Great news this week is that our female swan and her new partner have gone onto the island to start nesting! She has always nested there with her long-time partner who died this winter but we didn’t know if she would this year. Last spring was traumatic if you remember with four of her five cygnets being killed by a fox on the banks of the lake. We have built a ramp onto the island over the winter to help the newborn cygnets back onto the safety of the island and hopefully they will survive this year!
Vegetables have made the news again this week with one of our suppliers, Richard Ash from Sandwich, calling on the Government to do more to make supermarkets buy local. He fears many more vegetable growers will be forced out of the market through cheap overseas supplies. We’re not holding our breath!
In your boxes………………………..
The continuing mild weather has kept the early salad veg coming with more of Tanya’s peppery spring onions and mizuna from Steve Parsley. Mizuna is also known as mustard leaves because of its tangy flavour. Its similar to rocket and comes originally from Japan. It can be used raw in salads but also cooked quickly in stir-fries or pasta dishes.
Recipe 1: Bakes potatoes with spring onions – serves 6
You can cook these alongside a slow-roast pork joint!
1½ kg small-ish Desirée potato
4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
6 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaf 2 tbsp salad cream
4 tbsp soured cream
Heat oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1. Bake the potatoes for 2 hrs until soft to the middle
Toss the potatoes with the olive oil, most of the spring onions, thyme and plenty of seasoning in a slightly-too-small roasting tin. Use the back of a fish slice or similar to squash the potatoes into a flat-ish compact cake. Chill until ready to finish, for up to a day.
Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 (when the pork comes out). Drizzle the spuds with a little more oil and roast for 30-40 mins until golden and crisp. Mix the salad cream and soured cream, drizzle over, then scatter with remaining spring onions and more seasoning, and serve
Recipe 2: Stir-fried pork and spring onions – for 1
You can substitute the bok choi with your mizuna!
150-175g/5-6oz pork tenderloin, depending on appetite
150ml chicken stock
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp dry sherry
1 tsp Chinese five-spice powder or 2 tsp 5-spice paste
2½ cm/1in piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely sliced
half a bunch (about 4) spring onions
, trimmed and left whole
about 50g flat rice noodles
1 small bok choi or a few Chinese cabbage leaves
a drizzle of sesame or vegetable oil
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
a handful of coriander leaves
Slice the pork into long thin strips. Put the stock, soy sauce, sherry, 5-spice powder (or paste), ginger, garlic and spring onions into a small saucepan with a lid and bring to a gentle simmer. After about 2 minutes, when the stock ingredients have got to know each other, stir in the pork, cover and let it simmer away, but not boil. It will take about 5 minutes for the pork to change colour and become firm, then you know it is cooked.
Put the noodles in a bowl with boiling water and soak for 4 minutes. Cut the bok choi or leaves, widthways, into 2.5cm/1in slices. Drain the noodles and toss with oil and sesame seeds.
When the pork is ready, stir in the bok choi, simmer for 1 minute. To serve, pile the noodles into a bowl, spoon pork and other bits on top, pour the broth around and scatter coriander leaves over. And don’t forget to keep paper napkins handy for those noodle slurps
Recipe 3 – Spring Onion Fritatta (Hugh F-W’s)
3 tbsp rapeseed oil
3 slices streaky bacon, cut into roughly 2cm pieces
250g potatoes, cooked, cooled and cut into small chunks
1 large bunch spring onions (about 250g); keep back a couple for the top of the frittata, and roughly chop the rest
6 eggs, lightly beaten
50g parmesan, or hard goat's cheese, grated
2-3 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Warm two tablespoons of the oil over a medium heat in a 25cm nonstick frying pan (with an oven-proof handle, ideally, though you can always transfer everything into a stoneware or cast-iron gratin dish later). Fry the bacon until just crisp, then tip it into a bowl, keeping as much fat in the pan as possible.
Sauté the potatoes in the bacony fat until they take on a bit of colour, stir in the chopped spring onions, fry for a minute or two, then tip into the bowl with the bacon. Stir the eggs into the mixture, then add two-thirds of the cheese and the parsley. Season generously, and leave to sit for a couple of minutes while you prepare the whole spring onions.
Pour the remaining tablespoon of oil into the frying pan and over a medium-low heat fry the six whole spring onions until softened and slightly caramelised. When done, transfer these to a plate.
Tip the eggy mixture into the same frying pan (or into a lightly greased gratin dish, if your frying pan isn't suitable for the oven), arrange the whole spring onions over the top and sprinkle over the rest of the cheese. Turn the heat under the pan to low and don't move the ingredients about - just let the eggs solidify slowly from the base up. After about five minutes, give the pan a little shake: you should be able to see that the bottom half of the frittata is set while there's a good layer of wet egg on top. Bake for about 10 minutes until puffed up and golden, and allow to cool for a few minutes before cutting