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  • Seasonal local food recipe No.255 – Nigel’s celeriac and potato cake

    Posted on December 15th, 2014 Janet No comments

    This side dish from Nigel Slater’s classic Real Good Food. It’s delicious served with roast meat but can also be served as a main course on its own.

    Serves: 4 as a side dish

    celeriac-camelcsa-1214Preparation time: 20 minutes
    Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes

    500g waxy potatoes, peeled
    a medium-sized celeriac, peeled
    90 g butter
    4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
    2 heaped tablespoons Dijon mustard
    a level teaspoon of thyme leaves
    60ml vegetable stock
    a handful of dill leaves

    Slice the potato and celeriac so thinly you can see through them.  Mix them together and soak in cold water. Melt the butter in a metal-handled, deep frying pan (one that can go in the oven) and when it starts to bubble add the garlic and cook slowly for five minutes, till it is soft and has perfumed the butter.  Take off the heat and stir in the mustard, thyme leaves and a grinding of salt and pepper.

    Drain the potatoes and celeriac and dry them on kitchen paper.  Toss them in the mustard butter so that they are wet all over, then loosely flatten them and pour in the stock.

    Cover with a circle of greaseproof paper, then bake in an oven preheated to 190°C/Gas mark 5 for an hour and ten minutes, until tender to the point of a knife.  Remove the greaseproof, turn up the heat to 220°C/Gas mark 7 and bake for a further ten minutes, until coloured and lightly crisp on top.  Tear the dill up a bit and scatter it over the top and into the juices.

  • Seasonal local recipe No.206 – Root vegetable tangle

    Posted on November 30th, 2013 charlotte No comments

    This is from Nigel Slater’s new Eat: The Little Book of Fast Food

    Serves: 2 (light main course) or 4 (side dish)

    Preparation: 10 minutes
    Cooking time: 20 minutes

    potatoes, parsnip, carrots, onion, rosemary, pumpkin seeds, olive oil

    Set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6. Shave 250g potatoes, a large parsnip and 2 large carrots with a vegetable peeler. Peel and finely slice an onion into rings.

    Toss the potatoes, parsnips, carrots and onion in a large mixing bowl with a heaped tablespoon of rosemary leaves, 5 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds, then tip on to a baking sheet. Spread out into a shallow layer. Bake for 20 minutes, till tender and lightly crisp on the edges.

  • [Gallery] It’s time to… make more autumn preserves

    Posted on November 25th, 2013 charlotte No comments

    Camel CSA has a glut of tomatoes this year, so we got together for another chutney-making evening. Thanks to Chris for so generously allowing us to make a chaotic, steaming, sticky mess of his kitchen and to the rest of the team – Bridget, Charlotte, Danny, Jane, Penny, Robert and Trish.

  • Seasonal local food recipe No.196 – Nigel’s strawberry and cucumber fruit salad

    Posted on July 28th, 2013 charlotte No comments

    There are lots of cucumbers in the polytunnel, so we’re on the lookout for different ways to prepare them.

    Nigel Slater says: “I know this sounds extraordinary, but [this] is the crispest, most refreshing fruit salad imaginable… summer in a bowl. And if you really can’t handle the idea of cucumber, then it is jolly good with strawberries and banana.” (via The Observer)

    Serves: 4
    Preparation time: 10 minutes + 30 minutes in fridge

    For the syrup:
    3 tbsp honey
    10 mint leaves
    5 tbsp elderflower cordial

    2 cucumbers
    450g medium strawberries

    Put the honey, mint and elderflower syrup into a blender and blitz to a thick, fragrant syrup. If you don’t have a blender, chop the mint very, very finely, mix it with the honey and cordial, then leave it for an hour. Strain through a fine sieve or muslin to remove the mint.

    Peel the cucumbers, slice them in half down their length, then scrape the seeds out with a teaspoon. Dice the flesh finely and put it in a large bowl. Remove the leaves from the strawberries, slice the fruit in half and toss gently with the cucumber.

