Sunday, 10 October 2010

My First Veg Box

On Thursday my first organic veg box from a local farm arrived.  The variety of veg was not bad given the time of year - there were a few potatoes (glad there were not too many as we still have a lot of our own potatoes), four large leeks, some carrots and onions, a handful of runner beans, a cauliflower, a cabbage, a very large swede and some curly kale.

We like our vegetables but this is quite a lot to get through before the veg starts to deteriorate and our freezer is already full to bursting with Holly Grove produce, so I had to make things that would use the maximum amount of veg in the shortest time.

First on the list was something to accompany fillets of trout that I had bought for our supper on Thursday.  The runner beans were an obvious choice and something using some of the lovely leeks, but what?  Then I remembered a dish that my Mum used to make when I was a child - stovies!  Any Scots reading this may need no further explanation, though from my experience family recipes vary.  The stovies my Mum made used potatoes, onions, butter and milk and it was cooked in a saucepan on top of the stove; this delicious concoction would be served in bowls with crusty, well buttered bread - real comfort food.

My interpretation is really a variation of dauphinois and uses leeks instead of onions - posh stovies.  The dish was perfect with the simply cooked trout and runner beans, the richness of the stovies went so well with the lightness of the fish - lovely!

A vegetable curry was next on the list and delicious it was too - that was Friday night's meal served with naan and vegetable pakoras.

Then using some beef from the local butcher and leeks, carrots, onions and swede I made a large slow cooked casserole - some eaten last night and the rest for a pie filling for tonight's supper.  The pie I'll serve with creamed potato and swede and some of the dark curly kale.

After all of this there is still enough veg left to make a warming soup and some vegetable stock that I may just be able to squeeze into the freezer - phew!  To be honest I'm not sure veg boxes are for me, I think I'd rather select my veg myself and probably buy smaller quantities more often, but it has been an interesting experience and reminded me of a childhood dish long forgotten - oh, and here's my recipe...

Posh Stovies
Serves 2-3
125ml double cream
125ml milk
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 bay leaf
good grating of nutmeg
salt and pepper
2 good sized potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
1 large leek, cleaned and thickly sliced
leaves stripped from a few sprigs of fresh thyme
a handful of freshly grated parmesan cheese

Put the first five ingredients in a saucepan and simmer together for 5 minutes to infuse the milk/cream mixture.  Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.

Take an earthenware ovenproof dish and grease generously with softened butter.  Lay a layer of potatoes in the bottom of the dish and sprinkle with some of the thyme, add the leek slices in a layer over the potatoes and then cover the leek with another layer of potatoes, sprinkle the remaining thyme over the potatoes.

Pour the milk/cream mixture over the layered potato and leek.  Oil the inside of a piece of tinfoil and then use this to cover the dish, oilside down.  Put the dish on a baking sheet in the oven 200C for about 40 minutes or until the potato is soft.  Remove the foil and press down the potatoes with the back of a serving spoon then sprinkle over the parmesan and return to the oven for about 10 minutes until the top is golden.

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