#EatSussex Tomatoes: Our Favourite Way!

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So, you’ve probably heard already.

But – in case you haven’t – it’s the final week of the year to order mouth-watering Sussex tomatoes. The. Final. Week.

It may be heart-breaking to say goodbye to summer for good (it’s really real when there’re no more tomatoes to enjoy…) but we’ve got a whole load of incredible autumnal produce to dig into…

In the meantime, though, let’s go a little tomato crazy.

After all – it’s a whole year before they’re this good again. Everyone we asked said tomatoes were their favourite produce this summer – and with good reason!

So, we’re sharing out favourite tomato recipe from the #EatSussex summer. Share your favourites and spread the beauty of local tomato enjoyment… (@finandfarm)

#EatSussex Bruschetta

This recipe was recommended to me by an Italian friend. Simple, easy, delicious – it’s truly the way to enjoy good quality.

You’ll need:
A generous handful of mouth-watering Sussex tomatoes (any variety you like)
1 clove of garlic
Fresh oregano or basil
Seasoning
Mesto olive oil
Freshly baked bread
Curly Sussex parsley to season

Method:
Finely dice the tomatoes and place in a bowl. Crush the garlic, tear up your chosen herbs and add to the bowl. Season well and generously drizzle with Mesto olive oil.

Let the tomatoes sit and combine with the flavours for 20 minutes or so. Once combined, grill or toast your homemade bread. Top with the tomato mixture and enjoy! Garnish with parsley and little extra olive oil if desired…

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How do you love to enjoy fine quality, delicious Sussex tomatoes? Let us know in the comments, on facebook, twitter or IG.

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#EatSussex Tomatoes: Our Favourite Way!

3 Delicious and Wholesome Ways to Enjoy Autumn Apples (other than straight from the tree)

Want a sweet but wholesome treat? We’ve got just the thing for you!

It’s the time of year to enjoy apples. Truly – they won’t taste as good as they do now. Local, fresh, heritage and bursting with flavour, our Sussex apples are the best of the bunch.

We’ve got a plethora of varieties to choose from this season – so take your pick! Charles Ross, Lord Lambourne, Laxton Fortune... have you even heard of these before? Granny Smith can take a backseat and let Limelight steal the… well, limelight.

So don’t miss out! Here’s three scrumptious and wholesome ways to enjoy apples this October:

1. Apple-Almond Breakfast Bread

Get a healthy and thoroughly delicious Sussex start to the day with this apple-almond breakfast bread…

You’ll need:
5 Sussex apples
3 free-range Sussex eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp of organic, unwaxed lemon zest
70g ground almonds
2 cups of wholemeal flour
1/4 cup Mesto olive oil
1/4 cup of Sussex raw runny honey
2 tsp baking powder
1 apple, sliced, a drizzle of honey and slivered almonds to garnish.

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180c.  Finely cop the apples and place in a food processor with eggs, spices, lemon zest, oil, sweetener, flour, almonds and baking powder. Blitz until very well combined.

Pour the mixture into a lined baking tin and even out. Place the sliced apples, slivered almonds and a drizzle of extra sweetener on top. Bake for approx. 50 minutes or until golden and a skewer comes out clean.

Enjoy for breakfast with fresh fruit, yogurt and nut butter for a wholesome start to the day!

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Recipe adapted from My Lovely Little Lunch Box

2. Cinnamon Comfort Apples

This seasonal skillet apple recipe is a fabulous way to easily enjoy the tart sweetness of cooking apples, while also offering you a wholesome dessert.

 You’ll need:
1 tsp butter
2 Sussex organic bramley apples, sliced or diced.
1 tbsp raw Sussex borage honey
2 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch of organic, unwaxed lemon zest
80g of slivered roasted almonds or roasted crushed hazelnuts
Water or autumnal elderberry liqueur.
Creamy yogurt and honey to serve.

Method:
In a skillet, heat the butter, and add in the honey, zest and cinnamon. Throw in the apples (and a little water/ a splash of autumnal liqueur to help cook) and simmer until soft, stirring regularly.

When soft and fragrant, place onto beautiful serving plates. Top with a serving of toasted nuts, and generous dollop of yogurt, and a swirl of raw honey if desired!

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3. The Ultimate Apple Pick-Me-Up

Whether on the go, or need an energy boost, this recipe is the ultimate and easiest way to get in that Sussex apple goodness (other than just eating an apple, that is…). Yep, a Sussex apple smoothie!

