Slow Food London set a challenge: could regular Londoners go slow for an entire year? Would it be easy? Would it be hard? Would there be times when it would (slowly) start to go wrong?
Here, Susan Paul talks us through her forty-sevenh week:
It was good to see asparagus at the farmers market this week and it was far cheaper than I have seen in other places and also I know the bundle I bought is British. I steamed it and we ate it simply with only a little good butter and some rock salt – it was a delicious treat.
The herbs in our garden are growing very well now and I have started making mint sauce again to have with lamb. This week, a half leg slowly roasted with garlic, thyme, rosemary and new season’s potatoes eaten with purple sprouting broccoli.
In addition to the asparagus to add to the bulging bags of vegetables bought from the Perry Court Farm stall, I bought lots of salad leaves from the Wild Country Organics stall. These included land cress and a new one for me, Tatsoi, apparently a Japanese version of Pak Choi but with more slender stems and a stronger, more fiery flavour – particularly good raw in salads or finely sliced into soups.
Some of the many other good things have been; leftover chicken and barley soup made with homemade chicken stock, leeks, and spring cabbage and laced with fresh mint and lemon; more leftover chicken, stir fried with spring onions, garlic, and pak choi and tossed in a dressing of mustard, thyme, oil and vinegar; a simple Italian meal out – trofie pasta with rocket and Parmesan pesto and a glass of Montepulciano.
I have been seeking out more British cheeses to try and ordered five from The Urban Cheesemaker based in London which also have a stall at Borough Market. We tried three this week; St. Bruce and Howard, which we toasted on sourdough bread, and Ellis (my favourite of the three) which has a delicious rind.
We also had more different British beers – there are so many good ones available now and they are all lovely in their different ways. We have also tried Apple Spirit, which is rather like Calvados. Ours, a generous gift, was produced at Sandringham in Norfolk. It is fiery stuff but very good neat, and can be diluted with ginger ale to make a long drink, which is very good too.
The lovely apples (ours are from the Ringden Farm stall at the Farmers market) have almost come to end for this season so we are relying on pears and stewed Bramley cooking apples, which are all still very good and also some rhubarb for our daily fruits until the eagerly anticipated summer berries become available.
Chatting with friends about other Farmers markets has made me even more aware of how lucky I am to live near to such a good one as that in Barnes and also our lovely butchers, cheese and fish shops.
I was pleased to read about the National Farmers Union campaign to promote eating British food, which is supported by Tom Kerridge. I am now well aware of the benefits of good locally produced food and really hope many others will be persuaded too.