Jersey Royals are in season

Jersey Royals are a delicious, nutty flavoured, little new potato, grown exclusively on the beautiful British island of Jersey, just off the west coast of France. They’re naturally fertilised with Vraic (seaweed) that is washed up on the shores from the tidal flows and have been grown on Jersey for over 130 years.  The majority of these tasty little morsels are still hand lifted from the ground by the island’s 20 major farmers. They’re high in vitamin C and fibre as well as containing less calories than both pasta and rice. They have less fat than cous cous and they’re gluten free too. Their slow releasing carbohydrates make them perfect for a low GI diet; keeping your fuller for longer thereby keeping hunger at bay.

In order for potatoes to be sold as Jersey Royals, they must be grown on the island and they have been awarded EU Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), thereby ensuring their provenance and integrity.  Jersey grows, harvests and exports between 30-40,000 tonnes per year, and at the peak season in May, can export up to 1,500 tonnes per day!  That’s a whole lot of potatoes!!!!

Jersey Royals with Asda

So, what can you do with Jersey Royals then?  Well, they’re absolutely perfect for boiling, steaming or roasting in their skins. Having cold with a salad, enrobed in creamy garlic infused mayonnaise, sprinkled gently with freshly chopped chives. Alternatively, why not make a delicious vegetable curry with them?

I’ve got two recipes to share with you, both featuring delicious Jersey Royals, and both of which are completely different to each other.  See my posts for a tasty Jersey Royal and Vegetable Curry or a delicious roast leg of lamb steaks with oven roasted Jersey Royals.

This and my recipe posts were sponsored by Asda & Jersey Royals for which I was provided with a gift voucher to purchase ingredients to make my meals.

 

National Sandwich Week with the Central Co-Operative

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Having previously managed the payroll for a very large food manufacture of about 100,000 sandwiches a day many years ago, the invitation from the Central England Co-Operative to create a great sandwich combination using tasty ingredients that could be found in your local store to celebrate National Sandwich week was was right up my street!

As the weather has been very changeable recently, including snow, hailstones, ice, wind and sunshine (and all in one day too!) I decided on a combination of a hot, toasted, sandwich and a lovely salad to go with it. I bought a variety of ingredients including a pack of sandwich thins, Mozzarella cheese, tomato pesto, mixed salad leaves, beautifully sweet Piccolo tomatoes, sweet baby peppers and some delicious mixed root vegetable crips to make my lunch.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
After preparing a really quick salad using the leaves, peppers and tomatoes, I simply tipped some of the root vegetable crisps into a small bowl and set about preparing my toasted sandwich.

Drain the Mozzarella and slice about 5mm thick.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
The Sandwich Thins are pre-sliced so it’s very quick and simple to separate the two halves.  Place a couple of generous teaspoons of the tomato pesto on one side of the bread.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Spread the pesto over the bread into a relatively even layer.  Repeat with the other sandwiches as required.  I made two for lunch today; one each for my husband and myself.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Tear the mozzarella slices into strips and cover the pesto.  I’ve left a small gap around the edges to stop the cheese oozing out (and being wasted) on to my sandwich press. Top with the other half of the Sandwich thin.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Preheat your sandwich maker (I have an Antony Worrall Thompson for Breville flat sandwich press that I’ve had for many years).

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Place your sandwich onto the sandwich maker and close the lid.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Toast for a few minutes until the top is nicely browned and the mozzarella has started to melt.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Slice diagonally using a sharp knife.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Serve with a helping of salad and some of the root vegetable crisps.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Tasty (the sandwich that is!)

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative

I was sent a voucher from the Central England Co-Operative to buy my ingredients to participate in the creation for National Sandwich Week.

