I have always had a passion for anything green and leafy but my family have been more reticent, happily eating Hispy cabbage and even sprouts but emphatically drawing the line at kale.
Sunday mornings will often find me at Islington Farmer’s market, I always visit when I’m at home as I feel the stall holders in this less than perfect environment need all the support they can get. Chapel Market has a long history as a fruit and vegetable market ,stall holders first started trading there in 1879 and Islington was the first Farmer’s Market to be held regularly in London, but there is no escaping the fact that on a wet Sunday in October Chapel Market is a bleak place.
I usually buy vegetables from the “other” market as I have done for at least 30 years so I visit the Farmer’s market for things that are a bit different, a little more unusual. South Down’s Venison and Game is on my list often. There is a choice of furred and feathered game though-out the season and farmed venison most of the year.
You can find fish from both the South and the East coast, cheeses aplenty, garlic, honey and tomatoes alongside artisan breads, pies, cakes and tarts.
I bought chard, staying away from the flashy ruby chard and choosing instead the more old-fashioned, even quietly staid, green chard. Lovely lush leaves and thick white stems. I like chard that is mature as the stem is one of the main attractions for me. If I’m serving it as a vegetable accompaniment I slice both the leaves and the stem very finely and begin cooking the stem in lots of boiling salted water waiting for about 2-3 minutes before adding the shredded leaf. I then cook the two together for a further 2-3 minutes then drain very well, it holds water, and finish with butter, a grind of pepper and some salt flakes.
Chard also works well mixed with cream and with cheese, so for supper yesterday I made this tart using Comte a cheese i’m favouring at the moment. I used a young cheese, 6 months matured, rather than one of the older ones I often serve with a meal. I also used ready made all butter puff pastry for my tart, puff having sufficient body to support the filling. Shortcrust would work just fine though if that is your preference. You could use spinach if there’s no chard around but be sure to wring all the moisture out before putting it in the pastry case
Swiss Chard and Comte Tart