Tuesday, 19 July 2011

July, What’s in Season This Month

To us July means long warm lazy days spent outside having picnics or barbeques, not had much luck this July with the picnics or barbeques however the variety, and quality of the fresh food available, from home grown produce to the imported foods are simply the best.

The salad leaves such as lamb’s lettuce, lollo rosso, oak leaf lettuce, curly endive and frisee, are wonderful simply served with a little lemon juice and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, or do as we do mix extra virgin olive oil with a little walnut or hazelnut oil for an extra special taste.

Berries are in season along with strawberries, loganberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, tayberries, melon and peaches, and blackberries make their first appearance,

Sweetcorn, broccoli, beetroot, and courgettes come into season as well as summer cabbage, spring cabbage, new potatoes, broad beans, fennel, the first outdoor French beans, tomatoes, watercress, new cauliflower, carrots, lettuce, cucumber.

Seafood lovers can enjoy fresh, seasonal scallops.

Fruit at Its Best

Apricots, Bilberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Cherries, Gooseberries, Greengages, Loganberries, Peaches, Raspberries, Redcurrants, Strawberries, Tomatoes And Whitecurrants.

Vegetables at Their Best

Artichoke, Aubergine, Beetroot, Broad Beans, Broccoli, Carrots, Chillies, Courgettes, Cucumber, Fennel, French Beans, Garlic, Kohlrabi, Lettuces And Salad Leaves, Mangetout, New Potatoes, Onions, Peas, Potatoes (Maincrop), Radishes, Rocket, Runner Beans, Spring Onions, Turnips And Watercress.

Herbs: Basil, Chives, Dill, Mint, Oregano, Parsley (Curly), Parsley (Flat-Leaf), Rosemary, Sage, Sorrel, Tarragon, And Thyme.

Meat, Poultry and Game at Its Best

Beef, Chicken, Lamb, Pork, Rabbit, and Wood Pigeon.

Fish and Seafood at Its Best

Cod, Crab, Dover Sole, Haddock, Halibut, Herring, John Dory, Lemon Sole, Lobster, Mackerel, Monkfish, Plaice, Pollack, Prawns, Salmon, Sardines, Scallops, Sea Bass, Sea Bream, Sea Trout, Shrimp, Whelks And Whitebait.

