Monday 9 March 2009


I've been a little preoccupied lately.

In January we found out that we have to move out of our flat at the start of April and so begun much tedious trawling of flat hunting sites. The housing market is quite exceptionally dull at the moment so the same rubbish overpriced flats kept appearing but with more and more agents as the owners became more and more desperate. The fear of the unknown was starting to fray my nerves, meaning bouts of 5 am wakefulness until, on Saturday, we put a holding deposit down on a flat about three minutes walk from where we live now. We move on the 4th of April. Favourite things so far - parquet flooring, windows in all of the rooms, a balcony. Least favourite - fifth floor, no lift. Oh well.

After all the excitement we were relieved and tired, in that order, but woke up early on Sunday morning and, as we were both uncharacteristically wide awake and the sun was shining, Chris suggested heading over to Marylebone Farmer's Market. We have been saying it and saying it and saying it but somehow Sunday mornings came and went and still we stayed in bed and lazed around drinking coffee and left the house at 2pm while wondering why weekends keep disappearing so quickly. So, with this uncharacteristically early start, we were at the market by 11. After a few circuits we snacked on a spinach and cheese borek, bought some bread to have with dinner and decided to pick up a few pieces of veg to eat during the week.

A few pieces of veg became celeriac, carrots, parsnips, leeks (which have all (bar one leek) been made into a vat of soup, the last leek is destined for pasta), jerusalem artichokes, purple sprouting broccoli (more on those shortly), beetroot (to mix with chickpeas and feta for packed lunches), an onion, and some cavolo nero (I'm not sure what to do with this yet and have never cooked it before so any ideas very welcome). An impressive haul and, at just £9.90, a bargain to boot.

So back to the jerusalem artichokes. I chose to ignore their well reported trump inducing properties and flicked through a few books before settling on Nigel Slater (I know, I know, so predictable but isn't a new ingredient exactly when you most need Nigel's reassurance?) and his suggestion for roasted jerusalem artichokes.

Serves two

500g of jerusalem artichokes
One lemon
Three bay leaves
A few bushy sprigs of thyme
Butter and olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 190˚C. Scrub and peel your artichokes and slice them in half lengthways. Put them into a roasting dish and squirt over the juice of the lemon, dot with a little butter, add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the dish, tuck in three bay leaves and add some thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Roast for about 45 minutes stirring occasionally until soft and slightly sticky.

We ate this with lightly cooked purple sprouting broccoli and some thick sausages but toyed with the idea of melting cheese over the top instead or just eating the artichokes with a big green salad.

Oh and the trumping properties? They have not been overstated but, as Nigel says, who doesn't secretly enjoy a good fart?


Anonymous said...

I read alot of US and Italian blogs but as a London girl, reading yours is like a little dose of something lovely to ease the waves of nostalgia for Home Home...(Rome is home and I am not going anywhere but London !!).
This post was particulary comforting, for years I used to live right next to Marylebone FM so spent plenty a Sunday there getting over excited about the veg and seeing if I could spot Nigel slater.
Like the sound of your way with the Jerusalem Artichokes artichokes. As for the cavolo nero - big minestrone I say.

Anne said...

Your new flat sounds like our old one ith all those stairs to climb, at least it keeps you fit and from buying too much shopping! I so miss my balcony, was great during the summer months with a nice glass of wine and a book to read. Hope the move goes smoothly x

Camille said...

Cavolo nero....Sweat some onion, celery & garlic in olive oil in a stockpot. Add hot Italian sausage, squeezed out of its casing & cook until no longer pink. Add cubed butternut squash, chicken or veg stock, bay leaf, thyme & fresh cracked pepper. Simmer until squash is almost tender. Add a drained & rinsed can of cannelini beans & cavolo nero which has been stripped of thick stems & chopped. Simmer for 10 minutes & serve with a grating of fresh Parm...yum!!

Gemma said...

Rachel - I would love to live in Marylebone but Sunday visits will have to do on our budget!

Anne - that's exactly what I'm looking forward to this summer.

Camille - that sounds delicious. I decided on a different recipe (post to follow) but will remember this for next time.

Gemma x

Sam said...

It sounds like you got a good haul from the farmers market, and for a bargain price too!

Good luck with the move, I hope it all goes smoothly.

Alicia Foodycat said...

You just have to avoid lifts afterwards really. And marry someone who also giggles at the trumps.

Gemma said...

Thanks Sam

No worries on that Foodycat, we were both giggling happily until we went to sleep!

Gemma x