The wintery combination of red cabbage, leeks and parsnips suits this week's chilly weather, but fennel isn't hardy, and is usually grown as a summer crop in this country. These bulbs are from Holland, but we often start to use fennel from Italy and Spain at this end of the year. It brings welcome variety to the boxes and , like celery its cousin, grows well in the mild, sunny Mediterranean winter. This week's potato is 'Sante', locally grown and a good, tasty all-rounder widely grown organically as it's not prone to disease problems. On the subject of growing potatoes we are offering an even wider range of SEED POTATOES for home growers this winter, and we should have them much earlier; right at the beginning of January, as we know people want to get on with the new season once the tinsel is packed away.
When cooked slowly fennel becomes quite succulent, and its aniseed flavour is softened.
Cut the fennel bulbs lengthways into quarters (or eights if the bulbs are large) leaving the 'leaves' of the bulb attached to the central stalk. Heat a generous glug of olive oil in a pan and fry the fennel on each side until browned, then add a chopped clove of garlic, stir a little and a minute later pour in enough water to just cover the vegetables Season well with salt and pepper and simmer until the liquid is almost gone. Serve the fennel with the remaining 'sauce' spooned over it. To turn this into fennel gratin follow the steps above but use stock instead of water. Stir in a small pot of double cream when the fennel is cooked and transfer it to an ovenproof shllow dish. Sprinkle with a little parmesan or Emmental cheese and grill until bubbling.
There have recently been some disturbing articles in the press about pineapple cultivation in South America; dangerous cocktails of chemicals, water pollution, poor treatment of workers etc, and at the same time a price war is being fought in UK supermarkets putting further pressure on the industry. Quality improves in the winter months so it seems a good time to try some Fairtrade organic pineapples. Our bananas are Fairtrade too. This week's English apples are Fiesta.blog comments powered by Disqus