This is for all you allotment-holders out there. Aren’t you feeling a little bit smug that you still have your rainbow chard, some slightly caterpillar-munched cabbages, the ever-prolific kale and cavelo nero and a hopeful little row of leeks? You might still have some gnarly parsnips and swede too?
I have Stephen to thank for all this, so cannot take the credit. But I have had a lovely time in the kitchen cooking it all up.
First I made turnip and parsnip soup. I know this sounds a little uninspiring, but it was delicious! The sweetness of the parsnips was offset by the earthy swede (I struggle not to say turnip – it was the big, beefy yellow sort). Just fry off an onion until it is a little bit caramelised, then add he diced root vegetables, and stock, simmer for 20-25 mins, then blitz with a stick blender, add a cup of milk and some grated nutmeg. Yum.
I made cauliflower cheese soup last week, and this was also delish. Same sort of idea: fry off some onion, add a diced potato and cauliflower cut into florets. Add stock, simmer for 20 mins, take off the heat, blitz, add milk and grated mature cheddar, maybe some grainy mustard and some Worcester sauce. Also yum.
And then, it was the turn of the slow-cooker. I browned a kilo of lean diced lamb with some sprigs of rosemary. Then fried a diced onion, two sliced leeks and two cloves of crushed garlic. You could add some middle-eastern spices at this stage, maybe even harissa paste, but I didn’t. Add a tablespoon of flour and cook for a minute before chucking it in the crock pot with the lamb. Now this is the stroke of genius: we’ve had a rejected jar of over-boiled blackberry jam in the fridge for quite some time, so I chucked about a third of the jar in the pot, along with a glass of red wine and a cup of stock. A tin of chickpeas to bulk it out (frugal and healthy), and by dinner-time it will be sweet and silky, ready to be served with either couscous or mash, and some caterpillar-nibbled buttered cabbage. Maybe even a sprig of mint on top.