Total Produce Market Report March 2018

Total Produce have released their March 2018 market report and it makes for some quite good reading. Happily spring is just around the corner, so hopefully the snow we had over the weekend will be the last of it!


Blood Oranges are still with us and should be until the end of the month and there is a good availability of other oranges. Lemons are also plentiful although limes are currently inconsistent.

Home-grown apple and pear season is coming to an end, but the first arrivals of fruit from South America will soon be with us.

The ridiculously cold weather spell of a few weeks ago has affected the supply of strawberries and raspberries from Spain which has resulted in them currently being very expensive. Total Produce are hoping this will ease off as the month goes on.


Home-grown Cavolo Nero is on it’s way out, but will be replaced by supplies from Italy – albeit costs will increase.

Purple sprouting broccoli remains in good supply, but cauliflower is in short supply with costs being inflated as a result.

Confirming that Spring is almost here, we should see the first arrivals of British asparagus from the Wye Valley later this month. Similarly the first supplies of broad beans and peas from Southern Europe are starting to emerge although supplies are limited.

Jersey Royals will soon be arriving on the shelves, but they will be quite expensive. TP have suggested an alternative of early Spring crop Cyprus new potatoes which have ‘excellent flavour the Cyprus is a remarkably versatile spud’.

Something to look forward to; wild garlic leaves & flowers, monks beard and artichokes.


We should start to move across to new season salad growers from Holland and the UK, with British tomatoes coming along by the end of the month.

The Vale of Evesham, which is renowned as the ‘Garden of England’ has had to halt planting of summer salad crops due to the recent wet weather. As a result there may be a shortage of spring onions and speciality lettuce in due course.



Sea Bass en Papillote

Recipe of the Week

Seasonal Produce: Fennel

I really love fresh fish, and the lemon with the fennel and sea bass make this a fantastic and yet really easy supper choice. It’s also a great way to wow your guests at a dinner party, with fairly little work and can be prepared in advance meaning you have all the more opportunity to natter away.

The fennel adds an exciting depth of flavours but can sometimes be slightly undercooked with this method. You still want a slight crunch- but make sure you finely slice the fennel before putting it in as this will allow it to cook fully.

En papillote translates in English to ‘in paper’ and is the method of cooking something wrapped up in paper. Baking parchment or foil work perfectly. Wrapping the food up into a parcel allows it to steam in its own flavours which creates a very delicate but intense flavour whilst gently cooking the meat or fish.

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WOAH: this year is really going quickly! Finally in March, and according to the Met Office – that really bad snow we had last week…..that was the start of Spring. And what an intro to Spring that was.

I’m going to adhere to the ‘astronomical method’ which states that Spring 2018 starts on 20th March and continues until 21st June. Simple reason being that I can’t let the snow we had last week be the start of Spring!!

So, March – what do we know about March? Well, it was originally the first month of the year in the Roman calendar which only had 10 months, and perhaps more excitingly is the time of year when animals start to wake up from hibernation. Summer – here we come!

We’ve seen a whirlwind of weather conditions already this month, and we’re only 10 days in. The most exciting news though, is that the mornings are becoming lighter – making my attempts at the morning gym session much more bearable!

Slowly starting to come out of hibernation means that I’m starting to cook more lighter dishes and less casseroles and stews. It’s exciting that we’ll soon be seeing produce such as sorrel, spinach, peppers, salmon, spinach, watercress emerging. Suitably apt- also look out for Spring Greens.

We will soon have to say adieu to until next year are chicory, Jerusalem artichoke, kale, leeks, mussels, parsnips, sweet potato – and perhaps to some people’s relief – Brussel sprouts.

Still with us we have purple sprouting broccoli, cabbage, kale, rhubarb, cauliflower, celeriac.


Unprocessed: The ‘Rules’

As I walked in to work this morning I re-listened to The Food Programme’s podcast from 16th October 2017 called ‘How We Eat: Eating By The Rules’. The concept of strict rules has always been one that I’ve disagreed with simply because if someone says you can’t have something – you’ll only want it more.

However, listening again to the podcast has actually made me realise that some people need rules, and that by having rules to adhere to – they can actually start to enjoy food more. It seems a bit contradictory that the creation of rules actually liberates people, but consider this; by following the rules, people can eat a little more guilt-free.

That concept to me, makes total sense. In the absence of any guidelines – be it financially, in work or in food – it’s easy to spiral out of control. I found this last year at work, where I increasingly found myself working 11-12 hour days in the office before crawling into my bed only to do the same the next day. A new year resolution of realising there is more to life then just work has seen me reduce my working day to 9 hours, making sure I take a lunch break and reclaiming evenings for ME.