You’ll need:
1 cup of Sussex hemp milk
1-2 Sussex green Limelight apples
2-3 tbsp of creamy Sussex yogurt
2 tbsp oats
1 tsp raw Sussex honey
A pinch of cinnamon
A few ice cubes
(Sussex matcha – optional)

Method:
In a blender, combine the ingredients and pulse until smooth and creamy. Throw in 1/2 tsp of matcha for a superfood boost. Enjoy immediately for the most enjoyment!

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How do you like to eat and cook your autumn apples? Let us know in the comments! Tag us in all of your Sussex apple social media posts… (@finandfarm)


Image 1: Basket of Apples by Mathias Erhart/ Flickr (CC) Image 2:  Fresh Apple Cake Slice 2 by Jessica and Lon Binder/ Flickr (CC)/ Image 3: making apple filling by yoppy/ Flickr (CC)/ Image 4: pre-Strength stills by Yum Evoke/ Flickr (CC)

3 Delicious and Wholesome Ways to Enjoy Autumn Apples (other than straight from the tree)

More than Maris Peer: a brief heritage potato guide

pots

Love potatoes? These South America native tubers have been growing and enjoyed in Britain since 1586. They’ve lifted Western Europe out of famine, allowing the populations to prosper well into the 20th century. This delicious tuber is positively a part of our heritage!

There are over 5,000 potato varieties worldwide, and 3,000 of which are only found in Peru. In the UK and across Europe, hundreds of years of enjoyment have led to an  incredible, array of beautiful and mouth-watering varieties. British supermarkets, however, may lead you to believe otherwise…

Ever been in a supermarket and only found Maris Peer? That’s definitely enough to kill your enthusiasm for a potato dinner…

So, what happened to heritage?

In the first half of the twentieth century, heritage potatoes were grown, loved and cooked in households across the UK. But after the second world war, a devastated country was pressured to bypass the growing of potatoes for delicious nuances. The goal was, instead, to feed a hungry country. Crops were prized for their yield rather than colour and flavour. As commercialism took over and supermarkets began their reign, profit over produce became the commercial mantra.

Why are heritage varieties so good?

With modern breeding practices aiming to make the potato as profitable and uniform as possible, the charm and palatability found in many heritage varieties is by-passed. Heritage potatoes, therefore, are often found with colours, shapes, sizes and textures  missing from their commercial cousins. Hmm, no wonder heritage potatoes are so prized! But, with their shorter growing seasons, enjoy heritage potatoes while they’re here…

 

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A 1960s potato advert – when there was still more variety commercially!

Waxy ←→ Floury

From waxy to floury, potatoes come in a spectrum of textures. These texture make certain varieties suited to particular dishes and styles of cooking, so it’s always good to know the texture of the variety your buying. Floury potatoes have a high starch content and low water content, with a dry texture that falls apart easily and soaks up flavour. Waxy potatoes are so for their low starch and high water content that can be intense in flavour but not soak up any additional flavours so well. All-purpose fall somewhere in-between.

But, waxy or floury, our heritage potatoes are always delicious. (Move over Maris Peer…)

A QUICK FIN & FARM POTATO A-V. 

Arran Victory 1918arranvic

Bred on Scotland’s seventh largest (and very beautiful) island, the Arran Victory 1918 was created to mark the end of World War One. Round in shape, and with deep blue-pink skin and white fluffy flesh, this potato makes the perfect mash, pie topping or a delicious bake.

Highland Burgundy Red 1936

This red skinned, red fleshed potato was bred to add a shock of colour to the meals of the Duke of Burgundy. Long oval in shape, sweet in flavour and floury in texture, Highland Burgundy Reds are excellent for striking roast potatoes, chips, crisps and baked potatoes. Keep the skin on to better retain colour!

Inca Belle 

INCABELLAFrom a variety of potato still popular today in the Andes, the Inca Belle is a beautifully golden, oval potato. It’s nutty flavour, smooth flesh and unique cooking properties (it’ll cook much quicker than the varieties you’re probably used to!) make it a cook’s favourite. Best for roasting – hands down as we did the heritage roast test ourselves!

Mayan Gold

The first potatoes in the UK bred from the indigenous Phureja potatoes of Peru, this beautiful variety is a real treat to experience. With golden flesh and skin, a wonderfully moreish flavour, and fluffy texture, this potato is perfect for roasting, mashing and baking. 

Mayan Twilight

With pink and white skin, firm waxy texture and moreish flavour, this quick to cook potato is a treat in the kitchen. Best for salads and stews with it’s slightly sweet, nutty flavour and smooth texture.

