The Wellington Weekly
Kohlrabi translates from the German as ‘cabbage turnip’ and is a bulbous root brassica with slender protruding stalks that often give it the appearance of an alien space satellite. Similar in texture to radish, it’s flavour is described variously as being reminiscent of mild turnip, broccoli stem and cauliflower - depending on the method used to prepare and cook it. Being a versatile veg, these methods can include grating and using raw in salads and slaws, cutting into strips and stir-frying, thickly slicing or cutting into wedges and roasting, or dicing and adding to soups and stews. Kohlrabi has steadily grown in popularity in the UK in recent years, but is nowhere near as widely used as it deserves to be - especially as its price compares very favourably with other types of root veg. Most of the Kohlrabi one encounters tends to be of a pale green hue, but we have some new season UK-grown examples which have just arrived and are in fact Red in colour - at least on the outside, because the flesh itself is of the same shade of yellowish-white as the regular sort.
Newly arrived English Fine Green Beans are vibrant and colourful and possessing of a silky, lustrous sheen. Furthermore, being new season, they're still crisp, succulent and tender enough to use raw - perhaps served in a marinade of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or maybe briefly sautéed in butter and garlic and a twist of freshly ground pepper. Or perhaps you might consider combining them with some Broad Beans and Runner Beans (both of which, too, are home-grown and also readily available at present) to create a medley of varying flavours and textures. Whilst touching on the subject of Runner Beans, you might be interested to know that the most common variety sold in the UK is the Scarlet Runner, whose name in fact derives from that given to the ornate flower produced by the plant and the primary reason it was first introduced to Britain's gardens in the 17th century. Don't let it be said that reading this publication doesn't teach you anything - even if what it teaches you is to never read another one.
Red Chicory, which had been off sale for the last few weeks due to seasonal shortages, is available once more and currently originating from Holland.
Purple Sprouting Broccoli remains unavailable, but Tenderstem is both available and outstanding.
After a delay of several weeks, which can be attributed to the lack of adequate rainfall during the last couple of months, English new season Bramley Apples have finally arrived. Despite a number of alternatives becoming more widely available in recent years, the Bramley’s Seedling (to give it its proper title) remains by far the most popular Cooking Apple in the UK. Its origins can be traced to a single tree grown from the pips of an entirely different apple variety planted in the cottage garden of a young Nottinghamshire girl in 1809.
In 1856 the cottage was bought by a Matthew Bramley who subsequently gave permission for a local nurseryman to take cuttings from the tree and to sell any apples he managed to produce from them - on the condition they bore Bramley’s name. The rest, as they say, is history.
There's a good chance (but it's by no means a certainty) that English new season Discovery Apples will start appearing on supermarket shelves over the next week or so, subsequent to which a short time thereafter will see their arrival on the open market, and thence our warehouse. How come the supermarkets get first dibs?, you might be naïve enough to enquire. Because the supermarkets usually get first dibs on almost everything is my earnest retort.
The arrival of new season Belgian Conference Pears should herald with it noticeable improvements in all departments, by which I mean better consistency in size, cleaner skins, and crisper, more flavoursome flesh.
Spanish Piel De Sapo (aka Frog) Melons are so called because their green variegated skin is reckoned to resemble that of the eponymous amphibian - minus the warts, I hasten to add. In fact, from the outside they look a bit like a truncated marrow. Their flesh is greenish-white and reminiscent of Honeydew, both in appearance and flavour – I thought I could detect a hint of Watermelon as well. A good all-round melon that’s succulent and flavoursome with a high ratio of edible flesh. The upshot is that there's loads of them in the market at present and well worth a punt.