Similarly with eating – with a bit of preparation, eating unprocessed means I regularly treat myself to a flapjack or chocolate cookie – with the luxury of knowing exactly what has gone in to it and therefore being confident that I’m filling my body with nutritious food and not lots of preservatives. I’m trying to be very careful not to use the words ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ as I don’t think what we eat falls simply into these two categories – and there are large degrees of variance – such as I suppose a fresh piece of Brie from your local deli could be considered processed – but to a much lesser degree (in my opinion) to say a McDonald’s burger. Gosh, I never thought that brand would feature on this blog!

Thinking about it now, perhaps it’s the word ‘rules’ that I struggle with – it takes me back to being in the playground at school. Swapping the word for something a bit softer such as guidelines or tips sits a bit better with me.

In the absence of any guidelines, we’re in danger of eating things with very little nutrition – so in essence it’s about education, preparation and a degree of discipline. But – it’s also about realising that we are all human, and if you really crave something, then as long as it’s proportionate – just have it! But – make sure you enjoy it! Dare I say it (speaking from experience) you probably actually won’t end up enjoying it quite as much as you thought you would – which plays back into the idea of following the rules to guilt-free eating…but you’ll only learn this by trial and error, so go for it!

Eating unprocessed is not about watching the calories but instead about watching the type of food you eat. Going back to basics and knowing what you’re putting in your body.

I would generally consider myself as someone that has always eaten fairly healthily, saves as for a very sweet tooth for pick ‘n’ mix (I don’t think you can get much more processed than that, and sadly I’m yet to find a suitable substitute!). However, when I started looking at the packets of food I was eating, I was shocked to realise the extent of processed foods. I’d expected it from most crisps and all sweets – but didn’t expect it quite as much from ‘natural’ cereal bars and organic flavoured yoghurt.

Guidelines for Eating Unprocessed

  1. The Kitchen Rule – if you can reasonably make it at home in your kitchen, then it’s good to go
  2. Ingredients – what Does It Say? – have a look at the ingredients, if you don’t recognise one of them as a whole food, put the packet back down and walk away
  3. Go Organic – I was surprised by this initially as there is so much information on do or don’t go organic – but organic produce is grown without pesticides, fertilisers etc
  4. Preparation is key – make it easy on yourself when preparing lunches and breakfasts so you’re not stuck in the supermarket wading through the ingredients on the back of every sandwich in Sainsburys at lunchtime
  5. Eat Seasonal – less preservatives and air miles = a happier fruit or vegetable, oh and planet!

In a time where we’re constantly striving for perfection, the last thing that we need to do is put even more pressure on ourselves to be something that we’re not – and so creating rule after rule will surely only make us go stir-crazy….but the allure of some simple guidelines that allow us to live (and of course eat) guilt-free and to just be ourselves – now that I can understand….

Turmeric Chicken Adobo

Recipe of the Week

Seasonal Produce: Fresh Turmeric, Cauliflower, Squash

I bought a fennel on Friday and planned to cook ‘sea bass en papillote’, but due to the snowy conditions, I struggled to get some fresh whole sea bass. So, that’s the recipe for next week sorted!

So, I’ve opted to cook a warming Filipino curry, an adobo. The word ‘adobo’ is derived from the Spanish word meaning ‘marinade’ and the key ingredient for an authentic Filipino chicken adobo is vinegar. It’s been a traditional dish since the Philippines were colonised by Spain in the late 1500’s. History lesson over – back to the cooking!


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Unprocessed: What’s It All About?

Over the past year or so the ‘clean eating’ brigade have received quite a lot of bad press, some possibly deserved and others perhaps not. This led me to reflect on what I had hoped to achieve when I embarked on eating ‘unprocessed’ and more importantly what message I was trying to deliver to others.

This reflection has led me to take a step back over the last few weeks and looking at what eating unprocessed means to me, what benefits it offers (and negatives of course), how anyone can achieve eating unprocessed easily and how our food culture is already adapting to the concept.

I’ll be writing a series of blogs over the next few weeks looking at this and hopefully giving you some useful tip and guidance so that you can create your own concepts that work for you.  Continue reading

Roasted Cauliflower

Recipe of the Week

Seasonal Produce: Cauliflower & Fresh Turmeric

Processed with MOLDIV

Cauliflower has grown in popularity over the past few years becoming much more than the classic cauliflower cheese side that we all know and love – and becoming a main star in its own right.

Roasted cauliflower lends itself to so many different recipes and so I’ve decided to try three different roasted cauliflower recipes, each working perfectly as a starter or even as a main course if done on a larger scale.

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