Supermarket shopping is always a chore. Strangely though I never thought this when I was at University and knew nothing about food. As I’ve started to appreciate local and British produce, I get increasingly annoyed when I go to the big supermarkets. They do seem to be bowing to some pressure though and you can often find British and even regional produce on the shelves. It still annoys me though that as asparagus season was in full swing, for the first two weeks I couldn’t find any British asparagus on the shelves and it was the same with strawberries.
On the whole I buy my meat and veg from local suppliers, butchers and farm shops. It is just more convenient to go to the supermarket, especially if, as was the recent weekend, I could only go on the Sunday. So I went with the steely determination to only buy British and do you know what, it was kind of fun. Mainly because it limited my choices and became the inspiration for dinner. As I shopped, dinner started to form in my mind with each ingredient I came across.
I had gone with the intention of getting some pork tenderloin so that was the basis for my meal and I picked up a nice looking piece of Herefordshire pork. I then went to the veg section and found the few British items I could after picking up veg that is in season over here to find they were from Spain, Malta and further afield. It is handy that a certain supermarket has started using Union Jack packaging for their veg. I picked up some fresh peas, still in their pods and the flash of inspiration hit me, it had to be a creamy sauce and at first I thought a white wine & tarragon sauce but then quickly replaced the wine with cider.
Remembering a recipe for a white wine & tarragon sauce I once used, I picked up some British shallots and tarragon. Then I thought this isn’t quite substantial enough so I perused the veg aisle again and finally found some British curly kale and shitake mushrooms. My mind was not fixed on dinner and I actually forgot about a few things I needed to pick up as all I could think of was getting to the alcohol section to choose the cider.
I took my time, picking up certain ciders then putting them back, thinking I wanted something that really tasted of apples and plumped for a still dry cider which just happened to be in a 3 for a fiver offer, dammit, I’d just have to buy another two bottles.
Once home I could hardly wait to start making dinner but after some lunch I was satisfied enough to wait until the evening. I just love the point of prepping, starting to smell the food, the shallots sweating in the pan, the freshly chopped tarragon giving that aniseed aroma through the air. Adding the cider to the pan to deglaze the pan. I even enjoyed shelling all of those peas which seems a thankless task considering how many pods you shell for so few peas, that is until you get to eat them.
Seeing the dish come together from the spark of an idea to a tasty dish that does actually celebrate all that is good about British produce. So I leave you with a picture of the finished dinner, pork tenderloin with fresh peas, curly kale & shitake mushrooms in a creamy cider & tarragon sauce.