Gorgeous recipe to combine your winter greens

Greenswithwalnutbutter

Local Sussex Winter greens pan fried with nuts and butter….Easy and bursting with nutritious minerals and vitamins to boost immune systems over winter.

Combining greens also gives a variety of texture and flavour to the dish and the nuttiness brings out the sweetness of the veg. Continue reading “Gorgeous recipe to combine your winter greens”

Gorgeous recipe to combine your winter greens

Brussels Sprouts – a Super Food and not just a side dish

What is there to say about Brussels Sprouts that can convince they are not just a Christmas food…but a superfood that is incredibly easy to cook with complimentary flavours…so much more than a side-dish.

Relegating this to just a windy veg is a massive shame, as these little cabbages are reputed to be one of the most nutritious cruciferous veg (ie cabbages, kales etc).  They also grow all year, but our Sussex farmers rarely keep the crop growing due to demand.

Continue reading “Brussels Sprouts – a Super Food and not just a side dish”

Brussels Sprouts – a Super Food and not just a side dish

Why Lettuce is a great winter veg

Spicy-pork-on-little-gems-008

The Sussex Little Gems that are grown over in Arundel have become more robust and dense as they have been left to develop and grow.  Lettuce during the winter becomes sweeter as they have longer to release their natural sugars – and they are surprisingly tolerant of cold weather.

GemLettuce

So our Little Gems are not so little now (Nick brought one home the other day – see this pic).  We still call them Gems although they are probably closer to a cross between a Romaine and a Butterhead…ie fairly soft and fleshy but with a crisper stem.

Around a thousand years ago, Lettuce was boiled up as a narcotic to help poor old farmers through their winter months, no doubt.  So whilst we are not claiming your lettuce is hallucinogenic…it is a comfortingly soothing veg and certainly not just a salad veg.

The first pic in this post, shows Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Spicy Pork served in a lettuce boat – a light alternative to pitta bread and still complimenting spicy flavours and easy on calories for the upcoming party season.

But, his idea of serving as a gratin with pasta is warming, filling and likely to go unnoticed by those who aren’t keen on hot salad veg.

Lettuce-gratin-008

Proof positive that lettuce doesn’t have to be unforgiving rabbit food. This is a lovely, greedy way to eat a big plateful of veg. Serves four.

3 hearts of lettuce, around 500g altogether
2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
20g butter
150g unsmoked streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
3 bunches spring onions
100g baby peas or frozen petits pois
3 tbsp double cream (optional)
100g coarse breadcrumbs

Heat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. Trim the bases off the lettuces, then cut them horizontally into 5cm-thick chunks. Put these in a large bowl with the oil and some salt and pepper, toss and transfer to a shallow oven dish around 28cm x 22cm. Roast for 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the lettuce is wilted, its stalks tender, and its leaves lightly coloured.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add the bacon and cook for a few minutes until starting to colour.

Trim and wash the spring onions, slice them on the diagonal into chunky, 2cm pieces, add to the bacon pan, cook gently for five minutes, until tender, and season.

If using fresh peas, cook them lightly in salted boiling water until tender – only a minute or two for little baby peas. If using frozen, put them in a colander and pour over a mug of boiling water. In either case, drain and add to the bacon pan.

When the lettuce comes out of the oven, heat the grill to medium. Spoon the bacon mix over the lettuce, leaving a good amount of fat in the pan, and pour on the cream, if using. Add the breadcrumbs to the frying pan, stir so they absorb the butter, then scatter over the lettuce. Grill for a few minutes, until golden and crisp on top, and serve at once.

Why Lettuce is a great winter veg

Why Merle’s Turkish Delight is essentially Sussex

td website

Really good Turkish Delight still can claim the right to be a slightly mysterious exotic treat – but only when it’s top notch.  Otherwise, you can just feel the sugar slowly melting your tooth enamel and the tinny taste of food colouring.

Merle (brilliant name!), who is part Turkish Cypriot, cooks up small batches of her finely honed selection of handmade Turkish and Mediterranean sweets.  She cooks from her kitchen in Lewes with recipes handed down from her family. Continue reading “Why Merle’s Turkish Delight is essentially Sussex”

Why Merle’s Turkish Delight is essentially Sussex

Small Flock Hand Reared Turkey – How to Choose the Right Size

Holmansbridgeturkey

You can see from this picture we took early this morning, that the flock of hand-reared turkeys at Holmansbridge that we buy for our customers, is a small and very select flock.

We are putting these on our website now for pre-order – as many of our super-organised customers like to tick these things off the list sooner rather than later.

Holmansbridge Bronze and white turkeys are hand reared on the farm and have grown naturally, foraging in the field and tucked in a warm shed at night.  Left to their own devices in the daytime, they are free to roam around and behave as these birds should do in a natural environment.

The proof of the [christmas] pudding is clearly in the quality of the meat.  It’s at a premium, obviously, but what you are buying from us is the best possible for the table.  All the turkeys spend their life on the farm and are traditionally prepared ready for Christmas by hand, as the Holmansbridge farmers have been doing for three generations.  The birds are hand-plucked and dry hung which gives a stronger, richer flavour – almost a bit gamier but vastly different from some bland supermarket birds.

So, as we said, you can pre-order and then relax as your turkey will be delivered on Christmas Eve.  Sizes will vary, but the longer you leave it, then you might not get the choice of size you need.

If you are looking for smaller sizes then we can sell turkey crowns, which are more expensive than buying the whole bird, but obviously a bit more manageable for smaller parties.

Another alternative, if you don’t want to be left with a carcass after you’ve polished off the meat is to have your joint boned and rolled.  This is a perfect solution to cooks with a small kitchen or limited storage…or who have less time to cook a whole roast.

Buying the right size turkey is also important.  Generally you’ll want plenty for the next day and the chart below will give you fairly generous portions.  We have usually found there is enough for everyone on Christmas Day, Boxing Day plus some sandwiches and regular titbit treats for the dog.

Rough weight guide for a whole turkey

(which will leave plenty for the next day)

5kg (11lb) up to 6 people
6kg (13lb) up to 8 people
7kg (15.5lbs) up to 10 people
8kg (17.5lbs) up to 12 people
9kg (20lbs) up to 14 people
10kg (22lbs) up to 16 people

Tips for Cooking Turkey

The trusty Which? magazine has a fantastic and really helpful article which pretty much covers everything you need to know about turkey…

  • Choosing the right bird
  • Preparing the turkey including stuffing, giblets and seasoning
  • Cooking times and resting
  • Carving
  • Storing your leftovers

Click here to read the article

 But if carving the turkey is the most stressful part of the process, then here is a helpful video from Jamie Oliver to smooth the process and leave you feeling in total control of the table.

carveturkey

Small Flock Hand Reared Turkey – How to Choose the Right Size

Toffee Apples – Luscious caramel with an unexected twist

Toffeeapples

Luscious caramel coated apples with the twist of popping candy perfect for Hallowe’en or Bonfire Night  Fortunately, there are Sussex apples in abundance to choose from that have the right content of tart fruitiness to balance the sweet toffee. Continue reading “Toffee Apples – Luscious caramel with an unexected twist”

Toffee Apples – Luscious caramel with an unexected twist