Monday, 11 April 2016

Fanny's Garden - Get Fresh (at the weekend)

Eating fresh, eating local and eating seasonally all seems to make sense, but yet it is something we seem to have lost the know-how to do well. A bit like wearing our Sunday Best. Fanny was as keen as a locally smoked kipper to make sure we all chomped on fresh, local and in season produce - as well as in every imaginable colour. She even produced a handy wall-hanging to pop into our kitchens to remind us what was in season month-by-month. I'll pass on the John Dory, Duckling and Guinea Fowl she recommends for April. Not to be dismayed, she has LOTS of vegetable suggestions too. So, when fellow foodie and full-on Fanny fan, the lovely Jillian from Fresh Food Express sent me a huge box stuffed full of vegetables and other goodies, with a challenge to make some seasonal treats, I only had to skip into the kitchen and think 'What Would Fanny Do'? Well, ok, in all honesty it's all I ever think. And I always skip. Always.

Fanny Cradocks Fresh Food Express Garden

It was all a little lot like Ready, Steady, Cook! as I opened up the carefully packaged parcel... My box was bulging. Veggies and fruit galore from Pillars of Hercules Organic Farm in Fife, my favourite hand churned butter (Mrs Millar had clearly been busy), Arbroath honey, pickles, Arbroath roasted coffee and even some resurrected Scottish Heritage grain flours - Beremeal and Peasemeal - shockingly not from Arbroath. The big question would be, would I end up with Red Tomato on my face or as glad as a Green Pepper? Or was it the other way round? I can always blame Fanny if it all goes horribly wrong, can't I?

Fanny Cradocks Fresh Food Express Garden

Beremeal is something I've tried before, following a memorable but sadly brief jaunt to foodie-heaven Orkney last year. I've been making traditional recipes like bannocks and scones, but wondered, would it make a nice pastry? It has quite a distinctive, nutty taste of days gone by. I used some of the expertly patted, expertly melted butter and a little hot water to bring the flour together to a dough, and lined some mini brioche tins. I fancied a nice deep tart. Well, who doesn't? Sorry, I know it's flan, Fanny despised the use of the word 'tart' in the kitchen, and in the bedroom. It took a bit of coaxing and patching into the tins but then baked blind well. I made Fanny's Leek Tart Flan filling - simply some gently cooked leeks from the box with beaten eggs, a little cream, cheese, and seasoning. Baked again, they turned out, well, just like Fannys (might've). The pastry turned out kind of like a savoury ancestral biscuit in texture and taste.

Fanny Cradocks Fresh Food Express Garden

Fanny would of course always and every time think of a buffet as the answer to delight all. The contents of the oh-so-welcome box just shout Fanny's Garden to me - some of her classic vegetable accompaniments to be clear. I'm not sure what those dedicated organic farmers would reckon to their potatoes being gently steamed, mashed, coloured green and piped into proud peaks to resemble  'trees' (be polite, we all know what we are all really thinking)? The courgettes also get steaming, before being stuffed with breadcrumbs and cheese, and baked. Same for the onions, but they are simmered in gently boiling water first. Then give them a good stuffing. Fanny normally says NEVER to cook vegetables in this way of course. Never boil. Except for this dish, seemingly.

Fanny Cradocks Fresh Food Express Garden

Every display Fanny ever turned her hand to had a few elements of bonkers-ness whimsy. So what better occasion than to trot out her lovely lemon pig creation? Oink. Just a couple of cloves studded for eyes, cocktail sticks for feet and a slither of peel from it's rather considerable underside (I'm already imagining it is real) cut to form ears and a wiggly tail. Fanny never had a carrot sharpener to my knowledge, but the one I have does make gorgeous edible flowers for decoration. Fanny would no doubt spend hours getting Johnnie to work on hers. One of the blood oranges from the box becomes a basket, naturally. Every display should have a basket. Ever the seasonal-freak I've also been foraging recently for Wild Garlic, which made a lovely butter to go with everything. So, do I win? Will Ainslie Harriet say I've done well? It's seasonal, stuffed with Scottish produce and fresh. And brightly coloured. Surely the lemon pig is worth a prize on it's own.

