Posts tagged ‘Wivenhoe’

August 9, 2011

Love your local shop

Cansdale Ross & Co is the epitome of a local shop, no doubt facing all the concerns that small, independent businesses face when they haven’t the buying power of the big boys. How do we help them? Use them!

This, our new little local greengrocer in Wivenhoe, has already helped us out for vital ingredients on more than a few occasions. Local produce abounds – where possible – and everything tastes like fruit and veg should. Nothing has been over-chilled (frozen, even), so stone fruits don’t turn to mush the minute they reach room temperature like supermarket peaches, nectarines and plums so often do. Peppers are red and green of flesh and don’t spit water at you when you slice them. Tomatoes are bursting with summery goodness. Onions are the essence of savouriness. Herbs are green and fresh. The eggs are from happy hens on a local farm.

And they stock our favourite chilli sauce.

It’s pretty cheap too. So what’s not to like? I know some people will complain that occasionally the stocks are low or that ‘you can’t get everything there’. Well, of course. It’s a little, local shop, not a supermarket, and buying fresh produce there is all the more pleasurable for it.

My favourite purchase so far? Four juicy ears of corn from a wicker basket piled high with it. Delicious!

August 4, 2011

Last night’s Dinner: Greek salad

Wednesday 3 August

…yesterday’s lunch, actually, and in contrast to this very wet morning, yesterday the sun was wilting the leaves of the hydrangea we brought from London with us and the skies above the Colne were an unbroken blue. What better for lunch than a Greek salad al fresco?

I’m sure everyone has their own way with a Greek salad. Even we make better ones and worse ones. It really depends on the quality of the ingredients. Ours, here, benefited from a mix of perfectly ripe little cherry, sungold and plum tomatoes from Cansdale Ross & Co, up the road in Wivenhoe. The very essence of a summer lunch.

I halved the smaller tomatoes and kept the larger ones variously chunky to add some range to the look and feel of the salad. Red onion? Yep – slice it finely and soak it for 10 minutes or more in a little red wine vinegar to take the sting from it. I didn’t use olives but did add a few shredded leaves of a little gem lettuce (‘Heresy’ I here you cry). Cucumber should be roughly diced and then all the ingredients mixed together ready to be topped with some large chunks of feta cheese (you can break it up with your fork as you eat). I’ve seen some people add fresh mint to a Greek salad and, don’t get me wrong, mint and feta are a good match, but it feels a somewhat contrived concoction and surely the best – and most traditional – herb to add at the end is a small scattering of dried oregano. Dress with a little olive oil and lemon vinaigrette.

On such a hot and sunny day we could easily have accompanied this with a refreshing glass of Vinho Verde from the Village Delicatessen (which I saw temptingly described as a good ‘lunchtime wine’). But we had work to do and the wine had to wait.

Need more inspiration? There’s a good account of Greek salads in the Guardian, here.

August 3, 2011

A summery pavlova to celebrate!


Welcome readers, to Earth to Plate’s new home in the pretty little estuary town of Wivenhoe in Essex. And please, help yourselves to a slice of summer berry pavlova with a passion fruit sauce. Go on, you know you want to.

Yes, we’ve upped sticks and travelled the 60 or so miles from central London to the countryside. And what does this mean for ETP Towers? It means a whole new way of living and sourcing the ingredients for this vegetarian blog.

In our new home it’s no longer easy to make daily trips to Waitrose, or order an Abel & Cole veg box every week. And is there life beyond metropolitan habitudes? Of course! There’s a lovely little independent grocer, Cansdale Ross & Co, up the road from us, a fantastic little deli that does a good line in cheese, amongst many things, and the East of England Co-op, which supplies a good selection of locally grown fruit and veg, including gorgeous summer fruits from Fiveways Fruit Farm, just outside of Colchester.

So, expect more of the usual servings of veggie food as we get the blog back up and running again, plus a look at shopping local and avoiding the big supermarkets.

Oh, and the pavlova? We were eating a lot of Denis Cotter recipes before we left London. It’s one of his – from For the Love of Food, I think. Can’t be certain though, as we were packing up when we made it. It was delightful, but in the midst of the removals chaos we forgot to eat most of it. What a waste. Please don’t do the same.