Alternatively, treat them like asparagus and simply cover them with Hollandaise sauce.  You could finish them in butter on a medium heat until they turn golden-brown, adding chopped herbs before serving - particularly good with roasted or casseroled beef or roast chicken - add a splash of cream at the end if you want something richer.

Salsify and Scorzonera are in season from October to February so we should have one or the other right through winter.

 

Puntarelle

Puntarelle

Puntarelle Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands   Puntarelle   Puntarelle, our namesake, is a member of the chicory family (Cichorium).  This Cichorium Catalogna is also sometimes referred to as Asparagus Chicory.  It’s a cold weather crop, usually at its best between November and February and, as it is coming into its prime season, it’s a good time to focus on it.     Grown in Italy, it’s a crop particularly valued by Romans who have a taste for the bitterness of all Cicorie.    Pick up a Puntarelle and you’ll be surprised by its weightiness. The long, jagged, dandelion-like leaves embrace a heart of hollow, pale green, knobbly shoots looking a little like short, fat, pale asparagus spears.  The vibrant outer overlapping leaves are sweet with a welcome touch of bitterness that comes through particularly when the leaves are cooked.  They deliver a welcome astringent punch in the depths of winter to add variety to our diet of home grown greens.   Salads of bitter greens are often dressed with something salty as salt not only balances the bitterness but actually suppresses our perception of bitterness.  The knobbly, juicy heart and the inner leaves make a delicious salad.  The classic Italian way is to toss the raw thinly sliced shoots in an anchovy vinaigrette.  The tougher outer leaves can be braised in a pan with a splash of water, a pinch of salt and a knob of butter until just wilted.  Delicious mixed with some fried bacon or pancetta and piled on toasted bread.   

Puntarelle

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

 

Puntarelle

 

Puntarelle, our namesake, is a member of the chicory family (Cichorium).  This Cichorium Catalogna is also sometimes referred to as Asparagus Chicory.  It’s a cold weather crop, usually at its best between November and February and, as it is coming into its prime season, it’s a good time to focus on it.  

 

Grown in Italy, it’s a crop particularly valued by Romans who have a taste for the bitterness of all Cicorie.   

Pick up a Puntarelle and you’ll be surprised by its weightiness. The long, jagged, dandelion-like leaves embrace a heart of hollow, pale green, knobbly shoots looking a little like short, fat, pale asparagus spears.  The vibrant outer overlapping leaves are sweet with a welcome touch of bitterness that comes through particularly when the leaves are cooked.  They deliver a welcome astringent punch in the depths of winter to add variety to our diet of home grown greens.

 

Salads of bitter greens are often dressed with something salty as salt not only balances the bitterness but actually suppresses our perception of bitterness.  The knobbly, juicy heart and the inner leaves make a delicious salad.  The classic Italian way is to toss the raw thinly sliced shoots in an anchovy vinaigrette.  The tougher outer leaves can be braised in a pan with a splash of water, a pinch of salt and a knob of butter until just wilted.  Delicious mixed with some fried bacon or pancetta and piled on toasted bread. 

 

QUINCE

QUINCE

Quince Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Quince

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Quince

Autumn is here and so is the Quince.  With the look of a monstrous mutant pear that has been consigned to a dusty corner, the quince is not a fruit to draw the eye.  But its distinctive perfume, particularly late in its season, is intriguing.  Related to apples and pears, there is a hint of both in its fragrance, but the quince is also related to the rose so there is something floral, and there are guava and pineapple notes too.

Around a quarter of the world’s crop comes from Turkey but it is also grown in China, Iran, South America and Europe.  They grow in the UK but conditions are not ideal so they aren’t cultivated here on any great scale.  You are more likely to find them growing in a domestic garden in the UK but we buy them when we can.  As with the Seville orange, never try to eat a raw quince.  The raw flesh is hard, dry and astringent.  It oxidises quickly but you can pop the pieces into acidulated water as you work to stop the browning if you like.  Long, slow cooking turns it into a rosy-amber delight, though there are a few varieties that stubbornly refuse to colour deeply.  

Quince is high in pectin so is perfect for jams, jellies or pastes.  Quince pastes are made in many countries – known as Membrillo in Spain, Cotognata in Italy, Cotignac in France and Quince Cheese in the UK – and are often served with cheese.  The fruit is perfect for poaching or for adding to long cooked meat dishes as, sliced, it holds its shape well.  Quince is often found in North African meat Tagines.  

To prepare Quince, rub off any natural fuzz and wash the fruits.  For making jams, jellies and pastes, there is no need to peel and core the fruits but for poaching or adding to meat dishes, remove the core – to peel or not to peel is up to you.  The fruits are so aromatic that a simple sugar syrup is all you need to poach the sliced fruits for a desert.  They will turn a deep amber-red and yield easily to the tip of a knife when cooked through.   

