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By The Twig - Well Seasoned, Feb 3 2017 09:00AM

A quick glance at our seasonality charts reveals that, whilst there are plenty of options for fish and meat on the menu in February, healthy green vegetables are rather thin on the ground.


This month, roots such as carrots, parsnips and swede are all still fairly plentiful but the cold weather means above-ground, leafy produce is hard to come by.


Thankfully a thin, purple superhero comes to our rescue this month. He's become so popular in recent years that he goes simply by an acronym - PSB. The Vegetable Formerly Known As Purple Sprouting Broccoli arrives just in time to sustain us through to spring.


Every part of this slender, leafy plant is edible so don't be put off if your PSB looks a bit stalky compared to "proper" broccoli. The first crops usually arrive in late January or February and the season will come to an end around May.


Good PSB is a real treat but it's easy to be put off by poor quality produce - woody stems and wilting, flavourless leaves are, unfortunately, all too easy to find. Choose yours carefully; it should look fresh and healthy. If the florets are yellowing or look dry then it's not fresh enough. The stems should snap cleanly in the same way as asparagus. Cooking is straightforward and much the same as for the normal broccoli.


Rather than be tempted by "early season" (almost certainly imported) asparagus in February, why not try a few stems of the freshest PSB with hollandaise sauce as an accompaniment? It'll add a perfect touch of seasonal glamour and goodness to your late-winter dinner table.


By The Twig - Well Seasoned, Jan 19 2015 09:46AM


A quick glance at our seasonality charts reveals that, whilst there are plenty of options for fish and meat on the menu in the deep mid-winter, healthy green vegetables are rather thinner on the ground. Roots such as carrots, parsnips and swede are all still good at the moment but, by the middle of January, above-ground leafy produce is very hard to come by.


Thankfully a thin, purple superhero comes to our rescue this month. He's become so popular in recent years that he goes simply by an acronym - PSB. The Vegetable Formerly Known As Purple Sprouting Broccoli is hitting the shelves right now and will be around to sustain us right through to the Spring.


Every part of this slender, leafy plant is edible so don't be put off if your PSB looks a bit stalky compared to "proper" broccoli. The first crops usually arrive in January and the season comes to an end around May. Whilst there are some modern varieties which grow outside of those times, they are generally pretty tasteless and can be tough, so best avoided.


Good PSB is a real treat but it's easy to be put off by poor quality produce - woody stems and wilting, flavourless leaves are, unfortunately, all too easy to find. Choose yours carefully; it should look fresh and healthy. If the florets are yellowing or look dry then it's not fresh enough. The stems should snap cleanly in the same way as asparagus. Cooking is straightforward - exactly the same as 'normal' broccoli but a bit shorter.


Rather than be tempted by "early season" (usually imported) asparagus in January or February, why not try a few stems of the freshest PSB with hollandaise sauce as an accompaniment? It'll add a perfect touch of seasonal glamour and goodness to your Winter dinner table.


If your PSB does go past its best, don't throw it away - make up a batch of warming PSB and Blue Vinney Soup. This cracking winter soup will warm even the coldest cockles of your heart as the mercury falls at this time of year.


PSB and Blue Vinney Soup


To serve 4:


750g purple sprouting broccoli

1 and ½ pints of good vegetable stock

175g Dorset Blue Vinney (or other Blue cheese – e.g. Stilton or Sitchelton)

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

1 medium potato, peeled and chopped

Salt and pepper


Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the chopped onion and simmer for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and fry for another minute. Add the chopped potato and pour in the stock, retaining about ¼ pint. After 5 minutes of boiling the potato, add the PSB and continue to boil for another 10-15 minutes until both the potato and broccoli are very soft. Crumble the cheese and stir in. Take pan off the heat and blend the entire contents, adding in as much of the remaining stock as you need to achieve the desired thickness. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Note - you should not need much salt as the cheese provides quite a lot - for this reason we'd suggest not adding any more until the final stages) Serve with warm crusty bread


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