Released in the UK February of this year, Food Inc. is a film documentary focussing on the problems of our current food system. I had to watch it for my sustainability class on food systems last week and I strongly urge anyone to give the film a try, I found it quite eye opening.
The tag-line is ‘you’ll never look at food the same way again‘ and I certainly don’t. It highlighted to me the many different chemicals that go into food to make it grow faster and to keep it fresh and imperfection free. Not to mention the welfare issues with much of the mass produced meat sold in supermarkets.
This has caused me to try and change my diet. I’m going organic. Or at least as organic as I can because so far it seems very costly and in some cases impossible to go 100% organic and still keep a varied diet.
So I started to look into vegetable bag/box schemes. There were a few that would deliver to my door which would have been convenient but a little more searching unearthed (pardon the pun) a scheme that was running right out of my university campus. The food is organic, locally sourced and all I had to do was order a week ahead and go collect it.
Probably the best part of getting vegetables this way is that because it’s seasonal, you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get. Back when I lived at home my mum used to get a veg box delivered and the best part was the little newsletter that told you all about the goings on of the farm and even a recipe or two suggesting ways to use the veg.
Alas, mine had no exciting newsletter but I definitely got a surprise at what was inside the bag. For £6 I was, at best, expecting some potatoes, a leafy green, some carrots and then maybe a root vegetable or two. I certainly wasn’t expecting much variety or any fruit at all.
Imagine how excited I was when I opened it up and discovered all these yummy things inside!
My mum suggested I try bubble and squeak to use the cabbage up. Having never made bubble and squeak before I improvised and Potato Cakes probably suits the outcome better. They turned out amazingly well and were perfect for using four of the vegetables from the bag.
However, I really don’t have much clue how to use up much of the other stuff so any ideas would be great as it would be a shame to let all this veg go to waste. Any Beetroot, Lime or Aubergine recipes are especially welcome!
Find out if there’s a vegetable box scheme near you, and experience the excitement for yourself.
Bubble and Squeak/ Potato Cakes
3 medium floury Potatoes, quartered (or left over mash) 1 large Carrot, chopped 3 big leaves or 120g of Savoy Cabbage, shredded Half a Red Onion, chopped 2 rashers of Bacon, chopped 1 Egg 25g grated Parmesan 1 tablespoon of Butter (plus extra for frying)
Boil the potatoes in salted water. Once the potatoes have been boiling for about 5 minutes add the chopped carrot.
Meanwhile, gently fry the onions and bacon until the onion is soft and the bacon is cooked through. Make sure the pan is over a medium heat and add the cabbage. Stir for 1 minute then remove from the heat.
In a jug, add the parmesan to the egg, and whisk. Once the potatoes and carrots are soft, mash well and add a tablespoon of butter. Mix this until the mash is smooth and then add the egg mix, beating well to make sure it is all incorporated. Now add the cabbage, onion and bacon, again mixing well. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
You can either mould these into round flat cakes and then fry, use chef’s rings or do as I did and dollop a hefty spoonful into the pan and shape it as it cooked.
Whatever method you choose be sure to fry these in butter on a medium high heat, turning occasionally until a crust has formed on the outside, about 10 minutes.
Then they’re ready to serve as a side or a light snack. Enjoy!