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Recently, I dug up a really sorry looking bunch of carrots. They were frozen, overcrowded, and had lots of black fly. With a good peel and chop, they scrubbed up well and I was able to create a tasty lentil and carrot soup.
I used a really simple base ingredient, to which there are numerous herbs that could be added to liven it up, such as cumin, coriander and chilli or mixed italian herbs etc. I’ve kept it plain so that all the family will enjoy it.
Chilli sprinkles and other optional herbs are on the table for them if they fancy a livlier soup. It also goes nicely with grated cheese.
This year, successional sowings of salad carrots will be properly tucked in and nurtured from mid March, followed by main crop sowings from May.
Let me help you sort your crap out
If you are feeling a bit run down, this is a wonderful immune boosting, comforting and connecting chicken stock, a soup for the soul, I think there’s even a book written about it.
I’ve made it since my children were babies. At the moment, they’ve got chesty coughs and colds and are looking and sounding a bit sorry for themselves. My daughter, Ellie asked me if I’d make this, given how fussy she can be about her food she can really surprise me with what she enjoys. Clearly their bodies tell them what they need, apart from all the sweets.
I used vegetables which we’d recently harvested from our allotment and the carcass from last night’s roast. It also has lots of thyme in it which is a herb I often use to make a winter tea with, using lemon, honey, echniacea and ginger, more here on the health benefits of thyme
For the stock to a slow cooker add a roughly chopped carrot, leek, celery stick, quartered onion with skin on, sprigs of fresh thyme, few cloves of garlic, fresh parsley stems and leaves, 2 bay leaves and black pepper. On top, place an organic cooked chicken carcass, you can break this with your hands or scissors and squash down gently. pour over cold water to reach about 2 cm below the rim.
Slow cook for 2 hours on high, then skim off the fat and continue to cook for 3 hours on low. (sometimes I just cook for 2 hours). Then sieve into an new pan ready to use. You can also freeze this into bags and also ice cube trays.
To serve Cook some rice noodles, add leftover torn chicken to the pan of sieved stock heat through for 2 to 3 minutes add the noodles, ladle into bowls and serve with chopped fresh parsley. (I have also added some shitake mushrooms for an extra immune boost)
Adventures on the Allotment – A Spicy Parsnip Soup
The mutant parsnips I dug at the allotment ground yesterday transformed well into a tasty sweet parsnip soup and uplifted with chilli sprinkles.
I’ll be planting parsnip seeds in late February, this time I might sieve the soil, although I rather like the Dr Who Ood features of this one. Over on my Allotment Facebook page I created a short video about it.
Recipe – chopped onion, chopped garlic, a large cube of chopped fresh ginger and a big spoon of garam masala all fried together in coconut oil for about 10 minutes.
To this softened mixture add, 5 peeled and roughly chopped parsnips, a tin of coconut milk, 1.5 litres of vegetable stock and salt & pepper. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until the parsnips are soft.
To serve, season and sprinkle dried chilli flakes over or fresh chilli, eat with crusty bread.
I wrote this post in 2014, still stands (on it’s head)
I’m avoiding resolutions, routines and ruts.
If I find myself doing the same thing I am going to get uncomfortable.
I got up to do my ‘usual’ (yawn, how lazzzt year) yoga and meditation but made sure I did in an unusual position, a fresh place and at a new time.
So I am typing with my nose and in a headstand.
And about to drink my tea with a straw.
Shake it up.
This from one of my favourite Rascals –
This week, a frosty allotment harvest has resulted in lots of unexpected recipes being concocted. Today, I brought in my beetroot balls to defrost – a couple were grated and mixed with carrot, salt, pepper, toasted cumin seeds and a splash of red wine vinegar for a raw winter salad whilst the remainder were turned into a borscht served with crusty bread and feta cheese (recipe below)
There were many recipes for borscht online so, I combined lots of them as usual to make them fit with the ingredients I had available. The result was a meaty and healthy vegetarian supper, which even the kids enjoyed after a few protests at the start.
Serve with crusty bread, chopped parsley or dill if you have some (i didn’t), feta or soured cream
I’ll start to sow successional rows of beetroot from around mid March with some fleece over the top to give them a warmer start, will share photos then.
PS If you have a favourite borscht recipe I’d love to read it
Vegetable of the month – Curly KALE
Of all the brassicas I’ve trialled growing over the years curly Kale is a favourite. Not only because it is so meaty, robust and healthy to eat but it has also for the past 12 years survived deer, pigeon, squirrel, caterpillar attacks and it’s neglectful carers.
Our sandy and dry soil at the Alpha Road Alloment, Woking also provides the perfect conditions for it to grow. In our early enthusiastic years we grew brussel sprouts, sprouting broccoli, cabbages and more brassicas. However, these need netting, staking, feeding, collars and more and now that we no longer live in walking distance we’ve gone for ease over variety.
Today, an excited urge to visit and view the frosty allotment whilst my family slept on resulted in a good hair cut for a frosty and bushy kale plant. Polar beetroot balls and icy leeks were also forked and heaved out of the soil. Visiting my Sicilian neighbours chickens warmed my hands slightly, as we sprinkled them Christmas leftovers and chatted about the weather.
The kale defrosted on the way home and I’ve made a simple made up kale salad –
More here on the health benefits
There will be regrowth from the leaves I’ve picked for more trimming soon, and I’ll plant new seeds in the Spring or cheat and buy plug plants from ebay.
To Kale or Not to Kale. #iambe