Red Salad

A gorgeous red cabbage from this week’s Bert’s Barrow box got the old creative juices going. We normally associate red cabbage with Christmas and winter comfort food, but it more than holds its own as a salad or coleslaw, especially that we’re now heading towards the summer.

This cabbage came from grower Jonathan Westwood from Wakefield – check out the recipe video to get chopping….

Sue Nelson

01904 448439 or 07850 327927
Toft Acres
Back Lane South
York YO19 6DT

Rhubarb, rhubarb….

This week’s veg box from the enterprising crew at Bert’s Barrow farm shop – now a brilliant no-contact drive-thru – features the last of the fabulous Yorkshire forced rhubarb. Knowing how much we Yorkshire folk love our rhubarb, Charlotte and Jason who run Bert’s, bought out the last of this year’s crop from grower Jonny Hicks’ shed at Howden.

But rather than knocking up the usual crumble or pie, gorgeous as they are, I thought it was fitting for the rhubarb swansong to do something a bit different, so here are two recipes that will keep the lovely pink stuff in your kitchen for a little bit longer.

First up is a rhubarb jammy spread – or compote if we’re being a bit posh – which is brilliant on toast or dolloped into your morning yoghurt. 

You need about 125g caster sugar, a couple of rhubarb stalks cut into small chunks, a knob of stem ginger in syrup finely chopped, 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar, plus salt and pepper to taste. Throw the sugar into a clean non-stick saute pan and cook on a medium heat until it starts to turn golden. Don’t fiddle with it otherwise it will crystallise. Once the sugar has almost caramelised, gently swirl the pan to make sure all the sugar is incorporated. You should have a dark amber syrup. 

Chuck in the rhubarb, ginger and the white vinegar and cook until very soft, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let it cool. Stir in salt and pepper if you like, and decant to a sterilised jar – an old carefully-washed washed jam jar will do, as long as you put it in a cool oven (about 140C/Gas 1) for 10 minutes or so to sterilise it. There you have it – a little pink unctuousness to set you up for these lock down days.

Next up is rhubarb butter, also good on toast but utterly fabulous melted over freshly cooked veg, plenty of which is available at Bert’s Barrow. Cut a large rhubarb stalk into small chunks and throw in a pan with the juice of half an orange, 2 tablespoon dollops of honey – naturally I used beautiful stuff made by Yorkshire bees – and a tablespoon of grated fresh ginger root. Bring to a simmer and cook over a medium heat until the rhubarb is soft but not completely mushed. 

Drain over a small bowl making sure you keep the juices which are amazing drizzled over a whole chicken before you roast it. Let the rhubarb pulp cool then mix it with 125g of unsalted butter until smooth. Season with a bit of salt adding pepper if you like to give it a bit of bite. Take some cling film or baking parchment and roll into a log, twisting the ends to seal. Chill in the fridge until hard, slicing discs off to jazz up your veg as you want it.

So that’s the rhubarb used up. There’s lovely red cabbage in this week’s box too, so watch out for ideas on how to use that in the coming days. I’m now back to the kitchen to start conjuring up ideas….

Sue Nelson


01904 448439 or 07850 327927
Toft Acres
Back Lane South
York YO19 6DT

Fridge bottom curry

I’ve been gaily using the gorgeous fruit and veg from the Bert’s Barrow drive-thru and find that I’ve got all sorts of left-over bits and bats lurking in the bottom of the fridge. The odd carrot here, the solitary spud there, a couple of wrinkly mushrooms, a threatening-to-go-soft green pepper – you know what it’s like.

I’ve also got the remainder of a fabulous bird from Herb Fed Chicken at Thirsk which we’d previously roasted. Their chickens are beautifully succulent and large enough to be really useful for a range of meals. We got ours courtesy of butcher Paul Potts at Food 2 Remember in Malton, who will do free delivery anywhere in the UK if you spend more than £50. That might seem a lot, but it’s not when you consider the amount of meat it will give for a serious bout of batch cooking that will keep you going for weeks.

So armed with all these lovely remnants and wanting to add a bit of spice to our locked down life, here’s a quick and easy curry I knocked up for our tea.

As well as the left-over chicken it included potato, parsnips and carrots which were peeled and diced. Half a red onion was sliced, along with half a leek. The remains of a cauliflower were broken into florets, and a red and green pepper de-seeded and chopped. Three large tomatoes were plunged into boiling water for a couple of minutes, then transferred to ice-cold water before being peeled and diced. A rummage through the spice cupboard produced ground turmeric, ginger, cumin, coriander and paprika. 

