DDM Express Ep. II: steam-in-bag frozen vegetables

13/06/2008


Ever interested in pushing back the boundaries of express cooking, the DDM this week half-heartedly ventured towards the frozen section of her supermarket. Terra incognita thus far.
Although I will confess to driving 100 km for two bags of frozen garden peas imported from the UK (so much for my ecological footprint!), so far this has been the only frozen item that I consent to buy, next to haddock and cod fillets for emergency fried fish cravings.

In this household, the freezer serves a dual purpose: making and storing ice cubes, the storage of coffee imports or bread, as well as some leftovers is its main purpose in life. One of its other uses includes the quick chilling of wine or prosecco, for those days when the DMM requires an instant pick-me-up. Although now that we have a SMEG with a wine rack, these days are also a thing of the past. The bar is now open 24/7.

My suspicious eye alighted on such delicacies as boxes of soup, soup mince balls (why not make them fresh, such an easy way to keep kids entertained for at least 15 minutes until they decide to start eating them raw), French fries (only when restaurant dining, no friolators allowed beyond the threshold of my lair), and of course frozen veg.

To cut a long story short, I finally noticed some 'steamfresh' bag vegetables. Once home, I gladly tossed one of said bags in the wave and waited for the outcome. Seven minutes (not seven seconds, mind) later, the 'bing' alerted me to the fact that my vegetables were now crisp and ready for consumption. What's more, I managed not to burn my fingers while slicing open the bag. Hey presto, vegetables were go.

Some findings: I don't know about you but I have never seen carrots this shape or size before. Somewhere in Spain, there must be a slew of farmers growing miniature carrots. These are then whittled down to something which is a far cry from the whopping foot-long muscular and firm orange object known as a carrot around these parts. The accompanying crunch of these limp little stems was unsettling. As for the peas, they had shrivelled slightly. Since I prefer mine wrinkle-free, I was not amused. Munchkin then proceeded to have a hissy over the 'red thingies'. Bell pepper, you guessed it right; I checked the ingredient list to be certain. Some mottled green leaves pretended to be spinach over in a corner of the bowl next to the odd Brussels sprouts. But the main surprise was the saltiness of it all.

Now if I seem slightly sceptic about this product, bear with me for a second. Like every other lesbian food snob, I believe in choosing your own veg, where possible straight from a farm. Call me selective, so what? Secondly, I prefer a steam basket over boiling water any day. Why, you ask? Because you can fiddle. Peas do not require a 7-minute steam bath. For me, they need to be a dragon-like virulent green colour, smooth on the outside, somewhat crunchy on the inside after 3-4 minutes à la vapeur. As near to the freshly podded pea experience as you can get, but warm. The same applies to Brussels sprouts (which work really well with bacon strips by the way). Bell peppers should not be unrecognizable. As for spinach, it may wilt, but not to the point of losing all its tender charm.

Finally, there is the small but significant detail known as salt. Since the DDM is genetically predisposed to achieving unheard of cholesterol and blood pressure levels (my father's notoriously was off the meter), salt is a rare commodity in this house. We use it, but sparingly. As my taste buds adjusted to this sensation, I found myself wondering what it was designed to mask.

Meanwhile, next to me, the munchkin proceeded to gobble up half of her portion fuelled no doubt by the growls in her stomach. She was non-committal in her verdict.

Does Captain Iglo have a new customer in me? Je ne pense pas, she said delicately. Not even in a pinch.

This shopping trip also included store-bought carrot mash. Also salted beyond belief.

5 messages:

Bun said...

I didn't realise veg like that would come with so much salt on. I love fresh fruit and veg and it's not at all easy to buy here. I imagine Belgium (like France) has vastly more than we have. In London it's not easy. There aren't farmers' markets near me, my nearest grocers is a Tesco metro (which sux, their fruit and veg have NO flavour whatsoever and I hate Tesco anyway; they're the lowest common denominator in the UK food market).

Instead I go to M&S quite a bit but there stuff is £££ and it's still not the same as buying fresh from a greengrocers (do those even exist anymore???? Hardly at all). Such a shame. It's asparagus season and I'd love to buy that direct from farms (like my mother does in Kent). Same when it's sweetcorn season.

Not easy eating properly here.

Lula de Montes said...

Stupid question but worth asking: would it be worth looking into a once-weekly trip to a market?

That is pretty much what we do. Make up a weekly menu, buy as much as we can at the farm and top up with missing ingredients as the week flows along.

http://www.lfm.org.uk/
There's even one in South Ken now since May.

Bun said...

Yeh, I need to find one I think. I do have a car. I go to S'burys infrequently. Less than once a month these days, for household essentials and non-food items.

I heard about that place in South Ken. Meant to be very nice though pricey.

Grace Yip said...

If I found red thingies in my food, I would throw a hissy too... :p

Bun said...

Not sure what you've done but the font is much more legible now on your blog.

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