Pink Gypsy

With pink and white skins and fluffy white flesh, these beauties are ideal for roasting, baking and mashing. 

Red Duke of York

Originally found in a Dutch crop of classic Duke of Yorks, this potato quickly became popular. With fluffy, creamy flesh, sweet taste and gorgeously red-hued skin, this heritage potato is a fabulous all-rounder. However, these beauties are perfect for roasting as they get deliciously crispy skins.  

Shetland Black

With light buttery, sweet flesh and floury texture, this indigo skinned potato is a ktichen delight. While the origin of this particular variety is a mystery, it’s been grown in the Shetland Islands since at least the early 1900s. Bake the shetland black whole, in it’s skin, for warming, crisp potato deliciousness.

Violetta

violetta

These small, flavourful potatoes have a deep indigo skin and and intensely purple flesh. They are, visually, perhaps the most striking potato we’ve seen here at Fin and Farm. With a floury texture, it’s best to leave the skin on these potatoes to help retain colour when cooking (plus, it’s tasty and more nutritious!). Best for roasting, baking and mashing for an eye catching twist on some classics!

**not an extensive list of our potatoes! Explore varieties here.**

A Potato Experiment

While these potatoes have their ‘best for’ uses as determined by how floury or waxy they are – don’t be afraid to experiment! Small, waxy potatoes can be delicious roasted whole for intense, crisp flavour bites, thrown into stews, or crushed with oil, herbs and garlic. These wonderful potatoes deserve to be enjoyed any way you like – so let us know what you think each variety is best for and what you’ve been cooking with them!

Bonus! Did you know…?

The potato certainly caused a stir when first introduced to this part of the world, and was treated, at first, with a mix of love and fear. Over in North America, during the gold rush when nutritious food was scarce and gold abundant, there was a time when potatoes were worth more than gold!


Image 1: New Spuds  for Dinner by cskk/ Flickr (CC). Image 2: 1967 Food Ad, Campbell’s Potatoes by Classic Film/Flickr (CC).

More than Maris Peer: a brief heritage potato guide

Purple Potatoes: What’s the Deal?

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Potatoes comes in many, many varieties – much more than a glance of a British supermarket would have you believe. But none could be more distinct than the Vitelotte. With it’s deep purple-black skin and bright blue-violet flesh, this potato has a stunning vivid colour, and distinctive, chestnutty taste.

What makes them purple?

Purple potatoes are packed full of anti-oxidants – and, primarily, the anti-oxidant ‘anthocyanin’, the flavinoid that gives red, purple and blue fruits and vegetables their distinctive colour. Revered for both it’s use as a dye and for it’s health promoting benefits, purple-hued plants have been cultivated for thousands of years for this wonderful antioxidant.

Did you know that purple produce was one of the predicted trends for 2017? With the health and wellness movement taking the world by storm – we’re not surprised! (Plus, purple foods are delicious…)

Why is this so good?

Antioxidants are essential to counter the effects of oxidants (i.e. ‘free-radicals’) in the body. In an antioxidant scarce diet, oxidants are free to cause cell damage, increase inflammation and contributing to disease progression. Purple potatoes, fortunately, have much more than antioxidants than their paler potato cousins – hence the vivid hue.

Anthocyanins are, in fact, antioxidant superheroes and are a potent force of health in the body, as demonstrated by a plethora of in-vitro and participant studies. For example, one study found that adding purple potatoes to the diets of overweight, middle aged subjects reduced their blood pressure by five points within a month. Just by adding potatoes! (And who doesn’t love the idea of eating more potatoes for health?) And, the purple cherry on top: despite the calorie increase, none of the subjects gained any weight. Purple potatoes truly are superior…

What to do with them?

Purple potatoes definitely taste different to your usual supermarket yellow and white varieties – and that’s a good thing! With their nutty taste and magnificent colour (even when cooked), you can use these delicious potatoes in any potato recipe you desire for a twist. Whip up a salad and add vitelottes for a striking visual element; slice, drizzle with olive oil and herbs and roast for some truly spectacular and flavoursome french fries, or how about this recipe for a striking autumn gratin?

