Posted on February 4th, 2011 No comments
This is a classic recipe from Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking. It’s a dish to make, she says, ‘when you have a glass of wine, red, white, rosé, sweet, dry or aromatic (ie some sort of vermouth) to spare’.
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 1½ hours
6-8 onions, all the same size
1 tbsp olive oil
small glass of wine
salt and pepper
Peel the onions and put them with the olive oil in a thick pan in which they just fit comfortably. Start them off over a moderate flame and, when the oil is beginning to sizzle, pour in a small glass of wine. Let it boil fiercely for a few seconds. Add water to come half-way up the onions. Transfer to a low oven and cook uncovered for about 1½ hours. Put back on top of the stove over a fast flame for 2 or 3 minutes, until the wine sauce is thick and syrupy. Season. Serve as a separate vegetable, or round a roast.
Posted on February 13th, 2010 No comments
Our picking and packing team prepared a total of 30 seasonal veg boxes for our members this week – an all-time record. Plus the box we’re offering in a prize draw at the St Mabyn Pre-School Valentine Brunch.
A further milestone was reached. For the first time, all the contents of the boxes were bought in from other growers.
The fact that we’re buying in such a high proportion of the weekly vegetable box contents at this time of year may seem like an admission of defeat. But this is far from the case.
As a not-for-profit organisation we rely totally at present on the goodwill of our members, who make up our volunteer workforce. This will change as we expand and if we are successful in our funding bids to the Lottery and the Local Action Group.
As we’re working on less than two acres, we’re not in a position to grow large-scale main crops which need constant rotation like potatoes and winter brassicas. Instead we are concentrating on “high-value” seasonal crops which would be either too expensive to buy in or do not travel well.
As a CSA, we’re committed to building up partnerships between farmers and the local community, enabling farmers to sell direct to the public, and providing other mutual benefits. So that’s why we’re happy to include varying proportions of vegetables in our boxes from small-scale, local growers.
The core management group is responsible for all the main decisions. Under the guidance of our three volunteer expert growers, it works out what to grow, how we grow it, what goes in the boxes, what we charge our members and who should supply us.
All our own onions and shallots – in store since last summer – have been used up at long last. The remaining parsnips, artichokes and carrots are again well and truly frozen into the ground.
So the carrots, curly kale, onions, purple sprouting broccoli, swede and Brussels sprouts (complete with sprout top!) in this week’s boxes come from Richard Hore at Rest Harrow Farm, Trebetherick.
Richard and his family, who cultivate 30 acres close to the relatively mild climes of the Camel estuary, have done us proud this winter.
The winter salad bag was supplied by Jeremy Brown, one of Camel CSA’s expert growers. It contains a selection of baby leaves such as pak choi, watercress, mustard, rocket and spinach from his polytunnels behind St Kew Harvest Farm Shop at St Kew Highway.
The potatoes were grown by Colin and James Mutton of Burlerrow Farm, St Mabyn.
Posted on January 24th, 2010 No comments
What a relief to see snowdrops emerging in the woods between St Mabyn and St Kew Highway.
The ground is far too cold and saturated with melted ice and snow for us to start work yet on Camel Community Supported Agriculture’s vegetable plot.
Once the earth warms up in late February / early March our volunteer growing team can begin preparing the ground, spreading compost and planting seed into cells to go in the polytunnel.
In the meantime we’re continuing to harvest our own parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes and carrots as well as the remaining onions and shallots in store. The rest of the weekly veg box contents are being sourced locally from growers in the immediate area.
Posted on January 8th, 2010 2 comments
Congratulations to our intrepid picking and packing team who braved the wintry conditions to prepare Camel CSA’s first vegetable boxes of 2010.
Only the onions in the boxes came from Camel CSA’s own share of the harvest. Our dwindling crops of parsnips, carrots, Jerusalem artichokes and last of the beetroot are well and truly frozen into the ground.
We’re grateful to local supplier Richard Hore of Rest Harrow Farm, Trebetherick for providing such a variety of green vegetables – leeks, curly kale and savoy cabbage as well as carrots. And to our expert grower Jeremy Brown who collected the potatoes from Burlerrow Farm in icebound St Mabyn.
We put together a total of 23 boxes for our members to pick up. Fortunately our site is next to the A39 “Atlantic Highway” which has been kept relatively clear from ice and snow.
The fact that we could provide fresh vegetables this week goes to show how important it is to be able to source food locally.
Supply chains across the country may be interrupted by the big freeze, but we’ve been able to keep our veg box scheme going – with just a little help from our friends in north Cornwall.
Many thanks to picking & packing supremo Trish, who fetched the veg from Trebetherick, and to the team – Cathy, Charlotte, Mike H, Mike S, Penny and Robert.
And enjoy our heartwarming seasonal soup! Recipe No 26 – Leek soup with parmesan
Posted on November 10th, 2009 No comments
It’s doing the trick. The new protective mesh is keeping the voracious rabbits off our spring greens.
This expensive mesh is proving to be a worthwhile investment. The rabbits can’t chew holes in it, it doesn’t disintegrate and it lasts for years – unlike fleece.
The growing team has managed at long last to plant several rows of garlic sets and sow some broad beans for overwintering. We’re hoping these will give us an early crop next year.
All being well, the rabbits won’t touch the garlic (although earlier in the year they did have a gnaw at some of the onions).
Thanks to expert growers Jane, Jeremy and Mark plus regular Sunday team members Kitty, Mark, Mike H and Mike S.
