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

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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.

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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

Quince – Not just jelly

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Not just for jelly although a quince jelly, cheese or fruit leather is a match made in heaven with cheese.

Our quinces are from Ringden Farm – on the Kent/Sussex border, a family run farm where they also grow fine orchards of apples and pears.

Quince isn’t something that’s regularly cooked these days and lots of people ask us how to use it.  This article from Kitchn is a great cover-all for cooking and some unusual sweet and savoury ways to use aromatic fruit.  The recipe for us to try this week is the Quince Tarte Tatin, which does look especially delicious.

Continue reading “Quince – Not just jelly”

Quince – Not just jelly

Medlars – What are they and what do you do with them?

Medlar

Turn back the clock to the beginning of the 20th century and any Sussex resident would know and cook with medlars and be a mine of information about bletting and the suchlike.

But, the fact that this fruit looks so disgusting and we are not accustomed to eating anything, bluntly, half rotten, then this has fallen out of favour.  But it’s really unfair, as it’s an exciting and delicious fruit that deserves it’s place at the table.

It’s not easy to come by now, as farmers weren’t able to sell crops, so sadly chopped down trees to make way for other more lucrative ways of selling fruit.  So this has become something of a delicacy and a bit more unusual – and therefore more expensive.

But the taste is a real sensation and most people, when you read articles, are amazed at the depth and sweetness of this peculiar fruit.

Bletting

You can’t get away from this term – you have to ‘blet’ your medlars.  This basically means letting them go brown and wrinkly.  When they look like they should be composted they are ready to eat.  More about bletting here.

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Or you could speed things up and try them roasted in this absolutely gorgeous recipe for Roasted Medlar and Walnut Bakewell Tart

A wintry twist on the classic Bakewell with rich walnuts and unusual medlars.

Ingredients

For the walnut Bakewell tart
For the roasted medlars
  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
  2. For the tart, line a deep 23cm/9in tart tin with the sweet shortcrust pastry. Place a sheet of baking paper or foil over the pastry and weigh down with baking beans or rice.
  3. Place the tart tin onto a baking sheet, transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the paper or foil and baking beans from the tart tin, then return to the oven for a further ten minutes until the pastry is lightly golden-brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  5. Place the butter and sugar into a bowl and beat together until light and fluffy.
  6. Crack in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
  7. Add the ground walnuts and breadcrumbs and fold together until well combined.
  8. Spread two thirds of the damson jam over the base of the pastry case. Cover with the walnut filling mixture and smooth the top using a wet palette knife. Place the walnut halves around the edge of the filling.
  9. Transfer to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until risen and golden-brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  10. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Fold in the remaining damson jam.Watch technique 0:48 mins
  11. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
  12. For the roasted medlars, heat the butter in an ovenproof frying pan and fry the medlars for 1-2 minutes.
  13. Add the sugar and cinnamon stick, then transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 10-15 minutes, or until the medlars are soft and the skins have split.
  14. To serve, cut the tart into slices and place onto serving plates with a spoonful of damson cream and some roasted medlars.

BBC Food

Medlars – What are they and what do you do with them?

Sussex Pears – Conference, Comice and Concorde

This week Ringden are harvesting pears over in Sussex and we have our three favourite varieties – Conference, Comice and Concorde ready on our lists.  All are fabulous but the combination of pear and maple in this recipe is an inspired pairing

Continue reading “Sussex Pears – Conference, Comice and Concorde”

Sussex Pears – Conference, Comice and Concorde