A couple of weeks ago I started investing in a vegetable box scheme, again, like this blog, it's been something i've been meaning to do for a long time and only just got around to. I did it recently when spurred on by the need to write a food orientated article for a student publication some of my friends were creating at the time and the body of this post is taken from that article.
I ordered my Veggie box from Baracome Nurseries in Lewes for £10.70 and three days later I had half an allotment sitting by my front door. As my housemates can testify I was hugely excited about the arrival of my veggie box since the contents of it were a surprise and I am pleased to say it didn’t disappoint.
It featured potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, a Chinese cabbage, two red cabbages, carrots, tomatoes, a leek, potentially the largest beetroot I’ve ever seen and a bunch of hugely exciting rainbow chard. Pretty good value i say.
To kick off my week of vegetable joy I started off treating my housemates to this gratin and salad. The potato bake is sufficiently indulgent with the bacon and lashings of cream whilst the fresh crunchy vegetables dressed in olive oil and lemon juice cut through all that luxury leaving your palate clean making the dish lovely and wintery but not leaving you feeling like you've had your arteries clogged.
For the Gratin:
4 medium waxy potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced.
5 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, chopped into small pieces.
1 large onion, sliced.
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced.
A couple of pinches of dried or fresh thyme.
1tbsp of olive oil.
a few pea sized knobs of butter.
250 ml Single or double cream
For the salad:
A selection of crunchy root vegetables and cabbage, I used beetroot, carrot, purple cabbage, and Chinese cabbage, grated or thinly shredded respectively.
½ the juice of a lemon
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 tsp of sugar
Preheat your oven to 180°
First, get you gratin on, in a wide, but deep pan, on a high heat fry of your bacon in the olive oil and as it starts to brown, then reduce the heat and add your onions.
Sweat the onions until they are soft and slightly caramelized then add your cream, chopped garlic, thyme and bring it to a simmer.
Simmer for a couple of minutes to infuse then turn the hob off, season to taste, add the potatoes and give it a gentle stir to coat the potatoes in the cream, garlic and onion mixture without breaking them up.
Empty the contents of your pan out into a gratin dish and shake to level out
Dot the top with the knobs of butter and place in the oven covered with tin foil for the first 30 minutes and without for another 15 or until golden on top and soft all the way through.
While the gratin is in the oven put your grated and shredded crunchy vegetables in a salad bowl and make your dressing in a separate smaller bowl with the lemon juice, olive oil, sugar and some salt and pepper, mix it up, check the taste and add more lemon, oil, sugar or seasoning if needed.
When the gratin is golden, and bubbling remove it from the oven, dress your salad and serve.