    Pour the mint and elderflower syrup into the fruit, stir very gently, then leave for about 30 minutes, in the fridge and covered, before serving.

  • Seasonal local food recipe No. 147: Nigel’s brown lentil curry Ⓥ + beetroot raita

    Posted on May 26th, 2012 charlotte 4 comments

    Beetroot is everywhere at the moment – even in cakes and sumptuous desserts. Gone are the days when it only appeared soused in malt vinegar.

    Nigel Slater says: “Ten years ago, beetroot was almost a goner. Available then only in pickles or occasionally in vacuum packs of four cooked and preserved globes, it is firmly in the spotlight now. It is almost impossible to find a menu that doesn’t acknowledge its newfound popularity.”

    Serves 4

    Preparation/ cooking time: 1 hour

    250g large green or brown lentils
    60g piece fresh ginger or galangal
    4 cloves garlic
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1 tsp ground coriander
    3 heaped tsp garam masala
    2 small red chillies
    1 tsp ground turmeric
    2 tbsp rapeseed oil
    1 medium onion
    400g can chopped tomatoes

    For the raita:
    yogurt 200ml, natural and unstrained
    beetroot coarsely grated, 4 heaped tbsp
    coriander to taste

    Bring the lentils to the boil in a pan of deep, unsalted water, then let them simmer for 20-25 minutes, until they are quite soft.

    Peel the ginger or galangal, roughly chop it then put it into the bowl of a food processor with the peeled garlic, cumin seeds, ground coriander, garam masala, red chillies, ground turmeric and enough vegetable oil to make a soft, but not runny, paste.

    Peel and finely slice the onion. Warm a tbsp or two of oil in a medium, heavy-based casserole over a moderate heat. Add the onion and let it colour, stirring from time to time. When it is fragrant, golden and almost soft add the spicy paste and stir for a couple of minutes longer. Then pour in the chopped tomatoes and a can of water, add salt, and the drained, cooked lentils and leave to simmer for half an hour or so. The lentils should be soft but still retaining a little of their texture; the sauce thick.

    To make the raita, put the yogurt into a small bowl, add the grated beetroot and a few leaves of coriander if you wish, then very gently fold the beetroot through the yogurt with a fork. Try not to over mix, unless you actually like vivid pink.

  • Seasonal local food recipe No 116: Beetroot seed cake

    Posted on October 7th, 2011 charlotte No comments

    This moist and incredibly more-ish cake comes from Nigel Slater’s Tender Volume 1. The mixture turns a lurid pink colour when you add the beetroot, but tones down by the time it comes out of the oven.

    If you want to save time and beat the eggs up whole rather than separating them first, it seems to make no difference to the quality. The only other tip I have is: Go easy on the icing – a drizzle will do. (But then I always say that!)

    I shared the cake with friends on a glorious summer’s day beside the River Fal at Quay Cottage, Trelissick next to King Harry Ferry. It didn’t last long.

    Serves 8-10

    Preparation / cooking: 65-70 minutes 

    225g self-raising flour
    ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
    1 scant tsp baking powder
    ½ tsp ground cinnamon
    180ml sunflower oil
    225g light muscovado sugar
    3 eggs
    150g raw beetroot
    juice of half a lemon
    75g sultanas or raisins
    75g mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, linseed)

    For the icing:
    8 tbsp icing sugar
    lemon juice or orange blossom water
    poppy seeds


    Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4. Lightly butter a rectangular loaf tin (20cm x 9cm x 7cm deep, measured across the bottom) then line the bottom with baking parchment.

    Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Beat the oil and sugar in a food mixer until well creamed then introduce the beaten egg yolks one by one, reserving the whites for later.

    Grate the beetroot coarsely and fold into the mixture, then add the lemon juice, raisins or sultanas and the assorted seeds. Fold the flour and raising agents into the mixture while the machine is turning slowly.

