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April News 2019

April News 2019

Purple Artichokes    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Purple Artichokes

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

APRIL 

 

April heralds a real change in our arch, bringing Wild Garlic Leaves, Nettle Tops and Jersey Royal Potatoes.  English winter/spring Purple Sprouting Broccoli comes to an end this month and we see the very brief season White sprouting form this month.  Forced Rhubarb gives way to Outdoor Grown Rhubarb.  Earthy Morel Mushrooms and, briefly, St George’s Mushrooms are to be expected.  From Italy come Broad Beans, Peas and both wild and cultivated AsparagusSpring Herbs shoot up now and juicy radishes and small crunchy hothouse Cucumbers arrive.  We usually see some fantastic Wet Garlic bulbs this month too.  There are European Artichokes still, joined by early Courgettes and Tenarumi.  April also brings the early varieties of Strawberries – French Gariguette but it’s not unknown for us to have UK-grown ones before the month is out.  The best Mangoes of the year arrive from India and Pakistan this month too.


Here is a taster of the things you can expect to find here at Puntarelle & Co in the month of April:


Roman courgettes    Photo © Puntarelle&Co

Roman courgettes

Photo © Puntarelle&Co

April marks the last of the Purple Sprouting Broccoli and the shorter season White Sprouting Broccoli.  

We have earthy, saline Jersey Royal Potatoes

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

English Wild Garlic leaves feature strongly this month.  

Watercress comes in from France and there is English-grown too. 

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

Romano Courgettes and the first Ridged Cucumbers – so good for fermenting and pickling - from Italy. 

Wispy Wild Asparagus from Italy, as well as fat spears of the purple and white Asparagus varieties.  If we get a warm spring, there is early English-grown too.

Rainbow Chard from Italy.  

Italian Peas and Broad Beans 

White asparagus    Photo © Puntarelle&Co

White asparagus

Photo © Puntarelle&Co

Fat, juicy bulbs of Wet Garlic – the first is usually from Morocco before the European ones arrives.

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

April sees early varieties of Strawberries, including Gariguette and the best Mangoes of the year from India and Pakistan.

Heritage Tomatoes begin to take over from winter Camone and Marinda this month and large Provence Tomatoes begin to arrive. 

Radishes change from large winter varieties to small, crunchy spring ones.

Cool weather harvests of bitter Radicchio and Chicories like Puntarelle and Cime de Rapa reduce through April.  

Tropea Onions from Italy make a welcome return.

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

Morel Mushrooms are a feature of April and St George’s Mushrooms make a very brief appearance.

Potted Spring Herbs join our usual display of cut herbs. 


Seasonal vegetables   Photo © Puntarelle&Co

Seasonal vegetables

Photo © Puntarelle&Co

Strawberry & Rhubarb water kefir   Photo © Puntarelle&Co

Strawberry & Rhubarb water kefir

Photo © Puntarelle&Co

NEWS:


Don’t forget to check-out our London Fermentary fridges when you visit our arch on Saturdays.  If you follow Puntarelle_Co on Instagram and/or on Twitter, we’d love it if you would show your support by also following us  @london_fermentary on Instagram and/or @LondonFermentary on Twitter.  We’ll be able to keep you informed with news, like what seasonal Ferments you can expect to find each month.  


Bridging the gap between winter and spring this month we have an Outdoor Rhubarb & Gariguette Strawberry Water Kefir and a Mango & Lime version for you.  Carrot Kraut, fermented with mustard seeds & ginger is back in stock and you’ll find jars of Kimchi too along with our fermented sauces including our ever-popular Yellow Mellow Sauce.


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


image5-3.jpeg

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

Here is an idea for using them:

Nettle & Spinach Soup

(Serves 4)


Around 350g (12 oz) nettle tops

Around 350g (12 oz) spinach or chard

50g (2 oz) butter or olive oil

2 leeks or onions, sliced

1 medium potato, diced (optional)

Around 1 litre (1¾ pints) vegetable stock

Salt and pepper

Cream to serve


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

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

Liquidise then reheat and season with salt and pepper.  

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

February News 2019

February News 2019

January King Cabbages    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

January King Cabbages

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

FEBRUARY


In February the colours of January continue with pinks, reds, greens and claret-splashed yellows of Chicories, stems of Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb turn from pink to red and the shades of citrus become more varied as more varieties arrive from Sicily.  Large, spikey Sardinian and fat, round, Romano Artichokes share space with an array of British root vegetables, including Celeriac and Jerusalem Artichokes, but, undoubtedly, February is the leanest month in the northern hemisphere’s growing calendar.


Here is a taster of the things you can expect to find here at Puntarelle & Co in the month of February:  

Winter Selection    Photo © Puntarelle & Co

Winter Selection

Photo © Puntarelle & Co

Vibrant pink-stemmed Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb will continue throughout the month.

Probably the last of the Seville Oranges for making bitter marmalade and buttery curd but there will be Clementins that work well too.

Un-treated, un-waxed Blood Oranges, Sweet Clementines and, if we are lucky, Pink Grapefruits.

Deep red, sweet-sharp, Pomegranates.

English Purple Sprouting Broccoli, which is particularly good right now, and, creamy Cauliflowers

 Hispi Cabbage from southern Europe.

Crunchy, salty Italian Camone and Marinda Winter Tomatoes.

From Italy too, bunches of the Mediterranean succulent Barba di Frate/Agretti/Monk’s Beard, Rainbow Chard, Bulb Fennel, Roman Artichokes and spikey Sardinian Artichokes.

Bitter-sweet Italian Greens like Puntarelle and Cime di Rapa and new season Courgettes.

A variety of colourful bitter-sweet pink and red Radicchio and milder-leaved yellow/green Endive.

Roman Artichokes & Italian Aubergines    Photo © Puntarelle & Co

Roman Artichokes & Italian Aubergines

Photo © Puntarelle & Co

Vitamin and mineral-rich British Brassicas including Savoy Cabbage, green and purple hued January King, blistered-leaved Black Cabbage/Cavolo Nero, Kale, Brussels Sprouts and Brussels Tops

Winter Pumpkins.

Root vegetables including Celeriac, Jerusalem Artichokes, Swede, Beetroot, organic Heritage Carrots and Leeks.

Potato varieties are Cyprus and Desiree, Maris Piper, and waxy-fleshed La Ratte.

Fresh organic Ginger Root and Turmeric Root.

London Fermentary fridges

London Fermentary fridges

Our freshly-stocked londonfermentary.com fridge this month typically includes Water Kefir flavours like Blood Orange, Yorkshire Rhubarb, Cranberry & Chilli and Honey & Camomile. Don’t forget your refillable bottles for “Kefir on the tap” option. In LF fridge you’ll find an extensive range of seasonal Fermented Vegetables too. Please , check LF website for latest Inspirational Fermentation Course dates www.londonfermentary.com

Forced Yorkshire Rhubarb & Tarocco Blood Orange about to go in the oven    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Forced Yorkshire Rhubarb & Tarocco Blood Orange about to go in the oven

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Here is a recipe using fruits that are at their best right now – that beautiful pink forced Yorkshire Rhubarb and Sicilian Blood Oranges.  It’s adapted from Nigel Slater’s recipe in Tender Volume II and I can think of no simpler way to celebrate these two wonderful ingredients together.  


