Wednesday 9 March 2011

Our delicious Winter Harvest.. after a long absence!

After having been away for six long months, I finally returned to our lovely garden and vegetable patch in the UK.  With such neglect, I was expecting to come back to total destruction, to a barren wasteland, but it was to my surprise that not only were there vegetables to harvest, but some seemed to even be thriving. 

I finally dug up some of the parsnips that I grew from seed back in May.  It's the first time I've ever grown (and dug up!) parsnips, so it took a little time (about an hour, ssh!) for me to get them out of the soil. 

But, I was really happy to unearth these two handsome looking parsnips beneath all that rock solid soil.  (Unlike my last attempt at growing carrots which resulted in this embarassment - the post, which by the way, was shared 14 times on facebook so at least some of you out there appreciated it!)

The Cavolo Nero was looking majestic and still producing tender leaves for stir-fries or salads.  We have been picking and eating the leaves of our Cavolo Nero since June last year, so that they are still alive after all this time makes them THE most productive vegetable we have grown all year. 

Brussels sprouts were growing everywhere - I managed to salvage a few of the better looking sprouts, as many of the plants looked like they had been attacked by an army of machete wielding caterpillars.  But if there is one thing I've learnt from growing cabbage this year, it's that if you peel off the nibbled-at layers, there lay unspoilt, juicy, crisp leaves beneath. 

I've discovered that the leaves of Brussels Sprouts are good to eat as well.  So I have picked the tops of the smaller plants that did not grow to full size.   The stems are crisp and juicy and sauteed with garlic actually taste a little like Kailan (Chinese broccoli). 

Also, still in the ground were beetroot - lots of it.  I dug sup ome of the larger ones and despite that all their leaves had died off, they looked good to eat.  I just hope that they are not woody.  After tasting them, they turned out to be beautifully sweet and delicious and we had them with wasabi mayonnaise (see recipe here).

Upon sneaking a look inside the cold frame, I discovered some hardy spinach growing inside (and that's despite no watering for how many months again?). 

Now its time to eat!

I'm not a big fan of boiled vegetables with the exception of potatoes and beets, so I stir fry (saute) both the brussels sprouts and cavolo nero with garlic.  Parsnips are lovely sprinkled with Maldon sea salt and roasted in olive oil. 

If you feel inspired to do some gardening and grow your own vegetables, then here is more information:

Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage (Greyhound), Parsnip and Perpetual Spinach grown from seeds from B&Q
Cavolo Nero seeds from Franchi
Parsley seeds from Lidl
Wild Rocket seeds from Thompson & Morgan
Beetroot grown from bought seedlings

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