Purple Sprouting Broccoli
I am a couple of days late again this week due to half term and some Commercial Work but didn’t want to double up again so I have chosen something very quick and easy for this weeks post.
All of the local farm shops have an abundant supply of Purple Sprouting Broccoli at the moment as it has just come into season in the last couple of weeks - it will remain in season well into April. Whilst it is available in some supermarkets, I much prefer to buy from a farm shop as it generally comes from a local producer.. This minimizes the carbon footprint and don’t even get me started on packaging - I will save that for another blog.
I am lucky to have a number of farm shops to choose from including:
Eggs to Apples at Hurst Green
Browns at Robertsbridge
Busters at Roberstbridge
Hartley Farm Shop and Coffee House in Cranbrook - where my son works in the Bakery on a Saturday
Hartley Dyke Farm Shop at Charity Farm, also in Cranbrook
There are others but these are the ones I use the most.
Purple Sprouting Broccoli is a cousin of the familiar Broccoli or Calabrese. It is deeper in colour and more leafy with the florets forming on long slim stems which, along with the leaves, are tender enough to eat. The darker the colour of the florets, the better.
Packed with Vitamin C and a good source of caretenoids, iron, folic acid, calcium, fibre and Vitman A, this little gem is a real powerhouse of a vegetable. It also contains sulforphane, a phytochemical which is believed to help prevent cancer and is beneficial in resisting heart disease, osteoporosis and diabetes.
Another versatile vegetable, it can be steamed, roasted, stir fried or even deep fried. Sadly the purple colour is lost during cooking though.
I have chosen a Pasta recipe which is very much a family favourite:
Orecchiette with Anchovies and Purple Sprouting Broccoli
I first cooked this a few years ago with my Mother at her house, We followed a recipe from Jamie Oliver, using normal broccoli where we had to peel and chop up the stem and include it with the florets. It is much easier when all you need to do is trim the bottom off the stem. Today I have used a similar recipe from BBC Good Food and added fresh breadcrumbs which have been fried in a little olive oil and some lemon zest until crisp to the finished dish. This adds some texture which I particularly like. Orecchiette pasta is ideal for this dish as the little cup shape holds the sauce which is made from anchovies, garlic and chilli. It is such a tasty recipe, perfect for a meat free, midweek meal.
We have had unseasonally warm weather in the UK this last week with temperatures reaching 20 degrees which is unheard of in February. This time last year we were covered in snow from the Beast from the East! The unseasonal weather does, however, give the most glorious light and I wanted to take full advantage of it this morning before it became too strong. I set my space up in a good position and it was just perfect - there was a clear crispness to it which meant I was able to take my shots quite quickly without having to diffuse it. I have already mentioned that I prefer to use natural light when possible and it was ideal today.
I decided to go for ‘rustic styling’ today - I feel this suits the subject. The base is a photographic backdrop of which I have several in a variety of styles. I am also always on the lookout for props to use in my Food Photography - it’s important not to overdo it so the challenge is to get the balance right. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t - it’s all one big learning curve.
This brings me to the end of this post - better late than never!
Until next week.