Rhubarb with Blood Orange

(serves 4-6)


750g Rhubarb

4 Blood Oranges

Caster Sugar

1 vanilla pod


Heat the oven to 200C (180C Fan).

Rinse the rhubarb, cut off and discard the leaves.  Chop the stems into short lengths and place in an oven-proof dish.

Remove the peel from two of the oranges, cutting away any white pith, then slice the fruit thickly and add it to the rhubarb.

Squeeze the juice from the remaining two oranges, and pour over the rhubarb.

Add a good tablespoon of sugar and the vanilla pod.

Cover the dish with foil and cook in the oven until the rhubarb yields to the pressure of a fork.

Check and adjust the sweetness to your taste.

Allow to cool then spoon into serving glasses, cover with clingfilm, and chill in the fridge for at least an hour but will keep for 2-3 days.


Forced Rhubarb

Forced Rhubarb

Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb


Each year in early January slim soft-pink through to ruby-red Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb stems begin to appear at market.  A native of Siberia, there is evidence that rhubarb was grown for its medicinal properties – thought to be effective in gut, liver and lung problems - at least as far back as 2700BC.  It was grown in the UK for around 150 years for use as a purgative before it became valued as a food in the early 18th century.  Garden-grown rhubarb is a much more muscular proposition than ‘forced’ rhubarb.  Its thicker, darker red/green stems need a little more cooking and extra sugar to make it palatable.  But it was the accidental ‘blanching’ of rhubarb, caused by gardeners at the Chelsea Physic Garden piling up waste plants over winter, that led to the growing of ‘forced’ rhubarb.  By the time the roots were uncovered, tender stems had pushed through towards the light and these were found to be far tastier than outdoor, uncovered rhubarb stems.  


The method was embraced and developed into the use of ‘forcing’ sheds, after the roots have experienced a blast of frost first in the fields, to produce an earlier, more delicate tasting crop.  In Yorkshire, rhubarb farmers were able to produce such a good crop, and get it to market so efficiently, that growers in other areas of the country gave up trying to compete.  Today forced rhubarb continues to be grown in a small area around Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield in Yorkshire known as "The Rhubarb Triangle".  It’s labour-intensive work which means the crop commands a relatively high price.  One of the oldest growers is E Oldroyd & Sons Ltd.  Oldroyd's forced rhubarb still finds its way to London markets and to our shelves.


Rhubarb is valued for food from Russia through Turkey, Pakistan and the Middle East.  Persian cooking values it for balancing meat stews, particularly lamb.  A lightly sweetened compote is a good accompaniment to cut the fattiness of pork or oiliness of fish, like mackerel.  For desserts, the tender stems can go into cakes and tarts.  The most versatile way with forced rhubarb is to gently poach it to make a sweet compote - 5 parts fruit to 1 part sugar is about right if you don’t want it too sweet.  Additions you can make when poaching include a vanilla pod; a little preserved ginger; orange zest and/or juice; or a single clove.  Alternatively you could add a teaspoon or two of rosewater just before serving.  Fold into lightly whipped cream, or a mix of cream and yogurt, to make a rhubarb fool.  If you have some meringues and a little cream you have the makings of a take on Eton Mess.  Rhubarb also makes a good cordial, though you’d be better waiting for the cheaper outdoor-grown variety for that.


Yorkshire Rhubarb    Photo © Puntarelle & Co

Yorkshire Rhubarb

Photo © Puntarelle & Co

December Seasonal News

December Seasonal News

January King Cabbage    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

January King Cabbage

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

December


Through November our shelves groaned with the weight of English Apples and Pears and colourful Crab Apple branches decorated the arch.  Pumpkin Squash varieties increased and nutty-flavoured Fenland Celery arrived for its short season.  A touch of early frost brought good flavour to Cabbages but we were happy too for the warmth of Italy where our Persimmons and Pomegranates had been grown.  


It’s now three short weeks to Christmas so, with your festive shopping needs in mind, our December Report concentrates on the zesty, tasty and colourful must-haves to take us into the holidays.  It’s definitely looking and smelling like Christmas here in our Spa Terminus arch. Here is the key short-season produce you can expect to find at Puntarelle & Co between now and Christmas along with all the usual staples:

Italian Citrus    Photo ©Puntarelle@CO

Italian Citrus

Photo ©Puntarelle@CO

Sicilian Grapefruits    Photo ©Puntarelle & Co

Sicilian Grapefruits

Photo ©Puntarelle & Co

Just arrived and filling the arch with zesty, festive aromas is our Citrus delivery from Italy.  Novelino Oranges are now perfectly sweet and juicy; the earlier delivery was a little underripe for our taste.  

We have our first, and only, delivery of new season unwaxed Sicilian Pink Grapefruits.  These are pretty special as it is difficult to find unwaxed Grapefruits in the UK.  The skins make the most delicious candied peel.  Get them while you can.

We have sweet, juicy Nova Clementine Mandarins too.  In our opinion, a box would make a wonderful Christmas present.  

Cavolo Nero/Black Cabbage    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Cavolo Nero/Black Cabbage

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

British grown greens are benefitting from the colder weather and we are getting particularly good Cabbages including purple/green hued January King, crinkle-leaved Savoy, juicy Red Cabbage and earthy Black Cabbage/Cavolo Nero.  Also expect to find Brussels Sprouts, Sprout Tops and Kalettes.  More greens available through to Christmas include Cima di Rapa, and heads of Puntarelle with their juicy centres that are perfect for salads (particularly with anchovies) and beautifully bitter outer leaves for adding to soups and stews.

Sicilian Flat Onions    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Sicilian Flat Onions

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Root vegetable offerings are Parsnips, Swede, Turnips, Salsify and several varieties of Potatoes are here.  Carrots too, including easy to prepare baby Heritage and the French Sand-grown Carrots which are sweet and store really well.  Silky-textured British Leeks are alongside sweet, flat Sicilian OnionsCipolla Ramata - that are so good roasted whole. 


Castelfranco Radicchio    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Castelfranco Radicchio

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

For salads, new season Chicories are arriving, including members of the Endive group like large-leaved Escarole and tight-leaved Belgian Endive along with some of the Radicchio group - Tardivo whose red and white leaves curl into a twist at the top, looser-leaved Treviso and yellow, red-speckled Castelfranco which is the mildest of the bitter-leaved chicories.   


We have Cranberries, both fresh and dried, Vacuum-packed Chestnuts, Walnuts in their shells and a selection of other Nuts and Dried Fruits.

