Daikon – An antidote to winter veg

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January and February are our hunger gap months when nothing new seems to be growing here in Sussex and all we can do is wait for the soil to warm up.

Daikon is a rare veg that transcends winter and summer seasons and tastes as warming and fresh cooked as well as raw. Continue reading “Daikon – An antidote to winter veg”

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Daikon – An antidote to winter veg

Estima Baker – A Perfect Jacket Potato

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Pic and recipe borrowed from SmittenKitchen.com

Jacket potatoes may not be an exotic menu choice but properly cooked are sublime.  If not, then, at best, you’ve just pollyfilla’d your hunger gap.  There are two schools of thought (that we disagree with) about baked potatoes and one of them is that you can only eat them at home and the other is that the best bakers are Maris Piper or King Edwards.

Whilst these are both go-to potatoes, the conditions and soil in Sussex give us a third bonus baker in the sweet and buttery Estima.

A real baked potato has a nutty crunch to the skin and a soft, fluffy flesh.  Floury potatoes do bake well, but a hint of waxiness gives a smoothness to the creamy mash.

Whether your eating them as a restaurant meal or at home – it is still an unforgiveable sin to microwave them or serve them with soggy flesh.

Estima Bakers

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Our Fin and Farm Estima potatoes are grown over at Morghew Farm, on the Kent/Sussex border. Morghew are dedicated growers who only support potato crops that have real flavour.

The Estima is a regular favourite among many chefs in the South East and London because of the rich flavour and texture and their versatility.

Estima have a light golden skin, creamy flesh.  When they are baked they develop a real sweetness, but when chipped or wedged keep a slight warm earthiness to their flavour.

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Cooking a perfect baked potato – The Rules

  1. The oven must be hot – gas mark 7 / Electric 210 degrees
  2. Don’t oil the skin – it’ll soften rather than crisp
  3. When you have scrubbed them and they are just damp, massage in a little sea salt.
  4. Don’t overcook – check after an hour and squeeze them – they should be crunchy but will give to pressure
  5. Never microwave – a terrible crime to potatoes

Twice Baked Potatoes

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Jane Baxter, Guardian chef, apparently always scoops out the flesh and mixes with the filling.

Some toppings, like butter or cheese are best served cold on the top of a steaming potato so they can gently melt.

But fillings such as fish or veg are delicious softly folded into the mash and rebaked until slightly crispy on top.

Our favourite combinations are basically a greens and cheese combination…the right balance of decadence and healthy eating…

Leeks and Woodside Blue Cheese Topping

Post-Christmas, we couldn’t leave the Plumpton Woodside Blue cheese alone.  The interior is softly blue veined – nothing overpowering but with a smooth piquant flavour.

The cheese is mould ripened and has a faint blueness but has a real fruity tangy flavour.

Ingredients

For 4 potatoes

  • 4 small leeks, chopped and washed
  • 30g fresh sage, shredded
  • Knob butter for cooking
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • 100g Woodside Blue cheese
  • Dash crème fraiche or double cream
  • Seasoning

Gently saute the leeks with the sage in the oil and butter until soft.

Scoop out the potato flesh and mash in a large bowl.

Chop the cheese – including the rind, if you prefer.  Add to the potato mash along with a dash of cream and season well.

Spoon back into the skins and bake for a further 5 – 10 minutes.

Estima Baker – A Perfect Jacket Potato

Sussex Hemp Seeds – Nutritional Dynamite

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Bizarrely, it’s illegal to grow hemp seeds still in the US – even as a nutritional seeds for cooking.  However, in the UK, we can’t get enough of this superfood, it seems.  We now have our own Sussex grower – Hemp and Hops.

Nathaniel, our hemp grower, is bringing unshelled seed – but soon we will have hemp oil and toasted hemp for salads and sprinkles.  The hemp is organically grown – but isn’t certified as organic.

The health benefits of hemp

Raw hemp is reputedly a potent food to support a healthy system with a broad spectrum of benefits.  Hemp has a natural blend of easily digestible proteins as well as essential fats Omega 3 and 6 – which make it a kind of ‘vegan fish’ equivalent.  Continue reading “Sussex Hemp Seeds – Nutritional Dynamite”

Sussex Hemp Seeds – Nutritional Dynamite

A quick and healthy lunch wrap

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We are still appalled at the idea of Veganuary and Dry January – why inflict such punishment on your poor old wintery body during the darkest and coldest months of the year?

So, for the sake of sanity we are definitely not denying ourselves a chilled glass of wine or a slab of fresh bread and butter – especially when it’s balanced by brisk walks and cycles (although usually with the glass of wine at the end…).  But, there is still room for improvement so we have revived our resolution this month – to cook everything from scratch and try new and preferably colourful recipes using some of our herbs and spices which have been lurking in the depths.

Continue reading “A quick and healthy lunch wrap”

A quick and healthy lunch wrap