The challenge to produce one entirely local meal a week is harder than you first think. It concentrates the mind, even if you are already committed to local-ish food. What about cooking fats? Where did those potatoes come from? Does 100 miles away count as local? Partial success. Virtually everything was very local, even the spice, but the artichokes were tough tough tough - not sure if I should have cooked them for longer or picked them last week, because that method is usually foolproof. Otherwise good.
My big discovery this week was cold pressed rapeseed oil from Gloucestershire, the next county, absolutely delicious. I bought it at a local market, but later found that it was on sale in Waitrose. The flour for the bread was grown six or seven miles away Battle Farm at Benson, which we pass frequently; I'm going that way later today, so if I've got time, I'll stop to take a photograph. The flour for the fougasse* was milled at the other end of the county, and I bought it in a shop a couple of villages away. The yeast was sweetened with honey from Wargrave, just the other side of the Thames from here (now that I come to think of it, I should be making sourdough bread with yeast captured from our air, rather than the dried yeast I buy). The tomatoes came from Hampshire via my vegetable box. The artichokes and all the herbs came from the garden. I used English mustard seed to pep up the green sauce, also Maldon salt from Essex. My only cheat was wine vinegar ... but as there are wine growers close by, I think I can solve that problem sooner rather than later.
English green sauce
The green sauce was based on my usual salsa verde. I used mint, oregano, marjoram, a little parsley, and lots of sorrel and lemon balm because I couldn't use lemon juice. That worked well. I blitzed the herbs with R-Oil, a little red wine vinegar, Maldon salt and several pinches of Colman's mustard powder (I kept tasting until it was good).
DO think about joining us in this project - registration has closed for a whole summer of one local meal a week, but I'm inviting all bloggers to the challenge of producing one whole local meal this summer, and I'll include you in the weekly round-up of the main challenge - my first will be on Tuesday. I've found - and I know I'm not alone - that the first meal has sparked off a lot of thought about the food we eat here, where it comes from, how it gets here, who produces it and how much they are paid for that work. Besides: today's lunch in the sunshine was delicious.
Introducing One Local Summer
One Local Summer, first thoughts
* I was in a hurry, so I used dough made in my machine, rather than the full-on Bertinet recipe
Go West, young woman - This is Vertices Unite by the one and only Stephen West. It's an ingenious construction comprising six sections and an i-cord cast off - very easy to make,...
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