Last week’s NEWS gave a recipe for Poached Quince , click here

Poached Quince Danish from The Little Bread Pedlar Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Poached Quince Danish from The Little Bread Pedlar

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

SEASONAL PRODUCE NEWS - OCTOBER 2017

SEASONAL PRODUCE NEWS - OCTOBER 2017

Girolles Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands OCTOBER September ended on a fungi note with Chanterelles and Girolles from Scotland and Porcini/Ceps from Italy and France.  We also saw Muscat Grapes and the first Quince from France, Fragola Grapes from Italy, and English Sweetcorn, Squash, Runner Beans, Apples and Pears along with the last of the plums.  

Girolles

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

OCTOBER

September ended on a fungi note with Chanterelles and Girolles from Scotland and Porcini/Ceps from Italy and France.  We also saw Muscat Grapes and the first Quince from France, Fragola Grapes from Italy, and English Sweetcorn, Squash, Runner Beans, Apples and Pears along with the last of the plums.  

Violet Radish Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands Right now, produce coming through our doors is bathed in autumn oranges, browns, yellows and greens with splashes of purple.  Root vegetables are becoming more abundant.  As I write on the 6th October I see: British grown Turnips, Swede, Beetroot, Heritage Carrots, Parsley Root, Celery, and Parsnips.  We also have French Jerusalem Artichokes. From France too, we have Long Black Radish, Watermelon Radish and the spectacular Violette Radish.  There is French Salsify. Greens include UK grown Romanesco, Cauliflower, heads of Broccoli as well as Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Black Cabbage (Cavolo Nero), Kale and Rainbow Chard.  Brussel Sprouts and Brussel Tops are here already.   From Italy, the cold weather bitter greens are arriving, Puntarelle (Catalogna), Chicoria (Catalogna Naturala), and Cime di Rapa (Rapini) There’s an increasing variety of UK grown Autumn Squash coming in now, including Red Kuri (Onion Squash) and we have Spaghetti Squash from France. We also have Delica Pumpkins and Ironbark Pumpkins from Italy.  Watercresss from our Sussex Farmer continues to arrive and we have English Wet Walnuts. Potato varieties are increasing.  This week we have two waxy-fleshed favourites: English Pink Fir Apple and La Ratte from France.  We also have Rose Lautrec Garlic and new season Smoked Garlic from France.  English Leeks and crunchy Kohlrabi are in. The mild start to autumn means we still have Italian Borlotti Beans and English Runner Beans.  English Aubergines too. From Scotland we have Chanterelle Mushrooms and Girolle Mushrooms and this week there are Porcini/Ceps from both Italy and France.   There are beautiful Muscat Grapes and Chasselas Grapes from France along with a particularly sweet seedless white/blush grape from Italy.  From our Kent farmer this week come Cox Apples, Red Windsor Apples and Comice Pears.  We have Citrus varieties Miyagawa (Satsuma/Mandarin cross) and Bergamots again this week. From France there are Black Figs and large Quince. Pomegranates this week are the ‘White’ variety from Sicily.  The seeds of this type are a delicate pink.    Persimmons are here.  This week from Spain. We have early Radicchio Treviso (a long early Radicchio), Castelfranco and Escarole too.

Violet Radish

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Right now, produce coming through our doors is bathed in autumn oranges, browns, yellows and greens with splashes of purple.  Root vegetables are becoming more abundant.  As I write on the 6th October I see:

British grown Turnips, Swede, Beetroot, Heritage Carrots, Parsley Root, Celery, and Parsnips.  We also have French Jerusalem Artichokes.

From France too, we have Long Black Radish, Watermelon Radish and the spectacular Violette Radish.  There is French Salsify.

Greens include UK grown Romanesco, Cauliflower, heads of Broccoli as well as Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Black Cabbage (Cavolo Nero), Kale and Rainbow ChardBrussel Sprouts and Brussel Tops are here already.  

From Italy, the cold weather bitter greens are arriving, Puntarelle (Catalogna), Chicoria (Catalogna Naturala), and Cime di Rapa (Rapini)

There’s an increasing variety of UK grown Autumn Squash coming in now, including Red Kuri (Onion Squash) and we have Spaghetti Squash from France. We also have Delica Pumpkins and Ironbark Pumpkins from Italy. 

Watercresss from our Sussex Farmer continues to arrive and we have English Wet Walnuts.

Potato varieties are increasing.  This week we have two waxy-fleshed favourites: English Pink Fir Apple and La Ratte from France.  We also have Rose Lautrec Garlic and new season Smoked Garlic from France. 

English Leeks and crunchy Kohlrabi are in.

