flu and a veg box.

Ok this post was meant to happen about 10 days ago, but I have been suffering from The Cold That Will Not Go Away for the last 3 1/2 weeks (after being all proud of myself that I wasn’t ill over Christmas and New Year) so its been delayed slightly.

Despite the ill my sewing for the Scifi Weekend has been coming on a treat. Two outfits (admittedly the low sew ones) are good to go, one of the main ones is 85% complete and just waiting for its bag to happen and the other is about 65% complete and I’m waiting now for trimming to turn up from etsy before I can finish it. One outfit has been put on indefinite hiatus as it was ridiculously skimpy and its been snowing and isn’t the worlds most pleasant out, so I’m really not feeling it right now.

Given how ill I’ve been this is kind of a miracle, but I have been forcing myself to sew as I have been so worried about various illnesses playing up and if I’d left it until I was better I’d be just starting now, and theres no way I want to only have 4 weeks for all this stuff. Assuming I loose another two of them to underproductivity through illness there’d be no chance. Also its been the weird sort of cold that lingers and makes you cough like an 80 year old smoker all the time, but didn’t actually knock me out in bed.

In the meantime though, Jon and I have actually acted on one of our New Year Wishlist ( I wouldn’t call them resolutions exactly) and got ourselves a veg box every week.

Now Catford where we live is actually atrocious for seasonal vegetables. If you want Mediterranean ones all year round, or Caribbean ones, you are sorted, but try looking for kale or sprouts or jerusalem artichokes in winter and you don’t stand a chance. We do have a medium sized Tesco, but just before Christmas I bought some kale from an organic shop in Dulwich, boiled it for 5 minutes, it turned the water bright green, and then I ate it all up as it was yummy, the next week I got a bag from Tesco and boiled it for about 15 minutes, the water did not change colour and when we eventually ate the vegetable it tasted of slightly chewy cardboard.

I was also getting increasingly concerned about how much we were actually spending on food and what is actually in a load of the stuff Tesco sells – Gnocci with added lactose and gluten? Dry Roast Peanuts with added milk and e-numbers? And just sticking to mediterranean vegetables was getting really boring and making our diet somewhat limited.

I tried the veg box thing once before about 4 years ago when we were thinking of moving to somewhere where I would have had limited supermarket access, and it was pretty awful. The quality of the vegetables was lovely, but we got about 3 potatoes , a swede bigger than my head and a load of random stuff that did not in any way go together and therefore we ended up having to buy a load of extra stuff to even turn it into sane looking meals. So I was a little sceptical, but a friend of ours now works for Abel and Cole, and another couple of friends were happily getting their veg boxes every week, so I gave it a go.

First up..the size of the box…we get a large box, which is supposed to serve 3-5 people. It just about serves two assuming we have about 2-3 meals a week where we ditch the veg and eat pasta or get a take away or something. Mind you we have quite a veg heavy diet. But we are not vegetarian by any means. So far though, I’ve had to buy quite a lot of meat and the odd bit of carbs to pad it out, but in terms of vegetables, only one solitary tomato, so its working for us at the moment, I could see it being a problem in Summer though.

In the box you get spuds and onions every week seems to be carrots every week too and a load of salad veg, always a lettuce and tomatoes of some kind by the looks of it. This is great, though I’ve skipped the lettuce for this week (you are allowed to skip items from the following weeks box you don’t want, or add things to a dislike list and miss them out entirely…you do get some random crap as substitutions though) as it is just too damn cold with it snowing and all for food that isn’t cooked.

The other stuff is a mix of vaguely seasonal veg, broccoli,chard beetroot, parsnips etc it has the odd curveball, but its usually fairly mainstream , you can get a gourmet box if you are a more adventurous cook and fancy more seasonal/interesting veg, but they only go up to size medium so I don’t think they’d be any good for us sadly.

Holy crap the veg tastes nicer though!

I know its a complete cliche to say organic stuff tastes like food did when I was a child, but actually when I was a little girl, a very close family friend was this old lady who had been an army cook during WWII and was a farmers daughter and had a front and back garden full of veg and and allotment on top of it right up until about 9 months before she died. So not only were vegetables in the 80’s/90’s probably better anyway, I did actually have access to homegrown organic ones.

But yeah, I had got the general idea that I didn’t like broccoli and cauliflower much, I actually love them when they taste of something that isn’t staleness and water.

So far its also been reasonably easy to turn it all into coherant meals.

I took photos on the first week, cuz I am mainstream like that, and these are some of the stuff we made….

pear and chicory salad

Bacon, pear and chicory salad (we had the pears knocking around already)

 

swiss chard pasta

 

Swiss Chard Pasta

 

cauliflower, potato and chard curry

 

Cauliflower, potato and chard curry (it was supposed to be spinach, but chard worked just as well)

 

celeriac gratin

Celeriac Gratin

 

IMG_1055

 

Gratin on the plate with a bit of chicken and a load of other vegetables from the veg box.

After than I gave up photography as I’m not a natural food photographer anyway, and decent quality meals ceased to be such a novelty!

I think it has actually reduced our food bill though as I used to plan meals round what I felt like eating, which could get terribly expensive and now I plan them round whats in the box. I also used to buy quite expensive ingredients to make up for the fact that most of the veg from tesco tasted like watery cardboard, I rarely did vegetarian meals, now I’m fairly happy to.

Anyway we are only on week 3 and already good quality cheddar and possibly good quality yoghurt (that one started out as a freebie- they are good at giving you freebies….I am good at going ‘oh yeah, I’d like some more of that!) have crept their way into the box as well.

So yeah, New Years Resolution that hasn’t ended up being a complete drag! 🙂

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