Fanny Cradocks Fresh Food Express Garden

Fresh Food Express sent me this box of goodies to play with, and they would also like to send you something similarly seasonal - all you have to do is enter using the Rafflcopter thingy-ma-jig below, leave a comment on this blog post and gain a few extra entries while you are at it! Don't panic, you don't have to colour your potatoes green. Fresh Food Express will send you your prize directly, if the Rafflecopter thingy-ma-jig selects you as the winner. Ready, Steady, Fanny On! (UK entries only folks)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

50 comments:

  1. Lemon pig is excellent!

    I'd never heard of those old Scottish grains/flours before, so learning about those was fascinating.

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    1. They are really interesting grain flours, I'll be using them whenever I can - very different taste! God luck!

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  2. Carrots because you can cook them in so many different ways :)

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    1. It's true you can - I love carrots, good luck!

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  3. Carrots because you can cook them in so many different ways :)

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    1. If it's worth saying once, it's worth saying twice!

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  4. Having recently supported my boyfriend through the FODMAP diet and not eaten any FODMAP foods myself for three months, I think I'd have to say any kind of allium - garlic particularly - or mushrooms, as those were the foods I've missed the most!

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    1. I don't know a great deal about that diet, but it seems restrictive - hope that it has brought benefits to your boyfriend though! The benefit to you is also thoroughly enjoying the foods you missed all over again! Good Luck!

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    2. It is massively restrictive, yes - I sincerely hope you never have to try it :)

      You're right, though, have definitely been enjoying all the foods I missed!

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  5. Replies
    1. OOOh nice choice - best o luck, hope to see your creations if you win!

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  6. Fanny would be proud, as I am sure Fresh Food Express are. Such a cornucopia of delights. Love it.

    PS - I had to Google a John Dory - OMG, I never want to see one of those again.

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    1. Gosh I hope so! Yes, poor old John Dory are in no way attractive...

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  7. Replies
    1. I do too, but always forget about it... I love it roared in the oven and slathered with butter... Mmmmm Good luck!

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  8. Love the lemon pig brilliant. I love your blog. It always makes me giggle yet at the same time I learn as well. Great to hear about ancient grains, I bake a lot so they'd be brilliant to try.

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    1. Thanks! The grains are really interesting - unusual flavours... I'm looking forward to trying more things with them! Good luck!

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  9. defo carrots, love them anyway

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    1. Popular choice! I love carrots, and have been using some rainbow ones recently! Lovely colours... Good luck!

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  10. Love my broccoli or any greens

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    1. Me too - there were lots of greens in my veg box which was lovely - including one of those green cauliflower, which was a treat! Good luck!

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    1. I always forget about leeks, so I was pleased they popped up in my box! Good luck!

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  12. Love Pillars of Hercules although it seems to rain every time I'm there

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    1. Never been, but give me the heads up if you are going again - I'll try for drier day! :-)

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  13. Sweet corn potato butternut squash and carrots

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  14. Sweet potato, it's a potato and it's sweet, mind boggling

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    1. It's also very tasty, thankfully! Good luck!

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  15. Leeks :) I love making leek and sweet potato soup, but would love to find other ways to cook this veg :)

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  16. A veritable cornucopia of Arbroath!

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  17. Cauliflower. Current obsession!

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    1. Me too! My box had a fabulous green cauliflower which was LOVELY ;-) Good Luck!

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  18. spaghetti squash is a nice treat, dont see it in supermarkets

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  19. Replies
    1. I used to be scared of beetroot, I hated the way it turned EVERYTHING Purple, but I overcame it and LOVE it now. And Golden and Candy-Stripe varieties don't bleed... ;-) Good Luck!

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  20. Ohhh some smoked garlic....just adds another dimension to cooking and so tasty!

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    1. Ooooh lovely, I'm not keen on a lot of smoked things, but Garlic is a YES, good luck!

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    2. Not sure - but it's all OK in the Rafflecopter thingy-ma-jog log which picks the winner, good luck!

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  21. Cauliflower and celeriac - 2 of my favorite and underated vegetables

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    1. I've not had celeriac in yonks actually - love it! Good luck!

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  22. Ooh the bereflour is intreaguing- I've had bere bannock on Orkney and loved it. Would love to make some sort of crackers with it.

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    1. Would work well I think - the pastry turned out quite nutty and biscuit like - crackers would be ace! I first bought some in Orkney too... Now just need to find a good use for the Peasemeal too! Good Luck!

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