Christmas specials from London Fermentary

Christmas specials from London Fermentary

London Fermentary news:

As usual we have a range of Water Kefir flavours in our fridges but, for Christmas, we have created two special edition Water Kefirs available in one-litre bottles.  You can choose between flavours of Mulled Wine or Mince Pie, both created with a mix of warming and uplifting natural seasonal spices.  We will also have our Cranberry and Chilli Water Kefir available in the run-up to Christmas for those who like their Water Kefir hot!  We also have a Fermented Sauce made from fresh and dry cranberries fermented with chilli and garlic.  These are worth considering when you are looking for the perfect present for a food lover.


Our recipe suggestion this month is the perfect solution to when you just want a little something, rather than yet another big Christmas meal.  It uses Leeks, which are very much in season, for a delicious take on the dish ‘Welsh Rarebit’.  This recipe is based on the one in Rosie Sykes’ The Sunday Night Book which is full of easy, comforting recipes.  This one has a kick of mustard to wake up a jaded palate.


Leeks with Caerphilly and mustard    made according to the recipe in The Sunday Night Book by Rosie Sykes    Photo and recipe ©Evie Saffron Strands

Leeks with Caerphilly and mustard

made according to the recipe in The Sunday Night Book by Rosie Sykes

Photo and recipe ©Evie Saffron Strands

Leeks with Caerphilly and mustard

(serves 2)


2 medium size leeks

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 few sprigs of thyme

1-2 tablespoons grain mustard

100g grated Caerphilly cheese

2 thick slices of bread

1 clove of garlic

Salt and pepper

Ketchup or chutney to serve (optional)


Trim and cut the leeks into 2cm slices, wash well.  Heat the olive oil in a large pan with a lid on medium heat, add leeks, thyme and 3 tablespoons of water, salt and pepper.  Stir, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the leeks are very tender, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking (add a little more water if necessary to soften but you want them just juicy, not watery).  

Pre-heat your grill.  

Lift out the thyme sprigs and stir the mustard and cheese into the leeks. 

Toast the bread lightly, both sides.  Rub one side with the cut garlic clove.  Pile the leek and cheese mixture on top and toast under the grill until it bubbles and starts to brown.




***CHRISTMAS OPEN DATES***

We will be open at Spa Terminus Thursday 20, Friday 21 & Saturday 22 December 08.00-13.00 each day.

We will be closed between Christmas and the New Year and 

Re-open on Saturday 5 January at 08.00


Seasonal news October

Seasonal news October

SWISS CHARD    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

SWISS CHARD

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

October


Summer holidays have come to an end but summer seems reluctant to morph into Autumn here.  Apples and pears are coming through the doors in abundance, yet Sweetcorn is still arriving.  


But now October is here we can see a seasonal shift.  Here is the key short-season produce you can expect to find at Puntarelle & Co this month along with all the usual staples:

English Quince    Photo © Puntarelle & Co

English Quince

Photo © Puntarelle & Co

British Produce

Apples coming from our favoured farm in Kent include Early Windsor, Greensleeves, Spartan, Orange Pippin, and Worcesters.  Pears too are plentiful and include Doyenne du Comice, Conference and Triumph of Vienna - an old French variety with red flush, russet-patched skin and smooth, juicy white flesh.  

The English Quince crop is looking particularly good this year and you will find them on our shelves now.

We have fantastic Rainbow Chard, Swiss Chard, and Purple Sprouting Broccoli right now along with Cavolo Nero/Black Cabbage, Cauliflowers and crunchy Kohlrabi.  

Brussels Sprouts seem to appear earlier and earlier each year and, yes, they are in already.  Some Pumpkin and Winter Squash are starting to arrive too. 

We have Chanterelles and Girolles from Scotland and expect to have them throughout the month. 

French Produce

Wet Walnuts arrived in late September and we expect to have them through October.  Black Figs are still coming in although, surprisingly, the crop hasn’t been good this year.

Coco de Paimpol beans are still with us.

Some of our Autumn Mushrooms may come in from France too.

Porcini from Italy    Photo © Puntarelle&Co

Porcini from Italy

Photo © Puntarelle&Co

Pomegranates from Puglia     Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Pomegranates from Puglia

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Italian Produce

This month Italian Peaches and melons give way to strawberry/exotic fruits-flavoured Fragola Grapes and delicate-pink Pomegranates from Puglia.  They may not be as eye-catching as the deep-red Turkish variety but are a beautiful lead-in to the full pomegranate season.

The start of the new citrus season always excites and, happily, zingy Miyagawa Mandarins and early, unwaxed, Navelina Oranges are already in . We’ll have to wait for the new season Italian lemons but expect Bergamots to be in this month.

Persimmons are just beginning to arrive as I write.  

New season Artichokes, bitter-leaved Chicoria and Cima di Rapa are on the shelves and we can expect to have them throughout October.


In our London Fermentary fridges in October you can expect to find seasonal Water Kefir flavours like Fragola Grape and zingy Green Mandarin.  

Water Kefir London Fermentary    Photo © London Fermentary

Water Kefir London Fermentary

Photo © London Fermentary

Pears with maple syrup and vanilla    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

Pears with maple syrup and vanilla

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

With such an amazing crop of Apples and Pears coming into the arch right now, we have to point you to this simple recipe that tastes so perfectly seasonal.  You can find a full version in Nigel Slater’s book Tender: Volume II.  It’s delicious but if you want to add a little texture, a scattering of a few toasted almonds is good.

Pears with maple syrup and vanilla

(serves 4)

4 large pears

4 tablespoons sugar

750ml water

4 tablespoons maple syrup

2-3 drops vanilla extract


Peels the pears, cut in half and scoop out the cores.  Bring sugar and water to the boil, add the pears and reduce to a simmer.  Cook for 10-15 minutes until just beginning to feel tender.  Lift the pear halves from the syrup and discard the liquid.

Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/Gas 4.  

Place the pears in a shallow baking dish.  Drizzle them with the maple syrup and the vanilla extract.  Bake them for around 1 hour or until the pears are meltingly soft and pale gold here and there.

Serve with or without cream.

May 2018  Seasonal News

May 2018 Seasonal News

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

English Asparagus

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

 

MAY

 

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

 

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

 

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

Wet Garlic

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

 

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

 

Earthy, saline Jersey Royal Potatoes and versatile Cypress Potatoes.

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

Some late English Wild Garlic leaves.

Watercress from our preferred English grower, Kingfisher. 

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

Italian Ridged Cucumbers 

From Italy, Romano and Tondo Courgettes

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

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

New Spring season Rainbow Chard from Italy.  

Italian Peas and Broad Beans.

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

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

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

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

Spring varieties of Radish.

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

Spinach varieties including French.

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

Green and Purple Artichokes, large and small.  

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

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

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

 

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

Broad Beans

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

 

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

 

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

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

Watercress from our preferred English grower, Kingfisher. 

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

Ridged Cucumbers for preserving from Eastern Europe.

Increasing varieties of Courgettes from Italy.

Wispy Wild Asparagus from Italy.

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

Rainbow Chard.  

