Sunday, January 11, 2009

Celeriac dreams

It's counter intuitive, but getting an organic veg box delivered has saved us a lot of money. The vegetables may be relatively expensive, but they arrive every week demanding to be eaten. We peer into the box every Tuesday and then make plans, which generally involve things we have in the cupboard. Plus cheese. 
So we hardly go to the supermarket at all -- I do an online shop (or go to Sainsburys on a Saturday morning with ex housemate S and baby Tungsten) every month or so to replenish the things that live in the cupboard, plus cheese, and we are blessed with corner shops (one of which sells samosas) to meet most other conceivable food needs. 
I used to go to Tesco at least once a week, and somehow ended up buying lots of random stuff, plus things like ready meals that we just don't eat anymore because we've all the veg to get through. 
We use Abel & Cole, derided by hardcore greenies as the supermarket of veg box schemes, but they have two big advantages over genuinely local set-ups: first, you can tell them that you don't like Jerusalem artichokes and you won't get any, and second, they do use non-UK produce (though they don't air freight) from time to time, so it's not root vegetables and nothing but root vegetables the whole winter through. 
It's not far off it though, and I am beginning to run out of inspired things to do with parsnips, and to tire of scraping mud off carrots. I cannot imagine ever running out of onions, or to think 'hmm, I fancy swede tonight'. 
Perhaps the biggest challenge has been the celeriac -- they are so damn big. Two hungry people can only eat half a celeriac a day tops, and once you've had a celeriac day, you need a few days off. I've put them in soups and mashed them with potatoes; M has made stew with them and grated them into salads. Yet still they come. 
But hey, we have the internet. So I was delighted to find this recipe for smoked salmon and celeriac dauphinoise -- sounds posh, but it's dead easy (especially for me, as I didn't cook it...). We had it with rocket salad and something Jamie Oliverish involving beetroot and thyme. Mmmmm. I'd say the smoked salmon was optional, but you'd be hard pushed to make a decent vegan version.
Right, must dash, I've a date with a cabbage.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

How very true about the way having to make plans saves you money... we haven't quite reached the celeriac stage yet (in fact we are clearly still some way off, at least I am as I am going to need to do a google image search in a minute to find out what exactly a celeriac might be, for such an allegedly large item it seems to have eluded me altogether for 40 years..) but in these credit-crunched times we are making more precise mealplans and finding not only are we spending a lot less but we are eating a lot better than in the days when Pringles and Tescos Chicken Kievs were available on tap...

11:15 pm  
Blogger Jo said...

A celeriac looks like a cross between a swede and a human brain (in fact I have a secret theory that this is where the word 'brainiac' comes from). You cook it like potato, but it tastes like celery would if it was a root vegetable, and it can also be grated and eaten raw in salads. It's definitely quite a posh vegetable though, and I had never seen one either till I started going out with M.
The second meal he cooked me featured mashed celeriac and I had to ask what it was. The first meal he cooked me featured king prawns with the heads and legs still on. I knew what they were but he had to take all the bits off before I could eat them. It's a miracle we ever got off the ground really. I wouldn't recommend king prawns with the heads and legs still on, but celeriac is worth knowing about.
For a *really* mysterious root vegetable, try kohlrabi...

7:26 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kohlrabi? Now you're really raising the stakes Joella, I may have to venture to the Polish grocers' at the end of my street and see if I can't come up with a truly esoteric Gherkin to blow you right out of the water. I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for any sightings of celeriac in M19 in the meantime, sounds like as good an index for gentrification as any...

1:00 am  

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