16th October 2012
The title of this is somewhat misleading as the vegetables I am writing about are not actually anonymous, we are not in the times of early economic botany where explorers would find new plants when abroad, and name them after themselves, these already have names, fennel and kohlrabi, both of which I had heard about, neither of which I had actually seen before.
Since starting my new job at Goldsmiths, I have tried to explore New Cross on my lunch breaks, and whilst I have been to many of the pubs on the high street, I had not come across the allotment before. This rather contemporary take on the greengrocer sells organic local veggies, amazing cakes and pastries and all sorts of deli delights. More importantly they sell veg boxes. Lured into the concept of the veg box 5 years ago when I first moved to London, it had started to seem an extravagance that Lewisham Market could replace both cheaply and with more variety. However the allotment veg and fruit box seemed reasonable at £12, and very convienient as I can collect it on my lunch break without much hassle, which when you have a full time job and a PhD to finish is very important.
This week saw the arrival of my first allotment veg and fruit box, and what delights it held, enough fruit to last me two weeks, as well as being able to make a cake from some of it, and enough vegetables to create lunches and dinners too! But as it common with the veg box you have no control over what might appear and this week I got these two beauties.
Having never cooked with them before and after some googling and consultation with friends and family I decided to try out the following two recipes:
For lunch: Middle Eastern Chickpea and Kohlrabi stew
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsps olive oil
1 kohlrabi diced
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 can chopped tomatoes
1/2 lb tomatoes
1 aubergine, peeled and diced
500ml vegetable stock
Pinch of salt, pepper and parsley
Fry the spices together in a pan, add the olive oil and diced kohlrabi and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add all of the other ingredients and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Serve over rice, with bread or on its own.
I tupperware tubbed this so fast I forgot to photograph, it was very yummy, although after eating it for a week I could have used some variety.
For Sunday dinner: Fennel Gratin
1 large fennel bulb
1 garlic clove
pinch of nutmeg
100ml of double cream
25g of grated parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 200C and put a pan of salted water on to boil.
Trim the fennel tops, then cut into wedges. Boil for 5-6 mins, then drain well.
Arrange in an ovenproof dish, season and sprinkle with nutmeg. Stir the garlic into the cream and pour over the fennel. Top with the Parmesan, then bake for 20 mins until golden.
I served this with roast chicken and it was delicious.