Recipe:

You’ll need:
5 medium vitelotte potatoes, sliced
1 festival squash, peeled and cubed.
1 leek , sliced
A generous bunch of spinach
A handful of sage
A handful of thyme
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 good tsp black pepper
1 cup of Sussex cream
5 oz Sister Sarah cheese

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180c. In a baking dish, layer the leeks, spinach, squash and potatoes, finishing with a layer of purple potatoes for the top layer. Sprinkle each layer with garlic, herbs and pepper. When layered, pour over the cream and top with the Sister Sarah cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for about an hour and half – or until the potatoes and squash are cooked.

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Want to try some interesting, unusual and downright delicious potato varieties, grown in Sussex? Take a look at our range now! 

Have you tried vitelotte potatoes? What do you think? What’s your favourite heritage potato? Let us know in the comments or on our social media! (@finandfarm)


Recipe inspired by Autumn Potato Gratin by Better Homes and Gardens.
Image 1: Luscious Potato Plant Flowers by Laura Ferreira/ Flickr (CC)
Image 2: Purple Peruvian Potatoes by Pim Techamuanvivit/ Flickr (CC)

Purple Potatoes: What’s the Deal?

Interview at the Limetree Kitchen! (from the archives)

From the archives: intern Morgane visited Limetree Kitchen in Lewes, to chat to Alex, about seeking inspiration and using local produce…


Last week, we went to see Alex, chef of the Limetree Kitchen restaurant in Lewes. Alex’s restaurant offers innovative dishes, using the best quality, locally sourced ingredients. From meeting the local producers to creating amazing dishes inspired by modern European cooking, a passion for food is truly at the heart of Alex’s creation.

 

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What made you decide to open a restaurant?

I love cooking, I’ve always cooked all my life, since I was 4. I always loved the idea of having my own restaurant or bar. And then I got a bit bored with working for other people and not having as much creative freedom as I liked. So when I found the right property, I just went for it. I had worked in other restaurants and I was already a chef, you know, but I wanted my own place.

Was it difficult to open the restaurant?

Yes, it was very hard. Especially when you don’t have a lot of money to do it. At first, I only had a small domestic oven, all the tables and things we had were all garden furniture. I just tried to put all the money that I had into the food, and you know eventually you can start doing the other bits and pieces. Some people are a bit obsessed about it, they want the perfect restaurant – but I couldn’t afford to do that and the food is the most important thing to me in a restaurant.

Alex_sitting_bandwAnd are you from Sussex?                                    

No, I’m from London originally.

And what brought you to Lewes?

A girl actually!

How do you choose your menus?

We speak to our suppliers, to know what’s really good, the produce that is best at the time and then we write the menus around that – if we see something that is quite inspiring and different, we just work around that too.  The weather is a factor as well.

And where do you find your inspiration?

Everywhere. Sometimes we’ll just see something, like I saw a photograph somewhere, of autumn leaves and I thought that would be really wonderful if we found some sort of way of putting that underneath a dessert, to make it look like an autumn floor. So yeah, we are inspired by what’s seasonal and what’s fantastic at the time. Or sometimes we just get something to try and we just think “that would be incredible, that would work really well with that….”

What about local food? Do you think that’s important?

Absolutely yes. I think if you can support the local farmers and the local growers – particularly, as a small independent place rather than having to go through big supermarkets. As a chef you have a responsibility to support the people who support you.

So that’s why you choose Fin and Farm?

It is, yes! Nick called me quite a few times and the boss I was working for was loyal to another company, so we never had the chance to work with Fin and Farm – but soon as I had my own business I wanted to use Nick so I called him.

You can see more of Limetree on their website here.

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Come and visit us at www.finandfarm.co.uk

Interview at the Limetree Kitchen! (from the archives)

Sweet Chestnuts!

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Often scarce on the supermarket shelves (except at Christmas), Chestnuts can leave us a little perplexed with just what to do with them. But chestnuts have populated the British Isles since Roman times – and positively flourish in the South of England. We may associate them with Christmas, but chestnut season is here, and these delicious fruits deserve to be enjoyed!

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A true seasonal delight, chestnuts are sweet, complex and richly flavoured. Their comforting starchy texture is wonderfully versatile for cooking. Whether sweet or savoury, chestnuts can be as wholesome or as decadent as you like. Mmm, it’s time to reintroduce the chestnut back into our culinary know-how…

How to cook

Chestnuts need cooking to become palatable. If you’ve cooked chestnuts before, then you can certainly attest to the rich, aromatic flavour cooking brings out. You can boil (approx. 30 minutes), microwave (approx. 3-4 minutes) or roast (approx. 30 minutes) – just be sure to score an X or line into the bottom of the shell to allow for peeling and to stop them from ‘exploding’! Cooking them in an open flame winter fire is, perhaps, one of the most loved ways to eat chestnuts in this country.

