“Know your onions” – all about the vegetable alliums
Items covered in the introduction to this month’s meeting included why prawns will be costing a lot more by Christmas and how the levels of healthy omega-3 oils in farmed salmon have halved over the last 5 years. The main topic on the onion family (onions, leeks, garlic, shallots and chives) was presented by Geoff Heyes with help from Elaine Brown.
The saying “Know Your Onions” was first used in the 1920s and probably initiated in America. Onions are grown worldwide and are considered to be healthy.
From the late 19th century up to the 1960’s ‘Onion Johnnies’ used to come from France and ride around the countryside to sell strings of onions on their bicycles.
Leeks have been around since the Egyptian times. Miners in the north-east of England used to grow leeks to exhibit in local horticultural shows, but they never ate them.
Heads of Garlic are the staple food of the mediterranean. Eating Garlic also helps to prevent colds and if you do have a cold eat one clove with meals three times a day.
Shallots originated in Asia and are brown with a delicate flavour. You can also get pink, grey and even red Thai shallots as well as the larger banana shallots.
Chives have a delicate flavour. One hundred years ago gypsies used them in fortune telling.
Of course we couldn’t finish the meeting without tasting a few dishes made using the onion family including cheese & onion straws made using puff pastry, onion relish, Onion soup with croutons, shallot tart tatin and leek tart tatin and finally truffles with a hint of pink garlic.
Next month Jenny Boorer will be guiding us through the world of liqueurs and in December we will have our Christmas buffet lunch with some simple foods from Italy, obviously with Italian wines.