Parsnips are in! (Organic + biodynamic) 7 incredible ways to enjoy.

PARSNIPP.jpg

Goodness, is it that time of year already?

Parsnips are here!

While they may seem to go hand-in-hand with Christmas in the British kitchen, there’re many ways to enjoy this comforting root veg. We’ve got a few ideas up our sleeve to keep them as a cool-season staple – not a once-a-year show.

From breakfast (really!) to dinner, parsnip’s wonderful earthy sweetness is one you simply need in your life.

Why?

Other than their palatability – parsnips are good for you.

This root veg is positively packed with essential minerals and phytonutrients to support your body. Parsnips are anti-inflammatory, cardio-protective and immune-enhancing.

Our locally grown, organic and bio-dynamic parsnips are positively bursting with health benefits.  Definitely a reason to include in our diets!

What are parsnips exactly?

Related to carrots, celery, celeriac, dill and parsley, parsnips are a root vegetable native to Europe. Spicy and sweet in flavour, parsnips have been a staple in our diets since roman times.

In the absence of honey and cane sugar, parsnips were the sweet treat in medieval England.

How? After the first frost, when parsnips are still in the ground, the starches change to sugar. (This is why Christmas parsnips taste so good roasted and caramelised…)

Fortunately for us, these days, we associate them as a savoury food. (Did you see our Sussex chocolate post?)

What happened to our love of parsnips?

Well – potatoes! Parsnips were pushed aside with the introduction of potatoes as a central source of starch in our diets.

But, today, there’s definitely room for both on our tables…

Tips:

  • Heavy, dense parsnips are the best. These are the freshest – and tastiest. Our parsnips are dug fresh from the earth and delivered straight away for maximum enjoyment.
  • Don’t peel! The skin is rich in nutrients – and flavour! Plus, our organic, bio-dynamic Sussex parsnips are pesticide-residue free. Just give ’em a good scrub!
  • Baby parsnips can be finely sliced or grated into salads. Very large parsnips can have their cores cut out before cooking for a sweeter taste.

And now for the good part…

Ways to enjoy:

1. Breakfast

Parsnips are delicious any time of day. Breakfast is no exception! Try a creamy, sweet spiced parsnip porridge (honestly, it’s exquisite).

More savoury than sweet tooth? (Or perhaps just not up for the idea of parsnip porridge…). Parsnip hash-browns are a breakfast must. Or, how about a chicken and parsnip breakfast bake to keep you going…

2. Salads

I know. It’s hardly the weather to have you craving a salad. But, keep it seasonal and cool-weather salads will be a flavoursome delight.

Autumn parsnip and chestnut salad is about as seasonal (and delicious) as you can get. This parsnip, blue cheese and hazelnut salad will have you salivating.

Parsnips will add a whole new dimension of deliciousness to your leaves!

3. Soup

Naturally creamy and comforting, you can dig in with some fresh crusty bread and cool, salted Sussex butter after a brisk walk in the cool wintery air.

Sound appetizing? Parsnip is perfect in this farmer’s market soup. Or, how about parsnip, almond and garlic soup for a creamy, flavoursome and wholesome boost.

4. Curries and stews

Spices and slow cooking truly do this humble root veg justice. Parsnip and chickpea curry will transform the way you view this root veg, while this jungle curry  is a bowl of wintery, spiced goodness.

5. Roast

Roasting caramelises this root to utter perfection. You can simply slice and cover with oil and spices for a fuss-free side. Or, take note from Jamie Oliver on the perfect way to roast.

Our suggestion? Enjoy in the ultimate comforting way: Parmesan baked parsnips. (So, so moreish…)

6. Stock

Want to create the most delicious food you’ve ever cooked in your life?

Homemade stock is the answer! You’ll wonder how a stock cube could ever compare…

There’s no limit to what you can put in. Simply slowly simmer veg, fresh herbs and seasoning of choice. Sieve the liquid from the main ingredients once cooked, and use immediately or freeze for the future.

Aromatic and sweet parsnips are the key to creating an intense stock.  Here’s a recipe for inspiration (plus how to make your own stock powder).