Wonky Veg Blogger Challenge with Asda

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As a youngest of four children to parents who turned virtually all of their large garden over the growing of vegetables, I grew up knowing and appreciating the hours of hard work, dedication, blood, sweat and tears that goes into producing a harvest of fine fruit and vegetables for the table, not to mention knowing the provenance of my food.  Dad didn’t grown food because it would come out of the ground looking pretty, but because he wanted his family to eat wholesome food that mum would then turn into the most amazing meals for us to eat (IF we left it there long enough to get to the kitchen table that is.  Pods of peas were generally found empty and carrots were pulled and sneakily consumed straight from the garden but us all; including mum and dad!) We didn’t have much of a lawn in our large garden, because dad said “you can’t eat grass!” Our playground was the playing fields, tennis courts and running tracks of the school 2 minutes away at the back of the houses opposite my parents’.

This time last year, after a campaign my Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty on their Friday Night Feast programme, Asda was one of the supermarkets to launch wonky fruit and veg for sale at discounted prices in their stores in a bid to help reduce this abhorrent food waste.  The public embraced this common sense approach and continues to do so today and Asda are now the first major UK supermarket to sell the Wonky Veg Box.  You may even have seen that Jamie and Jimmy featured this on Friday night (5th February) on their Channel 4 Programme highlighting the success of this trial.   Therefore, when I was approached to take part in the Wonky Veg Blogger Challenge in association with the launch of the Wonky Veg Box by Asda, that is being trialled in 128 of their stores I just couldn’t refuse!

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Having been sent a box of vegetables, which Asda say “could feed a family of 4 for a week”, which they’re selling for the bargain price of £3.50, along with a selection of food prep goodies, including a spiralizer, and a gift voucher with which to buy any additional ingredients to compliment my vegetables, I couldn’t wait to get stuck in with my challenge.

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Saturday being a non work day should have equalled a lay in, but oh no, not in my house when I have good food to prepare! At 8:30am I was already in my kitchen, my hair was tied up and my apron was on preparing to cook up a storm!

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Using less than half of the potatoes and a couple of the leeks, along with two onions, I set to making a simple but tasty potato and leek soup for lunch.  Simply chop the onions finely and sauté off in a little bit of butter, to soften, without colouring.

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Sliced the leeks and cube your potatoes and add them to the pan.  Cook out gently for another 6-8 minutes, until the potatoes start to soften too.

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Pour in about 500ml milk and bring to a simmer. Don’t boil it as you can split the milk.  Continue to cook until the potatoes are cooked through.

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Using a stick blender or a food processor, blend the soup until you get the desired consistency; be that with chunks or smooth.  Season with salt and white pepper to taste, and adjust the thickness if necessary with some boiling water.  Serve, with a little bit of sprinkled paprika over the top and some crusty bread. (You can even cube and fry some stale bread into croutons.  Don’t throw that stale bread away; it’s great for making croutons or for blitzing into breadcrumbs, you know).

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Dinner was next on my thought trail, so for this I decided I’d go for a hearty casserole.  The weather this weekend was wet, cold and blustery, so what would be better later than battening down the hatches, and tucking into some delicious and comforting food?  To go with the Wonky Veg from my box, I bought 3 sirloin steaks and a bottle of Merlot red wine, some chopped tomatoes, double cream, Thyme and gruyere cheese.

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Cut the steak into bite sized cubes.  Add to a hot frying pan to which you’ve added a splash of oil and sear all over to colour the outside for that added ‘oompf’ of flavour.

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Remove the browned steak to a casserole dish and set aside.

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Meanwhile cut your carrots, leeks, parsnip, red and green peppers and a couple more onions into even sized pieces and add to the pan that you’ve just removed your steak from (don’t let those amazing pan flavours go to waste!).  Add half a bottle of red wine and cook out for 5 minutes to remove the alcohol, scraping the bottom of your pan with a wooden spoon to release those unctuous meat juices from the bottom.

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Pour in a tin/carton of chopped tomatoes and a generous pinch of thyme which you need to have chopped.  Bring to a simmer.

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Pour the tomatoes and vegetables over the steak pieces in your casserole dish and stir together.

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Put the lid on and cook slowly about 150℃ for 3-3½ hours.  (You could even put this into a slow cooker and let it (as my mum would say) ‘chuggle’ away all day while you get on with whatever you have to get on with.

