Friends and family tend to ask us what the hardest adjustment to life in London has been. One of the first answers that always comes to mind for both of us is grocery shopping. In the U.S., grocery shopping involves one big weekly shop where you drive your car down to the massive chain grocery store, load up on more items than necessary, pile those items back into your car and unload them into your unnecessarily large refrigerator at home, in which you’ll inevitably lose some of said items in the back of the fridge and proceed to throw them away at the end of the week before repeating the whole process over again. (At least that’s how grocery shopping used to go for me, which is horrifying.)
In London, this process simply is not possible. You don’t have a car (well, probably not). You can only buy as many groceries as you can carry home from the local shop. And you’re lucky if your fridge is larger than a college mini-fridge that can only fit two days’ worth of groceries. And figuring out the identity of all of the chains is fun. Is Tesco like Walmart? No wait, that’s ASDA. Why does Sainsbury’s also sell clothes? Why is Waitrose so expensive? Oh, that’s because it’s like Whole Foods but it doesn’t have all the same products as Whole Foods does. And streaky bacon is not Amurcan bacon, no matter how many times you Brits tell us it’s the same thing.
What started as a monumental headache a few days a week turned into a very positive learning experience for us. We waste significantly less food now that we have no choice but to figure out how to maneuver it all into a cold box that is essentially the size of a beach cooler. We’re more aware of portion size because everything – fruits, vegetables, chicken breasts, fish filets – are simply smaller than they are in the U.S. And we’ve also found that we have much better access to good quality, well-sourced ingredients – which brings me to FarmDrop.
FarmDrop has changed the way we shop. They connect with small food businesses and farmers outside of London to bring the products directly from the farms to your door. Their mission is to “fix the food chain”, and they seem to be following through. They’re different to a CSA in that you can hand select each product that you want through their online platform (vs. signing up for a CSA and being given a basket of whatever a farm has that week on-hand). The food lasts for literally a week longer than food from the grocery store because FarmDrop is eliminating the truck-and-warehouse-wait-time that most grocery stores have. You can choose the low-waste packaging option so that everything arrives to you lose and unpackaged (apart from meat which of course needs to be sealed).
One of their best features is their blog, where they share information about their seasonal ingredients, some of which I have never heard of before. My most recent favorite was their article about wild garlic, which I had never even seen until we moved to the UK. Wild garlic is found in wooded areas from mid-March through early summer – once you know what it looks like, it catches your eyes (and nose – it has a prominent smell!) everywhere with it’s beautiful white flowers. I decided to try using it with chicken, figuring that would be the easiest way to get started!
Try out our recipe and let me know what you think! I’d also suggest trying out Farm Drop if you live in London – and no #thisisnotanad, I’m just obsessed with them because they changed the way we shop.
Wild Garlic Chicken Recipe
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Bake Time: 25 Minutes
- Total: 45 Minutes
- Makes: 4 servings (perfect for lunch leftovers if you’re cooking for two!)
- 4 skinless chicken breasts
- 2 garlic cloves
- 25g wild garlic leaves
- ½ cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper, freshly ground
- Blender / magic bullet
- Cutting board
- Paring knife
- Medium to large Pyrex dish
- Preheat oven to 190C (375F).
- Peel and mince garlic cloves. Add to blender.
- Tear wild garlic and add to blender, with the olive oil and freshly ground salt and pepper. (If you don’t have a blender, you can just finely mince the garlic cloves and the wild garlic, and mix them with the olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl.)
- Blend the ingredients together for roughly 30 seconds.
- Place the chicken breasts into the Pyrex dish.
- Pour the wild garlic mixture over the chicken breasts and ensure they are all fully covered in the mixture. Add a bit of additional olive oil if the chicken breasts are large and need extra liquid.
- Bake the chicken for around 25 minutes, or until the chicken breasts are 75C (165F) internally.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.
- Serve with mashed cauliflower and green beans, or other fresh seasonal vegetables.