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Just made tonight – not yet eaten – a winter root coleslaw with a mustardy dressing.  I used a green kohlrabi, carrots, white cabbage, golden beetroot and Chioggia (pink and white stripe) beetroot.  All raw, just sliced thinly by hand and then cut into strips.

For the dressing I used up some creme fraiche and mixed it up with mayonnaise.  Then I added wholegrain mustard to taste – I wanted it quite tangy as it gets diluted the moment you mix it with the vegetables.  We’re having this for tea with a homemade lasagne – it smells delicious and I can barely wait!

Now this is how I like my meat – slow cooked, full of moisture and soft enough you can pull it apart with a fork.  But up until now we haven’t really cooked meat like this, but after spotting a rather good-looking piece of pork belly at Davenports Farm Shop this was the moment.

We followed Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Pork Belly Roast and it didn’t let us down – not that any Jamie recipe ever has, I don’t think.  On top there was a layer of golden, crispy crackling, and beneath the meat was flavourful and soft.

We ate it drenched in gravy, with a pile of fluffy and super buttery mashed potato, and peas and broad beans.  De-lish!  Definitely one to make for friends.

When it comes to pasta bakes, I’m usually pretty unadventurous – favouring a simple tomato sauce and lumps of fresh mozzarella or the grated version.  Cooked until the cheese top is golden and crisp.

Last night I decided we needed a bit of a shake up.  Still featuring lots of cheese, of course, I made a cheesy broccoli pasta bake.  So simple, and yet it tasted nicer than I thought it would.

Heat your oven up to about 180 – 200°C.  Cut the broccoli up into bite-sized pieces.  Pop a pan of water onto boil and add your pasta. 

You want to just undercook the pasta (it carries on cooking in the oven), and add the broccoli for the last few minutes to cook a little.  Drain the pasta and the broccoli. 

While the pasta is cooking, make a cheese sauce.  I use equal amounts of butter and flour to make a roux, then add hot milk a bit at a time, and stir like mad with a whisk to keep it smooth.  Bring to the boil and keep whisking – this was my job when I was growing up. 

Add lots of grated mature Cheddar to the sauce and stir in until melted.  Pour the cheese sauce over the drained pasta and broccoli and mix together. 

Put the whole lot into an ovenproof dish, sprinkle over an extra bit of grated cheese and bake for 20-30 minutes until golden and bubbling.

I would pop this firmly in the category of ‘Comfort Food’.  Good for cold wintery nights or when you’re feeling low.  This is food that hugs you.

A busy day of gardening both at home and the allotment. 

We planted out some pea seedlings that Buddy had tried to destroy previously – fingers-crossed they will survive.  They are supported with some chicken wire and bamboo canes.

I went to Kenyon Hall Farm and spent large amounts of money on beautiful herbs, more pea and broad bean plants, two Delphiniums and some asparagus for tea.

At the allotment I planted out six types of thyme:

Common

Lemon

Golden

Doone Valley

Redstart

and Vey

As you can tell I love thyme!

Next followed two chive and two heartsease plants. 

These are added to the lavender, tarragon and sage plants already dug into my new herb beds.

Happy digging!

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Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

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