CHARLOTTE POTATO PERFORMS WELL, PLUS BROCCOLI LEAVES VERY EDIBLE – FIRST WEEK IN NOVEMBER 2011

The yield from one Charlotte seed potato

Purple Sprouting Broccoli leaves an unlikely dinner dish, but surprisingly good.

I still have a couple of potato plants awaiting harvest. Each purpose made potato-growing bag with handles was sown with one seed tuber on a bed of seaweed topped with mixed soil and compost  to a depth of 20cm altogether. Being early potato varieties, the plants have withered away. The other day, I up-ended the ‘Charlotte’ bag of soil and potatoes. To my delight, a large harvest of good sized white skinned potatoes spilled out. The accompanying photograph  shows what grew from one small seed potato. They boiled well and would have made a good hot or cold potato dish. I mashed mine and they were delicious, served with some fresh mackerel from Balbriggan Fish Market thanks to fishmonger Paul Baxter, who is on the Square here every Friday morning. I also had what looked like cabbage, but was not cabbage (, see the other uploaded picture).

In my small garden, I need to ensure plants needing light are not overshadowed. I noticed the Everlasting Cabbage being overshadowed by the burgeoning Purple Sprouting Broccoli plants. Simple solution, cut back the vigorous broccoli leaves to let more light reach the cabbage. This was a chance to test the eating quality of the broccoli leaves. Surprise, surprise, they tasted very well, just like a good cabbage in fact, once the leaves were cut away from the stalks. They took a little longer to cook than some more tender cabbages, but in the end, this was a ‘tasty cabbage’ by any other name. Delicious with a splash of soya sauce, along with hot buttery mash and locally caught fresh mackerel, delicious.

Once again, the garden yields unexpected food, unavailable in the shops, but very rewarding and flavoursome. The recession may be far from over, but resilience in the kitchen garden is helping to put good food on the table.

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