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Zoë's Genuine Jersey Blog

Genuine Jersey Blog - November 2015

Get to the ‘root’ of the matter…

Get to the ‘root’ of the matter…

Root Vegetables. Yum. They just remind me of winter when the days are short and the nights are cold, they have a homely, warming feeling and their nourishing too.

There is something incredibly divine about roasted roots. Caramelised roasted parsnips, carrots and onion are a particular fave, with a little honey and olive oil to make them truly satisfying, the sweetness of the honey just makes them extra special.

If you’re making a batch of these to go along with your roast or an evening meal, make double and use the leftovers for lunch the next day. I love a warming winter salad, just boil up some pearl barley, fry some parma ham until its crisp and reheat the the roasted roots. Toss it altogether along with a vinaigrette dressing and there you have it. I find Parma ham and parsnip go extremely well together, perhaps it stems from the fact pigs in Italy bred for top quality Parma ham are often fed on just a diet of parsnips!

Parsnip 2

I believe if parsnips could speak, this is what they would say to all other root vegetables… ‘Anything you can do, I can do better!’ 

They are definitely my favourite root vegetable and they’re at their best from mid to late winter which is one of many reasons as to why I love this time of the year. They’re also so much more than a pale carrot, they’re sweeter and just as versatile. Their slightly sweet flavour makes them the perfect accompaniment or a meal in its own right.  Back in the day parsnips were actually used to sweeten dishes such as cakes and jams, until sugar became more readily available of course.

 

Cut them lengthwise and roast in a hot oven, boil and mash on their own or with potato or add them to stews or soups. There are many ways to use this cheap and easy to prepare vegetable. I particularly love to serve roast parsnip as a little nibbler before a main meal, alongside a garlic flavoured yoghurt dip. Sprinkle over any herbs you might have, coriander works well and adds a subtle kick of flavour.

 

Parsnip 3

 

No matter what they say, size matters! Pass on the enormous parsnips, they may be easier to peel but they are woody and tough, not sweet ant tender like they should be, choose the small to medium sized parsnips instead. Try to avoid parsnips with lots of tiny feather threads on, purely for the reason that they’ll burn when roasted.

You rarely do, but if you see parsnips with their green tops attached, snatch them up. These tops are a great tell tale of how recently the vegetables were picked, the green begins to wilt after a few days so look for ones with fresh and bushy tops. Store them unwashed in a perforated, unsealed plastic bag for about 2 weeks, when they start to soften they’re no good. If you’ve chosen an organic, pesticide free parsnips savour the nutrients and don't bother peeling them, just give them a gentle scrub to remove any dirt.

So enjoy these mighty roots whilst their at their best, they deserve to take centre stage as the star component to any dish.

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* NEW PRODUCTS *

MAKE IT! BAKE IT! EAT IT!

I am SO excited to launch my new products, Cookie & Brownie Mixes ready to bake at home! Now you can be the master chef.

All the ingredients are weighed out for you and packed together in a jar. All you need to do is tip it into a bowl, adding an egg and some butter and follow the simple step-by-step instructions. Great fun and delicious warm treats as a result with minimum effort. 

Buy online here or pick them up at La Belle Gourmande Delicatessen, St Aubin,  
Classic Farm Shop, St Peters Village, The Fresh Fish Company, St Helier or Holme Grown, Grouville.

Happy Baking!

 

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Zoë's Genuine Jersey Blog

Genuine Jersey Blog - October 2015

Trick or Treat...

 

Trick or Treat...

 

Is it October already? Where has the year gone! I know not everyone looks forward to Autumn and Winter, but I do as it brings lots of things that I love, especially Halloween and Christmas!

So grasp onto these wonderful occasions rather than thinking of the dark mornings and early evenings, although I actually find these mildly exciting as its and excuse to cosy up on the sofa a little earlier than usual!

 

But before you start planning your Christmas too much and heating up the mulled wine, there’s an evening of trick or treating to look forward to, closely followed by the 5th November, where we can cosy around the bonfire with a mug of mulled cider instead and watch the spectacular fireworks displays.

 

All of these occasions revolve around a feast or food of some description and one of my favourite things to use at this time of year is Pumpkin. It’s a cultivar of the squash plant hence its many appearances, so I’m not just referring to the lantern kind we carve for Halloween (aka the Jack O'Lantern Pumpkin).

 

Pumpkins

 

Having said that this winter squash is so popular mainly due to Halloween when we all set about carving out scary faces and popping a candle inside, undoubtably great fun for children and adults alike! Fittingly it’s at this time its in its prime season, running from October through to December. 

 

Carving aside, when it comes to eating your pumpkin, make sure you pick a smaller one that’s heavy for its size as it’ll have more flesh and a more intense flavour thats honied and sweet. Make sure the skin is smooth and firm too. I love how bright pumpkin is, it livens up so many dishes, but beauty aside it’s also a great source of fibre, along with having an abundance of vitamins and minerals. 

