I can’t let this newsletter go by without mentioning the weather again! We have now had a week of continuous freezing nights with daytime temperatures barely better. Our two lakes are frozen hard enough for skating and the dykes and rivers are also closed. We are feeding the swans and ducks on a daily basis and have been watching their small non-frozen patches of water getting smaller each day.
With these temperatures forecast at least until the weekend we should also look out for any elderly neighbours who may need help getting out and about. I used to work for Help the Aged and remember their ‘heating or eating’ campaign very well. It’s a shaming fact that many older people have to make this choice in this weather but they do.
In your boxes……………….
Continuing with the cold weather theme you will probably have read about the soaring veg prices in the shops. Due in part to the freezing conditions in Europe, with Spain experiencing severe frosts. On the local front our farmers just can’t get the vegetables out of the ground in frosts like this and are waiting for the thaw. In addition, all growth is suspended and, for instance, the purple sprouting broccoli has halted. Finally, many above ground veg are prone to frost burn.
Despite these challenges we think we have put together a good box for you again this week. We’ve brought back red cabbage as its pretty versatile and found some more cauliflowers which are equally versatile. Some baby button mushrooms and piccolo tomatoes lighten the boxes and we’ve even found some parsnips for you.
Recipe 1: Detox Salad
350g red cabbage, shredded 3 carrots, coarsely grated
20g pack parsley, roughly chopped 2 eating apples, quartered, cored and sliced
handful of radishes or 2 celery sticks, sliced
3 tbsp toasted pine nuts 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp each sunflower seeds and linseeds
For the dressing
2 tsp grated root ginger 1 tsp clear honey
2 tbsp lemon juice 4 tbsp light olive oil
Prepare all the ingredients for the salad and mix them in a large bowl.
Put all the dressing ingredients into a small bowl. Season and whisk until slightly thickened. Pour over the salad and toss until evenly coated.
Recipe 2: Pickled Red Cabbage
This recipe is not as sharp as the jars found in the shops.
500g red cabbage, finely shredded
140g coarse sea salt
500ml cider vinegar
200ml red wine
400g granulated sugar
2 tsp black peppercorn
6 bay leaf
2 tbsp yellow mustard seed
Place the shredded cabbage in a colander over the sink and sprinkle with salt. Leave for 2-3 hours, then drain and wash away the salt. Pay dry with a clean tea towel.
Put the vinegar, wine, sugar, peppercorns and bay leaves into a big, wide saucepan and simmer until the liquid has reduced by about half. Set aside for 10 mins to infuse.
Strain through a fine sieve into a jug or bowl, and discard the peppercorns and bay leaves. Put the cabbage and mustard seeds into a big bowl, and then pour the strained liquid over. Transfer the cabbage and pickling liquid into sterilised jars and seal. Will last for a month in the fridge
Recipe 3: Carrot and Parsnip soup – serves 4
4tbsp butter, softened
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
450g (15oz) carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 level tbsp freshly grated root ginger
1 level tsp finely grated orange rind
600ml (1 pint) vegetable stock
125ml (4fl oz) single cream
Salt and ground black pepper
Sprigs of fresh coriander, to garnish
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 3 mins, until slightly softened. Add the carrots and parsnips. Cover the pan until the vegetables have softened a little. Stir in the ginger, orange rind and stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer for 30-35 mins, until the vegetables are tender. Remove from the heat and cool for 10 mins.
Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and whizz until smooth. Return the soup to the rinsed-out saucepan, stir in the cream, and season well with salt and pepper. Warm through gently over a low heat.
Remove from the heat and ladle into soup bowls. Sprinkle pepper over and garnish your parsnip soup with a sprig of coriander