Winter Vegetables And A Parsnip Cake

This weekend at my allotment I noticed that the snow drops I planted last year have begun to flower.  Where on earth is time going to?…I can’t believe it will be February on Saturday.

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I planted the snowdrops last year after my good friend passed away.  The day she died I noticed that snowdrops were in flower and they looked beautiful, so I decided to plant some in my ‘woodland area’ at my allotment.  This way I will remember her each time I see them in flower.  I will plant some more this year too, as eventually I want to see a mass of snowdrops in this area.

I still miss my old friend very much.

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I also noticed that I have some primroses in my woodland area that are in flower too.

There are also one or two early flowers on the poached egg plants and in the photograph below, you can just see a daffodil bulb poking through too:

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These are all reminders that Spring will soon be on it’s way, (though we do still have some cold winter weather to get through first).

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This weekend I brought some vegetables home from the allotment for dinner.  I have decided that I am very pleased with my winter vegetables this year:

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I put a twelve inch ruler next to the parsnips so you could see the size of them.  I tried various methods of growing parsnips with limited success, until I started to grow them in kitchen roll tubes.  This gives me an almost perfect germination rate and also nearly always gives me straight parsnips that don’t fork.

You can read how I grow my parsnips here.

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I have had a problem in the past with my brussell sprouts ‘blowing’.  I always thought that this was due to the soil not being firm enough around the plants, but I knew my soil was firm as I dug manure into it the autumn before and stomped around on it before I planted into it.

I then read that F1 varieties were less likely to ‘blow’ and I planted these last year….and I’m pleased to say I am very happy with the result.  The photo below shows a variety call ‘Igor‘, which I will definately be growing again this year:

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I am still picking carrots at my allotment.  I grow my carrots in a raised bed each year and then move the raised bed completely, to a different part of my allotment.  I fill the bed with homemade compost, leaf mould and a bag of sharp sand mixed together and this gives me good results.  After sowing I cover the bed with environmesh to keep the carrot fly out:

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You can read about carrot fly here.

I picked a monster carrot at the weekend, it weighed just over half a kilogram.  It was almost a meal on it’s own!

I put a teaspoon in the photograph to demonstrate the size of the carrot:

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The swedes are still good at my allotment too.  I love swede mashed with a little bit of butter and pepper, though I had never tried it until my husband introduced it to me a few years ago.  I think it is one of my favourite vegetables now.

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And I’m still using homegrown onions and potatoes from my storage boxes outside:

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All in all, I feel like we are living like kings on the winter vegetables that I have grown.  I’m sure they would have cost us a fortune in the shops to buy and it’s nice to know they are all grown organically, without any chemicals.

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I finished the above Sunday lunch with ‘Parsnip Cake’.  Parsnip cakes are very, very moist and taste very much like carrot cake.  This is how I made it:

Parsnip Cake

175g margarine

250g soft brown sugar

100ml honey

3 eggs (beaten)

250g self raising flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp mixed spice

250g parsnips grated finely

1 apple grated

1 orange – use the juice and zest

130g cream cheese

100g icing sugar + extra to sprinkle on top

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Preheat your oven 180C / gas 4 / 350F

Grease and flour two 8 inch sandwich tins

Put the margarine, honey and sugar in a pan over a low heat and stir until the sugar has all dissolved.

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Allow to cool for a while.

Add the eggs to the pan and stir thoroughly.

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Sift the flour, baking powder and mixed spice into the sugar and egg mixture and stir.

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Then stir in the apple, parsnip, orange juice and zest.

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Divide the mixture between the cake tins and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cakes.

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Leave the cakes to cool.

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Make the icing by mixing the cream cheese with the icing sugar and then spreading it over the bottom layer of the cake.  Put the top layer of the cake on top and dust with icing sugar.

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Enjoy!

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Thank you for reading my blog today, I will be back on Friday.

I hope you have a good week.

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22 thoughts on “Winter Vegetables And A Parsnip Cake

  1. What a lovely selection of vegetables. Huge carrot, like you say a meal on it’s own! I’ve never grown parsnips, tried carrots with little success, but get great onions, courgettes & runner beans. We used to grow tomatoes & get a bumper crop. I think the trees in the wood behind our house grew too much & stopped them getting enough sun, so we have’nt grown them for a while.
    Still deciding what to do this year.
    Best wishes,
    Angela (Devon)

  2. Holy Carrots Batman! I no longer grow carrots mine are always awful. they are either mutants or carrot flied.

    This summer I am determined we will not buy lettuce.

  3. Could you please tell me what is an “allotment’ Not much going on in gardening line. Short time ago I inventoried our seeds.
    Nothing in bloom. But I have bulbs early spring one coming though the soil.
    Coffee is on

    • Hi Peppylady, an allotment is a piece of ground that you rent from the council over here. There is some good info on it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allotment_%28gardening%29 They were popular in wartime but sadly in the 80’s and 90’s they were out of favour…but now they are ‘trendy’ again here and there are waiting lists all over the country (except on my allotment site…but I don’t know why that is lol, but works to my advantage as I can have four of them as there are still plots vacant)

      • Sound like a community garden. We have a few here. I believe there 4 feet by 4 feet. There local garden club and if the spaces aren’t rent. The local garden club grows food in them which is donated to our local food bank

  4. I really enjoy reading your posts! We have taken on an extra bit of land and really need to get on with clearing it if we are to achieve anything this year, but it has been so wet and I work full time so I have to sit at my desk and read about your endeavours instead.

  5. I’m so happy your flowers are coming up! I bet they are a quite a bit bigger now eh?
    The idea of a parsnip cake intregeing, but I don’t know if I’d be game to try it myself!

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