Saturday, 1 October 2016

October 2011: salt (I)


Table salt is bad for you. About 30% of people in the UK have high blood pressure: table salt is one of the culprits, along with obesity, lack of exercise and other factors in your diet [1]. On the other hand, natural sea salt, contains over 50 minerals and trace elements, balanced in exactly the right quantities to keep you healthy [2]. Especially if you suffer from hypertension, don't buy anything with 'normal' salt, and season your meals yourself with natural sea salt. [3]

October is clearing-up time. Weeds germinate quickly once plant cover has gone, but it’s not too late to sow green manure like field beans, in mild areas. Or mulch with autumn leaves.
A bonfire is fun, but all that garden rubbish can be put to better use and turned into compost. Either pile it into a container, or make a tidy heap, cover it up, and let everything decompose over the winter months. You'll have a wonderful soil improver ready for spring.

TO SOW now:
broad beans, land cress, round seeded peas.
Plant rhubarb sets; garlic; and autumn onion sets if the weather is good. The garlic should be suited for autumn planting: don't introduce diseases by using old cloves. Plant out spring cabbage. Plant out cabbages, winter/spring lettuce in the South.

TO EAT now:
Veg: celeriac, turnip, beet, cabbage, calabrese, carrots, cauliflower, chard, fennel, kohlrabi, runner beans, salsify/scorzonera, spinach, tomatoes, Jerusalem/globe artichokes, brussels', chicory, endive, swede, celery, corn salad, leek, peas/mange tout, courgettes, marrow, pumpkin/squash, (white) radish, rocket, spring onions, watercress, sweetcorn.
Meat: rabbit, goose, grouse, guinea fowl, partridge, pheasant, wood pigeon, duck, venison, squirrel.
Fish: crab, clam, cuttlefish, lobster, mackerel, mussels, scallop, (sea) bass, sprats, cockles, black bream, gurnard, winkle, grey mullet.


BEET and/or CELERIAC: grate raw, mix with (cooking) apple. Dress. A delicious winter salad, no leaves needed, though you can add some if you have them, rocket for instance. It's worth buying organic for this, as one beet etc. goes quite far, and generally it tastes much better.

STIR-FRIED BEET with ORANGE and SHALLOTS (and grilled goat cheese)
This is also good with meat or fish instead of cheese. The beet can be stir-fried in advance and reheated.
2 tblsp olive oil, 3 shallots or 1 onion sliced thinly, 500g coarsely grated beet, grated zest of 2 oranges, 2 tsp balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt, black pepper, (4 x 1½cm thick goat cheese slices).
Heat oil and sauté shallots for 3 mins, stirring. Add beet and zest: stir over fairly high heat, for 6 mins. Add vinegar, season with salt and pepper, stir. Divide between 6 warmed plates. Lay cheese on baking tray and grill for less than a minute - it should bubble and just turn golden. Add slice of cheese to each serving.

1 tbsp olive oil, 5 minced garlic cloves [4], 1 chopped onion, 1 tbsp good curry powder, 2 cubed potatoes, 2 cups stock, 5 large chopped green tomatoes, 1 large chopped apple, 120ml chopped fresh basil, 120ml heavy cream [5], salt, pepper, chopped parsley for garnish.
Heat oil over low heat. Add garlic, onion, curry powder. Cook, stirring often, until onion begins to soften, a few mins. Add potatoes, stir, brown slightly. Add stock. Cover, simmer for 15 mins. Stir in tomatoes, apple, basil; cover, continue simmering for 10-15 mins. Remove from heat, blend. Stir in cream, season. Garnish with parsley.

Cut marrow into 1- 1½ cm thick slices. Remove rind and seeds. Coat with flour, dip in seasoned egg, then breadcrumbs or flour (again). Fry for 15 mins. Keep hot in oven until needed. Excellent with gingery applesauce. And combine, for instance, with fried potatoes and onions, and/or chopped bacon.

1 white cabbage, 240ml crème fraîche, 1 tblsp chopped fresh summer savory, thyme or marjoram, salt.
Core, and finely shred cabbage. Cook in rapidly boiling, salted water for 10 mins, drain, set aside. Mix savory with crème fraîche. Place in a heavy pan, heat to bubbling. Add drained cabbage and mix. Heat through: serve immediately.

1 marrow, 2 onions, (garlic), any other unused veg lurking in the fridge, stock, herbs.
Chop and deseed marrow, chop other veg, saute in butter or olive for 5 mins, add stock. Season with salt, pepper, mixed herbs. When everything is cooked, liquidise. Add cream if desired, or chilli sauce to spice it up. A variation is to chop the veg into quite small pieces and cook in the same way, but don't liquidise or add cream, instead add cooked rice or soup noodles/mini pasta.

Bon appetit! With love, Annemieke.  

[1] such as coffee, alcohol, and lack of fruit 'n veg.
[2] Potassium chloride is a popular salt substitute, but this may cause hyperkalemia, and is dangerous in combination with some prescription drugs. See also
[4] Garlic, too, is good for high blood pressure. And why buy insipid garlic from the supermarket if you can get 8 types, all grown locally, from Rowswell Baker's Farm in Barrington (tel. 152381)?
[5] For remember, ladies, fat does not make you fat, it makes you beautiful and intelligent. It's sugar and processed food you should avoid.

Next issue: eating in Somerset.