One of my home grown veggies has enjoyed the heatwave this year. It's the freaky Serpent of Sicily, also known as a cucuzza. Seeds from Franchi - Seeds of Italy. I'm going to see if this one will reach the ground.
My name is Mrs Madumbi. I am a new occasional contributor to Suffolk Foodie. My focus, though by no means not exclusively, will be on food from Africa. Guess what I found in a Tesco in Sheffield? - amaDumbe. You could mistake this rather ugly, occasionally hairy, vegetable for a mutant potato, but it has a delicate taste of its own - like no other. The amaDumbe, more commonly called madumbi in South Africa, is called eddoes in the Caribbean and Tesco, and taro elsewhere. Do remember this plant can be toxic in its raw form. Madumbis are usually peeled before cooking and can be boiled or steamed, whole or cubed. As a child growing up in southern Africa I loved this vegetable. It was always boiled in its skin for 20/25 minutes (depending on size) until the fleshy part gave when pricked with a fork. After cooking, the water was drained and discarded. The skin comes away easily once cooked. The rather grey inside of the madumbi has a nutty, slightly sweet taste (think distant cousin of sweet potato). The texture can appear slimey and unusual but it is not, so please do not be put off. Newcomers quickly acquire a taste for this versatile little tuber. It is delicious served simply 'potato style' with salt and butter. It can be mashed and mixed with caramalised onions or leeks; added to soups and curry dishes; sliced thinly with a mandolin for crisps and oven-baked or fried.
Harriet makes courgetti for her work colleagues.They take her courgettes from their gardens and she spiralises away in the evening. Well someone has to do it!
I couldn't resist these Nar Valley grown tomatoes from Swaffham High Street greengrocers. All shapes and colours with a kilo for £4.
Great name for a fruit and veg delivery business, don't you think?
You can't beat a plate of Norfolk asparagus and our favourite place to buy is direct from Tim Jolly at Roudham Farm. During the months of April, May and June the farm shop is open and you can see the freshly daily picked asparagus being sorted and bundled, ready to go off to Covent Garden and Spitalfields markets. The crooked spears are always a bargain if you want to make some soup or a risotto. Follow the signs between the whisky distillery and the railway station in East Harling.
Terry Rayner came home from work one day in 2003 and announced to his wife Win that he was quitting work. Win asked Terry what he was planning to do, "Start up a seed business." "Where?" asked Win. "In the garden shed" replied Terry, and so Terwin Seeds was formed. (Yes. Terry and Win, Terwin!) Win told me she was a little nervous when several tons of seed potatoes arrived on their doorstep, but the business has grown and now they have an online shop and a small unit in Cockfield, Suffolk. I met them at last weeks Edible Garden Show. As I have predicted Buckwheat to trend I picked up a pack of the sprouting seeds to try.
A favourite Winter soup which is vegetarian. Serves 6 - 8 people
- 1kg g (2 lb) Jerusalem Artichokes
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 450 g (1 lb) carrots ( peeled and sliced)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 75 g (3 oz) butter
- 1.5 L (3 pints) vegetable stock
- salt and freshly ground pepper
Peel and slice artichokes then put them into a bowl of cold water to prevent them from discolouring. ( add a slice of lemon)
Melt the butter in a cooking pot and soften the onion, celery, carrots and artichokes.
Put the lid on the pan and let the vegetables sweat for 5 minutes on a low heat.
Stir from time to time.
Pour in the stock, stir well, put the lid back on and simmer for a further 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Liquidise the soup and season to taste.
Jerusalem Artichokes are a member of the sunflower family and originate in North America, not Jerusalem. They are also known as Sunchokes in the USA. They are easy to grow and are very knobbly, potato-like tubers, with the nickname "fartichoke" for a good reason!They are delicious at this time of year and make a wonderful winter soup. Here is a recipe for Jerusalem Artichoke and Carrot Soup