Today I made a fabulous 'London Discovery' (aka when people ask you where to go in London, and you feel like you should know more secrets than the best burger bars) - it has only taken me three years! Strolling along Holborn in the sunshine, the massive fruit and vegetable stall caught my eye '4 Avocados - £1'
It couldn't be true - could it? More likely 1 avocado for £1 - even that would be a bargain.
Alas no, it was true and I got all of the above (4 avocados, 1 huge mango and 2 artichokes) for £3 - precisely the amount of cash I had on me (probably a good job I didn't have more or I would have cleared them out!). They had SO much fresh fruit and vegetables, and so ridiculously cheap so if you are around Holborn GO! I didn't manage to take a picture of the stall but it's on the main road towards Covent Garden, complete with the traditional 'y'alright darlin?' sellers.
I haven't been able to find 'whole' artichokes anywhere, only the (delicious) canned hearts, but my friend Katherine is always going on about them so I decided to give them a try!
I had no idea what an artichoke even looked like, so to cut it in half and find a punky purple hidden centre complete with furry bits(?) staring back at me was quite suspicious. Off I googled and found a recipe from here.
Here is a quick summary of the (arguably more torturous yet delicious) recipe above.
1 whole artichoke
1 cup of chicken stock
Couple of garlic cloves
a bit of cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees, and set the stock to boil.
2. Whilst you wait, chop your artichoke in half, snip off the top leaves, peel the stem and finally carve out the pesky hairs with a spoon! (don't try to eat them, they don't taste good :( )
3. When the stock is boiled, transfer to a baking tray with the garlic and lemon juice, and lay the artichoke halves on top. Sprinkle a dash of salt, pepper and olive oil and pop it in the oven for half an hour.
4. After half an hour, flip them over on to the other side and re-season. Pop back in for another 15 minutes.
5. After 15 mins, sprinkle some cheese on the artichokes 'centre' - I missed out this step due to healthiness obligations but I bet it tastes pretty great! Put them back in the oven for a final 15 minutes.
5. Take them out - the leaves should be peeling off easily. Put the stock into a small bowl and add in some butter (up to you how much, obviously the more butter the better but it is optional).
Your artichoke will look all pretty like this. Now for what you will not find on the recipe linked above - if you are like me, an artichoke newbie, you now face the problem of how to eat it.
I just assumed you gobble up the whole thing as nothing in the recipe said otherwise, but apparently no. Spitting out the leaves which I had tried to chow down, I returned to google.
here are some instructions for eating!
1. Place the artichoke face down on your plate. Peel off each leaf separately and dip the bottom into your bowl of fabulousness.
2. Bite the bottom of the leaf where it is fleshy and scrape off with your teeth (quite weird to instruct but so good!)
3. Continue to do this until you reach the elusive 'heart' - I had no idea what it looked like but presumed this was it:
Looks sort of like a baby cauliflower - tastes INCREDIBLE.
4. Eat the stem - it is almost good as the heart!
You will be left messy and flustered, but satisfied. Because artichokes are actually amazing, and you worked for your food! You will be left with an insane amount of leaves as such:
So that was my first delve into cooking/eating artichokes, but I was pretty impressed by the end of my trial/error period! They were worth all of the effort and at around 70 calories per GIANT artichoke, seriously low calorie and good for you as well as being an amazing tasting vegetable :)
A couple of other random health foods I have discovered this week are :
literally incredible, the most delicious chia pudding I've ever had!
Coyo is the creamiest yoghurt ever - yet it is vegan? New love, if only it was a bit easier to find!
Hope you all have a great Easter! xx