Tag Archives: fruit

In my veg box this week – onions, broccoli, satsumas

15 Oct

In my veg box this week – onions, broccoli, satsumas http://wp.me/p3nbQQ-8r

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The battery in my camera ran out just as I was lining up the shot of my vegetable box this week. Some days that would be enough of an excuse to give up and not bother with the post, but I’ve had a good day and I’m in the mood to write. Luckily I just worked out recently how to embed Instagram photos in my posts, so my phone came to the rescue. On the subject of Instagram, if you’re on there and interested in pictures of my dinner, my pets, and my knitting (all fascinating obviously) you can find me at instagram.com/mrs_veg.

You might notice that the beetroot in this picture look particularly dark. It’s not the lighting nor the variety of beets, it’s actually proof that they’re local. The soil in East Anglia is black, giving both the scenery and the root vegetables an ominous hue.

This week we have:

Onions
How have I been writing about my vegetable boxes for this long without mentioning onions? I get quite a big bag of onions most weeks, about 500g. I put onions in most savoury dishes, they’re an obvious starting point for soup, stew, curry, pasta sauce. They’re also great baked, just chop them in half round the equator but don’t peel them, drizzle with a tiny bit of oil and bake for about 30 minutes.

Broccoli
Another thing I can’t believe I’ve never written about! Humble broccoli is a long-time favourite in the Veg household. Not only is it green, crunchy, and versatile but, like its friend cauliflower, it has a high surface area so it’s glorious with sauce. One of my favourite ways to cook it is to boil it with pasta (just for the last minute or two of the pasta cooking time or it will turn to mush) then serve it with any pasta sauce. It also goes particularly well with miso soup, they complement each other with their natural umami-ness.

Satsumas
I know it’s still a couple of months away, but nothing says Christmas to me quite like satsumas. The closer you get to Christmas the softer, sweeter, juicier, and more plentiful they become. By mid-December I will be eating several of these a day. For the moment, the first couple are a tantalising little hint that winter is coming, and that maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all.

Also received this week: potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, a green pepper, spinach, apples, a tiny little slug, oranges, yet more plums, a lemon.

“In my veg box this week…” is not intended as a product review, simply a description of some of the fruit and vegetables that are in season and what I like to do with them. I pay full price for my vegetable box and have no affiliation with the company that delivers them or any of their suppliers.

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In my veg box this week – cauliflower, plums

4 Oct

 

It has been a long summer, the warm weather has just about managed to last into October. Autumn is quite late coming this year, but the signs are there. I may not yet be hunkering down in a big jumper eating stew and dumplings, but the evenings are getting darker and summer cropping plants are slowing down. During the transition between the two seasons I don’t know what to expect in my veg box. Will it be the last of the summer beans, aubergines, and tomatoes, or will it be the first of the autumn squash and cabbages? This week I’ll look at one of each.

This week we have:

Plums
Plums last into autumn longer than any other stoned fruit. They ripen more slowly, which means they last a lot longer in the fruit bowl, and don’t do that annoying thing of looking fine one minute then mouldy the next. On top of this, they’re incredibly fragrant, lending themselves well to jams, cakes, and crumble.

Cauliflower
Poor cauliflower. It has such a poor reputation. Of course it does, people have been boiling it to death and smothering it with bland white sauce for years! With a bit more love and affection you can use its natural creaminess to your advantage without killing the flavour or destroying all of the nutrients. Make vegan ricotta by mashing cooked cauliflower with tofu, nooch and salt. Mix roasted cauliflower with pesto pasta to make it creamy without  being heavy or greasy. Or blend roasted cauliflower with stock and herbs to make a luxurious but healthy soup.

Also received this week: potatoes, onions, carrots, mushrooms, kale, leek, corn on the cob, oranges, apples, grapes.

“In my veg box this week…” is not intended as a product review, simply a description of some of the fruit and vegetables that are in season and what I like to do with them. I pay full price for my vegetable box and have no affiliation with the company that delivers them or any of their suppliers.

