Autumn is like lady bountiful, great food every where. But for me, spring is the one, when we’re emerging from an impossibly long winter, blinking into nice light evenings, sitting outside the pub or cafe, maybe, and enjoying the coming of the summer. Oh, and the seeds for autumnal bounty are sprouting. For me, the joy of spring was reflected partly in the bounty from this week’s farmers market and partly from the greengrocer:
English asparagus. Early in the season, costing maybe £3.50 from the farmers market, later on, £1 from the supermarket for a bunch
Jersey Royal potatoes. Those creamy, earthy nuggets slathered in butter
Rhubarb. Preferably the slim, forced type, cook to a compote and then put in a crumble
Then, the usual farmer’s market bounty:
Cavolo Nero, kale, purple sprouting broccoli
3-seed brown bread like a brick
Eggs. Always better than anything you can get from a supermarket
Sausages and bacon, the same
The butter was disappointing!
So, 2-3 days locavore-ish eating, for not much more than we’d pay in the supermarket. Score!
Do you use a farmer’s market? What do you like to get? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
A friend said he was cooking this which immediately gave me a yearning.
First thing was that my paprika was supermarket and stale, so I ventured to the Spice Shop in Brighton, purveyor of all things herby, spicy and tasty.
Then it starts getting religious: is it a soup or a stew? Sour cream or not? Served with potatoes, rice, pasta, dumpling or some form of bread? Whose grandmother is the one true queen of goulash?
Ultimately, it seems to me at least, it boils down to distinguishing it from any other beef stew and that means NO WINE and NO tomatoes, however tempting that may be. The guardian recipe recommends faffing with green peppers, I didn’t and they were fine. Use lots of onions, they cook right down to the volume doesn’t matter. For a pound of meat, at least three, fried gently.
Hungarian joke: “what do you want for dinner tonight to go with your sour cream?”
Having stocked up on shiny new paprika it was disappointing to find that my caraway was dead. The end result was good enough but we both thought “needed mushrooms”.
Last night I did it again my way:
Put in a bunch of quartered button mushrooms
Used most of a bottle of red wine (Hungarian! Undrinkable!)
Use a tin of chopped tomatoes
Threw in a handful of pearl barley just because
Bought fresh caraway seeds
Scored beef shin from Morrisons which was fatty, marbled and so tender.
I threw in some garlic at the onion frying stage
I put a tablespoon of flour in with three of the paprika when coating before frying. Threw the unused in anyway
A rather unexpected kerfuffle blew up on my Facebook today after my wife put cream on the scone first and then followed it with jam. This, it seemed to me to be heresy. Jam gets much better traction on the dough and the cream sits on top. Images on flickr seem to be about 50/50 on the subject.
There was some talk of it being a Devon vs. Cornwall thing. Can these things really be that regional?
The English Breakfast is something we can justly claim to be great cuisine. This is but a ghost of the real thing. The “full English” would have sausages, fried bread, toast, tomatoes and black pudding.
Working in Shoreditch, surrounded by people in scary clothes and shops selling stuff I neither want nor can afford, there are a couple of standout places. This one is a traditional “Pastaficio” with all pasta handmade and a little café out back. Unless you’ve been to Italy and had the same, you’ve not tasted anything like this. The pasta itself is just insanely good and the fillings diverse from meaty through to veggie.
Within central London, this is one of the few “real” markets I know of. There are plenty of nice coffee shops around, notably 46b Espresso Hut and L’épicierie from where I get my olive oil from the barrel. I tend to go there to visit The Dark Knights of Cholestorol purveyors of fine cheeses, today’s booty being a firm, creamy Italian mountain cheese whose name immediately left my head. Good though! Today also produced some lovely chutney from Urban Preserves, some kedgeree for lunch and could have given us local breads or fine olive oil from Spain, farm meats and some lovely art from Fur, Feather and Tails.
Contrast this with Broadway Market which is just enough inside the hipster catchment to sport even more coffee, gastropubs, designery clothing and so on. Oh, and the wonderful London Fields Brewery close by. Nice in the summer, and a nice stroll on the canal from Haggerston but Chatsworth Road just seems more real.
Historically, I’ve avoided these things like the plague, imagining they’re dominated by big brands with a few little fish round the edge. Turns out I was wrong. Whoop!
I know for next time how to play it:
Avoid the booze at the start like the plague. Yes, gin at 11 in the morning is lovely, but a hangover at 12 can really put a crimp on the rest of your day.
Pace yourself. You don’t have to sample all of the things. I was feeling a bit wobbly after we’d done the floor and couldn’t really face anything by the time we got to the balcony. The girl throwing up outside had clearly overdone it.
Start savoury and build up to sweet. Don’t mix them!
Take your TIME. There’s all day.
Learn to blank out Jamie Oliver
Chillies are big. Save them for the last of the savoury.
There’s a whole wine thing upstairs which you’ll miss if you’ve overdone the craft gin!
Fancy tea and coffee is a big thing.
Craft gin distilleries are springing up all over the country. And vodka. There’s a distillery bar in the City.
There are lots of cookery courses.
Every man and his dog is doing chutneys, sauces and condiments. It’s getting very hard to differentiate now.
So here’s a list of the companies that stood out to me.
Farmison do deliveries based around Saturday Kitchen. Not completely sure how useful this is, but it’s a good tie-in.
Sea Island Coffee Weird and rare coffee from around the world. Want to try the Hawaiian!
There is so much more and something for every taste. Maybe there’s a case for going in with a mission, say, preserved meats, smoked foods, cheese or condiments and when you’ve exhausted that, go back and revisit things that stood out on the first lap. Certainly next time I’m going far better prepared!