The mild start to autumn means we still have Italian Borlotti Beans and English Runner Beans.  English Aubergines too.

From Scotland we have Chanterelle Mushrooms and Girolle Mushrooms and this week there are Porcini/Ceps from both Italy and France.  

There are beautiful Muscat Grapes and Chasselas Grapes from France along with a particularly sweet seedless white/blush grape from Italy. 

From our Kent farmer this week come Cox Apples, Red Windsor Apples and Comice Pears

We have Citrus varieties Miyagawa (Satsuma/Mandarin cross) and Bergamots again this week.

From France there are Black Figs and large Quince.

Pomegranates this week are the ‘White’ variety from Sicily.  The seeds of this type are a delicate pink.   

Persimmons are here.  This week from Spain.

We have early Radicchio Treviso (a long early Radicchio), Castelfranco and Escarole too.

Pumpkins and Squash Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands It’s approaching mid-Autumn, so, what produce can we expect to see during the rest of October?   Mainly British grown Turnips, Swede, Beetroot, Heritage Carrots, Parsley Root, Celery, and Parsnips.  The Jerusalem Artichokes and Salsify too may move to home grown.  English Leeks and crunchy Kohlrabi throughout the month.  We may see the mild turnip variety Tokyo Turnips. Greens like Romanesco, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Black Cabbage (Cavolo Nero), Kale, Rainbow Chard, Brussel Sprouts and Brussel Tops should be plentiful and Savoy Cabbage may join them.  From Italy, the cold weather bitter greens Puntarelle (Catalogna), Chicoria (Catalogna Naturala), and Cime di Rapa (Rapini). A greater range of Chicories should arrive.  Curly Endive, broad-leaved Escarole, cream/yellow and red speckled Castelfranco, delicate pink and vibrant red Radicchio to add an extra touch of bitterness to our autumn/winter diets. Autumn Squash will continue and, as this is the month for harvesting long-keeping Pumpkins, we will see more varieties joining the Delica Pumpkins and Ironbark Pumpkins coming in from Italy.  Watercress from our Sussex Farmer will continue as will the English Wet Walnuts.  We should see Fresh Chestnuts arriving. Potatoes are becoming more varied now, though we will have waxy-fleshed favourites Pink Fir Apple and La Ratte as much as possible.   We will have Rose Lautrec Garlic for a while longer and new season Smoked Garlic from France.  From Scotland Chanterelle Mushrooms and Girolle Mushrooms.  Although we have both French and Italian Ceps/Porcini this week, we expect to French Ceps to take over mid-month.   Fenland Celery should appear late in the month. French Muscat Grapes and Chasselas Grapes will continue into October.  The weekly-changing selection of English Apples and Pears from our Kent farmer will continue through October.  Citrus varieties Miyagawa (Satsuma/Mandarin cross) and Bergamots will be joined by other early varieties like Mandarins. We will have Quince throughout October and those coming in from France may make way for English grown fruits. We are buying Sicilian ‘White’ Pomegranates right now but the deep red varieties will take over later.    We will have Persimmons from Italy mid-month and the harder Kaki fruits should arrive from Spain soon. We expect to have Salsola, also known a Saltwort or Land Seaweed.  We discovered this succulent plant, which is of the same family as Agretti but a little finer, last year.  It’s a salt tolerant plant which is considered one of Japan’s oldest vegetables where it’s known as Okahajiki.  Salty and succulent, it is delicious raw or quickly blanched. 

Pumpkins and Squash

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

It’s approaching mid-Autumn, so, what produce can we expect to see during the rest of October?  

Mainly British grown Turnips, Swede, Beetroot, Heritage Carrots, Parsley Root, Celery, and Parsnips The Jerusalem Artichokes and Salsify too may move to home grown.  English Leeks and crunchy Kohlrabi throughout the month.  We may see the mild turnip variety Tokyo Turnips.

Greens like Romanesco, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Black Cabbage (Cavolo Nero), Kale, Rainbow Chard, Brussel Sprouts and Brussel Tops should be plentiful and Savoy Cabbage may join them. 

From Italy, the cold weather bitter greens Puntarelle (Catalogna), Chicoria (Catalogna Naturala), and Cime di Rapa (Rapini).

A greater range of Chicories should arrive.  Curly Endive, broad-leaved Escarole, cream/yellow and red speckled Castelfranco, delicate pink and vibrant red Radicchio to add an extra touch of bitterness to our autumn/winter diets.

Autumn Squash will continue and, as this is the month for harvesting long-keeping Pumpkins, we will see more varieties joining the Delica Pumpkins and Ironbark Pumpkins coming in from Italy. 

Watercress from our Sussex Farmer will continue as will the English Wet Walnuts.  We should see Fresh Chestnuts arriving.

