9 Mar 2010

What to do with random root vegetables and Recipe of the Week

I have subscribed to a veg box scheme since moving to London nearly eight years ago. I studied the organic movement at university, so supporting local and regional growers and producers who farm without the use of pesticides and in line with the natural world makes complete sense to me. However my motivation to joining Riverford’s Organic Box Scheme we not completely rooted in organic agriculture.

As an eternal student of food, one of my favourite pastimes is discovering new foods, cuisines and ways to cook. However fitting food shopping around a stressful graduate job and long commute I often arrived home from the supermarket (before my conversion to local farmers markets) with exactly the same fruit and veg as the week before, regardless of the seasons. As a result, my meals were the same and even I was bored of them and looked for inspiration that would force me to cook differently.

Collecting my cardboard box of goodies from its secret hiding place after work, I was always very excited to see what the seasons presented me. This challenged me not only to actually use my cookery books (a regular resolution?) but to think in line with the seasons and channel my creativity into quick, evening meals.

The other challenge I discovered after weeks of veg deliveries, and one that veg box pioneers are always conscious of was, and even eight years on remains for me, is waste.  I hate to throw curled vegetables away even if it is onto the compost and consciously try to manage my box ordering according to what is in our fridge. However at this time of year after the initial excitement over ugly celeriac roots, bright green cabbages and muddy carrots has passed, I am once again looking for inspiration.

At the end of the week, there is often a collection of slightly muddy and a little tired root vegetables, so this recipe week is perfect to help out with random roots. I mix it up depending on the ones that I have, and have not yet found an unsuccessful combination.

Do you have any inspiration for root vegetables? Do you use a veg box scheme? Do you enjoy it?

Random Root Vegetable Soup

1 tbsp oil
1 tsp ground cumin (or cumin seeds pounded)
1 tsp ground ginger
450g carrots chopped into chunks
150g parsnips peeled and chopped into chunks
200g celeriac peeled and chopped into chunks
1 apple peeled, cored and cut into chunks
1 litre of veg stock
Yoghurt or sour cream to serve

Heat the oil and fry the spices for a minute then add the root vegetables and fry for 5 minutes to release their flavours.
Pour the stock into the saucepan and bring to the boil, then simmer until the vegetables are soft.
Blend the soup either in the blender or with a stick whizzer to the consistency of your choice (I like this pretty thick and this way it uses more veggies!)
Season and serve with a dollop of sour cream or yoghurt.

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