7. Cake

Surprising, I know. But it may just be one of the most delicious things you’ll eat. Flavoursome and dense in texture, carrots can step aside and let parsnips steal the cake show for once.

Here’s an inviting recipe for parsnip and maple syrup cake. Or how about Scandinavian spiced parsnip cake? Mmm, or zesty orange and ginger parsnip cake

parsnipcake
Feeling inspired?

Get your Sussex parsnips today!

Did you try any of these recipes? How do you like to eat and cook parsnips? Let us know! (@finandfarm)


Image: Parsnip Cake 7 by jules/ Flickr (CC)

Advertisements
Parsnips are in! (Organic + biodynamic) 7 incredible ways to enjoy.

Sweet Chestnuts!

chestnut.png

Often scarce on the supermarket shelves (except at Christmas), Chestnuts can leave us a little perplexed with just what to do with them. But chestnuts have populated the British Isles since Roman times – and positively flourish in the South of England. We may associate them with Christmas, but chestnut season is here, and these delicious fruits deserve to be enjoyed!

chestn.png

A true seasonal delight, chestnuts are sweet, complex and richly flavoured. Their comforting starchy texture is wonderfully versatile for cooking. Whether sweet or savoury, chestnuts can be as wholesome or as decadent as you like. Mmm, it’s time to reintroduce the chestnut back into our culinary know-how…

How to cook

Chestnuts need cooking to become palatable. If you’ve cooked chestnuts before, then you can certainly attest to the rich, aromatic flavour cooking brings out. You can boil (approx. 30 minutes), microwave (approx. 3-4 minutes) or roast (approx. 30 minutes) – just be sure to score an X or line into the bottom of the shell to allow for peeling and to stop them from ‘exploding’! Cooking them in an open flame winter fire is, perhaps, one of the most loved ways to eat chestnuts in this country.

No matter how you’re cooking them, be sure to peel chestnuts when they’re still warm. When they’ve cooled, this can feel like the impossible task!

How to eat

There are a myriad of possibilities when it comes to enjoying chestnuts.  Blitz in a food processor to make chestnut flour – a healthy, gluten-free alternative with a slightly nutty flavour. Puree to fill a dessert such as the renowned French Buche de Noel (chocolate log filled with chestnut puree – yum!) or as a mashed potato alternative. Throw into roasts for texture and taste, or, add to rustic soups and stews to infinitely enhance with an earthy, sweet flavour.

Recipe

Decadent Chocolate-Chestnut Torte

We may associate chestnuts with Christmas and open fires, but chocolate and chestnut might just be the most heavenly combination. Haven’t tried it yet? Well, we’ve got a recipe that’ll make your mouth water…

Gluten-free, deeply chocolatey and enhanced with the flavour of pureed chestnuts and enticing walnut liqueur, this cake won’t fail to please.

You’ll need:
450g chestnut puree
230g dark chocolate
6 eggs
125g butter
65g sugar
2 tablespoons walnut liqueur

To serve:
Cream (as desired)
50g dark chocolate

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180C. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until firm (but not quite meringue texture). Melt the dark chocolate over a bowl of boiling water.

In a food processor, combine the butter, sugar and chestnut puree. Add in the egg yolks, liqueur and dark chocolate and combine.

In a mixing bowl, gradually fold through the whisked egg whites. Pour into a baking tin and cook for approx 40 minutes in the oven. Allow to cool before enjoying with whipped cream and chocolate shavings (and possibly an extra shot of walnut liqueur)!

torte

Order your chestnuts today!

Let us know in the comments how you like to enjoy this seasonal delicacy..


Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson Chocolate Chestnut Cake (gluten free)  
Image 1: Chestnuts by Kristian Mollenborg/flikr (CC)
Image 2: Chestnuts by Simone Piunno/flickr (CC)
Image 3: dark chocolate torte by kylesteed/flickr (CC)

Sweet Chestnuts!

Strawberries: Our summer’s favourite!

Morgane’s blog about Strawberries

P1090846

A little history… 

Humans have known strawberries since pretty much forever, wild strawberries of course – But it is only at the end of the 16th century that plants were introduced in Europe by America’s explorers, such as Jacques Cartier.