 

In my veg box this week – cucumber, raspberries, beans

30 Jul

This week we have:

Cucumber
I refuse to accept that someone doesn’t like cucumbers unless they’ve tried real cucumbers. I like supermarket cucumbers, but compared to organic or home-grown ones they’re watery, bland, and disappointing. I’d definitely recommend growing them – as well as being one of those veggies that is a million times better if you grow your own, they’re also really easy to grow and if you get a huge glut you can make a year’s worth of pickles for your burgers. Sadly we’re not growing them this year, but we’ve had one a week in our veg box for the past several weeks. As well as putting them in a salad, I also like just cutting off a chunk and nibbling on it.

Raspberries
Mr Veg teases me that I’m so ruled by my stomach that I’m not interested in growing anything that I can’t eat, and he’s absolutely right! I’ve finally (after seven years together) let him grow some flowers, they have absolutely no purpose but they make him happy, and I have to admit that they do brighten up our garden. Anyway, what does this have to do with raspberries? Oh yes, I’ve decided that when we have a house with a proper garden I’m going to fill the flower beds with as many fruit bushes as I can get away with, especially raspberries. I love the idea of pottering around the garden, picking raspberries and scoffing them while I do the gardening. Or sitting in the sun with a book and a glass of wine and a bowl of freshly-picked raspberries. Bliss. There’s a lot of different things I could do with these, but you know what? I’m just going to eat them.

Two kinds of beans
Another of my favourite things about the summer. We’ve got some speckled runner beans, and the darkest French beans I’ve ever seen. They’re so lovely to look at, it’s almost a shame to cook them as they lose the colour and end up green.

IMG_6810-2

Also received this week: beetroot, tomatoes, red pepper, chard, sweet potato, courgette, spring onions, regular onions, apples, bananas.

In my veg box this week – long-awaited greens

7 May

It has been a couple of weeks since we had a vegetable box. Last week Mr Veg and I both took part in the Living Below the Line challenge to raise money for Action Aid. For five days we each had a food budget of £1 a day, and as the vegetable box costs £15 a week it was one of the first things to go. Anyone who reads this blog regularly will know that I’m a huge vegetable fan (hence the name), so going from eating a variety of seasonal fruit and vegetables to just eating the absolute cheapest we could find was one of the most difficult parts of the challenge. I had to buy in bulk to get enough to eat, so the only fresh food we had was a huge bag of carrots, two bunches of bananas, and a couple of other bits. I normally aim to eat at least 5-7 portions of different fruit and vegetables a day, so it was a huge shock.

I’ve been interested in food poverty for a while, so to actually experience it, even though it was just for a few days, was a really important experience for me. It was difficult. It was frustrating eating bland and unvaried food. I suffered from caffeine withdrawal, general lethargy, extreme grumpiness, and my health started to suffer. I am immensely grateful that it was just five days, and it has inspired me to do more to help people who aren’t so lucky.

I’ve been blogging about the whole experience on the Living Below the Line website, so if you want to read more about what we did and why, or if you’d like to donate, please visit https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/amydittrich.

So after all that you can imagine that I’m so very thrilled to finally get a box of lovely fruit and vegetables. I’m always excited to get home from work and find the box on my doorstep, but I was especially so today. This week I’m particularly happy to have:

Muddy carrots
Yes, we have carrots every week and yes, we had an awful lot of carrots last week, but proper organic muddy carrots have so much more flavour than the cheap watery ones from the supermarket. Even if they only end up in a salad I will relish every bite.

Real potatoes
Again, we have potatoes every week, but after being stuck with horrible tinned potatoes last week it’s just lovely to have real ones again.

Spinach and spring greens
One of my worst cravings when we were Living Below the Line was for greens, so to have two different greens in one week is amazing! I’ll be putting one in a creamy pasta dish, and cooking the other with some spices, I just haven’t decided which way round yet…

Also received this week: coriander, a leek, mushrooms, onions, oranges, apples, pears, bananas.

