Supermarkets are very good at spotting trends, and even better at making themselves appear to be on top of those trends.
For example, in the last few years pressure from consumers has led to the provenance of fresh food being clearly displayed on the label. In some cases, the label will even identify the very farm where the produce was grown.
For those of us who check the labels, this trend has helped us make more informed choices over what we put in our shopping baskets.
Unfortunately, whilst such labelling should promote greater transparency, it is heavily dependent on the honesty and integrity of the supermarkets themselves.
And therein lies a problem.
Earlier this year, Tesco supermarket was revealed to be using fake farm labels on its fresh produce. Tesco have seven such labels – Rosedene Farm, Boswell Farms, Suntrail Farms, Willow Farms, Nightingale Farms, Redmere Farms and Woodside Farms.
None of these farms actually exist. These cosy, English-sounding names could also fool some customers into believing they are buying local, or at least British products when they are not. Suntrail Farms, for example, is a label Tesco uses on imported fruit.
Tesco may be the worst, but they are not the only offender: Aldi, Lidl and Morrisons have also been found to use fake farm labels on some of their products.
The UK’s National Farmers Union (NFU) has now lodged a formal complaint to the National Trading Standards Office over Tesco’s use a fake farm labels. I don’t often find myself on the same side as the NFU, but in this particular instance I wish them every success.
Onto the recipe.
This delicious, wholesome autumnal salad tastes divine and, apart from roasting the butternut squash, it really doesn’t take long at all to put together.
Warm salad of butternut squash, chickpea and kale
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2-3cm chunks
200 g kale, tough stems removed, chopped
2 shallots, finely sliced
1 x 400g organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
for the herb dressing
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
20g pine nuts
20 g mixed fresh herbs (I used basil leaves, parsley and oregano)
75 g extra virgin olive oil
juice of half a lemon
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6). Place the chopped butternut squash in a roasting tray and drizzle over a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and place in the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes or until the squash is tender and starting to caramelise slightly at the edges. Remove from the oven, drain on kitchen paper and set to one side.
2. While the squash is in the oven, make the dressing. Put the garlic, pine nuts, basil, parsley, oregano, olive oil and lemon juice in a blender and process until you have a fairly smooth dressing. Set to one side.
3. Place a wok or large frying pan over a medium heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is hot add the shallots and stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Add the kale and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the kale has wilted and started to catch. Add the chickpeas and squash and stir-fry for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and drizzle over the dressing before serving.