Potatoes are becoming more varied now, though we will have waxy-fleshed favourites Pink Fir Apple and La Ratte as much as possible.  

We will have Rose Lautrec Garlic for a while longer and new season Smoked Garlic from France. 

From Scotland Chanterelle Mushrooms and Girolle Mushrooms.  Although we have both French and Italian Ceps/Porcini this week, we expect to French Ceps to take over mid-month.  

Fenland Celery should appear late in the month.

French Muscat Grapes and Chasselas Grapes will continue into October. 

The weekly-changing selection of English Apples and Pears from our Kent farmer will continue through October. 

Citrus varieties Miyagawa (Satsuma/Mandarin cross) and Bergamots will be joined by other early varieties like Mandarins.

We will have Quince throughout October and those coming in from France may make way for English grown fruits.

We are buying Sicilian ‘White’ Pomegranates right now but the deep red varieties will take over later.   

We will have Persimmons from Italy mid-month and the harder Kaki fruits should arrive from Spain soon.

We expect to have Salsola, also known a Saltwort or Land Seaweed.  We discovered this succulent plant, which is of the same family as Agretti but a little finer, last year.  It’s a salt tolerant plant which is considered one of Japan’s oldest vegetables where it’s known as Okahajiki.  Salty and succulent, it is delicious raw or quickly blanched. 

Fiery Suzy Sauce Photo © Puntarelle&Co Ltd NEW in the Fridge:  Fiery Suzy Sauce For those customers who like their sauces extra hot (yes, that’s you Susan) we have developed a new fermented sauce which we are calling ‘Fiery Suzy’.  Made from hot, hot, hot Scotch Bonnet chillis and a few other good natural ingredients, we think this will hit the spot.  Pick up a jar from our Ferments Fridge tomorrow and let us know what you think.

Fiery Suzy Sauce

Photo © Puntarelle&Co Ltd

NEW in the Fridge:  Fiery Suzy Sauce

For those customers who like their sauces extra hot (yes, that’s you Susan) we have developed a new fermented sauce which we are calling ‘Fiery Suzy’.  Made from hot, hot, hot Scotch Bonnet chillis and a few other good natural ingredients, we think this will hit the spot.  Pick up a jar from our Ferments Fridge tomorrow and let us know what you think.

Quince Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands Fragrant Quince will be with us right through October.  If you’ve never cooked quince before you may be surprised at how unyielding they are but their cooking is well worth the effort.  Its raw flesh is off-white, hard, dry and astringent – not at all suggestive of what it tastes like cooked.  This is an easy recipe for poached quince which brings out their unique flavour – apple and pear mixed with exotic guava and pineapple – that you can keep in the fridge, submerged in the juice, for at least a week.  If you pot up into sterilised jars it will keep for several months.  Poached quince is delicious served with yogurt for breakfast or with cream for a pudding when it’s particularly good paired with ginger biscuits. Poached Quince 400g (14oz) caster sugar 1.2 litres (2 pints) water 1 kilo (2lbs) quince ½-1 vanilla bean 2 slices of lemon Bring sugar and water to the boil in a large pan to dissolve the sugar.  Reduce to a simmer.  Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the sugar syrup.  Add the bean pod and the two lemon slices.  Quarter, peel and core the quinces and slice the quarters into inch thick wedges.  Add the wedges to the syrup as you work.   To keep the fruit submerged in the syrup while it cooks, cover the surface of the poaching fruit with a round of parchment paper and weigh it down with a saucer.  Simmer slowly until the quince are tender (45 -60 minutes).   Serve at room temperature or cold from the fridge.

Quince

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Fragrant Quince will be with us right through October.  If you’ve never cooked quince before you may be surprised at how unyielding they are but their cooking is well worth the effort.  Its raw flesh is off-white, hard, dry and astringent – not at all suggestive of what it tastes like cooked.  This is an easy recipe for poached quince which brings out their unique flavour – apple and pear mixed with exotic guava and pineapple – that you can keep in the fridge, submerged in the juice, for at least a week.  If you pot up into sterilised jars it will keep for several months.  Poached quince is delicious served with yogurt for breakfast or with cream for a pudding when it’s particularly good paired with ginger biscuits.

Poached Quince

400g (14oz) caster sugar
1.2 litres (2 pints) water
1 kilo (2lbs) quince
½-1 vanilla bean
2 slices of lemon

Bring sugar and water to the boil in a large pan to dissolve the sugar.  Reduce to a simmer.  Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the sugar syrup.  Add the bean pod and the two lemon slices.  Quarter, peel and core the quinces and slice the quarters into inch thick wedges.  Add the wedges to the syrup as you work.  

