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  • Seasonal local food recipe No. 345 – Nigel’s Christmas vegetarian loaf

    Posted on December 20th, 2016 Janet No comments

    I would have made this parsnip loaf from Nigel Slater in The Guardian if I hadn’t received a request from my son for roast parsnips.  Its herb flavourings and seedy texture do sound delicious, so I will try it at some point in the not-too-distant future.

    Serves 6

    Preparation time: 60 minutes
    Cooking time: 45 minutes

    parsnips 500g
    carrots 250g
    apple 1
    butter 75g
    onions 2, medium
    garlic 2 large cloves
    parsley 2 heaped tbsp, chopped
    rosemary needles 2 tbsp
    thyme leaves 1 tbsp
    hemp seeds 1 tbsp
    pumpkin seeds 1 tbsp
    sunflower seeds 1 tbsp
    poppy seeds 1 tbsp
    eggs 2
    butter for greasing the loaf tin
    thyme sprigs 8

    You will also need a loaf tin measuring about 22cm x 12cm x 8cm, lined with baking parchment.

    Peel the parsnips, then cut lengthways into quarters. Grate them finely using the coarse blade of a food processor, slightly thinner than matchsticks, then do the same with the carrot. (I don’t find it necessary to peel the carrots, only to scrub them with a vegetable brush.) Grate the apple, without peeling it, and add to the bowl.

    Warm half the butter in a shallow pan, then add the grated root vegetables and apple and let them cook, for 3 or 4 minutes, until they are bright and approaching softness. Tip them into a large mixing bowl. Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4.

    Peel, halve and finely slice the onions. Melt the remaining butter in the shallow pan then cook the onion until it is soft and pale gold. Peel the garlic, crush finely then add to the onion and continue cooking. Tip the onion and garlic into the bowl with the carrots and parsnips. Add the chopped parsley to the mixture then finely chop the rosemary needles and thyme and add them, too. Add the hemp, pumpkin, sunflower and poppy seeds and a generous grinding of salt and pepper.

    Break the eggs into a bowl, beat them lightly to combine yolks and whites, then fold into the mixture. Combine the ingredients making sure the seeds, eggs and herbs are evenly distributed.

    Line the loaf tin with baking parchment then butter it generously. Scatter a few thyme sprigs over the bottom of the tin. Transfer the mixture into the loaf tin, pressing it firmly into place. Smooth the surface level and cover with buttered parchment. Place the loaf tin on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, until lightly firm to the touch.

    Remove from the oven and leave to settle for 10 minutes then turn out of the tin and carefully peel away the paper. Cut into slices and serve with the sauce (below) or Cumberland or cranberry sauce.

    Stout and onion gravy
    A dark and deeply-flavoured accompaniment for this loaf, but also good for spooning over baked vegetables or a slice of pie.

    harvesting-onions-camelcsa-0816Enough for 6
    onions 2, medium
    butter 40g
    garlic 3 cloves
    button mushrooms 250g
    olive oil 3 tbsp
    thyme sprigs 8
    plain flour 1-2 tbsp
    vegetable stock 250ml, hot
    stout or other dark beer 250ml
    fruit jelly, such as redcurrant 4 tbsp

    Peel the onions, cut them in half from stem to root, then slice each half into thin segments. Warm the butter in a heavy-based saucepan, add the onion and leave to cook over a medium heat. Peel and thinly slice the garlic, add to the onions and continue cooking for a good 15-20 minutes until the onions are thoroughly soft, golden and sweet.

    Slice or quarter the button mushrooms as you wish then add them, together with the oil, to the onions. Pull the thyme leaves from their stalks then stir into the onions and mushrooms. When the mushrooms are soft and nut brown, scatter the flour over the surface, stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Pour in the stock and stout and bring to the boil. While stirring, lower the heat, season with salt and black pepper, then leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes.

    Stir in the redcurrant or other fruit jelly, taste for sweetness, adding more if you wish. You are after a nicely-balanced gravy – savoury and sweet with a deep, wintry character.

  • It’s time to… sow seeds and prepare growing beds

    Posted on April 19th, 2015 charlotte No comments

    seeding-tunnel-camelcsa-0415rootsbed-prep-camelcsa-0415Mark N is ploughing, weeding, composting and raking the veg beds set aside for root veg – carrots, beetroot, fennel and parsnips.

    In the meantime young plants in the seeding tunnel are growing well in the warm conditions and strong spring light.

  • Seasonal local food recipe No.209 – Christmas roasted vegetables with honey and spice

    Posted on December 20th, 2013 charlotte No comments

    This dead-simple combination of winter vegetables works well with turkey or ham. There’s time to cook it while the turkey rests. The recipe is part of the Season’s Eatings (groan!) mini-series from John Lewis.

