This Autumn It’s more important than ever
to ‘Eat Local’
With empty shelves in supermarkets, it’s a good idea to work out what food you can buy locally, in case lack of lorry drivers, etc. means we are going to have a shortage.
Since lockdown, many local enterprises have started up, selling eggs from backyards, vegetables from allotments, etc. Often this local produce is cheaper than supermarket prices: – I now pay £1.50 for half-a-dozen enormous fresh local new-laid eggs – can’t be bad!
So find local produce (some of it free) by looking on neighbourhood websites, Facebook pages, village gossip, etc!
In Britain we grow and produce a fantastic range of foods, and by buying British food we support our economy. Also, we have very high standards of animal welfare and food production and have some of the most traceable food systems in the world. And by buying locally think of the ‘food miles’ you are saving.
If you have a ‘too tired to cook’ day, think about nuts as an easy way to eat healthily. Nuts are good for everybody, especially Vegans and Vegetarians.
Kentish Cobnuts are now available in Greengocers and many supermarkets, and can even be picked in the Hedgerows. In the run-up to Christmas, supermarkets suddenly cater to nut-lovers like me, and are beginning to realise that many of us like to buy freshly-picked nuts and crack them whilst indulging in an orgy of sofa-surfing.
If you like walnuts, look out for ‘wet’ walnuts; these are fiddly to crack and peel, but a special treat whilst they are young and fresh. And don’t forget the woods are full of sweet chestnuts now. All free!. And good for you!
When you are feeling tired, a large handful of nuts can make up for lost protein, necessary for building bones, muscles, and skin. So keeping some in the store cupboard in an air-tight container can help when you have a ‘down day’. While all nuts contain protein, some provide more than others. Here are some of the benefits:
Walnuts Protein: 4.5 grams per 2ozs Walnuts are also a source of heart-healthy fats. Specifically, they contain more omega-3 fatty acids, in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), than any other nut.
Pistachios Protein: 6 grams per 2 ozs A serving of pistachios provides as much protein as one egg. These nuts are ‘goodies’, as they have a higher ratio of essential amino acids relative to their protein content, compared with most other nuts .
Cashews Protein 5 grams per 2 ozs serving .Another nut that is technically a seed. A serving provides about 80% of the Daily Value for copper, which supports immunity and aids the creation of red blood cells and connective tissue
Pine nuts Protein: 4.5 grams per 2 ozs. Pine nuts are the seeds of certain varieties of pine cones..
GAME is in season
Game is in season up until the New Year, and basically includes meat that roams freely around the countryside, so is definitely free-range. My favourite is Pheasant, known for its distinct mild gamey flavour; if you like chicken you will probably love this bird. If you live in the deep countryside or near a posh London or Edinburgh Butcher, you might find they even have Partridge, Woodcock. Grouse or Snipe – and today they all come oven-ready, so are an easy thing to pop in the oven and serve with whatever you serve up with chicken. .
With scare stories of a Turkey shortage for Christmas, perhaps now is the time to stock up the freezer for Christmas Dinner. And Game can provide a glamorous alternative to turkey..
Pheasant is lean, rich in iron and protein but low in fat and if you’ve never cooked this before, it is easy-peasy. They are even sold Oven Ready, so you just pop it straight into the oven.
You might want to stuff it with 1 oz butter, plus any of the following you have available: bay leaf, juniper berries, leeks, onion, black and white and green peppercorns, rosemary, sage, thyme. Place breast down in a roasting tin, then I drizzle an inch of stock or water around it, and roast according to butcher’s or printed label on bird, turning it 15 mins before the end, so the breast gets nicely browned. Cooking it this way means it is juicier, and the liquid makes good gravy..
One pheasant serves one person with a large appetite, or two normal people, or three if they have small appetites. Serve it on a small carving board between two people, and let them carve their own (saves you having to do this).
After the meal, as most people will have hacked at the bird and left meat on the bones, put the carcasses into a large pot and boil them up for soup. There are loads of recipes on the Internet, and don’t forget to add in left-over veggies.
Serve Game with Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, etc. roast potatoes, bread sauce and gravy.
Pigs in Blankets. These are so easy to make and go well with Pheasant, etc :
Take as many Chipolatas as you think everyone will eat Plus one rasher of streaky bacon for two chipolatas. Spread the bacon out, cut each slice in two and roll it round the sausages (you can secure it with a toothpick if you want them neat).
Pop around the chicken, pheasant, turkey etc. when it goes in the oven, Take out when crisp brown and sizzling (30 – 40 mins)
And for a well-loved Pud
It’s got to be Apple Crumble. A Crumble is a ‘forgiving’ sort of recipe – you can add in what you like, but here is my basic ‘go to’ version
- 1.5 kg mixed apples , (you can use cookers like Bramley, or any to hand)
- 150 g golden caster sugar
- 1 lemon or scatter a few cloves
- For topping:
- 50 g unsalted butter , (cold)
- 100 g plain flour or mix in some Oats for crunch
Put thinly sliced apples into a greased over dish, then drizzle water and sugar (to taste) over these Or use pureed apples. Grate lemon zest or sprinkle a few cloves into dish.
Rub together the butter and floor, sprinkle over apples and pop into oven at 180 degrees for about 40 – 50 mins. But keep an eye on it, as cooking time will depend on how deep is your basin.
And enjoy with cream or clottted cream!