Monday, 16 February 2009

Home grown dinner

One of the most satisfying moment in the world of kitchen gardening is the day you sit down for dinner and realise that all the vegetables on your plate are home grown. I wouldn't want to take anything away from anyone who has ever achieved this but it is easier to manage this in the summer than it is in the winter. Therefore, I was proud of myself last night when in mid February we sat down to a Sunday roast with all home grown vegetables. There were roast potatoes, baked carrots, roast parsnips and boiled leeks and the chicken was stuffed with sage and shallots.

The parsnips and leeks were fresh from the plot and the sage, although tatty, was straight from the front garden. The shallots were from store and the carrots and potatoes were from the freezer. Back in the autumn I had dug up the last of the carrots, peeled, chopped and blanched them before laying them on a tray and freezing them. Although carrots can stand in the ground all winter, we have so many slugs that as time passes the harvest becomes more and more depressingly damaged and preparation becomes more complicated. Once frozen they can be used easily in casseroles or baked. Just place them frozen on a piece of foil, drizzle over some olive oil and add a pinch of five spice powder. Then seal the foil around them as a parcel and place them in the oven with the roast for the whole of the roasting time.

As for the potatoes, months ago I peeled them and cut them into suitable pieces for roasting then par boiled them for between 5 and 10 minutes. Once drained, I fried them in some duck fat until they were well coated and just beginning to brown then I cooled them and froze them on a tray. Last night I tossed them under the roast and cooked them from frozen for 45-50 minutes.

It's a great achievement but I'm glad that there is fresh veg in the shops to back us up when things don't quite go to plan! It certainly take the stress out of it.

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