Harvest 6th September 2011

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It may have taken awhile, but in the last few weeks, we’ve been having some regular harvests from the plots. Regular crops of potatoes, carrots, shallots, purple french beans, lettuce and peas. The peas were sweet, delicious and quickly devoured.

Due to time pressures, previous harvests have been simply steamed or lightly boiled and served with maybe a peanut butter sauce or some vege sausages. These cooking choices also stemmed from a desire to taste the veg naked, to judge how good it was. The carrots earthy, sweetness was apparent right from pulling them from the ground, making me want to eat them there and then. I managed to get them home, though, ready to scrub the lumps of clay off them. Once chopped, I did sample and the full, rich but juicy taste was thrillingly perfect. The shallots have the sharp, spicy tang that was hoped for too.

The only disappointment is the potatoes. They have a great texture and look beautiful, however, I find them slightly bland tasting. I more of a Pink Fir Apple girl, or prefer Charlotte salad flavours. But, I was given these to plant by another plot-holder, at a time I was chasing myself coming backwards, trying to get something planted in this first season. So another dish of boiled potatoes didn’t excite; therefore, something more exciting had to be achieved here. Being a lucky parent of two growing boys, I decided to ask them what they’d like. The suggestion from the 14 year old was chips, from the 10 year old was french fries. I explained that I couldn’t do french fries easily, but the idea of chips made me think of the pan cooked wedges my mum used to make (not frequently enough in her children’s opinion.)

I had The Soil Association’s Grown in Britain cookbook which is arranged around seasonally grown produce. On looking up potatoes they had a double spread with short recipes offering suggestions ranging from baked gratins to oven wedges. These wedges, were exactly what I was looking for. The recipe was a short paragraph long and looked so easy- it involved halving the potatoes, then quartering the halves, roasting them in a hot oven for 30 mins with olive oil, salt, cumin, curry powder and oregano. I also added chopped shallot. Turning them once half way, ensured both sides crisp up.

I decided to make a simple tomato sauce with onion,french bean, carrot and (bought) carvolo nero, and serve it with ripped lettuce leaves.

It was easy, quick enough and exceedingly good. Having two growing boys, used to rissottos, pasta sauces, stir fries with rice etc., they were excited to have a roasted potato dinner. They both enjoyed it thoroughly, with the older son asking for more wedges. I would definitely do this again and will forget any thoughts of frozen oven chips in future.

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