 

There’s no mistaking the hard skin which requires hard graft getting into them. I put my squash on a tea towel to help prevent it from slipping, then using a large knife cut it in half. Scoop out the seeds and any stringy bits and discard them. If its particularly big, cut it into quarters, pare off the skin, then cut into chunks or wedges, depending on what your using it for. To give an idea, if I’m roasting squash I tend to give it 30-40mins or for boiling it will need 15-20mins.

 

                                                               Pumpkin Inside

 

So delve into some autumnal cooking and use any variety of the winter crop to make soups or a sweet treat, or add it to stews or mash it up as a side, there’re plenty of ways to use up this golden treat. 

 

For a little inspiration, here are my favourite ways to use the autumnal offering. A classic combination of flavours, Pumpkin risotto, with oodles of sage and a sprinkling of walnuts, or the traditional Thanksgiving dish Pumpkin Pie, but I like to finish mine off with a topping of meringue to make it even more sweet! I also love to roast pumpkin, it makes for a nice alternative to potatoes.

 

Whichever you choose, squash is undoubtably a wonderful addition to your winter warmers!

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* About Zoë's Kitchen *

I am a food fanatic and healthy eater, but have an incredibly sweet tooth!! I love to bake, especially cookies and brownies, which I make to order, so they are as fresh as possible and really do taste as good as they look. 

But If you're a keen baker like me and fancy making them yourself, then try my Cookie & Brownie Mixes at home. All the ingredients are weighed out for you and packed together in a jar. All you need to do is tip it into a bowl, adding an egg and some butter and follow the simple step-by-step instructions. Great fun and delicious warm treats as a result with minimum effort. 

I started out by training as a chef and gained a full diploma from Leiths School of Food & Wine, London. I went on to write for the food pages of Good Housekeeping​ Magazine for many years. City living then turned into island life which gave me the opportunity to start my own food business here in Jersey.

I am now also a freelance Food Writer. Take a peek at my articles in Rural Magazine, Jersey's Country Life and online at www.genuinejersey.com/blog. 
For updates please follow me on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.
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Zoë's Genuine Jersey Blog

Genuine Jersey Blog - September 2015

Kale - Not just a superfood!

Kale - Not just a superfood!

Kale, what exactly is that I hear you say? Or how do I use it, cook it, eat it? 

So many of us see it on the front of a healthy cook book or used in a green juice but why not incorporate it into your everyday home cooking and boil or fry as confidently as you do your peas.

It's a cabbage-like vegetable and like most leafy greens it's full of goodness. But now’s the time to throw it into your shopping trolley as it's best from mid September through to late February. 

 

Kale 2

 

It comes in two forms, smooth or curly, the latter being the most common. Deep green in colour and sometimes with a blue or purple tinge.

When it comes to shopping or even picking, choose smaller leaves as these will be the most tender. I usually to trim the leaves off the centre stalk and throw the stalk away as it can be tough. Give the leaves a wash and then shred, tear or chop depending on what your making. It doesn't keep for long, a bit like spinach, and it can become bitter so try and use it before any other tougher greens you might have in the fridge. 

 

                                                                                             Kale Vers Les Monts

                                                                            Photo courtesy of Vers Les Monts Organic Farm

 

Kale is most commonly boiled but pan frying works well too and is a nice variant. I put my chopped kale in a pan with about 1cm salted water, pop the lid on and simmer for about 5 minutes until tender, draining away any excess water. Or you can pan fry it with a little oil or butter for about 10 minutes, again until wilted and tender. 

 

My favourite sumptuous winter side dish is pan fried kale with butter and the addition of flecks of crispy bacon. You can't beat it and it works really well with a Sunday Roast, a yummy alternative for the family rather than your usual greens. 

 

Kale With Bacon 

 

The internet is flooded with recipes and ideas, so the world is your oyster but my particular favourite and a slightly unusual one is ‘Kale Pesto’. All you need is kale, pine nuts, parmesan, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice, bung it all in a blender and whizz until almost smooth. I like to leave it a bit chunky, so if you do too just be careful not to blend it for too long. 

 

                                                                                    Kale Pesto (1)

 

There is also of course the typical green smoothie that is hugely nutritious and better than a fruit based smoothie as there is no way near as much sugar. My staple ingredients are kale, spinach, mint, parsley, ginger, lime, celery, apple, coconut water and ice. Again whizz in a blender until completely smooth this time and hey presto!

 

So get out there and grab yourself some of the green stuff. Give it a go and hopefully in the future it will make it onto your weekly shopping list. Enjoy the locally grown crop whether your adding it to a Warm Salad or a Soup, a Frittata or a Stir Fry, or with Pasta or as a side!

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