The Latest Grocery News for July 2011

  • Consumers will have to be told where most of their meat comes from under new EU food labelling rules. The European Parliament has approved new food labelling laws designed to help consumers make more informed choices. Beef already had country-of-origin labelling but this is now being extended to poultry, pork and lamb. The new system will be implemented over the next 5 years. But consumers hoping to see country of origin marked on dairy produce and on processed meat such as sausages and ready meals will have to wait as EU ministers rejected including these in the new rules. So you still don't know if that British banger, Cottage Pie or ice cream really is British.
  • Sainsbury's gave away 6 tonnes of sustainable fish this month as part of its Switch the Fish initiative. Sainsbury's offered free portions of 6 alternative sustainable fish species to shoppers asking for cod, haddock, tuna, salmon or prawns at its fish counters. Rainbow trout emerged the UK's favourite ‘alternative fish’!
  • Londis has pledged to get its British strawberries on shelf nation-wide just 36 hours after picking – a commitment that beats the large supermarket chains by 12 hours!
  • Asda is claiming it stocks over 6,000 local products in partnership with more than 600 suppliers. The supermarket says it is working with some of the smallest UK suppliers to give them the opportunity to grow their businesses and at the same time increase the amount of local products available in its 400 stores.
  • An array of celebrity chefs – including Jamie Oliver, Aldo Zilli and Raymond Blanc – have all signed up to a new campaign to promote British pork. A new recipe book, ‘Choose It and Use It’, has been launched featuring the chefs’ pork, ham and sausage recipes and encouraging shoppers to buy Red Tractor-assured British pork.
  • England's vineyards have grown 75 per cent to more than 1,300 hectares in the last 7 years.
  • The Women's Institute is gearing up to launch its first range of WI-branded food! The range will include the obligatory jams and baked goods and cakes all ‘home-grown with British produce’
  • Asda is stocking a new premium East Anglian potato, Norfolk Peer, from Heygate Farms, which is said to be ‘smaller and tastier’ than other new potatoes.
  • A quarter of all British pigs are now being reared to Freedom Food standards. The rise in Freedom Food pigs and pork products highlights the demand for higher-welfare pork products, even in economically hard times.
  • Sainsbury's has announced increased prices to its pig farmers will continue until the end of August at 3p extra per kilo. Sainsbury's originally stated they would review their commitment once DAPP reached £1.50 per kilo but when the DAPP reached this figure earlier this month Sainsbury's decided to continue its support.
  • UK pear growers will soon be tapping into the premium market for Sweet Sensation pears. AG Thames, a supplier of top fruit to the multiples, is creating the first UK orchard for Sweet Sensation in Kent and produce is hoped to hit retailer's shelves by next year. Sweet Sensation pears have been sold in small quantities in the UK for several years, but have always previously been imported from the Netherlands and Belgium.
  • Trade talks have officially opened up the lucrative Chinese market to pork exports. Pork prices are currently at a record high in China and there's a fantastic opportunity to improve the returns from selling all parts of the pig, which is much-needed as pig prices in the UK still lag behind the cost of production. China has also lifted the ban on British poultry exports but the beef and lamb sector are still waiting to gain direct access to the Chinese market.
  • Worthington's Ale has been certified by the Red Tractor assurance scheme. Worthington's ales are made using 100 per cent British barley sourced from Red Tractor-certified suppliers!
  • Welsh MEP, John Bufton, has hit out against the EU's labelling rules which prevent meat under the age of 24 months being labelled as ‘Welsh’ despite Scottish farmers being able to use country of origin labels on meat of any age. The disparity in the labelling rules is the result of the wording of Wales and Scotland's applications for Protected Geographical Indicator (PGI) scheme.
  • Red Lion Foods, which has raised £400,000 for Help for Heroes and other charities, has admitted it cannot guarantee its products are from the UK despite its patriotic packaging. A typical package of Red Lion ham reads ‘Support our UK Forces. Purchase this ham” on the front but on the back reads ‘cooked and packed in the UK using pork from the EU and South America’. Make sure you read the fine print labels!

    Dates for Your Diary:

    British Food Fortnight 17th September – 2nd October 2011, British Food Fortnight is the biggest national celebration of the diverse and delicious range of food that Britain produces.

    Local Shopping

    Tachbrook Street Market

    imageAddress: Tachbrook Street, SW1

    Trading hours: Monday to Saturday: 8am to 6pm

    Nearest tube: Victoria or Pimlico

    Bus: 2, 24, 36, 185, 436

    Open every day except Sunday, the number of stalls in this ancient street market increases as the week moves forwards, the market offers a wide array of goods from home furnishings and gardening equipment, to fruit and veg, fresh meat, fish, shellfish and bread and cakes, the market is home to an array of events counting late night shopping, gourmet lunchtime offers, ‘Fashion Thursdays’ and it will be hosting a brilliant Christmas market. Managed by Westminster Artisans Ltd on behalf of Westminster Council it is set to be a community hub thanks to its lively diverse array of stalls with scrumptious international hot food the paella is superb, fresh food, chocolate, cheese, olive oil, bread, funky fashion, and lots more. Discover different stalls on different days.

    On Sonny’s Stall on Tachbrook Street Market

    imageOn this stall they have it all, Artichoke, Aubergine, Beetroot, Broad Beans, Broccoli, Carrots, Chillies, Courgettes, Cucumber, Fennel, French Beans, Garlic, Kohlrabi, Lettuces And Salad Leaves, Mangetout, New Potatoes, Onions, Peas, Potatoes (Maincrop), Radishes, Rocket, Runner Beans, Spring Onions, Turnips And Watercress.