To keep the fruit submerged in the syrup while it cooks, cover the surface of the poaching fruit with a round of parchment paper and weigh it down with a saucer.  Simmer slowly until the quince are tender (45 -60 minutes).  

Serve at room temperature or cold from the fridge.

citrus - the earlies

citrus - the earlies

Citrus – Miyagawa Satsuma-Mandarin Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands   Citrus – The Earlies There are many forms of citrus, and the fact that they readily hybridise with one another means identification can sometimes be a challenge, even to botanists.  Science and agriculture have seized on this willingness to cross-polinate to breed out undesirable qualities and develop those they deem appealing.  Whether it’s the lemon, lime, kumquat, satsuma, mandarin, tangerine, sour orange, sweet orange, grapefruit, citron, yuzu, pomello or bergamot, it’s thought that all common domesticated citrus fruits originate from three parents: the citron Citrus medica, the mandarin Citrus reticulata and the pummelo Citrus grandis.   Despite their association with the Mediterranean, all members of the orange family originated in China and were brought to Europe by Arab traders.  The main northern hemisphere citrus season normally runs from November to June.  We are always excited to see the first of our new season citrus arrive from Italy, and Sicily in particular.  Expect to see Sanguinello, Moro and red-flushed Tarocco oranges arriving from Sicily in late December but there is a small crop of two citrus which arrive a little earlier and which we have for you right now in, this, the last week of September.    The Miyagawa which originated in Japan is a satsuma-mandarin cross.  Their thin, smooth skin means they do not keep well on the tree so harvest time is brief and we normally have them October-December.  The fruits arrive green, developing to yellow/orange within a few days.  The early fruits have a pleasant sharpness, while later harvests are sweeter.  If you find the early ones too sharp to simply peel and eat, their juice is a delicious alternative to lemon.    The Bergamot is thought to be a cross between a sour orange and sweet lime.  It was mainly grown in Italy for the oil extracted from its rind.  This is used in perfumes, tobaccos and Early Grey Tea.  But its sharp juice is also delicious used in dressings, syrups and curds.  The skin can be candied and the fruits make a good marmalade.  Try adding a slice to a gin and tonic instead of lemon or lime.  The thicker-skinned Bergamot should be with us into the New Year.      

Citrus – Miyagawa Satsuma-Mandarin

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

 

Citrus – The Earlies

There are many forms of citrus, and the fact that they readily hybridise with one another means identification can sometimes be a challenge, even to botanists.  Science and agriculture have seized on this willingness to cross-polinate to breed out undesirable qualities and develop those they deem appealing.  Whether it’s the lemon, lime, kumquat, satsuma, mandarin, tangerine, sour orange, sweet orange, grapefruit, citron, yuzu, pomello or bergamot, it’s thought that all common domesticated citrus fruits originate from three parents: the citron Citrus medica, the mandarin Citrus reticulata and the pummelo Citrus grandis.  

Despite their association with the Mediterranean, all members of the orange family originated in China and were brought to Europe by Arab traders.  The main northern hemisphere citrus season normally runs from November to June.  We are always excited to see the first of our new season citrus arrive from Italy, and Sicily in particular.  Expect to see Sanguinello, Moro and red-flushed Tarocco oranges arriving from Sicily in late December but there is a small crop of two citrus which arrive a little earlier and which we have for you right now in, this, the last week of September.   

The Miyagawa which originated in Japan is a satsuma-mandarin cross.  Their thin, smooth skin means they do not keep well on the tree so harvest time is brief and we normally have them October-December.  The fruits arrive green, developing to yellow/orange within a few days.  The early fruits have a pleasant sharpness, while later harvests are sweeter.  If you find the early ones too sharp to simply peel and eat, their juice is a delicious alternative to lemon.   

The Bergamot is thought to be a cross between a sour orange and sweet lime.  It was mainly grown in Italy for the oil extracted from its rind.  This is used in perfumes, tobaccos and Early Grey Tea.  But its sharp juice is also delicious used in dressings, syrups and curds.  The skin can be candied and the fruits make a good marmalade.  Try adding a slice to a gin and tonic instead of lemon or lime.  The thicker-skinned Bergamot should be with us into the New Year.

