This week’s potato is the purple skinned ‘Arran Victory’, our favorite Christmas potato. It's floury flesh tends to break up in boiling water, but it roasts beautifully and makes superb mash; use a steamer to cook it and you don't then have to watch the pan like a hawk. Baked, it has the sort of tasty dry texture that cries out for, and happily gobbles up, lots of butter. They are grown in Lancashire, like the carrots which this week have come in a variety of shades. Apparently carrots were originally much paler than they are usually nowadays; it was the Dutch, with their fondness for orange, who bred the strong colour into them. The ‘rainbow’ carrots are particularly good roasted. Try them quartered lengthways and roasted in oil, rosemary and coarse sea salt. The Savoy cabbages, leeks and the purple sprouting broccoli in the large boxes are from Yorkshire and the fennel and peppers are Spanish. This week’s English apple is the Red Pippin.
FENNEL, PARSNIP AND APPLE SOUP ... A rich, quite ‘refined’ white soup. If the fennel bulbs have a few fronds attached chop them finely for a garnish.