The veg bag kept me busy this week and with the family being home for the weekend there was a demand for plenty of food. The selection of vegetables was good and with the appearance of courgettes and a pepper, I started to feel that spring was not too far away. The usual potatoes, onions and carrots were there, along with more celeriac and leeks. There was also a lovely big piece of broccoli and it will be nice roasted a long with some herbs and a few bits of cauliflower that are lurking in the fridge. Unfortunately there was no recipe on this weeks newsletter as there was so much news from Derek about what was happening on the farm.
Soup featured high on the lunches list and there was plenty of veg to chose from. First was a minestrone soup that was packed full of veg and I also added some frozen baby broad beans and 2 rinds from Parmesan cheese for extra flavour. In Summer I usually add peppers and courgettes to minestrone but this week I had other plans for these bright cheery additions.
1-2 tbsp oil
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic crushed
2 celery sticks chopped
1 leek chopped
3 small carrots chopped
1 large parsnip chopped
Half small celeriac chopped
400g tinned tomatoes – or any leftover fresh tomatoes
1 litre of stock – vegetable or ham works well
2 Bay leaves
Sprig thyme – use dried herbs if no fresh
Parmesan rind (optional, I keep the rinds for adding to soup)
3 oz of any pasta.
Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and garlic and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the remainder of the vegetables and sweat gently for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes, stock, herbs, seasoning and Parmesan rind if using. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the pasta and cook until a la dente. Serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan.
Roasted Veg Pasta with artichoke paste
The courgettes and peppers were chopped into bite size pieces and roasted along with shallots and half a head of garlic before being mixed with cooked pasta and coated with a delicious artichoke paste. The paste I used, came from Soralina UK , a small independent company who source their products directly from the producer in Abruzzio, Italy. This made a really quick and economical meal and was served simply with crusty bread.
Put the vegetable in a large bowl, drizzle with olive or rapeseed oil and roast in a hot oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Cook pasta as directed, drain and mix with the roasted vegetables a paste, sauce or pesto of your choice. Serve,scattered with fresh basil leaves and grated Parmesan.
Fish pie topping
Celeriac was in the bag again this week an apart from using it in soup I tend to mash it through potatoes. Normally when I make fish pie, I make a potato and swede topping, but this week I used the celeriac, and it really worked well with potatoes on top the fish pie. Unfortunately the picture of the fish pie does not look very appetising but suffice to say it was delicious.
French Onion Soup
One of my favourite soups is French onion soup although admittedly I’ve never made it. There was no time like the present as my butcher had given me some beef bones and the vegetable basket was groaning with onions.
I simmered the bones for around 7 hours, along with carrot, onion, bay leaves and tarragon and that made a lovely rich stock. While it was cooking I was chatting with a friend and he suggested roasting the bones with some onions first as that produces a darker stock. Next time!
I found several recipes for French onion soup but decided to use James Martin’s from his book ‘Slow’. The soup was easy to make, 1.5kg of onions were sliced and cooked for 45 minutes, producing nice soft, golden coloured onions. Garlic was added along with sherry and wine, followed by the stock and cooked for another 40 minutes The traditional way to serve the soup is topped with a bread crouton topped with Gruyere cheese but I used Ayrshire Dunlop cheese, as that’s what I had in the fridge.
I had been sent some spice mixes by House of Spice and I made the 2 dishes to accompany our curry on Saturday night. I’ll be writing about the mixes in a separate post but the 2 dishes, Bombay potatoes and Tarka dhal went well with the curry, using up some more potatoes and onions.
The newsletter from Bellfield Organics gives details of all the veg that will be available for the bags in the following week, and usually I’m content to take whatever is delivered. However, for a change of flavours I’ve asked for celeriac and parsnips to be replaced with other veg such as cabbage, Beetroot, pak choi, kale, or swede. I’ve also asked for a ‘goodie bag’ this week, meaning that there will hopefully be a few surprises for cooking up.