 

 

 

APPLES

APPLES

St Edmund’s Pippin Apple Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands Apples The English Apple harvest is now fully underway with ever more varieties joining the Discovery, which came to our shelves in mid-August.  It’s now that the stone fruits of late summer, ending with dusky Damson plums, give way to northern hemisphere Apples and Pears.   Apples grow well in a temperate climate and English apples are hard to beat.  There are over 2,000 varieties – dessert, cooker and in-betweener.  Sadly, only a tiny number of these are commercially grown.  Flavours and textures vary greatly depending on the variety of apple.  Deep red apples are beautiful to look at and tasty if eaten freshly picked, but it’s the green/brownish-skinned ‘Russet’ family and those streaked green/red that improve with keeping.   For the 4th year running we are buying our seasonal apples and pears from Foxendown Fruit Farm in Kent.  We start collecting their harvest of ‘Discovery’ apples in August and finish in late January.  John, the owner of this small family run farm, guides us and helps us choose from his 20 varieties of dessert apple and 3 cooking apples (along with his shorter season pear crop of Triumph of Vienna, Conference and Comice – in now and through October).  This week we have Dessert Apples: Laxton Fortune, a Cox/Wealthy apple cross which is juicy, crisp, aromatic and a little sweeter than a Cox’s Orange Pippin, with us through September Worcester Permain another early-mid season apple; can have a light strawberry flavour and is picked to the end of September. St Edmund’s Pippin, a richly-flavoured Russet apple picked to the end of October Early Windsor, a cross between a Cox and a Dr Oldenburg: similar to, and a little earlier than, the Cox’s Orange Pippin and should arrive up to mid-November. More apples will follow, including those Cooking Apples that need a little longer on the tree. For the kitchen, it’s hard to beat a Bramley for a classic apple pie or crumble but where less acidic, firm-fleshed apples are needed, reach for varieties like Laxton Fortune, Cox or Russet varieties or the later Braeburn.  All have a good balance of sour and sweet.  Good spices for apples are anise, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.  Clove too if used sparingly.  A few apples added to a pan of roasting pork together with a few sage leaves is a wonderful thing.  A simple apple puree cooked with dried fruits and cinnamon is a fixture in my kitchen during autumn and winter – so good with yogurt and a spoonful of honey.  A whole baked Bramley, cored, stuffed with dried fruits and a little sugar, is the simplest of desserts.  Just add cream.  Everyone should have a good apple cake recipe.  Replace some of the flour with ground hazelnuts and you won’t be disappointed.  And then, of course, there’s Tarte Tatin!

St Edmund’s Pippin Apple

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Apples

The English Apple harvest is now fully underway with ever more varieties joining the Discovery, which came to our shelves in mid-August.  It’s now that the stone fruits of late summer, ending with dusky Damson plums, give way to northern hemisphere Apples and Pears.  

Apples grow well in a temperate climate and English apples are hard to beat.  There are over 2,000 varieties – dessert, cooker and in-betweener.  Sadly, only a tiny number of these are commercially grown.  Flavours and textures vary greatly depending on the variety of apple.  Deep red apples are beautiful to look at and tasty if eaten freshly picked, but it’s the green/brownish-skinned ‘Russet’ family and those streaked green/red that improve with keeping.  

For the 4th year running we are buying our seasonal apples and pears from Foxendown Fruit Farm in Kent.  We start collecting their harvest of ‘Discovery’ apples in August and finish in late January.  John, the owner of this small family run farm, guides us and helps us choose from his 20 varieties of dessert apple and 3 cooking apples (along with his shorter season pear crop of Triumph of Vienna, Conference and Comice – in now and through October).  This week we have Dessert Apples:

Laxton Fortune, a Cox/Wealthy apple cross which is juicy, crisp, aromatic and a little sweeter than a Cox’s Orange Pippin, with us through September

Worcester Permain another early-mid season apple; can have a light strawberry flavour and is picked to the end of September.

St Edmund’s Pippin, a richly-flavoured Russet apple picked to the end of October

Early Windsor, a cross between a Cox and a Dr Oldenburg: similar to, and a little earlier than, the Cox’s Orange Pippin and should arrive up to mid-November.

More apples will follow, including those Cooking Apples that need a little longer on the tree.

For the kitchen, it’s hard to beat a Bramley for a classic apple pie or crumble but where less acidic, firm-fleshed apples are needed, reach for varieties like Laxton Fortune, Cox or Russet varieties or the later Braeburn.  All have a good balance of sour and sweet.  Good spices for apples are anise, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.  Clove too if used sparingly.  A few apples added to a pan of roasting pork together with a few sage leaves is a wonderful thing.  A simple apple puree cooked with dried fruits and cinnamon is a fixture in my kitchen during autumn and winter – so good with yogurt and a spoonful of honey.  A whole baked Bramley, cored, stuffed with dried fruits and a little sugar, is the simplest of desserts.  Just add cream.  Everyone should have a good apple cake recipe.  Replace some of the flour with ground hazelnuts and you won’t be disappointed.  And then, of course, there’s Tarte Tatin!