Throughout antiquity, strawberries have seen many different uses other than as a food source. For example, it was used as a symbol for Venus, the Goddess of Love, because of its heart shape and red colour. The ancient Romans believed that strawberries had great medicinal value; they used it to reduce the symptoms of varied maladies, from simple melancholy to kidney stones.

The strawberries species we know today are actually hybrid species – this hybridisation is the union of two species of strawberries native to America – union that gave us our garden strawberries.

Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that is important for the immune system and skin health. They have been used throughout history in a medicinal context to help with teeth whitening, skin irritation, inflammation and heart disease. Their fibre and fructose content also help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing digestion, and the fibre is thought to have a satiating effect.

Did you know? Strawberry is actually not a fruit. The visible yellow “seeds” that dot the surface of the strawberry are achenes. Achenes are actually the fruits of strawberries plants.


How to store strawberries

 

The trick is to keep strawberries cold and dry so they won’t go mouldy.

For keeping a short time: arrange the strawberries – without washing or removing the stems on a paper towel-lined tray and cover with plastic wrap; then refrigerate.

Before eating or using them, wash the strawberries under cool water and then remove stems.

For a longer time; if you want to freeze your strawberries for smoothies or cakes, place rinsed, dried and stemmed whole strawberries, cut sides down, on a greaseproof paper-lined baking tray;

Freeze, uncovered, for six hours. Then transfer to a freezer bag. You can store them in the freezer for up to three months.


Foods that pair with strawberries

 

Strawberries can be used with many different things. They may be eaten whole, sliced or crushed. Strawberries are an excellent addition to fruits salads, ice cream and sorbets. Perfect for summer! When strawberries are overly ripe they can also be used in pies, mousses, smoothies, puddings and cakes! Strawberries pair perfectly either with a bit of sugar, vanilla ice cream or with whipped cream! My favourite way to eat strawberries is with some whipped cream and melted chocolate on top of it!

But strawberries can also be used for savoury recipes -of course! In salads, appetisers, or even with chicken or fish!

6912149-berries-strawberries-whipped-cream-dessert

df36bca3bf6e258348cec598dbbc5b3f

You can actually find some very interesting strawberries recipes on the BBC Good Food site (http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/strawberry) – from the good old strawberry jam to a strawberry and white chocolate mousse cake!


Visit us at www.finandfarm.co.uk

Strawberries: Our summer’s favourite!

So many ways to use Raw Honey

Raw-honey-spoonful-POST

Source

Blackman Bee Farm – Hove

So, our honey comes from Blackman Bee Farm where Mickelmus has extended his hives from just his back garden in Hove to all over the city and working with farms in the Sussex region.   Honey is a hard-working ingredient to keep as your cupboard staple and here are just a few ways to use it…

Continue reading “So many ways to use Raw Honey”

So many ways to use Raw Honey

Leftover Light Apple Fruit Cake

FullSizeRender

A leftover apple cake that is lighter than traditional fruit cakes – would make a perfect Simnel cake.

I was browsing ways of using up a couple of our Ringden Farm Egremont Russets and Jonagold apples that were a little past their prime and thought I’d make a cake for a friend coming over for supper.  Cake recipes are generally heavy on refined sugar one way or another so we thought the best balance is probably to incorporate more fruit and eat a delicious cake in smaller slices, using the best ingredients possible.

This cake is pretty much a lighter version of a fruit cake, but you could swap leftover ingredients or use whatever dried fruit you have in the cupboard.  It would work equally well with cranberries, cherries or pears.

It’s a nice grown-up kind of cake as well, that would work equally well with afternoon tea or as a delicious Easter Simnel Cake.

One thing is that we don’t eat cake every day – but when we do, it has to taste bloody good. We came across this cake on the BBC site, which with a bit of tweaking became the cake below and it’s one we’ve added to our little black book of cakes to repeat.

The comments on the BBC site said their cake was a little crumbly, so we upped the apple content to give it some moisture (worked brilliantly) and to counterbalance the fat.

It’s a little heavy on the butter side, but we only use Sussex Southdowns butter and this is our small indulgence (Southdowns is a traditionally-made butter that goes off if you don’t use it, unlike most commercial butters which must be irradiated or something…).

