Shopping is not one of my favourite past-times, especially a weekly trip to the supermarket to do a ‘big’ shop. Whilst it seems quicker and easier to do it all in one hit I find I get lost in the windowless warehouses. Time flies by while I’m sucked into buying more than I intended from the vast range on offer.
I much prefer shopping little and often, topping up when we’re running low. When choosing food I value how and where it is grown, raised and caught. The main priority for me is to buy locally produced food as I want to support people living and working in my community. There’s another benefit – it’s likely to be super fresh; fruit and veg picked within days if not hours; fish landed that day.
When buying meat for my family I want to know the heritage of the animal. Local farmshops, such as Yerbeston Gate and Bethesda, have a strong interest in rearing content and healthy animals to produce the high quality end products they sell direct. Farmers involved in the whole process are connected to their customer, this reassures me in a way buying meat in a black plastic tub from the supermarket cannot.
Organic produce is also important to me. This isn’t due to the possible nutritional benefits but rather out of concern for the environment. I know little about farming but want to support a system that values the health of the soil and wildlife around the farm so natural eco-systems flourish.
And the conversations started when meeting the growers and suppliers of our food are often illuminating. The added bonus is that for every £10 spent in local shops £6.30 stays in our local economy, compared to £4 if we spend that £10 in a large chain store.
This simple recipe celebrates local ingredients and is truly authentic if made using Pembrokeshire produce! It’s a winner at BBQs or great for lunch, maybe with some tomatoes and a leafy salad on the side. This method for boiling eggs comes from Harold McGee’s invaluable book, ‘Keys To Good Cooking’, and gives just set eggs which are gently cooked, rather than tough and rubbery.
Pembrokeshire Potato Salad
Ingredients (adjust quantities to suit, this makes a big bowlful)
500g new potatoes
3 eggs (if a week or two old they’ll be easier to peel)
50g marsh samphire (tender young tips ideally, or steamed tougher stems)
Salt and pepper
Wash the potatoes. Place them in a large pan, cover with plenty of water, add a big pinch of salt and bring the water to the boil. Simmer for 15-30 minutes (depending on size) until the potatoes are tender (a sharp knife should easily slide into a potato). Drain and allow the potatoes to steam dry, cut them into bite size pieces when cool enough to handle.
Bring a large pan of water to a rapid boil then turn down the heat. Gently lower the eggs into the water with a spoon, cover the pan, turn off the heat and leave the eggs for 12 minutes. Remove them from the water with a spoon and run the eggs under cold water. When they are cold, tap the eggs all over to crack the shell, pull off the shell and white membrane. Grate the eggs coarsely.
Mix the potatoes and eggs together in a large bowl. Chop up the marsh samphire and mix it into the salad.
Try the salad and add salt and pepper to taste (the marsh samphire is salty so you may not need extra salt).
This article first appeared in Narberth Breeze magazine.