    Beat the egg whites till light and almost stiff. Fold gently but thoroughly into the mixture with a large metal spoon (a wooden one will knock the air out). Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 50-55 minutes, covering the top with a piece of foil after 30 minutes. Test with a skewer to see if done. The cake should be moist inside but not sticky. Leave the cake to settle for a good 20 minutes before turning out of its tin on to a wire cooling rack.

    To make the icing, sieve the icing sugar and stir in enough lemon juice or orange blossom water to achieve a consistency where the icing will run over the top of the cake and dribble slowly down the sides (about three teaspoonfuls), stirring to remove any lumps. Drizzle over the cake and scatter with poppy seeds. Leave to set before eating.

  • Seasonal local food recipe No 114: Summer carrots, herb sauce

    Posted on September 23rd, 2011 charlotte No comments

    Another simple, late summer recipe from Nigel Slater in the Observer. It’s a fresher, more up-to-date version of the traditional dish of carrots in parsley sauce.

    Nigel says: “A bunch of young carrots doesn’t last long in this house. Munched like sweets, they often go before I even have time to rinse them. The usual cooking method is to steam them and toss them in butter and chopped parsley. Nothing wrong with that, but this way is much more interesting.”

    Serves 4 as a side dish

    Preparation / cooking: 20 minutes


    slim, young carrots 2 bunches
    shallot 1, medium-sized
    basil 1 small bunch
    parsley 6 bushy sprigs
    dill 8 sprigs
    crème fraîche 200ml
    lemon juice a good squeeze

    Wipe or rinse the carrots, but don’t peel them, then place them in a steamer basket or colander set over a pan of boiling water. Steam for 7-10 minutes till tender, but not soft. If you prefer to boil them in lightly salted water, do so, then drain them.

    Peel and very finely chop the shallot. Remove the leaves from the basil and parsley and discard the stems, then chop them, quite finely, together with the dill fronds. You should have a couple of good handfuls of chopped herbs. Put the crème fraîche into a saucepan large enough to take the carrots in a single layer, add the shallot, herbs and the lemon juice and bring to the boil. Season with black pepper and a little salt, then add the drained, whole carrots. Leave to simmer for a couple of minutes with the occasional stir, taking care not to break the carrots up. Serve immediately.

  • Seasonal local food recipe No 112: Beetroot with soy-citrus Ⓥ

    Posted on September 9th, 2011 charlotte No comments

    Nigel Slater salad from the Observer. It goes beautifully with Cornish smoked mackerel and is perfect made with the red chillis in Camel CSA’s veg boxes this week.

    Nigel says: “Anyone who likes cooked beetroot, but isn’t fond of it pickled, may like to try this way with them. The salad has some of the crisp, acidic flavour of a good pickle, but is infinitely more mellow. I had intended this to be a side dish, but it is so good, it became the focus of a light lunch with smoked salmon and rye bread. Lovely fresh flavours and a good introduction to beetroot for the uninitiated.”

    (I used cider vinegar instead of sherry vinegar.)

    Serves 4 as part of a light main course

    Preparation / cooking time: 60 minutes

    raw beetroot 6 small to medium
    oil vegetable, rapeseed or groundnut

    For the dressing:
    ginger, freshly grated 1 tsp
    orange juice 125ml
    lemon juice 3 tbsp
    dark soy 3 tsp
    small, red chilli 1
    sherry vinegar 1 tbsp

    Scrub the beetroot and trim its leaves, without tearing the skin, then either boil or bake till tender to the point of a knife. To bake, set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6, place the beetroots on a sheet of foil, pour over a glug of mild cooking oil then close the foil loosely over them. Bake for 40 minutes or so, depending on the size of your beets, till you can insert a skewer easily into them. To boil them, drop the beetroots into boiling, unsalted water and simmer, partially covered, for 20-30 minutes till tender.

    Remove the skins from the beetroots – they should be easy to push off with your thumb. Slice the beets roughly the same thickness as a pound coin then put them in a serving dish.

