February & Flower Sprouts

I've been cooking a lot of Flower Sprouts lately. They're bloody delicious. For those who have yet to try, they are essentially a cross between Brussels Sprouts and Kale. They're small, purple-y - green, sweet and slightly nutty. And so, so tasty. 

It was an English seed company who developed them, in an attempt to make Brussels Sprouts more palatable whilst also tapping in to the huge following that the humble Kale plant boasts. Their popularity has grown fast, so fast that they have now been branded as "Kalettes", and even have their very own website, kalettes.co.uk.  (I refuse to refer to them as Kalettes, Flower Sprouts they are and Flower Sprouts they will be)

They also have oodles of nutritional benefits, but i'm not going to get in to that here. I studied a small bit of nutrition in college and got so hung up on what vitamins are in what veg, and exactly how much I need to eat of a particular veg to get the optimum nutrients from it etc. It was almost exhausting. I find it much easier to trust my instincts. With veg I just eat varied, eat seasonal and eat lots of it. 

Now back to the important part, eating them! I've been telling people to just steam lightly (2 mins), drizzle with some good oil, salt and pepper. Simple and delicious. But on cold days when i'm looking for a bit more comfort from my food, I get an oven proof pan and stick it on a low flame. Add a large glug of olive oil, crush and roughly chop 4-5 cloves of garlic (i LOVE garlic) and put in the pan with the oil. Allow to sizzle away for a few minutes without turning brown, then pack the pan full of Flower Sprouts. (I leave them whole, but you can trim the bottom and half them also). Make sure to really pack them in, and stick a lid on. Leave for a few minutes then sprinkle some sea-salt on top (just a pinch), and crumble some cheese over (I usually use Corleggy Goats Cheese or some good quality Feta, but whatever tickles your fancy). Eat as is, or if you're looking for more of a snack, transfer your pan to a pre-heated oven (160 C) for 10-15 minutes. Take out of oven and devour. Crispy happiness. 

Have a recipe? Do share! 

Blogs & Big Carrots

Hello!

I'm not going to lie, I completely forgot about this website, let alone this blog, for pretty much all of last year. 2016 was jam-packed, in so many ways.

The farm was (and is) the busiest I have ever seen it. There has always been constant work to do, but I've never noticed job after job being completed so quickly. A new bed weeder was purchased during the year - it's probably the main reason for our outstanding carrots, parsnips and beetroot that you are seeing on the stall at the moment. Ensuring that no weeds were growing alongside the veg meant that there was no competition for growing space or nutrients etc. After many years of failed crops or substantially smaller root veg, this is quite the success for us. We do however get the odd person at the markets whispering that "that carrot can't possibly be organic, it's too big". It's something that irritates me, as I know how much work is going on behind the scenes (as do so many of you who say it every week to us). We've been growing organically for almost 20 years, we have learned a thing or two. 

Personally, I've been busy with a business I set up with a friend, The Market Kitchen. Which is where I am on Saturdays in Temple Bar instead of on McNally Family Farm stall. We set up MK to help showcase food from the Producers at Temple Bar Food Market by cooking up food with ingredients from the market. Cheese from Corleggy, Bread from Le Levain and Veg, Herbs, Eggs from McNallys. The menu changes weekly at TBFM, depending on what veg there is a glut of etc. It's a really exciting way to cook, for both ourselves and our customers. Essentially, the menu is chosen for us by the seasons and changeable weather. We just make the most of it! We were lucky enough to have a stall at Ballymaloe LitFest, FoodonBoard @ Body&Soul and a lovely pop-up café in an old cornmill in Kells, Kilkenny last year, aswell as writing and hand-binding a wee cookbook about a dinner we did in said cornmill at Halloween. Here's hoping 2017 brings as much luck.

I'm going to try keep up blogging this year, with bits on seasonal cooking, what's going on on the farm, vegetable stories (who doesn't love a good vegetable story?!), bits about Market Kitchen, and anything else that pops in to my head. As you have probably guessed, I don't work on the farm anymore, but I am highly involved in cooking, general farm goings-on and the ever lovely markets. Plus, I'm the only one who has time to even think about blogging. Hahaa. 

Til next time!

S x