Last weekend I had a brilliant Saturday. The first part spent with Molly at the fabulous Maltby Street Market drinking Monmouth coffee, looking at some (unaffordable) antiques, tasting great wine with our friend below (bought from the lovely Booths) and eating delicious food at 40 Maltby Street. It was all very relaxing.
I took this wonderful Globe Artichoke home with three others, ready to boil up for dinner. They are the simplest and most tasty things to eat. The plants need about a metre each to grow. If only we had more space.
To cook them, cut off their stems, plunge into boiling water and let bubble away for about 25-30 minutes, or longer if they are particularly large. Then simply serve with a classic french vinaigrette, in this case made by the lovely JLau. Or if you’re feeling a bit more fancy and energetic, they are also great with a nice hollandaise. You peel off the leaves one by one, dipping in vinaigrette and chewing the goodness at the bottom of each leaf. Eventually you arrive at the choke, remove the hairs (they are what make you choke) and eat the heart. Delicious.
Prior to the artichoke eating we had decided to do a bit of ‘harvesting’ and thank goodness we had CBo who ‘grew up digging potatoes’ here to help us. He reassured us it was the right time and offered gentle words of encouragement as James rifled through the earth discovering potatoes in all sorts of varied states of development. They ranged from miniscule to perfect to rotten. CBo wisely guided us through the process assuring us that this was the perfect time to dig them. So dig we did and this was our entire potato harvest:
I simply boiled them up, added a bit of butter and some mint and they were great. James said ‘not the best he had’, I disagree. They were earthy and wonderful and I loved them.
Next up we picked some of our dwarf green beans, one runner bean (cut into four so everyone could have a taste), six extraordinary shaped carrots and one courgette. Again CBo was able to offer his extreme expertise in the troublesome carrot shapes, suggesting all sorts of complications in the soil composition. However, I wasn’t that interested because I think they are characterful and amazingly tasty. I will admit though that I have a certain amount of bias and am akin to a blindly dotting parent when it comes to my vegetables.
Anyway, more to the point I didn’t want to mess with the flavour of these vegetables and wanted to taste them as fresh as they were. So I melted some butter in a frying pan, chopped up the veg and a couple of cloves of garlic and then fried them for just under five minutes so they were still nice and crunchy. Very simple and very good. You really can’t beat fresh produce. We served it with some chicken which I successfully managed to burn on the BBQ and a yummy Ottolenghi bulghar wheat salad.