Posted on October 30th, 2009 No comments
A classic recipe for slow-cooked red cabbage and apple from Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 2½-3 hours
900g red cabbage
450g onions, chopped small
450g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped small
3 tbsp wine vinegar
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 clove garlic, chopped very small
¼ whole nutmeg, freshly grated
¼ level tsp ground cinnamon
¼ level tsp ground cloves
salt, black pepper
Preheat oven to 150C/gas mark 2.
Discard any tough outer leaves of the cabbage, cut it into quarters and remove the hard stalk, then shred it finely.
In a fairly large casserole, arrange a layer of shredded cabbage seasoned with salt and pepper, then a layer of chopped onions and apples with a sprinkling of garlic, spices and sugar. Continue with these alternate layers until everything is in.
Now pour in the wine vinegar, add the butter, put a lid on the casserole and let it cook very slowly in the oven for about 2½-3 hours, stirring everything around once or twice during the cooking.
Once cooked, it will keep warm without coming to any harm. It will also reheat very successfully so it can be made in advance.
Posted on October 23rd, 2009 No comments
Nigel Slater calls it ‘a cheesy pie to warm the soul’. It’s from his Kitchen Diaries book. And it doesn’t have to be Stilton – Cornish blue, Sue’s Trelawney – any fairly strong cheese will work just as well.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 25-30 minutes
1.5kg floury potatoes
4 medium onions
225g Stilton or other cheese
25g grated Parmesan
Peel the potatoes, cut into halves or quarters and cook in boiling salted water until tender – about 15 minutes.
While the potatoes cook, peel the onions and cut them in half, then cut each into five or six segments. Put them in a heavy-based frying pan with 40g of the butter and let them cook over a moderate to low heat, stirring from time to time. They will need 20-25 minutes to become thoroughly soft and sticky.
Bring the milk to the boil and turn off the heat. Drain the potatoes, then tip them into the bowl of a food mixer, or mash them in the pan with a hand-held beater. Slowly add the milk and the remaining butter. Beat to a smooth mash.
Set the oven to 200C/Gas 6. Butter the base and sides of a 28cm baking dish. Spoon in half the potato, smooth it a little, then add the onions and a grinding of black pepper. Crumble the cheese over the onions. Pile the rest of the mash over the top and smooth lightly with the back of a spoon.
Dust over the grated Parmesan, then bake for 25-30 minutes, by which time the top will be pale gold and the filling will be bubbling up around the edges.
Enough for 6 as a main dish with greens or a salad.
Posted on October 8th, 2009 No comments
There are quite a few jobs to be done on Camel Community Supported Agriculture’s veg plot this Sunday.
Expert grower Jane Mellowship says:
“Firstly we need a fresh attack on the dock leaves in our legume and sweetcorn / squash sections. If we cultivate with the tractor we can loosen the roots, get them out and really work on eradicating them this winter ready for planting in spring. We also need to bag up the docks we’ve already removed.
“If it’s not too wet we need to strim around the boysenberries and tie up any stems still loose.
“Finally we would like to mark out where we plan to position the polytunnels so it is clear how much room is left for our permaculture triangle. We aim to start getting under control any of that area not currently planted with brassicas by strimming, weeding and thickly mulching with straw, hay and cardboard.
“So fingers crossed for a beautiful, dry autumn day!”
Last Sunday a small team braved the steady Cornish drizzle to plant out onion sets, put up posts and wire and tie in the remaining boysenberries.
Helen and Rachel are volunteers from London who’ve signed up for the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) exchange network. Farmers and horticulturalists offer food, accommodation and opportunities in return for volunteer help from people wanting to learn about organic lifestyles.
They were “lent” to us by Cathy and Dominic at South Penquite Farm, where they’d been working over the weekend. Helen and Rachel are hoping to leave their jobs in London eventually to work on the land. We look forward to seeing them in Cornwall again soon.
Many thanks on Sunday to expert growers Mark N and Jane, as well as Charlotte, Mark M and Mike S. Another team of stalwarts turned out for picking and packing day last Friday - p & p supremo Trish plus Charlotte, Gillian, Jenny, Leonie and Penny.
Posted on October 3rd, 2009 No comments
“On Sunday we’re planning to plant out onion sets. It’ll make a change from weeding! Also putting up posts and wire and tying in the remaining boysenberries.
“See you there!”
Posted on September 25th, 2009 No comments
A bit of a classic from Delia Smith’s Cookery Course. And if the Indian summer continues, serve it chilled and call it Vichyssoise!
Preparation time: 15-20 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
4 large leeks
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, chopped small
850ml light chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbsp cream
1½ tbsp fresh snipped chives or parsley
Trim the tops and roots of the leeks, discarding the tough outer layer. Split in half lengthways, slice quite finely and wash thoroughly in two or three changes of water. Drain well.
In a large, thick-based saucepan, gently melt the butter. Add the leeks, potatoes and onion, stirring them all around so they get a good coating of butter. Season with salt and pepper, then cover and let the vegetables sweat over a very low heat for about 15 minutes. You don’t want them to brown.
Add the stock and milk, bring to simmering point, put the lid back on and let the soup simmer very gently for a further 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. If the heat’s too high, the milk may boil over. Now either liquidise the lot or press through a sieve.
Return to the saucepan and reheat gently, tasting to check the seasoning. Add the chopped herbs and add a swirl of cream just before serving.
Click here to see all the recipes that Camel CSA members have recommended so far.