No matter how you’re cooking them, be sure to peel chestnuts when they’re still warm. When they’ve cooled, this can feel like the impossible task!

How to eat

There are a myriad of possibilities when it comes to enjoying chestnuts.  Blitz in a food processor to make chestnut flour – a healthy, gluten-free alternative with a slightly nutty flavour. Puree to fill a dessert such as the renowned French Buche de Noel (chocolate log filled with chestnut puree – yum!) or as a mashed potato alternative. Throw into roasts for texture and taste, or, add to rustic soups and stews to infinitely enhance with an earthy, sweet flavour.

Recipe

Decadent Chocolate-Chestnut Torte

We may associate chestnuts with Christmas and open fires, but chocolate and chestnut might just be the most heavenly combination. Haven’t tried it yet? Well, we’ve got a recipe that’ll make your mouth water…

Gluten-free, deeply chocolatey and enhanced with the flavour of pureed chestnuts and enticing walnut liqueur, this cake won’t fail to please.

You’ll need:
450g chestnut puree
230g dark chocolate
6 eggs
125g butter
65g sugar
2 tablespoons walnut liqueur

To serve:
Cream (as desired)
50g dark chocolate

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180C. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until firm (but not quite meringue texture). Melt the dark chocolate over a bowl of boiling water.

In a food processor, combine the butter, sugar and chestnut puree. Add in the egg yolks, liqueur and dark chocolate and combine.

In a mixing bowl, gradually fold through the whisked egg whites. Pour into a baking tin and cook for approx 40 minutes in the oven. Allow to cool before enjoying with whipped cream and chocolate shavings (and possibly an extra shot of walnut liqueur)!

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Order your chestnuts today!

Let us know in the comments how you like to enjoy this seasonal delicacy..


Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson Chocolate Chestnut Cake (gluten free)  
Image 1: Chestnuts by Kristian Mollenborg/flikr (CC)
Image 2: Chestnuts by Simone Piunno/flickr (CC)
Image 3: dark chocolate torte by kylesteed/flickr (CC)

Sweet Chestnuts!

Seasonal Spanish-Style Stew

pumpkin

Pumpkin season is finally here! This delicious and colourful season only comes about once a year – so don’t miss out. There are a million delicious pumpkin recipes to play with, but we love this Spanish inspired chorizo-pumpkin stew for it’s punchy flavours. Oregano, chilli, chorizo and sweet pumpkin combine for a meal that won’t fail to please family and friends. Hearty, bright and warming, this seasonal stew is the perfect thing to ease you into this grey and stormy October…

Recipe

You’ll need:
2-3 tbspoon of Mesto extra virgin olive oil
1 can of chickpeas
1 can of butter beans
2 cups of fresh diced tomatoes
1 tbspoon tomato puree
1 medium pumpkin, peeled and diced
1 generous handful of red kale (or any seasonal veg you care for)
2 medium onions
1lb of spicy chorizo
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 tsp of dried oregano or a handful of fresh
1/2-1 hot chilli (according to taste)
2 tsp paprika
A pinch of saffron
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp black pepper
Stock

To serve:
Slivered almonds
Parsley
Fresh crusty bread

Method:
In a large pan, saute the onions, garlic, spices and chorizo in the olive oil until the onions are translucent and the spices fragrant. Add the pumpkin, oregano, fresh tomatoes and stock and simmer until the pumpkin is tender and flavours have melded. Towards the end of cooking, add in the beans and kale, continuing to cook for 3-4 minutes until the kale soft, but not overcooked. Finally, add in the tomato puree to thicken.

Garnish with a swirl of olive oil, seasoning, slivered almonds and fresh parsley. Enjoy with friends and family, and good crusty bread!

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Using the whole pumpkin

Don’t forget that the seeds and the skin are edible – and, more importantly, delicious! Scoop out the seeds and rinse, and toss with the pumpkin skin in some olive oil, salt and spices. Bake in the oven at 180c for 20-30 minutes (Keeping an eye on the pumpkin skin to make sure it doesn’t burn!). These make for a tasty, healthy and zero food waste snack!


Recipe inspired by GourmetGents.Blogspot.Co.Uk/ Image 1: Pumpkin by Michael Brown/Flickr (CC)/ Image 2: Cuddle in a Casserole by Manipa Mandal/Flickr (CC)

Seasonal Spanish-Style Stew