    Make the dressing: put the grated ginger in a mixing bowl, pour in the orange and lemon juices then add the soy sauce. Halve, seed and finely slice the red chilli, then add a little of it to the dressing with the sherry vinegar, and mix well. Check for balance – it should be sweet, sour and fruity. Add more soy or juice, or chilli as you wish. I find that barely half a small chilli is enough. Spoon the dressing over the sliced beetroot and leave for a few minutes before serving.

    More beetroot recipe ideas from Camel CSA

  • Seasonal local food recipe No.101: Nigel Slater’s gooseberry crumble cake

    Posted on June 25th, 2011 charlotte No comments

    This is a delicious alternative to the traditional gooseberry crumble and takes only a little longer to make. Try it with Mark Norman’s organically-grown gooseberries in this week’s veg boxes, also available for sale at St Kew Harvest Farm Shop.

    The ground almonds make all the difference. And if you’ve got any elderflower cordial, add a few drops of that. As Nigel Slater says, it’s very much a “cut-and-come-again cake” so it’s popular with children and teenagers. My daughters love it.

    Serves 8

    Preparation and cooking: 75 – 90 minutes (mostly cooking time)

    For the cake:
    butter, softened 180g
    golden caster sugar 90g
    light muscovado sugar 90g
    eggs 2
    ground almonds 80g
    self-raising flour 150g
    vanilla extract 2–3 drops
    gooseberries 350g

    For the crumble:
    plain flour 110g
    butter 80g
    caster sugar 2 tbsp

    Preheat the oven to 175C/gas mark 3. Line the base of a 20cm round tin with baking parchment. To make the crumble topping, blitz the flour and the butter to crumbs in a food processor. Add the caster sugar and mix lightly. Remove the mixer bowl from the stand and add a few drops of water. Shake the bowl a little so that some of the crumbs stick together like small pebbles.  

    To make the cake, beat the butter and sugars in a food mixer for 8-10 minutes until pale and fluffy. Beat the eggs gently then gradually introduce them to the mixture with the beater on slow.

    Fold in the ground almonds and flour then add the drops of vanilla extract. Transfer the mixture to the tin and smooth it flat. Scatter the gooseberries on top, pressing them down a little. Then scatter the crumble mixture loosely over the gooseberries.

    Bake for 60-75 minutes, checking for doneness with a skewer. The skewer should come out damp from the gooseberries but without any raw cake mixture attached. Leave to cool in the tin, then remove and set aside.

    Try these recipes for gooseberry sauce

  • Stuck for a recipe idea for Jerusalem artichokes?

    Posted on March 6th, 2011 charlotte No comments

    Jerusalem artichokes are a staple item in Camel Community Supported Agriculture’s weekly veg boxes at this time of year.

    Unlike late winter brassicas, which are in short supply all over the UK, these knobbly roots seem to thrive in hard, frosty conditions. Our growing team are about to plant a new permanent bed of them to sustain us in future seasons.

    Jerusalem artichokes are hardy perennials, related to sunflowers. They have attractive purple flowers and tall summer growth, so we’ll be using them as a windbreak (!) for our soft fruit area.

    Camel CSA’s valiant volunteer picking and packing team dig up quantities of them and scrub them clean each week for the boxes – to accompanying groans from some of our members.

    So what can you do with these often-neglected vegetables?

    My perennial favourite is Jane Grigson’s Palestine Soup, though this is a bit of a misnomer. Veggies should  leave the bacon out.

    My family also like Nigel Slater’s casserole of artichokes and pork for deepest winter, which uses sausages. It sounds a bit odd but is a surprisingly good heartwarmer on a cold frosty evening.

    The vegetarians among you could try Yotam Ottolenghi’s artichoke and goat’s cheese souffle or Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Roast Jerusalem artichoke, hazelnut and goat’s cheese salad.

    So give Jerusalem artichokes a try. They’re flavoursome, versatile, easy to grow, should be local (if you’re living in the UK) and inexpensive.  But be warned – a little goes a long way.