Action Aid: http://www.actionaid.org.uk/

Live Below the Line: https://www.livebelowtheline.com/

In my veg box this week – first courgettes and peppers of the year, pak choi

26 Mar

Even though I’ve been getting a veg box for a couple of years now, it’s still really exciting every week when I get home and find it on my doorstep. Some weeks, the mystery and anticipation of bringing it in and unpacking it makes it feel like Christmas morning. Today when I picked up the bunch of bananas and found my first courgette of the year underneath it, I actually squealed with joy. I know I’ll be sick of courgettes by September (especially as I grow my own), but the first few every year are always a real treat. Numerous gluts over the years have resulted in hundreds of ideas for courgettes, but I think my absolute favourite is to add them to scrambled tofu. Yes, courgette for breakfast, I’m a real vegetable addict.

Other treats this week include:

Pointy peppers
Another exciting first of the year. These long red peppers look like giant chillies, but are sweet and fruity rather than hot. They’re another great addition to scrambled tofu, but I think this week they’ll be going into a salad or pasta dish.

Pak choi
Pak choi is a glorious green! The stems are sweet and juicy, the leafy part is similar to spinach. It’s lovely steamed, and incredible stir-fried.

Also received this week: cauliflower, yet more beetroot, onions, pears, kiwis, oranges, bananas.

 

In my veg box this week – spinach vs. kale, and coping with bananas

19 Mar

Spring is on its way and we’re finally starting to get more variety again. This week we have:

Double greens!
A massive bag of spinach and an equally huge bunch of Tuscan kale, AKA cavolo nero. I’m so excited to get two big bunches of greens because I absolutely love both. Greens are great for iron, calcium, and tonnes of vitamins, although apparently these are more bioavailable in kale than spinach. Kale is really versatile and goes really well with chilli and other spices (always a plus in my book), and has a much more satisfying bite to it. Spinach works better cooked down, squeezed out, then chopped and put in a pasta sauce, or curry, or pie filling (like a spinach quiche). I’m thinking in this case of making either spinach and tofu-ricotta pasta, or a bright green soup. Which do I prefer out of kale and spinach? For me, thanks to the texture and health advantages, kale wins (but only just).

Bananas
I love bananas, they’re my favourite portable snack, are full of potassium and fibre, and are one of the best hangover cures I know. I know I’m not alone in being a bit squeamish about overripe bananas, though. Luckily, one of the advantages of volunteering for FoodCycle is that it is curing me of this through exposure therapy. We tend to get a lot of bananas at varying stages of ripeness, from perfectly edible to black and mushy. Last Saturday I was given two bowls of frozen then partially thawed bananas to turn into ice cream. It is an awful lot of work if you don’t have a blender, but frozen bananas mashed with yoghurt and syrup make brilliant, healthy yet decadent ice cream.

Also received this week: satsumas, apples, pears, beetroot, sweet potato, carrots, onions, potatoes, mushrooms.

In my veg box this week – kale, squash, blood oranges

29 Jan

This week we have:

Kale
Very popular with vegans, thanks to its high levels of iron and calcium (amongst other vitamins and minerals). I love it stir-fried with a little chilli and garlic, maybe drizzled with a bit of tahini dressing. I also love this kale pesto recipe from low-cost recipe blogger and food poverty hero Jack Monroe (please check out her website at http://agirlcalledjack.com/). I replace the cheese with cashew nuts and a shake of nutritional yeast flakes.

Squash
I’m really happy, squash is my favourite vegetable and I’ve been getting a lot of them lately. One of the fun things about getting a vegetable box is the variety of veggies we get. We have had three squashes already this year but they’ve been completely different. This week’s squash is a pale-coloured round squash called a Blue Hubbard. I’m not a squash expert, I’ve just found a really useful website for identifying squash. I think this squash is destined for a stuffing, either with quinoa and vegetables or with spicy polenta and sweetcorn, similar to my stuffed pepper recipe.

Blood oranges
From the outside they look like a regular orange, but on the inside the flesh is somewhere on the orange-red-purple-black spectrum.  It was a bit of a shock the first time but I love them. The more colourful a fruit or vegetable is, the more phytochemicals and antioxidants it contains. Yes, it might stain your clothes if you spill any, but it will stain your insides too and that’s really good for you!

Also received this week: apples, kiwis, pears, a green pepper, a swede, some rather large parsnips, potatoes, carrots, onions.

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