1 Header Celery

We’ve only got a month left to enjoy Fenland celery at its freshest – here’s some inspiration.

From October to December, we Brits get to tuck into one of the finest seasonal veggies around – Fenland celery. Uniquely grown in the UK, this tasty treat is dubbed ‘the winter asparagus’, and is available from October until the end of the year – this is the perfect time to get to grips with it and introduce some new wintery dishes to your dinner repertoire. The flavour is sweet and nutty, and, like the better-known summer variety, it has a superb crunch.

Happily, we’ve had some help in planning how to incorporate Fenland celery into our December menus, as British seasonal food writer Karen Burns-Booth and the fabulous Mark Hix have come up with a series of dishes to showcase this winter favourite.

Mark Hix’s Three Celery Salad with Ham Hock, Mustard and a Poached Egg

Mark Hix, chef proprietor of Hix Oyster & Fish House, tries to make the most of Fenland celery’s short season and happily serves it cooked or raw.

Ingredients

4 eggs
1 ham hock, soaked in cold water overnight
4 sticks Fenland celery
1 small celeriac, peeled
Handful of celery leaves
2tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
1tbsp white wine vinegar

For the dressing:
1tbsp cider vinegar
2tsp grain mustard
1tsp Dijon mustard
2tbsp olive oil
2tbsp vegetable oil
Salt and pepper

Method

  • Put the ham hock in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 hours until the meat is coming away from the bone. Leave to cool in the liquid.
  • Cut the celeriac into 2cm pieces and blanch in boiling water until tender. Drain.
  • Cut the Fenland celery into 1cm pieces and blanch for a minute in the celeriac water. Drain and leave to cool.
  • Heat olive oil in a heavy frying pan and fry the celeriac for 3-4 minutes, seasoning lightly as it cooks. When it’s lightly coloured, transfer to a plate and leave to cool.
  • Bring a pan of water to the boil and add 1tbsp white wine vinegar. Poach the eggs, remove and dry them.
  • Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together and season with salt and pepper.
  • Break the ham hock into bite-size pieces.
  • Arrange the celeriac, Fenland celery and celery leaves on a plate and add the ham hock. Pour the dressing over the top and add a poached egg.

3 Boozy Sausage

Boozy Sausage, Fenland Celery and Apple Hotpot with Cider

This dish is one-pot comfort food at its very best; perfect for a cosy Sunday evening in December.

Ingredients

450g Newmarket sausages (8 sausages)
1tbsp rapeseed oil
6 peeled and diced shallots
6 sticks Fenland celery cut into 10cm lengths
2 peeled Bramley apples cut into wedges
200g chopped tinned tomatoes
300ml dry cider
1tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves
Salt and pepper

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 180C
  • Fry the sausages in oil in a large ovenproof casserole dish until they’re evenly browned.
  • Set the sausages to one side and fry the diced shallots until they start to soften.
  • Add the Fenland celery and fry for 5 minutes, until the celery starts to soften too.
  • Put the sausages back into the dish and add the apples, tinned tomatoes, cider and sage leaves. Add salt and pepper if needed.
  • Put the dish in the pre-heated oven for around an hour, then tuck in.

4 Sausage Rolls
Fenland Celery Sausage Rolls with a Beer Dip

For something a little different this Christmas, try these unique sausage rolls with a tasty beer dip – they’re great for snacks and buffets, and can be frozen before baking. This recipe makes 24.

Ingredients

450g high-meat-content sausage meat
1 small onion, diced
4 sticks diced Fenland celery
1tbsp chopped fresh sage
350g puff pastry
1 free-range egg beaten with 1tbsp milk
1 free-range egg, beaten (to glaze)
Salt and pepper

For the beer dip:
4tbsp ketchup
2tbsp tomato chutney
1tbsp Worcester sauce
1tsp English mustard
150ml dark beer

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 220C.
  • Grease and line two large baking sheets.
  • Mix together the sausage meat, onion, Fenland celery and sage, and season with a little salt and pepper.
  • Roll out the pastry on a well-floured board; it needs to be a large rectangle. Cut into three strips, lengthways.
  • Use floured hands to make long sausage shapes out of the sausage meat mixture.
  • Lay the first sausage shape on one half of the strips of pastry. Moisten the edges with some of the egg and milk mixture then fold the other half of the pastry over and seal along the edges.
  • Use a sharp knife to cut 8 sausage rolls out of one strip. Make sure you snip the tops to allow steam to escape while cooking. Repeat the process with the remaining two pastry strips.
  • Place the sausage rolls on the baking sheets, brush with beaten egg and bake on two shelves for 15 to 20 minutes. Swap the trays over halfway through to ensure an even bake.
  • Remove the sausages when the pastry is puffed up and golden brown and allow to cool slightly before serving.

To make the dip:

  • Add the ingredients to a sauce pan and heat gently until warm.
  • Pour into a bowl and serve warm with the sausage rolls.
For more information and even more tasty recipes, visit www.fenlandcelery.co.uk.
Hannah Burton

Hannah Burton

Hannah is a keen foodie with a passion for travel, books and history. She regularly creeps out the office with her weird crushes (Mr Tumnis and Thomas Cromwell, among others) and is a lover of fun facts, punnery and quizzes.

More Posts

Leave a Reply

| Food & Drink Guides