To cook, drizzle some oil (Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil every time for me!) into a large sauté pan and add the onion and leek. Cook until soft, then add in the diced root veg and the cauli. Chuck in the spices and stir until well mixed, adding a little hot water to stop the veg sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Add in the chopped tomatoes,  peppers and mushrooms if you have them, thoroughly mix everything together with a little more water if required, pop on a lid and simmer until the root veg is cooked through. Add in the cooked chicken and heat through, adding a little yoghurt or similar to give a hint of creaminess. Serve with rice or whatever takes your fancy…

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Spiced cauli and cabbage stir fry

This is a different way to serve up the humble cabbage, which goes brilliantly well with cauliflower in this quick and easy recipe. You can find both in this week’s Bert’s Barrow veg box, along with a red onion which adds a bit of colour.

You will also need a teaspoon of ground ginger from your store cupboard (or finely chopped fresh if you’ve got it), plus a good pinch each of turmeric and ground cumin. If you haven’t got these use any spices you’ve got lurking in the cupboard. You’ll also need some oil – we use the fabulous Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil – a bit of lemon juice or zest, and salt to taste. I also chucked in a few frozen peas from the freezer.

Remove four or five of the cabbage leaves, cut away the tough central rib in the middle, roll up each leaf into a sausage shape and slice finely. Shave the cauliflower with a sharp knife to create a rice-like texture. Peel the red onion, slice lengthways and finely slice into half rounds.

Heat the oil in a wok or sauté pan. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the shredded cabbage, bit by bit until it’s nicely wilted. Throw in the spices and a bit more salt if you like. Add the cauliflower and frozen peas, drizzle in the lemon juice or zest, mix together to combine and serve.

I served this with home made flat breads, diced lamb and a yogurt dressing.

Yorkshire root veg bake

You can use any combination of root vegetables in this dish, which makes a great side or a hearty supper. I used swede, carrot, parsnips, potato and an onion, all of which are in this week’s Bert’s Barrow veg box. I also added some chopped sage from the garden – you can use any fresh or dried herbs or leave them out if you don’t have them.

You will also need a good dollop of butter, about 3 tablespoons of grated cheese, a small measuring jug of milk and an egg, plus salt and pepper to taste.

Peel and thinly slice the root veg. Peel the onion, cut it in half lengthways then slice thinly into half rounds.

In a shallow roasting dish, layer the veg adding some of the onion and herbs, plus a couple of knobs of butter and a scattering of grated cheese, to each layer as you go. Season to taste. Whisk the egg and the milk together and pour over the vegetables. Top with the remaining grated cheese and bake in a hot oven for about an hour. Delicious!

Bert’s Barrow drive-thru

We’ve often championed Bert’s Barrow farm shop a stone’s throw from the A63 on the road to Hillam for their total commitment to truly local Yorkshire produce. Now, Charlotte and Jason have gone the extra mile by concerting their farm shop to a drive-through with their staff and customers self-isolated throughout.

What’s more, the demand for the Yorkshire produce they take such pride in is reaching household way beyond their pre-Coronavirus demand for veg boxes. Now with standardised veg boxes and other produce too, they are at the forefront of many a family’s local shopping experience.

Yorkshire Food Finder’s Sue Nelson is now using the ingredients of the week’s offerings of the £10 veg box to provide recipes to make the most of the box with a few added staple ingredients from many a family’s store cupboard and fridge. The recipes of the week will be available from both Bert’s Barrow and here at Lock Down – Eat up. One things for sure, local seasonal produce will be taking centre stage.

Deservedly, the drive through at Bert’s Barrow has already featured on BBC Radio York and in the Yorkshire Post. No doubt, Charlotte and Jason’s innovative approach to helping people eat well will attract more plaudits before the Coronavirus emergency is behind us.

Sue’s in the kitchen….

While I have put Yorkshire Food Finder into hibernation for the foreseeable future, I plan that we will be back in style when it’s possible for guests to enjoy our guided gourmet food trails, pop-up dinners and all the other events with which I would usually be involved are up and running again.

….Just as much as usual because all of Yorkshire’s fabulous food and drink producers are doing their best to make sure we can all enjoy the season’s bounty despite the lock down that’s in force at the moment. Maybe now that many of you have more time to get back to the basics. you will find my tips and suggestions helpful. If you like to work with the recipe in hand, I’ll be including some I’am building around what I’m able to get locally. Indeed, though supermarkets have their place, I’m – more than usual – trying to reduce my dependence on them as they really struggle to bring their supply chain into balance following unnecessary binge buying.

There might not be a 162nd Great Yorkshire Show this year but it will bounce-back as it did after the county was scarred by foot and mouth disease in 2001. Likewise, I’m already looking ahead to the time when I can once again plan my diary around farmers markets, food festivals and visiting food and drink producers across the broad acres that are God’s own county.