Overseas Veg in Main Boxes
We’re having a pretty mild hungry gap this year! Onions and beetroot have lasted longer than usual, and we’re expecting the start of the high season from local farms in a few weeks. But it’s still the hungry gap, and in order to keep the boxes as full as possible, and to offer the best value for money we can, we are including a few items from overseas in the main boxes this week. Mainly this is courgettes, as UK courgettes won’t be around for a while yet. We’ll be back to UK-only boxes soon.
In the Veg Boxes This Week
Subject to last minute changes
Check out storage guidance for helpful tips and tricks on how to prolong the life of your fresh produce. If you’re wondering where your veg comes from, have a look at these maps. You can also join your fellow subscribers over in the Facebook group for lots of tips, tricks, and recipe ideas!
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The Nice Bit
The Free Company, based just outside Edinburgh, are super cool, and it’s always exciting when we start getting bits and bobs of their growing for the boxes. Alongside the salad leaves, green garlic, and whatnot in the boxes now and then, we also have their home-grown herbs to offer as extras.
Herbs are sort of hard to define, even limiting ourselves to the culinary world: they’re any plant we cook with more for flavour than as a central ingredient; and then generally we’re talking leafy above-ground plants, with roots like ginger being, uh, something else- aromatics, maybe? What’s really extra great is that the herbs we have on offer are interesting ones, not the basil-parsley-rosemary ones I find myself reaching for over and over. Instead, we have thyme, tarragon, sorrel and anise hyssop.
Thyme is the most familiar to me. I like to use it in caribbean cooking, like rice and peas. You can pop a sprig in any stew, or add it in when roasting veg. Try these pancakes with thyme, honey, and feta or Nigella Lawson’s Old Rag Pie for a salty-sweet treat.
Tarragon pairs perfectly with asparagus– which I hope we’ll have soon. Mussels rockefeller might be the best thing you could possibly make for dinner. Or sautée radishes with white wine and tarragon for a perfect side-dish. Nigel Slater suggests beans and sea bass or a cheese soufflé.
Sorrel is bright and sharp, a perfect spring herb. If you, like me, are less than familiar with sorrel, you might find this guide helpful– it also includes recipes for a sorrel cream with poached eggs, a lentil and sorrel soup, and a sorrel tart for pudding. There’s also a roundup of recipes here. Salmon also pairs beautifully with sorrel- try this recipe for salmon with a cream and sorrel sauce. As we move into the summer, a recipe like this peach and sorrel salad might be the saviour of a night when it’s too hot to cook: serve alongside some parma ham, a loaf of crusty bread and lots of peppery olive oil.
Anise hyssop has a light licorice flavour that makes it perfect for deserts. I’ll definitely be making this anise hyssop gelato to serve with poached peaches, but you can also add it to shortbread, infuse it into honey, add it to jam (blackberry and anise hyssop jam anyone?), make tea… I found this recipe for whoopee pies, which aside from having a delightful name and an interesting history, sound like a great treat.