What’s in the box?

July 24, 2006

whats in the box?

Our obliging veg dealer dropped our delivery around early this Saturday, as we were off up north to visit my folks for the weekend. We gathered excitedly round the pile of boxes and bags on the kitchen table, like bright-eyed Victorian children on Christmas morning.

What fruity wonders had our organic Santa brought us? Which shiny baubles of vegetable delight caught our attention?

One bunch of young carrots, topped with an extravagant cloud of fine fronds, made us come over all rabbity. A bunch of small, juicy-looking onions with thin, elegant leaves also caught the eye.

What is it about tied-up bunches of vegetables that stirs the imagination? Is it only the aesthetics, or do they prompt nostalgic fantasies of a pre-industrial Eden? I dunno, really. Just look good I guess.

I’ve ear-marked the carrots to accompany a bacon hock which I’m planning to boil with lentils and serve with an old-skool parsley sauce.

This week’s broad beans look particularly young and supple. I’m going to have a second go at a bacon, bean and pasta combo I’ve been thinking about. Last time I tried, I got it half-right. It was going well until I added a ladleful of the infamous broad bean pod puree. Turned out like an unholy marriage of mushy peas and pasta. A horrific culinary car-crash. Look away, look away.

I noticed in this week’s veg box newsletter that the Riverford folk are already planting winter cabbage, leeks and purple sprouting. Even in the middle of a blistering heatwave this news bought a premonition of the approaching autumn. The heather is also coming into flower on the Derbyshire moors and the shooting season is almost here. As my old Nan used to cheerily say, the nights are already drawing in….

15 Responses to “What’s in the box?”

  1. Emily O Says:

    Great blog! Have just discovered this through the Riverford website, and it’s now bookmarked 🙂

    I’m looking forward to the leeks coming back in – and when the fennel comes in again too, I’ll be going back to my trusty leek and fennel gratin…mmmm….

  2. crzy_rgntnn Says:

    Blimey, Toaster! After the message above I checked the Riverford site and saw this on the newsletter:

    “vegetable box blog
    I have just about got my thumbs up to speed on texting and now there is the world of “blog” to contend with. On the suggestion of Nancy, who delivers our boxes in North London, I spend too much time browsing around http://www.vegboxdiary.wordpress.com, a site inspired by the trials and tribulations of living with a Riverford vegetable box. It was quite an eye opener for me to read how our vegetables fit into the lives of the “Gastropunk”, “Maths chick” and their friends. I recommend a look; even if you are not as vegetable obsessed as me, it is funny and very well written; better than any foodie column in the weekend glossies.”

  3. Emily O Says:

    Heh…didn’t realise you hadn’t already seen it! Good old Nancy. She delivers mine too…

  4. gastropunk Says:

    Yeah, it’s a nice plug, isn’t it? We were pretty chuffed to be mentioned on the newsletter. If it appears on this week’s printed version I’m going to frame it and put it up over the fireplace, next to my 3rd place certificate in the Debenhams Staff Party Funny Hat Competition, 1993.

  5. crzy_rgntnn Says:

    I hear your vast audience asking for a picture of the Debenhams Staff Party Funny Hat Competition, 1993 (?!?) to be posted in Flickr.

  6. devonian Says:

    Well, you better get another clip frame then. Your rantings certainly stir up my veg excitement.

  7. Cloggie Says:

    Get ready for framing Gastropunk – I got my veg box this morning – brimming full of goodies that will lend themselves to be turned into fresh and crips food for this steaming hot summer – and got really excited to read about your blog there. Praise well deserved and of course no pressure now he?

  8. gastropunk Says:

    Cloggie, the pressure is intense! Now I understand the bitter-sweet nature of fame. Remember – you were there from the beginning. One day you’ll be able to tell the grandkids – I posted the very first comment (or was it the second?) on the Veg Box Diaries!

  9. margesimpson Says:

    hi love the blog ,great to see and hear likeminded people,riverford tipped me off to you and in thier favour you tipped me off about thier meat boxes,i neer knew they did them,going to try it next week let you know how it goes.priced up thebox on sainsburys website the other day compaired ordinary veg prices with riverfords organic,turned out it cost about a pound more for riverford organic produce than the ordinary supermarket and fresh and delivered so hows that for value.has anyone else tried this or am i the only sad one?!

  10. juliebatterham Says:

    Hi just read this after being tipped off from my Riverford box letter.

    We huddle excitedly around our summer boxes presently being enjoyed at the moment. Any ideas what to do with Broad beans? We don’t really like them too much but are otherwise thrilled with our boxes. Great value, quality etc

    Happy cooking Gastropunk!!!!

  11. tozagurl Says:

    Hi – picked up Guy’s friendly nod in your direction too. It’s good to know that other people sometime feel faintly despondent with yet another kohlrabi and some hispi cabbages. Been doing the box for four years and everyone I’ve led to the scent (mum, aunty, best mate, work mates) has tailed off now! I am still trying but think i need some fresh blood!

    Broad beans? My son (3 and a 1/2)loves doing the podding and even if i didn’t use them i would think it was money well-spent for the fun we have! The way I have found easiest to get my husband to eat them is to take the beans out the pods and simmer until tender. then take off the outer skins so you get the jewel-bright inner bean. fry off some good streaky bacon in smallish chunks(smoked for him), onion and garlic. once the bacon has started oozing bacony oil then add some courgette (chopped small – we get too many of these sometime too!) and cook that until tender. Chuck in the beans at the last minute with some basil (or mint or parsley- whatever you fancy). Serve with pasta – orecchiette seems good coz then all the pieces are the same size.

    Otherwise, for lunch, do the same thing with the beans to get the inner ebans, mix with crumbled feta, mint, olive oil and a clove or two of garlic, add mint at the last minute and eat. Everyone at work thinks I’m a crazy hippy for this (rather than a jacket potato from the “cafe” downstairs) but never mind.

    Hope that helps … on a different point – what does everyone else do with kohlrabi?

    Cheery chomping!


  12. gastropunk Says:

    Kohl-Rabi – I tried a Jane Grigson recipe where she braises them slowly with butter, onions and stock (I think) which was quite sweet and saucy but not exceptional. I can pass it on to you if you’re interested. Raw, sliced thin in salads can also work. Anyone else got any ideas?

  13. Tophat Says:

    I could eat thin slices of kohl rabi sandwiched between two slices of good bread and butter any day of the week.

  14. tozagurl Says:

    Thanks gastropunk … the recipe would be great. I didn’t expect it would be possible to do anything exceptional with kohlrabi so reaosnably tasty is great!

    I don’t think I’ll be bringing kohlrabi sandwiches to work anytime soon – i got enough stick for the broad bean salad!

  15. fantastic advice and sharing,I will buy one this great jeans for me .thanks

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