For my veg accompaniment, I chose to make a take on a potato dauphinoise using the addition of one of the two Savoy cabbages from my box to the equation.

In a large saucepan, add about 300ml double cream, 100ml milk, some grated nutmeg and a clove of garlic (that you’ve bashed open, rather than crushed).  Bring this to a gentle simmer whilst you prepare the potatoes and cabbage.

Peel and slice the potatoes thinly (I use a hand held Oxo Good Grips Mandoline on setting 2 for this) remove the central stalk and and finely shred the cabbage.  Butter the inside of a dish that you’ll be using and add a layer of potatoes, overlapping each slice to create ‘swirls’.  Top this with the shredded cabbage and another layer of the potato slices.  Press down to compress to form a potato/cabbage ‘cake’.

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Add salt and pepper to taste to your cream and milk mixture, then remove (discard) the ‘bashed’ garlic clove and pour this mixture over your potato and cabbage.  Sprinkle generously with some grated Gruyere cheese.  Butter the inside of some tin foil (to stop it sticking to the cheese) and place this over the top of your dauphinoise.

 

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Leaving the casserole in the oven, turn it up to 180℃, place the dauphinoise in the oven and cook for 35-40 minutes.  Remove the foil and allow to brown for another 10-15 minutes until the top is golden and the potatoes are cooked when poked with a knife blade.

Serve and enjoy!

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My box certainly won’t be feeding this family of 3 for a week (we’re one member of the family down as he is away at University), but we did get lunch and dinner out of the box, with leftovers of each dish to enjoy tomorrow night.

This is all I have left in my box:  One large and wonky cucumber, five onions, one red pepper and a savoy cabbage.  Not bad for £3.50 eh?  I’ll certainly be buying one in the future!

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I was invited to join the campaign and was sent the Wonky Veg box, along with the vegetable preparation tools and an Asda gift voucher to buy additional ingredients.

Quark Winterberry Wobbly Cheesecake

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I was invited to take part in a Mistletoe and Quark food blogger challenge to come up with a recipe using the Lake District Dairy Co. Quark.  Originally I intended to make a cheesecake but the final outcome is more like a pannecotta; with that hint of a wobble (a bit like my thighs, some may say!) and one which I’m very pleased with too.

As a lover of things tart and not too sweet, this is what I created:

150g Digestive biscuits
10ml Ground Cinnamon
90g   Butter
4       Gelatine leaves
60ml Orange juice
200g Light Philadephia
500g Quark
200g Icing sugar
5ml   Nielsen Massey Vanilla bean paste
250g Cranberries
1       Orange, grated zest and juice
75g   Caster sugar

1. Line a 20cm/8″ spring form tin with baking parchment.
2. Crush the Digestive biscuits and add the ground cinnamon.
3. Melt the butter, pour onto the biscuits and cinnamon then mix thoroughly.
4. Tip the biscuit and butter mix into your prepared tin and press well down into an even layer.
5. Place into the ‘fridge to chill.
6. Place the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for 5-6 minutes until softened.
7. Heat the orange juice in a small saucepan until warm.
8. Squeeze the water from the gelatine leaves and add to the warmed orange juice, then heat together gently until the gelatine has dissolved.  Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
9. In a large bowl, whisk together the Philadelphia cheese, Quark, icing sugar and vanilla bean paste.
10. Gradually pour in the orange juice and gelatine mixture in a slow stream whilst continuing to whisk until combined.
11. Pour this Quark mixture over the chilled biscuit base, smooth the top and leave in the ‘fridge to set overnight.
12. In a saucepan, place the cranberries, orange zest and juice with the sugar.
13. Bring to the boil then continue to cook on a simmer for 15-20 minutes until the cranberries have burst and the mixture is thick.
14. Pour this cranberry sauce into a bowl, cover and leave until cold.
15. Remove the cheesecake from the ‘fridge and pour over the cranberry sauce, spreading out to an even layer.

Serve chilled and enjoy the sharpness of my wobble!

I was sent a box of chilled Quark with which to create my low fat, tasty seasonal dessert to enable me to take part in the Food Blogger Challenge.