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Very exciting news – we ate our first homegrown from the garden salad of 2009 tonight!  Some may think that I am acting a little too silly about something that could be considered trivial, but if you’ve ever tasted homegrown salad leaves, if you’ve ever tried to eat with the seasons, then your first salad of the year is a very special thing indeed.  If you haven’t done either of those two things, you must.

We needed to eat up some Jersey Royal new potatoes (from Northern Harvest), so a simple salad was dreamed up…new potatoes…smoked trout…lemon mayo dressing…and salad leaves from the garden.  This is one of my favourite combinations and possibly one of the easiest meals to make.

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There is something deeply wonderful about picking up my colander, pulling on my boots and wandering down the garden to pick the first salad leaves.  After so many months of brown, dead, rotting earth, of dormant plants and deep, earthy meals, that first delicate snap as you pinch off a pert green leaf is a signal of good things to come. 

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Enough of describing how it feels to pick the salad, and on to what I actually collected for our tea.  From the garden I picked the following leaves: red oakleaf, baby cos, a selection of oriental saladini, lambs lettuce, buckler leaf sorrel.  To this I added some chives and mint. 

We boiled the new potatoes in salted water, drained, and tossed with a knob of butter and the finely sliced mint.  Not to forget a good sprinkle of salt and grind of pepper.  The smoked trout (from The Cheshire Smokehouse) was flaked over the potatoes, and the homegrown salad simply placed beside them.  No dressing, just a tiny drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.  To finish off the potatoes, I added lemon juice to a spoonful of mayonnaise until it reached a slightly runny consistency and spooned it over the potatoes and trout.

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An utterly delicious and satisfying dinner.

frosty morning

frosty morning

I am terrible at remembering to bring my camera with me when we go out.  This morning we went down to our local farmers market at Abbey Leys Farm (http://www.abbeyleys.co.uk/).  It’s a beautiful day – blue skies, sun shining, the countryside frosted with white icing – but bloody freezing.  All our favourite local producers were there, everybody wrapped up in scarfs, hats and mittens.  And I forgot my camera.  And didn’t even have my phone which takes pretty good photos.  I will learn, I promise – it’s so frustrating to want to share a lovely experience and not have any pictures to show of it.

For now I shall just have to tell you that we came away with a basket of farmhouse butter (from Preston), a string of onions (from Southport), half a dozen organic eggs (Abbey Leys), mini chocolate butter Stollen (from Warrington), a raspberry thickie made from Cheshire yoghurt (Tiresford Farm), and a french country loaf (from Love Bread in Knutsford).  We had a quick chat with Sue at Little Heath Farm and emplored her to start making cocktail-sized sausages over the Christmas period – I have been craving those little sausages you find at Christmas parties that have been baked in the oven with honey and wholegrain mustard – yum!  We also saw the Pie Man (Neil from The Great North Pie Company) who had, as usual, sold out an hour and a half into the market. 

It has been a nice week for local food – the first ever Lymm Farmer’s Market was held at Oughtrington Community Centre to raise funds for their badly needed new boilers.  I went down to volunteer and help out during the morning, and it seemed to be a big hit and a great success. 

There were some of the local food ‘big boys’ like The Great Tasting Meat Company (http://www.greattastingmeat.co.uk/) , who were cooking up sausage and onion buns for chilly customers.

The Great Tasting Meat Company :: Lymm Farmer's Market ::

Our local box scheme providers – Northern Harvest (http://www.northernharvest.co.uk/) – were there with some fantastic bundles of cavalo nero, the only kind of kale I seem to manage.  This was later cooked up into a fantastic Italian Bread and Cabbage soup.

Northern Harvest :: Lymm Farmer's Market ::

And some businesses from further afield who were new to us, like The Piemill (http://www.piemill.com/) from Cumbria. 

Pies from The Piemill :: Lymm Farmer's Market ::

N is busy in the kitchen whipping up some Smoked Mackerel Pate for lunch.  There was a near disaster when we discovered we were out of lemons, but the pate has been rescused with a few store cupboard staples – a glug of white wine vinegar (to give it a tang) and some lemon flavoured olive oil that we brought back from Croatia.  It tastes almost as good, and is about to go down a treat on the bread from the market…

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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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All pictures are my own unless stated. I would kindly ask that you don't use them elsewhere unless you ask permission first. Many thanks x

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