    Serves: 4

    Preparation time: 10 minutes
    Cooking time: 30 minutes

    1 mini squash
    4 carrots
    4 parsnips
    2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
    2 tbsp olive oil
    2 tbsp honey
    3cm ginger root, grated
    large pinch of allspice

    Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Scrub the carrots and parsnips (don’t peel) and cut lengthways into evenly sized chunks. Peel the squash and cut into thick slices, removing the seeds. Place the vegetables in a roasting tray with the garlic cloves. Drizzle with the olive oil and stir well so the vegetables are coated. There should be enough space for them to sit in a single layer or they will steam instead of roasting.

    Roast the vegetables in the oven for about 30 minutes until tender. Meanwhile combine the honey, ginger and allspice. Ten minutes before the end of cooking remove the veg from the oven and pour over the glaze. Return to the oven until sticky and caramelised.

  • Seasonal local recipe No 172: Hugh’s curry-spiced parsnips and potatoes

    Posted on December 22nd, 2012 charlotte No comments

    This makes a simple supper in the aftermath of rich festive food and drink. Great made with the parsnips, potatoes, garlic and chillies from Camel CSA’s Christmas veg boxes.

    parsnipsHugh Fearnley-Whittingstall takes the French to task for not eating parsnips. Parsnips aren’t part of a traditional Scottish diet either (no jokes about deep-fried Mars bars please…)  To be honest, I never ate parsnips until I moved from Scotland to England. Scots prefer neeps, but I’m a willing convert.

    Hugh says: “This is gorgous with simply cooked fish but stands as a dish on its own with a salad and a spoonful of thick yoghurt.” Can’t wait to give it a try.

    Serves: 2-3

    Preparation: 10 minutes
    Cooking time: 45-50 minutes

    About 500g potatoes
    About 500g parsnips
    3 tbsp sunflower oil
    1 garlic clove, peeled and very finely chopped

    For the curry spice mix
    1 tbsp coriander seeds
    Half a dozen black peppercorns
    ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
    1 tsp ground fenugreek
    1 tsp ground turmeric
    ¼ tsp fine sea salt

    First make the spice mix. Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas mark 6. Put the coriander seeds and black peppercorns in a dry frying pan and toast over a gentle heat for a few minutes, until fragrant. Tip into a pestle and mortar and leave to cool. Add the chilli flakes, then crush the lot to a coarse powder and mix with the fenugreek, turmeric and salt.

    Peel the spuds and cut into 3-4cm chunks. Put them in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a rolling boil. Boil for one minute only, then take off the heat and drain well.

    Peel the parsnips, cut into similar sized chunks to the potatoes (remove the core if it seems tough or woody) and add to the potatoes.

    Pour the oil into a large, shallow roasting dish and heat in the oven for five minutes. Tip the potatoes and parsnips into the hot oil, add the spice mix and toss so the veg get a good coating of spice. Roast for 40 minutes, giving them a stir halfway through, or until golden and crisp. Stir in the garlic and return to the oven for two to three minutes. Serve straight away, with thick, plain yoghurt and perhaps mango chutney.

  • We’ve dug the last parsnips and sown the first seeds

    Posted on February 21st, 2011 charlotte No comments

    Camel Community Supported Agriculture’s volunteers have harvested the last of the parsnips for the weekly vegetable boxes.

    Now we’ve dug up all the Jerusalem artichokes as well, there’s only some frost-bitten Swiss chard remaining out of what we grew last year.

    At the same time we’ve planted the first of this season’s seeds in growing modules – spring onions, lettuce, onions and parsley.

  • Seasonal local food recipe No 73: Parsnips baked with Cornish Yarg cheese

    Posted on December 3rd, 2010 Trish No comments

    Nigel Slater (sorry, it’s him again!) describes this as a ‘shallow cake along the lines of a pan haggerty, made with thin slices of root layered with grated cheese and herbs’ (Tender Volume I). He suggests using Cornish Yarg cheese – the one coated with stinging nettle leaves.

    Serves 2 as a main, with winter salad as a sideparsnips

    Preparation: about an hour, including cooking

    a large onion
    75g butter
    2 large parsnips
    leaves from 3 or 4 sprigs of thyme
    100g cheese – Cornish Yarg or Gruyere
    100ml vegetable stock

    Set the oven at 200C/Gas 6. Peel the onion and cut into paper-thin rings. Melt half the butter in a shallow ovenproof pan and gently fry the onion till soft and translucent. Stop before it colours.

    Peel the parsnips and slice in fine discs – ‘so thin you can almost read through them’. Tip the onion out of the pan, place a layer or two of parsnips in it, brush with more melted butter and scatter over salt, pepper, some of the thyme and a little of the cheese. Do this twice more, ending with cheese. Pour over the stock.

    Cover with lightly buttered greaseproof paper or foil, then place on a high shelf in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the paper and test the parsnips with a sharp knife; it should glide in effortlessly. Return to the oven, uncovered, for about ten minutes to brown. Serve straight from the pan.

