In Season…

Jerusalem Artichokes. I cooked them for the first time this year, after they made a surprise appearance in my medieval German cookery book & their appearance perplexed or even scared lots of children and adults at the market. Jerusalem artichokes in medieval Germany? Surely, something is not quite right there since their German/French name (Topinambur) was apparently derived from an American Indian tribe… In any case, the recipe sounds interesting & I am planning on trying it out soon, despite its confused history.

My only other encounter with this peculiar & utterly tasty and nutritious root took place almost thirty years ago in my parents garden. My parents kept the flowers as decorative plants – completely unaware of their edible undergrowth. One day, my mum discovered the plants’ secret in a garden programme & instantly rushed into outdoors to dig up a ‘test root’. The thus acquired garden vegetable then got dissected and inspected by the whole family. Lastly, it was carefully grated into a salad. The verdict: erm… a bit tasteless. So the plants were left in peace. What we should have done instead is make a soup, which really brings out its ‘artichoke’ flavour:

For the soup, I think I just peeled the critters, fried them a little with a bit of butter and added some vegetable stock. They boiled soft within a couple of minutes or so. I blended the whole thing and added a tiny bit of cream or maybe not even that. The soup had a really creamy texture all by itself and was very flavoursome, too! đŸ™‚

My favourite vegetable ever: celeriac or celery root. I mainly eat it raw – grated with some grated apple and a dash of lemon juice, cream and a bit of sugar. Sometimes I use yoghurt instead of cream or leave the dairy away completely. Delicious!!

Also in season: Brussel tops. The tops of Brussel sprouts. I normally eat them as a side veg, but this week I was lazy and united all veg in one big blob of mash. The mash contained: potatoes, parsnips, finely chopped Brussel tops. The battered oval next to the mash is some quorn thingie that was on special offer.

And lastly: more fun with purple spuds! This time, I turned them into fries. Also, I found some fresh mint in the reduced to clear pile, so I made fresh mint tea. Wasn’t exactly a successful combination, but it sure looked cool! đŸ˜‰

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3 responses to “In Season…

  1. Absolutely with you on Jerusalem artichokes – they really make the most delicious, creamy soup … mmmm. Plus celeriac: have you tried it raw, sliced into narrow strips and dressed with sauce rĂ©moulade? If not, do!
    Carrot tops make good soup, also – if you can get ’em. Also elderly, wizened parsnips thrown out by greengrocers/market stallholders.
    Mouth now watering, so off to get a snack. Please give my best to the students @ UCL/elsewhere. Greetings from impoverished person in France!

  2. PS Sorry, forgot to add that lemon juice goes wonderfully well with parsnip soup; but bet you already know this! OK, will shut up now.

  3. Hi! Thanks for your comments! I haven’t tried parsnip soup yet. I’ve had parsnips in soup, but know a soup wholly or mainly made with parsnips. Last week I made my first celeriac soup. It was rather nice – and creamy! I normally only eat celeriac raw, but occasionally, I will roast it or make my grandfather’s ‘celeriac steak’ (which is basically a battered slice of celeriac). I haven’t tried your variation of raw celeriac yet. Must try it at the next opportunity! Do you think the tartar sauce sachets that lie around in some pubs or McD’s will do the job?
    I used to make a lot of carrot soup a few years ago, but I ate too much of it at some point & need a break now. I have a nice recipe for carrot & orange soup which can also be made with market leftovers. Thanks for your greetings to the UCL students! Greetings to France from this end!!

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