Italian Peas and Broad Beans.

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

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

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

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

Spring varieties of Radish.

Italian Tropea Onions and French Grelot Onions.

Spinach varieties including French.

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

Seasonal herbs including pots of growing Spring Herbs.

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

 

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

Nespole/Loquats

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

 

Focus on:

 

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

 

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

Raw Asparagus Salad

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

 

 

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

 

Raw Asparagus Salad

(Serves 4 as a starter)


8-12 asparagus spears
A handful of pea-shoots

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

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

 

Seasonal Produce News-February 2018

Seasonal Produce News-February 2018

January King Cabbages    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands       FEBRUARY      January was a month when no two days seemed alike with oddly fluctuating temperatures but British-grown Brassicas and roots seemed to cope well.  In our January Report, we promised you Sicilian Citrus and it was worth waiting for.  Tarocco blood oranges, Nova Mandarins and Pink Grapefruits came on our direct-sourced pallets, and there is more citrus to look forward to this month.  Vibrant pink spears of Forced Yorkshire Rhubarb brought more colour and acidity to our shelves and the first fronds of crunchy, salty Agretti arrived too.            

January King Cabbages

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

 

FEBRUARY

 

January was a month when no two days seemed alike with oddly fluctuating temperatures but British-grown Brassicas and roots seemed to cope well.  In our January Report, we promised you Sicilian Citrus and it was worth waiting for.  Tarocco blood oranges, Nova Mandarins and Pink Grapefruits came on our direct-sourced pallets, and there is more citrus to look forward to this month.  Vibrant pink spears of Forced Yorkshire Rhubarb brought more colour and acidity to our shelves and the first fronds of crunchy, salty Agretti arrived too.

 

 

 

 

Cauliflower    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands   As we enter the last full month of winter, British-grown Brassicas and Root Vegetables are our seasonal staples and we look to southern Europe for more tender crops.  Far from just a variation on green and brown, February’s colour palette is a vibrant one in the Puntarelle arch.   Right now   we have:   Vibrant pink-stemmed  Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb .   Probably the last of the  Seville Oranges  for making bitter marmalade and buttery curd but there will be common  Mandarins  that work well too.  Un-treated, un-waxed  Tarocco Blood Oranges ,  Nova Mandarins  and  Pink Grapefruits .  Deep red, sweet-sharp,  Pomegranates .  English  Purple Sprouting Broccoli , which is particularly good right now, and, creamy  Cauliflowers .   From Portugal, we have  Hispi Cabbage .  Crunchy, salty Italian  Camone and Marinda Winter Tomatoes .  From Italy too, bunches of the Mediterranean succulent  Barba di Frate/Agretti/Monk’s Beard ,  Purple Cauliflowers ,  Rainbow Chard ,  Bulb Fennel ,  Roman Artichokes  and spikey  Sardinian Artichokes .  Bitter-sweet Italian Greens this week are  Puntarelle  and  Cime di Rapa  and we have the first of the new season  Courgettes .  Several varieties of colourful bitter-sweet pink and red  Radicchio  and milder-leaved yellow/green  Endive .  Vitamin and mineral-rich British  Brassicas  including  Savoy Cabbage , green and purple hued  January King , blistered-leaved  Black Cabbage/Cavolo Nero ,  Kale ,  Brussels Sprouts  and  Brussels Tops .   Orange-skinned  Onion Squash .  Root vegetables including  Celeriac ,  Jerusalem Artichokes ,  Swede ,  Beetroot  and   organic  Heritage Carrots  are all British grown this week, as are the  Leeks .   Potato  varieties this week are  Cyprus  and  Desiree ,  Maris Piper , and waxy-fleshed  La Ratte .  Fresh organic  Ginger Root  and  Turmeric Root .  A freshly-stocked      londonfermentary.com   fridge.

Cauliflower

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

As we enter the last full month of winter, British-grown Brassicas and Root Vegetables are our seasonal staples and we look to southern Europe for more tender crops.  Far from just a variation on green and brown, February’s colour palette is a vibrant one in the Puntarelle arch.  Right now we have:

Vibrant pink-stemmed Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb

Probably the last of the Seville Oranges for making bitter marmalade and buttery curd but there will be common Mandarins that work well too.

Un-treated, un-waxed Tarocco Blood Oranges, Nova Mandarins and Pink Grapefruits.

Deep red, sweet-sharp, Pomegranates.

English Purple Sprouting Broccoli, which is particularly good right now, and, creamy Cauliflowers

From Portugal, we have Hispi Cabbage.

Crunchy, salty Italian Camone and Marinda Winter Tomatoes.

From Italy too, bunches of the Mediterranean succulent Barba di Frate/Agretti/Monk’s Beard, Purple Cauliflowers, Rainbow Chard, Bulb Fennel, Roman Artichokes and spikey Sardinian Artichokes.

Bitter-sweet Italian Greens this week are Puntarelle and Cime di Rapa and we have the first of the new season Courgettes.

Several varieties of colourful bitter-sweet pink and red Radicchio and milder-leaved yellow/green Endive.

Vitamin and mineral-rich British Brassicas including Savoy Cabbage, green and purple hued January King, blistered-leaved Black Cabbage/Cavolo Nero, Kale, Brussels Sprouts and Brussels Tops

Orange-skinned Onion Squash.

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

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

Fresh organic Ginger Root and Turmeric Root.

A freshly-stocked  londonfermentary.com fridge.

Our Ferments        Photo ©Puntarelle&Co

Our Ferments    

 Photo ©Puntarelle&Co

Spikey Sardinian Artichokes    Photo ©Puntarelle&Co       Writing in the first few days of February, here is the  produce we     expect to have for you before this last full month of winter comes to a close:        Vibrant pink-stemmed  Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb  will continue throughout the month.   Un-treated, un-waxed  Tarocco Blood Oranges ,  Nova Mandarins , common  Mandarins  and  Pink Grapefruits  will be joined by  Lemons ,  Cedro  and  Kumquats .  Deep red sweet-sharp  Pomegranates .  English  Purple Sprouting Broccoli , which is particularly good in February, and creamy  Cauliflowers .  Hispi Cabbage  from southern Europe.  Crunchy, salty Italian  Camone and Marinda Winter Tomatoes .  From Italy too, bunches of the Mediterranean succulent  Barba di Frate/Agretti/Monk’s Beard ,  Purple Cauliflowers ,  Rainbow Chard ,  Bulb Fennel ,  Roman Artichokes  and spikey  Sardinian Artichokes .  Bitter-sweet Italian Greens like  Puntarelle  and  Cime di Rapa  and new season  Courgettes .  A variety of colourful, bitter-sweet pink and red  Radicchio  and milder-leaved yellow/green  Endive .  Vitamin and mineral-rich British  Brassicas  including  Savoy Cabbage , green and purple hued  January King , blistered-leaved  Black Cabbage/Cavolo Nero ,  Kale ,  Brussels Sprouts  and  Brussels Tops .  Orange-skinned  Onion Squash .  Root vegetables including  Celeriac ,  Jerusalem Artichokes ,  Swede ,  Beetroot  and   organic  Heritage Carrots  are all British grown this week.  English  Leeks  and Spanish  Calçot onions .   Potato  varieties this week are  Cyprus  and  Desiree ,  Maris Piper , and waxy-fleshed  La Ratte .  Fresh organic  Ginger Root  and  Turmeric Root .  A freshly-stocked   londonfermentary.com   fridge.