  • Come and get stuck into our veg plot

    Posted on April 10th, 2010 charlotte No comments

    Make the most of this lovely spring weather.  Come and share in the push to get our vegetables in the ground.  There’s lots to do.

    We need plenty of people at our volunteer growing session this Sunday 11 April to prepare some more beds and spread compost.  There’s also celery and broad beans to plant out as well as beetroot and parsnip seeds to sow.

    Please join us between 10am and 1pm on Sunday.  You’ll find us on the plot behind St Kew Harvest Farm Shop.  If you can, bring tools – hoes, spades, forks, trowels, rakes, wheelbarrows. 

    Help us to get veg growing again

    It’s time to get growing again

  • Help us to get veg growing again

    Posted on April 3rd, 2010 charlotte No comments

    The next volunteer growing session is on Sunday 11 April.  We’ve decided to give everyone a rest this Easter Sunday.

    We do need all the help we can get to plant veg at this time of year so please consider coming along for a couple of hours next Sunday between 10am and 12 noon.  

    You’ll be made very welcome.  We can guarantee you unlimited fresh air, plenty of exercise and some friendly company… PLUS you’ll come away feeling you’ve achieved something worthwhile.

    Expert grower Mark Norman says:

    “A small gang of us created a new growing bed, spread compost, and sowed lettuce and beetroot Detroit last week.  But we really could have done with some extra assistance. 

    On Sunday 11 April there’ll be broad beans and celery to plant out, and more beetroot plus parsnip to sow.  Also compost to spread and additional growing beds to prepare.  Please bring tools – hoes, spades, forks, trowels, rakes, wheelbarrows…”

  • Freshly-dug parsnips in the veg boxes

    Posted on February 18th, 2010 Trish No comments

    All the boxes this week will contain:

    potatoes (Burlerrow Farm, St Mabyn)
    savoy cabbage (Rest Harrow Farm, Trebetherick)
    onions (Rest Harrow Farm)
    leeks (Rest Harrow Farm)
    carrots (Rest Harrow Farm)
    * parsnips (Camel CSA)

    The standard boxes will have larger quantities of some of the above plus:
    * jerusalem artichokes (Camel CSA)
    * braising greens (Jeremy Brown)
    small cauliflower (Rest Harrow Farm)

    * = grown to organic principles

  • We’ve passed another milestone

    Posted on February 13th, 2010 charlotte No comments

    Our picking and packing team prepared a total of 30 seasonal veg boxes for our members this week – an all-time record.  Plus the box we’re offering in a prize draw at the St Mabyn Pre-School Valentine Brunch.

    A further milestone was reached.  For the first time, all the contents of the boxes were bought in from other growers.

    The fact that we’re buying in such a high proportion of the weekly vegetable box contents at this time of year may seem like an admission of defeat.  But this is far from the case.

    In the UK, community supported agriculture comes in many different shapes and sizes.  There’s no “right” or “wrong” way of doing it.

    As a not-for-profit organisation we rely totally at present on the goodwill of our members, who make up our volunteer workforce.  This will change as we expand and if we are successful in our funding bids to the Lottery and the Local Action Group.

    As we’re working on less than two acres, we’re not in a position to grow large-scale main crops which need constant rotation like potatoes and winter brassicas.  Instead we are concentrating on “high-value” seasonal crops which would be either too expensive to buy in or do not travel well.


    As a CSA, we’re committed to building up partnerships between farmers and the local community, enabling farmers to sell direct to the public, and providing other mutual benefits.  So that’s why we’re happy to include varying proportions of vegetables in our boxes from small-scale, local growers.

    The Camel CSA approach is very much community-led.  It’s organised democratically. Every member has a say in how our project is run.

    The core management group is responsible for all the main decisions.  Under the guidance of our three volunteer expert growers, it works out what to grow, how we grow it, what goes in the boxes, what we charge our members and who should supply us. 

    All our own onions and shallots – in store since last summer – have been used up at long last.  The remaining parsnips, artichokes and carrots are again well and truly frozen into the ground.

    So the carrots, curly kale, onions, purple sprouting broccoli, swede and Brussels sprouts (complete with sprout top!) in this week’s boxes come from Richard Hore at Rest Harrow Farm, Trebetherick.  

    Richard and his family, who cultivate 30 acres close to the relatively mild climes of the Camel estuary, have done us proud this winter.

    The winter salad bag was supplied by Jeremy Brown, one of Camel CSA’s expert growers.  It contains a selection of baby leaves such as pak choi, watercress, mustard, rocket and spinach from his polytunnels behind St Kew Harvest Farm Shop at St Kew Highway.

    The potatoes were grown by Colin and James Mutton of Burlerrow Farm, St Mabyn.