Figs

Figs

Black French Figs

SEASONAL PRODUCE NEWS - SEPTEMBER 2017

SEASONAL PRODUCE NEWS - SEPTEMBER 2017

English Long Violette Aubergines Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands SEPTEMBER August was the month Europe battled the elements.  Unseasonal heavy rains, lack of sun, excessive heat and hugely destructive fires all played a part throughout the continent.  Many crops peaked unusually early, particularly in Italy due to prolonged hot spells.  It proved to be a challenging month for growers, pickers and greengrocers alike.  We saw the end of the English Cherry harvest but the start of our Plums, Pears, and Kent Cobnuts.  Climbing Beans, Sweetcorn, Courgettes and Summer Squash arrived too.

English Long Violette Aubergines

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

SEPTEMBER

August was the month Europe battled the elements.  Unseasonal heavy rains, lack of sun, excessive heat and hugely destructive fires all played a part throughout the continent.  Many crops peaked unusually early, particularly in Italy due to prolonged hot spells.  It proved to be a challenging month for growers, pickers and greengrocers alike.  We saw the end of the English Cherry harvest but the start of our Plums, Pears, and Kent Cobnuts.  Climbing Beans, Sweetcorn, Courgettes and Summer Squash arrived too.

English Damson Plums Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands English produce is to the fore again this month.  In the arch, as I write on the first day of September, we have: Plump cobs of the sweetest English Sweetcorn.   Watercress, Runner Beans and Black Cabbage, direct from the Kent and Sussex farms we work with.  The first English Early Maincrop Pink Fir Apple Potatoes and a few early Pumpkin Squash.   New season English Pears, three varieties of Apple and purple streaked Marjorie Seedling Plums from our Kent grower too.  Damson Plums and Kent Cobnuts again too.  English Heritage Carrots, creamy white Cauliflowers, Bobbi Beans, Beetroot, several varieties of English Tomatoes, organic Courgettes and Squash and several types of firm, weighty Aubergines.  Beautiful quality English Leeks are here also.   Mushrooms are becoming more available and, this week, we have Scottish Chanterelles and Girolles as well as Ceps. Happily, once again, we have those wonderful Sorrento Vesuvio Tomatoes. The new season Onions are welcome arrivals.  This week there are Strings of Cipolla Rosa di Tropea from Calabria and large, flat and sweet Cipolla Bianca di Giarratana from Sicily along with sweet, delicate-skinned French Oignon Doux des Cevennes.   French Black Figs are particularly good and there are high season Muscat Grapes from France and strawberry perfumed Fragola Grapes from Italy.  Also from Italy are large, juicy, pink-blushed Nectarines and those sunny orange, highly fragrant Percoca Peaches which are so good for cooking.

English Damson Plums

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

English produce is to the fore again this month.  In the arch, as I write on the first day of September, we have:

Plump cobs of the sweetest English Sweetcorn.   Watercress, Runner Beans and Black Cabbage, direct from the Kent and Sussex farms we work with.  The first English Early Maincrop Pink Fir Apple Potatoes and a few early Pumpkin Squash.  

New season English Pears, three varieties of Apple and purple streaked Marjorie Seedling Plums from our Kent grower too.  Damson Plums and Kent Cobnuts again too.  English Heritage Carrots, creamy white Cauliflowers, Bobbi Beans, Beetroot, several varieties of English Tomatoes, organic Courgettes and Squash and several types of firm, weighty Aubergines.  Beautiful quality English Leeks are here also.  

Mushrooms are becoming more available and, this week, we have Scottish Chanterelles and Girolles as well as Ceps.

Happily, once again, we have those wonderful Sorrento Vesuvio Tomatoes.

The new season Onions are welcome arrivals.  This week there are Strings of Cipolla Rosa di Tropea from Calabria and large, flat and sweet Cipolla Bianca di Giarratana from Sicily along with sweet, delicate-skinned French Oignon Doux des Cevennes.  

French Black Figs are particularly good and there are high season Muscat Grapes from France and strawberry perfumed Fragola Grapes from Italy.  Also from Italy are large, juicy, pink-blushed Nectarines and those sunny orange, highly fragrant Percoca Peaches which are so good for cooking.

Kent Cobnuts Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands September marks the move into Autumn.  Our expectations and appetites move on too. So, what new season produce can we hope for during September?   We expect to have English Sweetcorn, Runner Beans, Bobbi Beans,  Aubergines, English Tomatoes, Courgettes and Squash well into September.  Plums from our Kent grower should arrive for a little longer, being replaced by the Apple and Pear harvest which is already underway.  Kent Cobnuts will continue to be available too.   English Heritage Carrots, creamy white Cauliflowers, Beetroot, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Watercress, Chard and Black Cabbage will be here throughout the month.  We should also continue to have flavourful Tomatoes and new season Onion varieties from England and the rest of Europe.  Varieties of English Maincrop Potatoes will be becoming in to join the Pink Fir Apple Potatoes which arrived this week.. Mushrooms should become more plentiful and varied this month with Scottish Chanterelles and Girolles as well as European Ceps leading. We can expectEuropean Black and Purple Figs and Muscat Grapes to continue.   Autumn Squash and early varieties of Pumpkins will definitely be in. We may see some Miyagawa Green Mandarins and Pomegranates arrive.

