I mentioned Swillington Organic Farm in yesterday's post but was too distracted by the task in hand (cooking liver) to wax lyrical about why I am now a meat box customer. I had heard of Swillington but not bothered looking into what they do, I'd assumed that it was just an ordinary farm, with a shed acting as a shop, selling nice dirty vegetables and an assortment of jam at twice the price of your average supermarket. Then earlier this year I found out that they were holding an open day as part of Open Farm Sunday with demonstrations, guided walks and a barbecue (they had me at barbecue).
The day was a washout, all three of us were soaked and the barbecue sold out of burgers (not before I had one) but I was hooked. Swillington is a magical place with veggies growing in an old walled garden, chicken so free range you need a boot scraper to stop you from taking one home with you and some of the happiest looking pigs I have ever seen. We popped into the shop (it is a shed) to see if we could buy something for the evening meal and made our first purchase. I have never tasted gammon like it, the thought of eating it again is making me rethink tonight's menu as I have two packs in the freezer, but it's Sunday, I'm British and therefore a lump of animal needs to be roasted.
This months delivery contained a boned rolled shoulder joint from one of their rare breed, outdoor reared piggies and I'm doing nothing to it. No airs, no graces, just salt, pepper a hot oven to get things going and a nice long slow cook to finish things off.
I don't know about you but at this time of year I love the vegetables that are on offer and I love them cooked simply so that I can taste each one, however I have a relative that refers to our standard way of cooking and serving veg with a roast as "boring English vegetables". With this in mind (as it has been since the revelation that veg alone isn't enough) we're having a Leek and Parsnip Gratin, steamed Chard and boiled potatoes. The crispy cheesy top of the gratin is fantastic with sweet parsnips and in my opinion chard should be the country's favourite veg, if only the "super" markets would stock it.