Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Newsletter w/c 22nd February 2016

I have often found myself in ridiculous situations, so people who know me well will nod and say 'could only happen to him' once they've read the account of my most recent fiasco.
If you remember, last Tuesday was quite wild and stormy, however, I was working my way round my usual route without mishap. I stopped in Linlithgow, and leaving the engine running, got into the back of the van to retrieve a bag of veg. I had just got myself up and into the back when a gust of wind blew the door shut. There is no interior light in the back so it was instantly pitch black. I knew the side door didn't have an interior handle so I felt my way round to the back door and gratefully grasped the door handle. It fell off in my hand! Feeling around the area there was no bit of mechanism left to get a grip of to try to open the door. I had visions of being locked in for days, or maybe even, some opportunistic car thief jumping in and driving me off. The van could end up getting burnt-out or being sent onto a ferry. I do read too many books its has to be said, and have a vivid imagination. It didn't take long before I was thumping at the door, and I'm sure the van would have been rocking from side to side. A fine spectacle, I'm sure. Anyway, I managed to create enough of a stir that a passer-by, rather than running away in fear, crossed over and released me. A strange mixture of embarrassment and relief washed over me as I stepped down onto the road again and thanked him profusely. He did look slightly bewildered by the whole thing. In hindsight, with all that veg and fruit in the back I'm sure I could have lasted a day or two, but I'm glad it didn't come to that. I was still red-faced driving off and back to deliveries.
The calm weather this week, should mean that I can at last get on with some of the tasks that have been needing attention for months. we have sheds with storm-damaged roofs and a new gate to be built to keep livestock from wandering into, what I'd like to become, a hardening-off area for seedlings and various soft landscaping jobs to continue improvement and development of our working area. It's inspiring to be outside with the sun on your back, no matter what you're working at.

This week, the standard veg bags contain: potatoes, onion, carrot, broccoli, spring onion, celeriac and kale
The large bags also contain mushrooms, celery and parsnip.

Potato Solanum tuberosum.. The variety for the most part is Valor. Some of you may get washed potatoes. These have been washed to check for blemishes and disease. Soil acts as a natural preservative, so the washed tatties may not keep quite as long as the dirty ones. They are very easy to prepare when they’re as fresh as this and really only need a wash and a scrub. Potatoes are the only commonly available source of B3 and Iodine. Excellent source of Vitamin C and also Vitamin B6, Potassium and fibre.

Onion  Allium cepa.  Used in stews, pasta dishes, soups.  Source of Vitamins A and C, Iron, Calcium and Potassium .

Carrot Daucus carota Carrots are eaten fresh in salads or cooked in just about any way you like. They are an excellent source of Vitamin A and also contain significant amounts of Vitamins B, C, D, E and K. and Potassium.

Spring Onion Allium fistulosum.  Good source of vitamin C and A. Also, a good source of potassium. Wash thoroughly, dry, then slice up to use to add a little strong flavour to salads. Occasionally used in soups.

Broccoli Brassica oleracea Italica Group (1 head) Excellent source of Vitamin C, folic acid and phytochemicals and good for Vitamn.B6. Also contains Vitamins A, B2, B6 and phosphorus, fibre, calcium and iron. It is best eaten raw or quickly blanched in boiling , lightly salted water. Broccoli is also good in stir-fries as it has a lovely crunch to it if you don’t cook it for too long.

Celeriac  (1head). To prepare celeriac, treat it much as you would a swede. Peel it thickly and slice. As you slice the flesh drop it into a pan of cold water with a couple of drops of lemon juice to avoid discolouration. Here’s a recipe fpr Celeriac with mushroom stuffing: Prepare as above but slice crossways into discs 1 inch thick. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and keep the celeriac warm under a dry cloth. Meanwhile, take 250g (1/2lb) mushrooms, keep whole if small and slice thickly if large. Fry the mushrooms in 50g (2oz) butter for 5 minutes until golden. Arrange the celeriac slices on individual plates, top with the fried mushrooms and sprinkle with paprika. Serve as an appetiser.

Kale Brassica oleracea Acephala Group.. Some of the kale is still on its stalk so remove it before preparing. Kale is an excellent source of Vitamins A and C and also a source of potassium, copper, calcium,  fibre and phytochemicals. To cook, strip the leaves off of the tough midrib, then shred and wash in cold, running water. Then steam for 10 minutes and serve with melted butter and season with pepper or ground cloves. You can make Colcannon by draining the kale after boiling then setting it aside. Take a finely chopped onion and put it in a pan with 150ml of milk. Bring it to the boil then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Blend about 375g of mashed potatoes with the finely chopped kale, then heat through gently, adding as much of the milk and onion mixture as it will absorb to give the consistency of creamed potatoes. Put in a serving dish, and pour in some melted butter.



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