    Herbs: Basil, Chives, Dill, Mint, Oregano, Parsley (Curly), Parsley (Flat-Leaf), Rosemary, Sage, Sorrel, Tarragon, and Thyme.

    Be prepared on sunny days to have to wait your turn, although they can move pretty fast when they have to.


    Freeman’s of Lupus Street, Our Local Butchers have been getting in

    imageSome outstanding chicken with a superb texture and colour and it’s at the right price too!

    Chicken is the definitive healthy convenience food; it cooks up fast and is an excellent source of protein to help keep you feeling full. We like boneless, skinless chicken breasts because they're a real diet bargain at 140 calories and 3 grams of fat per 3-ounce serving. But don't rule out dark meat, while it's slightly higher in fat and calories (174 calories and 8 grams of fat per 3-ounce serving), it has a richer flavour and stays moister than white meat, plus, there's more iron and almost twice the zinc, not bad for a small increment in calories.

    Our Local Fishmonger Jon Norris on Tachbrook Street Market Has Been Getting In

    imageMost all Jon’s fish is from around the Cornish, Devon and Scottish coasts, and there’s a great selection of fish being landed at local Cornish ports of Looe and Newlyn on the south coast and Newquay on the north coast at the moment.

    Jon’s stall was a picture, not only did we see Line-Caught Mackerel direct Cornwall, there was also some superb quality Bass, Brill, Monkfish, lovely large fish which remain it seems are in great demand and don’t forget those silver jewels of the west coast the Sardine fantastic on the BBQ or under the grill.

    Silver Mullet, in season now, is jam packed with flavour and Bass, Hake, Haddock, and Pollack all remain in season, We can't recommend the Wild Black Bream highly enough, it's fantastic! And the Gurnard is a really tasty, underrated fish, why not give it a try? At the moment Crab is exceptionally flavoursome and it would be near the top of our list from all the shellfish Jon has to offer at this time of year, his Lobsters are also fantastic, and don’t forget Jon’s smoked fish offerings you can’t go wrong.


  • Jon’s tips to buying fish and shellfish;

    Fresh Whole Fish

    1. The eyes should be clear and convex, not sunken
    2. The flesh should be firm and resilient to finger pressure
    3. The fish should smell freshly and lightly of the sea
    4. Don’t buy fish with a strong ‘fishy’ or sulphurous odour, or that smells of ammonia.
    5. Oily fish like herring, mackerel, and salmon should have a light, fresh oil smell, like linseed oil. If they smell of rancid oil, don’t buy.

    Fresh Fillets

    1. The surface of the fillet should be moist, with no signs of discolouration.
    2. The texture should be firm, with no mushiness. Some separation of the muscle flakes (caused by the filleting process) is completely normal, but it shouldn’t be excessive.
    3. As with whole fish, the smell should be fresh and light, with no ‘off’ odours.
    4. Live bi-valves (including mussels, clams and oysters)
    5. The general rule of not buying bi-valves during any month spelled without an ‘r’ (i.e. May to August) still holds true, as this is the spawning season and quality will be poorer. When raw, the shells should be closed tight. Any slightly open shells that don’t close up in response to a few light taps should be discarded. When cooked, the shells should open – discard any that don’t.

    In The Garden

    Nothing this month except for greenfly

    Recipes for July,

    Our recipes for summer can be found at MyDish just click on the links;

    Molly’s Egg and Bacon Salad, Bacon and eggs are not just for breakfast, try them this way for a starter or brunch its a very tasty dish

    Californian Cioppino, A generous seafood spectacular of crab, clams, mussels, monkfish, calamari, shrimp, and tomatoes braised in a fennel perfumed stew, served with fresh crusty sourdough

    Lamb Steaks with Rosemary and Redcurrant Glaze

    Mmm Lamb and rosemary! The redcurrant glaze tastes so good. Good idea for the BBQ as well.

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