Spikey Sardinian Artichokes

Photo ©Puntarelle&Co

 

Writing in the first few days of February, here is the produce we expect to have for you before this last full month of winter comes to a close:  

 

Vibrant pink-stemmed Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb will continue throughout the month. 

Un-treated, un-waxed Tarocco Blood Oranges, Nova Mandarins, common Mandarins and Pink Grapefruits will be joined by Lemons, Cedro and Kumquats.

Deep red sweet-sharp Pomegranates.

English Purple Sprouting Broccoli, which is particularly good in February, and creamy Cauliflowers. Hispi Cabbage from southern Europe.

Crunchy, salty Italian Camone and Marinda Winter Tomatoes.

From Italy too, bunches of the Mediterranean succulent Barba di Frate/Agretti/Monk’s Beard, Purple Cauliflowers, Rainbow Chard, Bulb Fennel, Roman Artichokes and spikey Sardinian Artichokes.

Bitter-sweet Italian Greens like Puntarelle and Cime di Rapa and new season Courgettes.

A variety of colourful, bitter-sweet pink and red Radicchio and milder-leaved yellow/green Endive.

Vitamin and mineral-rich British Brassicas including Savoy Cabbage, green and purple hued January King, blistered-leaved Black Cabbage/Cavolo Nero, Kale, Brussels Sprouts and Brussels Tops.

Orange-skinned Onion Squash.

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

English Leeks and Spanish Calçot onions.

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

Fresh organic Ginger Root and Turmeric Root.

A freshly-stocked londonfermentary.com fridge.

Tarocco Orange    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands    NEWS:    Have you tried our  Pink Rhubarb Water Kefir ?  Also this week we have  Orange Water Kefir  made from some of our Sicilian Tarocco oranges.

Tarocco Orange

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

NEWS: 

Have you tried our Pink Rhubarb Water Kefir?  Also this week we have Orange Water Kefir made from some of our Sicilian Tarocco oranges.

Forced Yorkshire Rhubarb & Tarocco Blood Orange about to go in the oven    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands        Here is a recipe using fruits that are at their best right now – that beautiful pink forced Yorkshire Rhubarb and Sicilian Blood Oranges.  It’s adapted from  Nigel Slate r’s recipe in  Tender Volume II  and I can think of no simpler way to celebrate these two wonderful ingredients together.        Rhubarb with Blood Orange   (serves 4-6)     750g Rhubarb  4 Blood Oranges  Caster Sugar  1 vanilla pod  Heat the oven to 200C (180C Fan).  Rinse the rhubarb, cut off and discard the leaves.  Chop the stems into short lengths and place in an oven-proof dish.  Remove the peel from two of the oranges, cutting away any white pith, then slice the fruit thickly and add it to the rhubarb.  Squeeze the juice from the remaining two oranges, and pour over the rhubarb.  Add a good tablespoon of sugar and the vanilla pod.  Cover the dish with foil and cook in the oven until the rhubarb yields to the pressure of a fork.  Check and adjust the sweetness to your taste.  Allow to cool then spoon into serving glasses, cover with clingfilm, and chill in the fridge for at least an hour but will keep for 2-3 days.   

Forced Yorkshire Rhubarb & Tarocco Blood Orange about to go in the oven

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

 

Here is a recipe using fruits that are at their best right now – that beautiful pink forced Yorkshire Rhubarb and Sicilian Blood Oranges.  It’s adapted from Nigel Slater’s recipe in Tender Volume II and I can think of no simpler way to celebrate these two wonderful ingredients together.  

 

Rhubarb with Blood Orange

(serves 4-6)

 

750g Rhubarb

4 Blood Oranges

Caster Sugar

1 vanilla pod

Heat the oven to 200C (180C Fan).

Rinse the rhubarb, cut off and discard the leaves.  Chop the stems into short lengths and place in an oven-proof dish.

Remove the peel from two of the oranges, cutting away any white pith, then slice the fruit thickly and add it to the rhubarb.

Squeeze the juice from the remaining two oranges, and pour over the rhubarb.

Add a good tablespoon of sugar and the vanilla pod.

Cover the dish with foil and cook in the oven until the rhubarb yields to the pressure of a fork.

Check and adjust the sweetness to your taste.

Allow to cool then spoon into serving glasses, cover with clingfilm, and chill in the fridge for at least an hour but will keep for 2-3 days.

 

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!

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).

Seasonal Produce News

Seasonal Produce News

Kohlrabi                      Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands    JUNE    May was the month of Artichokes, Tropea Onions, Fennel, Fine Beans and Courgettes from Italy; Grelot Onions, Wet Garlic, radishes and Watercress from France; English Asparagus, recovering from everything the weather could throw at it, and early Strawberries with real flavour arriving from Kent.   We had wonderful English foraged Sea Vegetables too.  The second half of the month brought the first tender English Artichokes and, in the final week, the first picking of English peas, so sweet we just wanted to eat them straight from their pods.

Kohlrabi                    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

JUNE

May was the month of Artichokes, Tropea Onions, Fennel, Fine Beans and Courgettes from Italy; Grelot Onions, Wet Garlic, radishes and Watercress from France; English Asparagus, recovering from everything the weather could throw at it, and early Strawberries with real flavour arriving from Kent.   We had wonderful English foraged Sea Vegetables too.  The second half of the month brought the first tender English Artichokes and, in the final week, the first picking of English peas, so sweet we just wanted to eat them straight from their pods.

Purple Ligurian Basil            Photo ©Puntarelle&Co Ltd    In the first week of   JUNE , as I write, this is what stands out for us on the shelves of  Puntarelle & Co :  Several varieties of sun-ripened Italian  Tomatoes  along with flat, pink  Cipollini Onions  which roast so well, great quality new season  Garlic  for keeping.    Italian  Borlotti Beans ,  Fennel  and  Courgettes  –  Round,   Romano, Yellow  and  Green .  A number of forms of Italian  Cicoria  and  Aubergines  and both  Green  and  Purple Ligurian Basil .  We also have the first supply of  Tenerumi  (leaves of the Cucuzza Zucchini) from Italy for pasta and soups.  English new season produce is becoming more available.  We have  Asparagus  from our Kent grower coming in at better prices now we are well into the season.  We have English  Watercress  direct from the grower,  Artichokes ,  Peas ,  Broad Beans ,  Cucumbers ,  Radishes ,  Spring Onions  ,   Spinach  and juicy  Kohlrabi .    Small red/yellow  Watermelons  and the large Greek variety liked so much by our customers.    The special thin-skinned, orange-fleshed Melons from Italy now join the  Cantaloupe Melons .  We have new season  Sicilian Green Lemons , prized in particular for their highly fragrant zest.  We also have the first large, plump  Green Figs  from Italy.  There are various vibrant  Fresh Herbs  along with English  Strawberries, Raspberries  and the first of the  Gooseberries.   Italian  Peaches ,  Nectarines  and  Apricots  are already plentiful and French  Cherries  are starting to arrive.  

