The Wellington Weekly
Arguably one of the culinary success stories of recent years in terms of its steady rise in popularity is Celeriac, home-grown examples of which are currently abundant in the market. Proudly boasting the epithet of ‘’The Ugly One’’ (although the ones pictured are not as unattractive as many I’ve seen), celeriac, otherwise referred to as Celery Root, is a hard, bulbous, rough-textured root vegetable whose origins are unclear, but may have been first cultivated in Italy during the 16th century. Because its season spans from September to April, it is widely considered a winter vegetable but, because it keeps well for long periods in storage, is nevertheless still good during the spring and early summer months, thereby making it ideal for using raw in warm-weather concoctions like salads and slaws. Indeed, a quick remoulade can be easily achieved adding coarsely grated raw celeriac to a mixture of mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and lemon juice, together with black pepper and a generous sprinkling of sea salt. Raw, celeriac possesses a crunchy texture and a nutty, celery-like flavour. When cooked, it develops a slightly sweeter flavour, similar to the kind of understated sweetness found in swede, and works well mashed, baked, roasted or boiled. Celeriac is high in dietary fibre, contains high levels of vitamin C, is a good source of vitamins B5, B6 and vitamin K, as well as potassium, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamine (all of whose benefits are too numerous to list here, but can be looked-up on the inter-web). And, to top it all, celeriac is dirt cheap.
Kohl Rabi (literally translated from the German as ‘’Cabbage Turnip’’) appears to be enjoying a bit of a surge at present and is another veg that works equally well shredded and served raw as it does roasted, baked, boiled or steamed.
A selection of imported German veg in which you might be interested includes Red Mouli, (aka Red Daikon Radish or Chinese/Japanese Radish) which, again, when used raw (which I suspect it most often is) provides an ideal salad supplement. Be advised, though, that its intense, crimson colour is only skin deep, so perhaps the best way to present it would be thinly sliced crossways, thereby preserving an outer-circle of redness surrounding the white flesh within. Also worth considering are both German Black Turnips and large Bunched White Turnips.
All our standard Asparagus is now exclusively home-grown (although Peruvian imports are still on sale) and available in 250g bundles, or, if ordered by weight, in multiples thereof to the nearest, higher value. That’s not quite as complicated as it might first appear, and merely means that if you order, let’s say, 600g (and I cannot think for the life of me why anyone would) you’ll in fact receive 3 x 250g bundles totalling 750g. Simple!
New season English Leaf Spinach has started. So, too, has English Coriander.
I mentioned last time that although new season Spanish Peaches were becoming an increasing presence in the market, Nectarines and Apricots, although available, were proving somewhat more elusive. Well, on my last visit to the hallowed market a few days ago I did in fact encounter quite a lot more Apricots (still not many Nectarines, though). They were a tad diminutive, however, and, as you can observe for yourselves from the photo, their colouring was rather erratic, with many of them being quite pallid and more than a few sporting a greenish patina to boot. I didn’t get a chance to sample any, so I cannot comment as to how they eat, but experience would lead me to conclude that this early on in the season they’re unlikely to taste overly sweet and be otherwise lacking in areas regarding complexity of flavour.
Spanish Strawberries are still doing rather well in terms of quality and flavour, which is why the switch to new season Dutch ones predicted last week has, at the time of writing, has been put on hold.
At the time of writing (there’s that phrase again), Cantaloupe Melons are back on sale after having to take them off sale for a few days last week, and also the week before that. Be mindful of the fact, though, that they’re still extremely scarce and the circumstances determining their availability remains somewhat changeable from day-to-day, so who knows what the prevailing situation might be by the time you get to read this.