In this week’s video, Jane gives you tips on using sweetcorn, savoy cabbage and calabrese broccoli.
what’s what in the box – 4th october 2010
Here is our recipe for creamed corn with cumin and thyme.
Try cooking it in a little bit of oil with bacon and caraway seeds. Cook the seeds and bacon, then when the seeds start to pop, throw in the shredded, washed cabbage and sweat it down for 5 minutes.
Try this recipe for Annie O’Carroll’s roast calabrese with chilli and soy.
You may have noticed that sweetcorn started early this year. We had hoped to have our first ever crop from our French farm in the Vendée, but sadly the weeds took over and dashed our plans. Sweetcorn is a temperate crop and needs good light levels and warm sun to flourish, so we sourced some early on from Suffolk, where the growing conditions are ideal. The sweetcorn in the boxes now is grown by Jono Smales in the New Forest and Peter Wastenage and John Walter-Symonds, two of our SDOP members in Devon. They judge when the cobs are ripe by feel alone; if you start peeling back the leaves and peeking inside, the cob quickly deteriorates.
Keep sweetcorn in the fridge encased in its outer leaves (the best sort of packaging) and eat it within a day or two for the best flavour. To enjoy it at its simplest, pull off the outer leaves and silky threads, before boiling for 5-10 minutes in unsalted water until tender. Smear with good old fashioned butter. It is also good on the BBQ, if you haven’t yet packed it away for winter. Soak the unpeeled cobs in water for an hour, then cook very gently for 25-45 minutes until the leaves turn brown. The peeled-back leaves make a natural handle for the cooked cobs.
If a particular recipe calls for the kernels only, they are very easy to remove (either raw or cooked). Cut off the end to give some stability, stand it up and slice downwards, cutting the kernels off with a sharp knife. Our cook Kirsty demonstrates this on last week’s ‘what’s what in the box’ video. You could make a smoky salsa with the kernels, to serve with grilled meat or fish. Spread uncooked kernels out on an oven tray and dry roast at 160°C for about 20 minutes, then mix with kidney beans, chopped fresh tomatoes and an oil and vinegar dressing. They are also good for making soup. Cook a chopped onion and a couple of garlic cloves in butter until soft, add the kernels from three corn cobs and cover with a mixture of half water and half milk. Simmer for 10 minutes, then purée, pass through a sieve and season to taste. If you have a favourite recipe for sweetcorn, enter it in our monthly competition to win a fruit box.
In this week’s video, Kirsty talks about sweetcorn and sweet potatoes. Look out for the baby cows!
what’s what in the box – 20th september 2010
If you don’t have a big cooking pot, make an incision and the cob should snap in half. Here is a recipe Jane uses for sweetcorn fritters.
If you’re not a vegetarian, we have a recipe for chicken and sweetcorn soup here.
order our sweetcorn online
These can be used for a simple supper dish – roast them like a jacket potato. You can also mash them. You can slice them thinly and use in a gratin and you don’t need to peel them. They also work well roasted in wedges with olive oil, paprika, cayenne and a few herbs at 200˚C (gas 6) for 40-45 minutes.
order our sweet potatoes online
We are back to our Devon drizzle and there is a side of me that is almost pleased. Some of our crops certainly needed the rain and we can finally pack away all those pumps and sprinklers for the year, secure in the knowledge that nothing will be thirsty for the next seven months. After two dreadful summers when the corn struggled to ripen, we downgraded our yield predictions and planted more acres to make up the numbers. This year the crop has been late and looked dodgy in July but the September sun saved us, bringing our highest yields ever. With it all ripening at the same time, corn is in just about every box and will be again next week and the week after. I have felt obliged to eat my share of the mountain; after tiring of the ever-convenient corn on the cob (that took a while) I have moved onto corn fritters. There are two fritter recipes on the website; I recommend the one including polenta flour. They are a great starter or canapé if you make them small enough; excellent with a fresh salsa of chilli, tomatoes, marinated red onions and fresh herbs.
As the weather changed I have moved on again to soups; there are several recipes on the website including Jane Baxter’s very good chicken, leek and sweetcorn soup. As autumn advances I am remembering a winter in Maine and thinking chowder. Last weekend I nursed a hangover by rowing down the river and collecting a bucket of clams which ended up in a hearty chowder with corn, leek, potato, fennel, a little bacon and plenty of parsley. I reckon it would work with most shellfish. Just Google ‘chowder’, but don’t use as much flour and milk as the Americans go for unless you enjoy soup like wallpaper glue. Jane also likes to add cooked corn to a frittata with kidney beans, grated cheese and red onion; a simple but tasty weekday supper.
Price is not everything, but as we are repeatedly told that “every little helps”, I thought I would reassure you that our boxes continue to be about 20% cheaper than Tesco, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s, against whose prices we compare ourselves each month. The Roots and Greens box came out 45% cheaper in our most recent comparison and was about the same price as non-organic supermarket veg. That’s without factoring in our free delivery (the supermarkets tend to charge). The price comparison is a pretty painstaking task each month; if you’d like to find out more go to ‘compare prices’ in the ‘about us’ section on the website.
The current spell of bright, sunny weather means now is the ideal time to enjoy corn at its ripe, sweet best. Our field workers judge when a cob is ready by feel alone; if you peel back the leaves it will quickly deteriorate. The most damaging (and unlikely-sounding) pest to the crop is our local badger population. Badgers have a sweet tooth and adore wreaking havoc through a field, grabbing mouthfuls of sweetcorn and generally delighting in destruction. An electric fence can keep them at bay, but even then they have been known to outsmart us.
Keep sweetcorn in the fridge encased in its outer leaves (the best sort of packaging) and use within a day or two for the best flavour. It tastes great on the BBQ, if you haven’t yet packed it away for winter; soak the unpeeled cobs in water for an hour, then cook very gently for 25-45 minutes until the leaves turn brown. If you are boiling the cobs, pull off the outer leaves and silky threads, before cooking for 5-10 minutes in unsalted water until tender.
You can stand a cob on its end and slice the kernels off with a sharp knife, although the most satisfying way to eat sweetcorn is undoubtedly to grip it with both hands and gnash off the kernels. For a new slant on the traditional, serve with red pepper and chive butter. Put skinned roasted red peppers, butter, garlic and chilli sauce in a food processor and whizz until combined, then stir in chopped chives, season well and smear on the cobs. Or make a quick soup. Cook a chopped onion and crushed garlic cloves in butter until soft, add the kernels from three corn cobs and cover with a mixture of half water and half milk. Simmer for 10 minutes then purée and pass through a sieve. Cooked sweetcorn is also good in a frittata with kidney beans, grated cheese and red onion. We have chosen sweetcorn fritters as the starter in our ‘box to share’ menu to introduce new people to Riverford; you can find the recipe on the website.