We have pinned this recipe in our December notes as it would make a fantastic lighter Christmas cake if you include homemade glacé cherries and nuts.  On the subject of which, if you’re foraging around at the back of the cupboard, then we found the remains of a bottle of Cointreau from the Christmas cocktails and soaked the dried fruit beforehand.

Nick is most definitely not a fruit cake fan, but he liked this as it has a lighter texture and is more moist and plump than a traditional fruit cake without the heavy leaden lining on your stomach afterwards!

Apple Fruit Cake

Ingredients

  • 150g dark muscovado sugar
  • 200g unsalted butter, softened plus extra for greasing
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 large tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 200g spelt flour
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 good size eating apples , grated (approx 120g each)
  • 300g mixed sultanas and raisins
  • A drizzle of Cointreau or brandy
  1. Put the dried fruit in a dish and drizzle over the liqueur.  Leave to absorb for a couple of hours.
  2. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
  3. Butter and line the bottom of a deep, round 20cm cake tin with greaseproof paper. Beat the first seven ingredients together in a large bowl (electric hand- beaters are best for this), until pale and thick. Using a large metal spoon, gently fold in the fruit until evenly combined.
  4. Spoon the batter into the tin and bake for 50 mins-1 hr or until the cake is dark golden, springy to the touch and has shrunk away from the tin slightly. A skewer inserted into the centre will come out clean when it’s ready.
Leftover Light Apple Fruit Cake

Howgate Wonder Baked Apples With Rhubarb

apple

Of course, we always recommend our Bramley apples from Ringden Farm over near Etchingham – BUT on this occasion we urge you to try the early Howgate Wonders.  When they are picked early they are mild and citrussy but their flavour mellows over time.  They are a different kettle of fish to the Bramley so ring the changes with a traditional Edwardian cooking apple.

This recipe waxes lyrical about eating outside on a summer’s day – but since apples and rhubarb are at their sweetest and best, we will have to sit by the radiator and pretend.

A note about the recipe….we wouldn’t bother with the demerara sugar, sticking as we do to a good local honey…especially a borage honey if you can find it, for the fragrant rosy flavour and aroma.

We also sell delicious creamy yoghurt but the large tubs are generally to special order, as most people prefer low fat, these days.

To overcome this and keep variety in our fridge, we often have a pot of Northiam Creme Fraiche and mix with low fat yoghurt (if we mix it – it’s so rich and creamy, it’s tempting to leave as is)…it gives another layer of tart depth to the flavour which works well with the malic acid in the apples.

howgate

Baked Howgate Wonder apple and rhubarb with vanilla-honey yoghurt

Ingredients

Serves 6

  • 6 apples
  • 150g of rhubarb, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp of muscovado sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 15g of butter
  • 1 tbsp of Demerara sugar, to sprinkle
  • 200g of Greek yoghurt
  • 40ml of honey
  • 1 vanilla pod
1  Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.
2  Score each apple horizontally to slightly pierce the skin – this allows the flesh to expand while cooking.
3  Core the apples by pushing an apple corer down through the apple until it pierces the bottom, discard the core. Repeat for all apples.
4  Mix the rhubarb, brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Stand the apples up side by side in a baking dish.
5  Use your fingers to push the rhubarb mixture into each apple, dividing the mix evenly.
6  Add a blob of butter to the top of each and sprinkle over the Demerara sugar.
7  Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the apples are cooked through – you can check this by piercing the apples with a skewer.
8  Meanwhile, split the vanilla pod in half with a small knife. Scrape out the seeds and add to a bowl with the yoghurt and honey, whisk to combine.
9  Remove the apples from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Serve on plates with the yoghurt. Drizzle over the juices from the baking tray.

 

Recipe by Nathan Outlaw – Great British Chefs

Howgate Wonder Baked Apples With Rhubarb

Cooking for Mother? Keep it Local and Seasonal

It’s so easy on the internet to list your ingredients and have at your fingertips a whole load of recipes for every occasion.

So there’s really no excuse to go off course from local Sussex produce on the grounds that ‘there’s nothing to cook!”…

Continue reading “Cooking for Mother? Keep it Local and Seasonal”

Cooking for Mother? Keep it Local and Seasonal