Purple Ligurian Basil          Photo ©Puntarelle&Co Ltd

In the first week of JUNE, as I write, this is what stands out for us on the shelves of Puntarelle & Co:

Several varieties of sun-ripened Italian Tomatoes along with flat, pink Cipollini Onions which roast so well, great quality new season Garlic for keeping.  

Italian Borlotti Beans, Fennel and Courgettes Round, Romano, Yellow and Green.  A number of forms of Italian Cicoria and Aubergines and both Green and Purple Ligurian Basil.  We also have the first supply of Tenerumi (leaves of the Cucuzza Zucchini) from Italy for pasta and soups.

English new season produce is becoming more available.  We have Asparagus from our Kent grower coming in at better prices now we are well into the season.  We have English Watercress direct from the grower, Artichokes, Peas, Broad Beans, Cucumbers, Radishes, Spring Onions, Spinach and juicy Kohlrabi.  

Small red/yellow Watermelons and the large Greek variety liked so much by our customers.  The special thin-skinned, orange-fleshed Melons from Italy now join the Cantaloupe Melons.  We have new season Sicilian Green Lemons, prized in particular for their highly fragrant zest.  We also have the first large, plump Green Figs from Italy.  There are various vibrant Fresh Herbs along with English Strawberries, Raspberries and the first of the Gooseberries.  Italian Peaches, Nectarines and Apricots are already plentiful and French Cherries are starting to arrive.  

Tenerumi / Leaves of the Cucuzza Zucchini     Photo ©Puntarelle&Co Ltd   So, what new season produce can we  expect  to come through our doors through  JUNE ?  English  Broad Beans  and  Peas  and, perhaps, the first English  Fennel bulbs .  The  Asparagus  from our Kent grower will take us up to the last week of June with lower prices than in May.   Watercress  sourced direct from Kingfisher Farm in Surrey, who have been growing watercress for more than 150 years, should be with us throughout the month.    New Potatoes  from Jersey, France and Cornwall.  British  Strawberries ,  Raspberries    and  Gooseberries  will be benefiting from some summer sun in June.  English-grown  Herbs  –  Mint, Coriander, Parsley and Dill  in particular as well as  Cucumbers ,  Radishes ,  Spring Onions  and  Spinach .  Crunchy French  Grelot Onions  will continue through the month and we will have a good supply of  Round ,  Romana ,  Trompetta ,  White ,  Yellow  and  Green   Courgettes  and  Tenerumi  (leaves of the Cucuzza Zucchini) from Italy.  There will be  Borlotti Beans  and a greater variety of  Aubergines  this month.    Even sweeter varieties of sun-ripened Italian  Tomatoes .  The supply of flat, pink  Cipollini Onions  for roasting should continue as should quality new season  Garlic  and crunchy  Kohlrabi .    We should continue to have small red/yellow  Watermelons ,  Cantaloupe Melons  and new season  Sicilian Green Lemons , prized in particular for their highly fragrant zest.   Peaches ,  Flat Peaches ,  Nectarines, Apricots  and  Green Figs  from Italy.  We expect both Red and Rainier  Cherries  from France as well as  White  and  Blood  varieties of both  Peaches  and  Nectarines   (pêche de vigne & nectavigne) .     Plums  from France and Italy should be arriving and Green Almonds are now in season.    By late June we should have  English Cherries  arriving.

Tenerumi / Leaves of the Cucuzza Zucchini    Photo ©Puntarelle&Co Ltd

So, what new season produce can we expect to come through our doors through JUNE?

English Broad Beans and Peas and, perhaps, the first English Fennel bulbs.  The Asparagus from our Kent grower will take us up to the last week of June with lower prices than in May.

Watercress sourced direct from Kingfisher Farm in Surrey, who have been growing watercress for more than 150 years, should be with us throughout the month. 

New Potatoes from Jersey, France and Cornwall.

British Strawberries, Raspberries and Gooseberries will be benefiting from some summer sun in June.

English-grown Herbs Mint, Coriander, Parsley and Dill in particular as well as Cucumbers, Radishes, Spring Onions and Spinach.

Crunchy French Grelot Onions will continue through the month and we will have a good supply of Round, Romana, Trompetta, White, Yellow and Green Courgettes and Tenerumi (leaves of the Cucuzza Zucchini) from Italy.  There will be Borlotti Beans and a greater variety of Aubergines this month.  

Even sweeter varieties of sun-ripened Italian Tomatoes.  The supply of flat, pink Cipollini Onions for roasting should continue as should quality new season Garlic and crunchy Kohlrabi.  

We should continue to have small red/yellow Watermelons, Cantaloupe Melons and new season Sicilian Green Lemons, prized in particular for their highly fragrant zest.

Peaches, Flat Peaches, Nectarines, Apricots and Green Figs from Italy.

We expect both Red and Rainier Cherries from France as well as White and Blood varieties of both Peaches and Nectarines (pêche de vigne & nectavigne).  

Plums from France and Italy should be arriving and Green Almonds are now in season.  

By late June we should have English Cherries arriving.

Smoky Leekchi Ferments                                      Photo ©Puntarelle@Co    NEW on our shelves:   Focusing on our  Fermented Vegetables    range this month we have ‘Smoky Leekchi’, a ferment of Leeks, smoked chilli, garlic and ginger.  Particularly delicious paired with dishes involving chicken or pulses.   

Smoky Leekchi Ferments                                    Photo ©Puntarelle@Co

NEW on our shelves:

Focusing on our Fermented Vegetables range this month we have ‘Smoky Leekchi’, a ferment of Leeks, smoked chilli, garlic and ginger.  Particularly delicious paired with dishes involving chicken or pulses.   

Flat Peaches               Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands       We select the best peaches we can get but early peaches can be a little less yielding than you might like.  Their season arrives along with a vibrant array of fresh herbs including Lemon Verbena.  Peaches have a particular affinity with the ‘sherbet lemon’ quality of this herb.  Here is a recipe that’s perfect for those peaches that need a little heat to bring out their best but works for ripe peaches too:   Baked Peaches with Lemon Verbena  (serves 4)  4 Unripe round or flat peaches 100ml water + the same volume of caster sugar 4 leaves of tender fresh lemon verbena (or 2-3 basil leaves) A handful of raspberries for each plate (optional)   Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/Gas 4.  Lightly butter an ovenproof dish.     Cut the peaches in half and remove the stones.  Place the fruit cut-side up in the dish.   Dissolve the sugar in the water over a medium heat and add the lemon verbena leaves.  Pour the contents of the pan over the cut peaches.  Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the peaches.  If the fruits are particularly hard, you can cover the dish with foil to speed up cooking.  Baste the peaches a couple of times during cooking and, if they are not softening, turn them a couple of times in the syrup.     Serve with the cooking juices spooned over and, maybe, a fresh leaf of verbena.  If you have raspberries, add a few to each plate.  Cream to serve is good.