Kent Cobnuts

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

September marks the move into Autumn.  Our expectations and appetites move on too. So, what new season produce can we hope for during September?  

We expect to have English Sweetcorn, Runner Beans, Bobbi BeansAubergines, English Tomatoes, Courgettes and Squash well into September.  Plums from our Kent grower should arrive for a little longer, being replaced by the Apple and Pear harvest which is already underway.  Kent Cobnuts will continue to be available too.  

English Heritage Carrots, creamy white Cauliflowers, Beetroot, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Watercress, Chard and Black Cabbage will be here throughout the month.  We should also continue to have flavourful Tomatoes and new season Onion varieties from England and the rest of Europe.  Varieties of English Maincrop Potatoes will be becoming in to join the Pink Fir Apple Potatoes which arrived this week..

Mushrooms should become more plentiful and varied this month with Scottish Chanterelles and Girolles as well as European Ceps leading.

We can expectEuropean Black and Purple Figs and Muscat Grapes to continue.  

Autumn Squash and early varieties of Pumpkins will definitely be in.

We may see some Miyagawa Green Mandarins and Pomegranates arrive.

www.londonfermentary.com   Photo ©Punterelle&Co Last month, in our August News, we mentioned we would soon be formerly launching our new brand London Fermentary.  We have been working hard to achieve this and are pleased to let you know that all of our in-house made fermented products, which we have gradually been introducing, now bear our new labels ‘LONDON FERMENTARY’.  We have just launched a new website dedicated to our fermented products.  Please take a look at LONDON FERMENTARY for more information.   You will find all our ferments in our fridge as our Bermondsey business premises on Saturday, as usual.  Please continue to enjoy them and, if you haven’t yet discovered them, please ask us about them.  Any feedback you can give us will be welcomed.  This will help us focus on the ones we should keep.

www.londonfermentary.com   Photo ©Punterelle&Co

Last month, in our August News, we mentioned we would soon be formerly launching our new brand London Fermentary.  We have been working hard to achieve this and are pleased to let you know that all of our in-house made fermented products, which we have gradually been introducing, now bear our new labels ‘LONDON FERMENTARY.  We have just launched a new website dedicated to our fermented products.  Please take a look at LONDON FERMENTARY for more information.  

You will find all our ferments in our fridge as our Bermondsey business premises on Saturday, as usual.  Please continue to enjoy them and, if you haven’t yet discovered them, please ask us about them.  Any feedback you can give us will be welcomed.  This will help us focus on the ones we should keep.

English Sweetcorn/Corn on the Cob Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands Before those barbecues get stored away, here’s a suggestion for one last firing up.  English Sweetcorn is particularly good right now, so, roasted corn-on-the-cob with a chilli butter to temper its sweetness fits the bill.   TO ROAST: Peel back the husks without removing and pull out the silk threads beneath.  Wash the cob and the husks and put the husks back to their original position, twisting them at the top as tightly as you can (a little water trapped within will help the cooking). Cook over hot coals for about 30-40 minutes depending on size until the husks are well charred and the kernels softened.   Meanwhile gently heat some butter and add thinly sliced red chilli to just soften then put to one side.   Serve the cooked cobs, peeled of their charred husks, with salt, pepper and the chilli butter. (If you don’t want to cook over coals, strip off the husks and silks and cook the cobs in a pan of boiling water for 10-15 minutes (just remember not to add salt to the water as it toughens the kernels).

English Sweetcorn/Corn on the Cob

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Before those barbecues get stored away, here’s a suggestion for one last firing up.  English Sweetcorn is particularly good right now, so, roasted corn-on-the-cob with a chilli butter to temper its sweetness fits the bill.  

TO ROAST:

Peel back the husks without removing and pull out the silk threads beneath.  Wash the cob and the husks and put the husks back to their original position, twisting them at the top as tightly as you can (a little water trapped within will help the cooking). Cook over hot coals for about 30-40 minutes depending on size until the husks are well charred and the kernels softened.  

Meanwhile gently heat some butter and add thinly sliced red chilli to just soften then put to one side.  

Serve the cooked cobs, peeled of their charred husks, with salt, pepper and the chilli butter.

(If you don’t want to cook over coals, strip off the husks and silks and cook the cobs in a pan of boiling water for 10-15 minutes (just remember not to add salt to the water as it toughens the kernels).