Sunday, 5 April 2015

In my kitchen - April 2015

Purple Sprouting

I love the taste of Purple Sprouting which is one of those treats only available for a few weeks of the year, and all the better for that.
One of my grumbles about modern life is how we have lost seasonality with so many things - strawberries available in supermarkets for most of the year,  for example.  I've even seen Hot Cross buns on sale at Christmas!  Celebrating the changing seasons and the cycle of the year is important to me and eating seasonally available foods is part of that.  
I also think that seasonal eating means a much more varied and interesting diet than when we just depend on the ready staples that are always available.  When I was a child, fresh tomatoes at any time other than in the summer were very expensive, so for most of the year  my mum and my grandma rarely used tomatoes in salad.  Instead we ate more foods like beetroot salad, coleslaws made with available ingredients, Russian Salad, chicory and "proper" white celery.  White celery, which I never see for sale now, it having been replaced by the green variety which lacks the subtlety of flavour of white celery, and which is imported into this country by the tonne.    White celery was a true late autumn/winter vegetable and was delicious made into a Waldorf Salad with some apple, walnuts and homemade mayonnaise (my grandma wouldn't have dreamed of reaching for the Hellmans).
These salads were fresh and tasty and exposed me, as I grew up, to so many different tastes and textures, which I'm sure fostered my interest in food and cooking as an adult.  
Hot Cross Buns and Chocolate Eggs
Hot Cross buns on Good Friday and chocolate eggs on Easter Sunday.
Freekh is roasted green wheat which is eaten mainly across the Sham area of the Middle East, and which was introduced to me by a Palestinian friend.  I like it cooked simply - braised in stock until most of the stock has been absorbed and the grains are soft so the starch has been released to give it a thick, soupy texture.  I ate mine with roasted carrots and spring lamb chops that had been rubbed with garlic and cumin before being slowly roasted in the oven. 
These rice and coconut pancakes are made with yeast which gives them a texture similar to that of  homemade crumpets.  I first ate appam at a friend's house with a spicy chicken curry.  Apparently appam are traditionally eaten at Easter in Kerala by Indian Christian families.   They are easy to make and make an interesting change from chappatis and naan bread.  I've made my own at home - they went well with a red lentil dhal and are also very tasty served with honey for breakfast.

I wrote this to join in with the In My Kitchen blog posts curated by Celia who writes the  Fig Jam and Lime Cordial blog.


  1. The rice and coconut appam sound intriguing. Do you have a recipe to share?

  2. Anne, so so true about how we are losing seasonality and it is such a shame, Makes you think about all the food miles, and cost to the planet of carting all this produce around the globe.

  3. Anne, I soooo agree with you about eating with the seasons. Anticipation is a lovely thing! This is the first time I've ever seen or heard of appam. Sounds like something I'll need to make. I've been on a real crumpet 'kick' lately, so I noticed your mention of the similarity.

  4. Your appam looks very interesting indeed and thank you for allowing me to learn something new!
    Thank you for also sharing this month's kitchen view too!

  5. Hi Anne, definitely agree with you on seasonality...but it is nice to satisfy a strawberry craving in mid winter once in a while. Those look more like uttapams than appams. Appams is a regional breakfast food in South India closer to a dosa(Crepe), uttapams are thicker and more pancake-like...both delicious! :) Thanks for the peek! :)

  6. Thanks for sharing some interesting goodies. That Freekh looks lovely and the appam look nice and light, are they? Love seasons and try to stick to cooking and eating local seasonal harvests. Having said that, I can stuff a pun net of strawberries down at any time if they are for the taking :)

  7. You're so right about seasonal eating - it really is the best way! It's been years since I've had any sprouting purple broc - I'll be on the lookout for it this year! Your freekeh and appam sound delicious! :)

  8. those pancakes sound amazing. yes i agree about seasonal produce. nothing worse than a horrible imported tomato or orange with no flavour cos it is out of season here.:)

  9. Totally agree about seasonal ingredients, there's a real joy in looking forward to them isn't there?
    I never liked calabrese broccoli but a few years ago we got a free packet of seeds to the purple sprouting kind and it was a revelation, not just because it was homegrown but just so much more to my taste. I too have come to look forward to the season!
    Kavey (fellow IMKer)

  10. I love anticipating each season with its unique array of produce. I'm not sure I've ever had any of the purple sprouting broccoli, I will have to look for it.

  11. Those pancakes look delicious! Any chance of the recipe??

  12. Those pancakes look delicious! Any chance of the recipe??