Flat Peaches               Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands    

We select the best peaches we can get but early peaches can be a little less yielding than you might like.  Their season arrives along with a vibrant array of fresh herbs including Lemon Verbena.  Peaches have a particular affinity with the ‘sherbet lemon’ quality of this herb.  Here is a recipe that’s perfect for those peaches that need a little heat to bring out their best but works for ripe peaches too:

Baked Peaches with Lemon Verbena
(serves 4)

4 Unripe round or flat peaches
100ml water + the same volume of caster sugar
4 leaves of tender fresh lemon verbena (or 2-3 basil leaves)
A handful of raspberries for each plate (optional)

Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/Gas 4.  Lightly butter an ovenproof dish.  
Cut the peaches in half and remove the stones.  Place the fruit cut-side up in the dish.
Dissolve the sugar in the water over a medium heat and add the lemon verbena leaves.  Pour the contents of the pan over the cut peaches.  Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the peaches.  If the fruits are particularly hard, you can cover the dish with foil to speed up cooking.  Baste the peaches a couple of times during cooking and, if they are not softening, turn them a couple of times in the syrup.  

Serve with the cooking juices spooned over and, maybe, a fresh leaf of verbena.  If you have raspberries, add a few to each plate.  Cream to serve is good.

English Strawberries

English Strawberries

English Strawberries

We have picked up our second harvest of outdoor-grown Strawberries from our preferred farmer in Kent today.  The variety is the same as the one we had last Saturday for you - ‘Jubilee’ – which grows particularly well in the growing conditions of Kent.  

This distinctly heart-shaped variety is naturally sweet and juicy with just the right level of acidity so we are very pleased to have them again.  Picking is only just getting going so, rest assured, we will select the best flavour varieties as the season progresses.  

Strawberries are naturally high in vitamin C and this variety is particularly good as it requires little, if any, sugar to bring out its best.  In fact a light grinding of pepper, instead, may be all you need.  Strawberries also pair well with rhubarb and outdoor-grown rhubarb is at its best now.   Just a few berries added when cooking brings a wonderful perfume to a dish of rhubarb. 

May News 2017

May News 2017

SEASONAL PRODUCE NEWS – MAY 2017

 

English Asparagus       Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands    MAY    April proved to be a stop/start month for home-grown crops but English Wild Garlic and Nettle Tops were particular favourites of our customers.  The Asparagus harvest began a full three weeks earlier than normal, only for the crop in many parts of the country to then be hit by late frosts.  With conditions now improving, we should see English Asparagus from our Kent grower throughout May.  We had Broad Beans and Peas from Italy.  The peas in particular have been much fuller and sweeter over the past couple of weeks.  Glorious plump Wet Violet Garlic arrived on cue from France in the second half of April and, at last, we received some sweeter tomato varieties from both Italy and France. 

English Asparagus     Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

MAY

April proved to be a stop/start month for home-grown crops but English Wild Garlic and Nettle Tops were particular favourites of our customers.  The Asparagus harvest began a full three weeks earlier than normal, only for the crop in many parts of the country to then be hit by late frosts.  With conditions now improving, we should see English Asparagus from our Kent grower throughout May.  We had Broad Beans and Peas from Italy.  The peas in particular have been much fuller and sweeter over the past couple of weeks.  Glorious plump Wet Violet Garlic arrived on cue from France in the second half of April and, at last, we received some sweeter tomato varieties from both Italy and France. 

Sorrel    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands    At the beginning of   MAY , as I write this, you will find at Puntarelle & Co:  Italian  Spinach  and  Chard  alongside particularly good  Sorrel .     New Potatoes  from Jersey, France and Cornwall.  New season  Purple Aubergines  from Italy, including the elongated purple and white striped variety, and fragrant  Fennel  bulbs.    Supplies of  Green and Purple Artichokes  from Italy are slowing, to be replaced by French crops this month.    Again, we have chosen  French Grelot Onions  this week.  Italian   Roman  Courgettes  and smooth-skinned Yellow and White varieties along with French round courgettes.   Broad Beans  and  Peas  from Italy are still arriving, the peas fuller and sweeter now.  These are joined by the first Italian  Fine Green Beans .  From Sicily we have firm, crunchy, spiky  Cucumbers    – perfect for pickling – and, in response to customer requests, the first of the  Melons  and small, sweet red-yellow  Watermelons .  English green  Asparagus  from our Kent grower, as well as white French and Italian varieties.  Outdoor-grown English  Rhubarb .  This fruit/vegetable is admittedly not as eye-catching as the early pink forced one, but is a far better proposition for a rhubarb crumble.    Early Spanish  Peaches  and  Nectarines  are in, as are Italian  Apricots  and French outdoor-grown  Strawberries , and Italian  Cherries  and  Nespoli .  Meaty, yellow ‘Pineapple’  Tomatoes  have arrived from France this week, and we also have other colourful Heritage varieties.  We have English harvests of  Spinach ,  Salad Leaves ,  Cucumbers  and  Radishes  as well as fresh  Herbs  -  Mint,   Coriander  and  Parsley .

Sorrel  Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

At the beginning of MAY, as I write this, you will find at Puntarelle & Co:

Italian Spinach and Chard alongside particularly good Sorrel.  

New Potatoes from Jersey, France and Cornwall.

New season Purple Aubergines from Italy, including the elongated purple and white striped variety, and fragrant Fennel bulbs.  

Supplies of Green and Purple Artichokes from Italy are slowing, to be replaced by French crops this month.  

Again, we have chosen French Grelot Onions this week.

Italian Roman Courgettes and smooth-skinned Yellow and White varieties along with French round courgettes.

Broad Beans and Peas from Italy are still arriving, the peas fuller and sweeter now.  These are joined by the first Italian Fine Green Beans.

From Sicily we have firm, crunchy, spiky Cucumbers – perfect for pickling – and, in response to customer requests, the first of the Melons and small, sweet red-yellow Watermelons.

English green Asparagus from our Kent grower, as well as white French and Italian varieties.

Outdoor-grown English Rhubarb.  This fruit/vegetable is admittedly not as eye-catching as the early pink forced one, but is a far better proposition for a rhubarb crumble.  

Early Spanish Peaches and Nectarines are in, as are Italian Apricots and French outdoor-grown Strawberries, and Italian Cherries and Nespoli.

Meaty, yellow ‘Pineapple’ Tomatoes have arrived from France this week, and we also have other colourful Heritage varieties.

We have English harvests of Spinach, Salad Leaves, Cucumbers and Radishes as well as fresh Herbs - Mint, Coriander and Parsley.

