I was happy to see my local farm shop has had a makeover: a beautiful cart loaded with veg proudly stands where there had been rickety shelves with ancient pickles; but the main thing is the produce. Tasty tomatoes, purple cauliflower, firm carrots and awesome lettuce is now in place of a bit tired produce of before. Massively well done – needless to say that’s where my fruit and veg shopping will be coming from now. Considering also the fact they sell absolutely the best eggs in the universe and the thickest, unpasteurised (probably) milk and cream, it’s au revoir, Ocado! except for washing powder and salt. Have a look in your locality – there might be similar things going in your unprepossessing farm shops. And if you can walk there and carry your shopping back home - well, that earns you thunberg points as well as ups your exercise measure.
And once we have stocked up on the local, seasonal and sustainable produce, how to best put it into use? Take a head of cabbage for instance and some good quality mince (from the butcher if you have once in your neighbourhood) and make Swedish cabbage meatloaf – kalpudding. This is one of those simplest dishes that taste absolutely divine. Some smashed roasted potatoes might go well with it, or just plain mash.
If you prefer a casserole without the meat element, here’s potato and fennel gratin. It might turn into an exquisite meal if you make some shaved sprout salad to go with it. Those sprouts – I never knew they could taste good, let alone be as delicious as that! Just shows – if a veg tastes nasty to you, try it raw. It worked with me and fennel.
Meal around the side veg is the idea I proposed last week and here’s another pebble on the beach: make courgette ribbon salad and you can have just a couple of grilled sausages to go with it, or a few slices of ham. And if you’re veggie, make a spelt salad with those courgette ribbons.
Smoked fish is not only good for pâtés you know: how about a smoked fish rice salad bowl? I make it with Arbroath smokies, hot smoked small Scottish haddocks, but mackerel will do nicely too. While you’re at the fish counter, grab some fresh crab to make crab chilli butter – gorgeous on toast!
For serious bakers, sourdough buns with jam, how about that? And if you make your own clotted cream to go with them, you’ll need to double up the dough – they’ll go so quickly. Clotted cream is too good to be put only on scones, you see. And for less hardcore bakers: perhaps a coconut loaf? or a banana chocolate chip cake? I fancy making the Italian ricotta cookies.
More on the website, more to come, and if you missed my ketogenic challenge diary, it’s still there with the summary and conclusions if you’re interested (SPOILER: the diary is finished). Happy cooking!