Westland’s Growing Mix
Westland’s growing collection is the newest addition to the expanding Westland’s range of ingredients. This collection is Micro Leaf and Cress products grown soil free, conveniently supplied still growing and presented in a punnet. Grown in the UK, the collection has been designed for use by Chefs in demanding kitchens. The freshness and flexibility of this collection make an ideal ingredient or garnish to compliment any dish. The punnet contains Purple Radish, Broccoli, Daikon, Purple Shiso, Green Shiso and Red Amaranth.
The first garlic crop of the season, known as ‘wet garlic’ because it has not been hung up to dry, is in stock now. The huge juicy cloves give wet garlic a particularly creamy flavour, and the texture is quite different from that of dried garlic. The internal skins have not formed so the whole head can be chopped and used as a seasoning. The heads can also be roasted whole and the creamy cooked garlic is delicious spread on toast or mixed with butter and used on vegetables or in baked potatoes. The flavour is strong, but smooth and not at all bitter. While the stalks are fresh and green they can be cooked like leeks or finely sliced and used to make soup, omelettes or garnish salads.
May sees the official start to the British berry season with milder temperatures, longer days and more sunshine – the perfect conditions for enjoying British berries including strawberries. The best thing is that strawberries can be enjoyed when dining al fresco as part of a main course or dessert, straight from the punnet at a picnic, or just simply with cream or ice cream. Strawberries – a great accompaniment to summer!
Red watercress — although maroon is more like it — has even more peppery bite in its green-veined pointy leaves than regular watercress and, its growers say, more antioxidants. Use it raw in salads, because cooking turns the red to dark green. The watercress is grown on farms across Dorset and Hampshire and in Spain and Florida during the winter months.
Whether it’s candy, purple, white or golden we have the beetroot you choose for your menus.
Candy beetroot is an eye-catching garnish and is a fantastic addition to any salad. Beautiful served whole or cut diagonally through the middle to show off those mysterious pink and white rings. Once cooked, the flesh becomes pink throughout.
A favourite in 1970’s British salads (served cooked and pickled in vinegar), beetroot is a root vegetable with dark, purple skin and pink/purple flesh. It has also enjoyed something of a deserved comeback in recent years, its earthy, rich and sweet flavour and vibrant colour lends itself to a variety of both sweet and savoury dishes. You could roast it, chop it and dress it with walnut oil and chives, or perhaps bake it in olive oil and cumin seeds, then dot with feta and bake again. Simply delicious!
This unusual variety of beetroot has tender pure white roots which are mild but very flavourful and sweet. Useful in cooking as it won’t turn everything else purple! Particularly good with fish and poultry.
Golden beetroot has a more subtle flavour than normal purple beetroot, and is a great garnish with its vibrant golden shine. Popular in the 19th century, it is in vogue again in the fine dining restaurants today. How about roasted in a salad with chives, feta and honey vinaigrette. The leaves are delicious too just wilted down in a pan with lemon juice, butter and well-seasoned.
We have Girolles, St George’s, Mousserons and Pied Bleu mushrooms, all wonderful varieties of wild mushrooms. Which one will you choose?
Girolle mushrooms are apricot yellow, woodland variety with delicious nutty, peppery notes. The caps have a ridged underside, with a slightly chewy, slightly fibrous stem. Also known as Golden Chanterelles, girolles grow in clusters at the base of woodland trees and are hand-picked over the spring/summer months. Perfect paired with rich game dishes.
A firm white fleshy mushroom with a meaty texture. St George’s mushrooms have a strong aroma and work very well with poultry. These mushrooms are mainly found in fields, roadsides and grass verges. Traditionally this mushroom starts appearing late April and is generally available until June.
This petite little mushroom is available in the spring and again in the autumn for a limited period. These are the mushrooms of legend as they grow in circles in the woods, called ‘fairy circles’. As the mushroom colony matures, the circle expands outward into larger and larger concentric rings. Now, the mushrooms are found in forests, woods and even lawns, where they are perceived as a nuisance. This is a mushroom that thrives in damp and moderate climes. Possessing a little brown or tan cap, this mushroom also has a thin, edible but tough stem. A full-bodied flavour.
Pied Bleu mushrooms, also known as the Blue Foot mushroom is a gilled capped mushroom with spores. Its stem is thick fibrillous and stained with deep lilac and its cap is flat with a smooth top surface and purple wavy gills on its underside. They have a strong flavoured and a pungent aroma, and tastes good when prepared in game dishes.
Delicious roasted with spices like cumin and coriander and served with a good sprinkling of sea salt and a squeeze of lemon or try making a lighter cauliflower cheese by parboiling and then roasting cauliflower florets on a buttered roasting tray with a sprinkling of Parmesan. The cauliflower stalks make great Crudités.
Although the season is very short, British asparagus is well worth the wait for its unbeatable flavour and freshness. Asparagus can be lightly steamed or boiled to bring out the fragrant flavour, which can be enjoyed simply covered in butter or dipped in Hollandaise sauce. Or for something a bit more special why not try Griddled Scallops with Asparagus, Crème Fraiche and Sweet Chilli Sauce, or for an Oriental twist try Pan Fried Duck Breast with Asparagus and Toasted Sesame Soy Dressing. We have green, purple and white so take your pick.
Ohh, yes peas! For those sunshine days and cosy evenings why not try pea, spinach and potato cakes, Cajun pea and potato salad with spring onion dressing, pan fried salmon with a pea and citrus crush or perhaps simply peas on toast.
With their range and depth of eye catching colours, they are visually very appealing but it is the wonderful flavour and aroma that sets them apart. They are typified by the array of variety types, shapes, colours, sizes and flavours.
The raw baby leaves of the coloured types look stunning in salads, and though they dull a little on cooking, a pile of young leaves, wilted and buttered with stems still attached, is still handsome on a plate. The adult plant gives you two vegetables in one: the crisp, robust stems and the abundant, delicately ruffled leaves. The leaves, though, taste of pure, iron-rich vegetabliness, somewhere between a mild kale and spinach. It’s a powerhouse of nutty, green-leaf flavour, so pair it with feisty partners: olives, cream, tomatoes, spices, strong cheese and smoked fish. It will not let you down.
Purple sprouting broccoli
The purple-green florets of this variety of broccoli have a slightly wild look and grow on slender, leafy stems of varying lengths. Perfect with pasta, chicken and fish. Boiled or steamed, purple sprouting broccoli makes an excellent side dish tossed in butter or oil. Or serve them in a sauce with pasta or as a starter, covered in hollandaise.
White sprouting broccoli
There’s nothing quite like the fresh spring flavour of purple sprouting broccoli – until you taste white sprouting. Steamed or deep-fried, it exudes gentle charm. Even more fragile than its mauve-tipped namesake, white sprouting needs to be in the pot for an even shorter time. The flavour is, if it is any different at all, slightly more subtle and less cabbagey than its mauve sister.