Radishes    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands   So, what new season produce can we  expect  to come through our doors in  MAY ?   Asparagus  and outdoor-grown  Rhubarb  from our Kent grower throughout May.  English  Spring Onions  continue.  Given a little warm weather we will be welcoming English  Broad Beans  and    Peas , later in the month to take over from French and Italian varieties.    Small, crunchy English  Cucumbers  will be with us through May, along with  Radishes  and  Spinach .  We are particularly looking forward to introducing English  Watercress  direct from the grower later in the month.  You can expect lots of fresh, vibrant  Herbs .  Hopefully, we will see some English  Wild Hops  too, if we have some warmer weather, though these will be fleeting.    Meaty, yellow ‘Pineapple’  Tomatoes  and colourful Heritage ones are now here from France and we expect more varieties with real flavour as the month progresses.  French  Apricots , hopefully some Bergeron, take over from the Italian and Spanish ones later in the month.  We have had some promising English harvests over the past two years so we may have some for you in June/July.   Peaches  and  Nectarines  from Italy will follow the Spanish this month, later joined by French ‘blood’ varieties.   Strawberries  from Italy, Spain and France are tasting good, and we may have English-grown fruit from our Kent grower in mid-May.     Cherries  from Italy, Spain and, later, France.    Towards the end of the month we could have English  Gooseberries  and  Raspberries .   Courgette  fruits and flowers and  Fennel  from both Italy and France.   Wet Garlic from  France and Italy will continue, as will Italian  Tropea Onions  and French  Grelot Onions .   The first new season  Borlotti Beans  and  Yellow Fine Beans  from Italy.    We expect French  Artichokes  to take over from Italian chokes.     New Potatoes  from Jersey, France and Cornwall.   Morel Mushrooms  will be available.  We will have foraged  Sea Spinach  this month.

Radishes  Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

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

Asparagus and outdoor-grown Rhubarb from our Kent grower throughout May.  English Spring Onions continue.

Given a little warm weather we will be welcoming English Broad Beans and Peas, later in the month to take over from French and Italian varieties.  

Small, crunchy English Cucumbers will be with us through May, along with Radishes and Spinach.  We are particularly looking forward to introducing English Watercress direct from the grower later in the month.  You can expect lots of fresh, vibrant Herbs.  Hopefully, we will see some English Wild Hops too, if we have some warmer weather, though these will be fleeting.  

Meaty, yellow ‘Pineapple’ Tomatoes and colourful Heritage ones are now here from France and we expect more varieties with real flavour as the month progresses.

French Apricots, hopefully some Bergeron, take over from the Italian and Spanish ones later in the month.  We have had some promising English harvests over the past two years so we may have some for you in June/July.

Peaches and Nectarines from Italy will follow the Spanish this month, later joined by French ‘blood’ varieties.

Strawberries from Italy, Spain and France are tasting good, and we may have English-grown fruit from our Kent grower in mid-May. 

 Cherries from Italy, Spain and, later, France.  

Towards the end of the month we could have English Gooseberries and Raspberries.

Courgette fruits and flowers and Fennel from both Italy and France.

Wet Garlic from France and Italy will continue, as will Italian Tropea Onions and French Grelot Onions

The first new season Borlotti Beans and Yellow Fine Beans from Italy. 

 We expect French Artichokes to take over from Italian chokes.  

New Potatoes from Jersey, France and Cornwall.

Morel Mushrooms will be available.

We will have foraged Sea Spinach this month.

Tarragon     Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands    NEW on our shelves:   Joining our  Fermented Vegetables    range this month are Tarragon Infused Mixed Vegetables; jars of Savoy Cabbage with lemon zest and dill; and Sicilian Kumquats which have fermented to a salty, freshness which we recommend for use in Stews and Tagines or sliced thinly into salads.   With the arrival of the first Italian Fine Beans and harvests of fine, young English Spinach and watercress joining the New Potato crops, we offer a warm salad recipe to take us into May.  This is one of those salads that can be adapted throughout spring and summer according to what produce is available.  You need green leaves, waxy potatoes, fresh beans (asparagus works too) and a little protein like Chorizo, bacon, pancetta, anchovy or boiled chopped egg.  Here is a suggestion using what is available on our shelves right now:

Tarragon   Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

NEW on our shelves:

Joining our Fermented Vegetables range this month are Tarragon Infused Mixed Vegetables; jars of Savoy Cabbage with lemon zest and dill; and Sicilian Kumquats which have fermented to a salty, freshness which we recommend for use in Stews and Tagines or sliced thinly into salads. 

With the arrival of the first Italian Fine Beans and harvests of fine, young English Spinach and watercress joining the New Potato crops, we offer a warm salad recipe to take us into May.  This is one of those salads that can be adapted throughout spring and summer according to what produce is available.  You need green leaves, waxy potatoes, fresh beans (asparagus works too) and a little protein like Chorizo, bacon, pancetta, anchovy or boiled chopped egg.  Here is a suggestion using what is available on our shelves right now:

A Late Spring Salad    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands    A Late Spring Salad    (Serves 4)   300g Fine Green Beans  800g waxy potatoes (e.g. Jersey Royals, La Ratte)  250g cooking chorizo  2 good handfuls of young spinach leaves or watercress (or a mixture), washed and dried.  Dressing:  2 tablespoons of Sherry Vinegar  Salt and pepper to taste  6-7 tablespoons Olive Oil  Wash the potatoes (skin on or off, as you prefer) and boil for 15-20 minutes until cooked. Cut off the top of beans, wash and boil in salted water until just cooked(2-3 minutes).    Drain the beans and plunge them into cold water to retain the colour before cutting them in half and drying them. Thickly slice the chorizo and fry in a hot pan until softened and slightly coloured. Mix your Dressing in a large serving bowl. Drain and slice the potatoes thickly before adding them to the dressing while still warm.  Add the cooked beans and the chorizo and stir.    Add the spinach (or other) leaves.  Mix gently and serve.

A Late Spring Salad  Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

A Late Spring Salad

(Serves 4)

300g Fine Green Beans

800g waxy potatoes (e.g. Jersey Royals, La Ratte)

250g cooking chorizo

2 good handfuls of young spinach leaves or watercress (or a mixture), washed and dried.

Dressing:

2 tablespoons of Sherry Vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

6-7 tablespoons Olive Oil

Wash the potatoes (skin on or off, as you prefer) and boil for 15-20 minutes until cooked.
Cut off the top of beans, wash and boil in salted water until just cooked(2-3 minutes).  

Drain the beans and plunge them into cold water to retain the colour before cutting them in half and drying them.
Thickly slice the chorizo and fry in a hot pan until softened and slightly coloured.
Mix your Dressing in a large serving bowl.
Drain and slice the potatoes thickly before adding them to the dressing while still warm.  Add the cooked beans and the chorizo and stir.  

Add the spinach (or other) leaves.  Mix gently and serve.