A Chicken and Parsnip Stew & A Fruit Loaf Recipe

I thought I would start today by letting you know that Judy, (our lovely rescue dog) has made a full recovery after her illness last week and she is back to her normal, cheeky ways.

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We all absolutely love Judy to bits and I am so glad we didn’t give up on her like the previous three owners did.  Though I have got to be honest, when our previous ‘dog behavourist’ told us she was untrainable last February, we were very close to giving up….she had so many problems e.g. barked all the time at home, barked and lunged at dogs, people, cars, bikes, lorries, washing machine, birds etc. etc.

Nearly a year later, she still has one or two things she doesn’t like, but she is getting so much better as time goes by, thanks to our wonderful dog trainer Steven Havers.

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Curtains for my daughter:

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I’m not sure if you remember a couple of months ago I decorated my youngest daughter’s bedroom.  I struggled to find any ready made curtains that she liked, to finish off the bedroom.  So in desparation I took her to a material shop and she found some fabric she liked, so I bought it promising to make her curtains after Christmas.

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The curtain material and new furniture in her bedroom was a present for her birthday and Christmas, but because of this I was a bit concerned that she wasn’t going to have many presents to actually open on Christmas day.  So during December, while she was at school I worked really hard to make the curtains so I could wrap them up for her to open on Christmas day.

She was very surprised when she unwrapped them and I must say I am very proud of them now they are up:

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I also had a bit of material left so I managed to make a couple of cushions for her too, which I also wrapped up for her to open on Christmas day:

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Over the Christmas holidays I decided it was time to catch up with one or two jobs that I had been putting off…..

  I started by clearing our loft and it was amazing how much rubbish we had up there.  I have since sold one or two bits on ebay and given away some other things…..but most of it was thrown away.  But the attic looks better now.

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I also went through my bills folder…..again there was a lot in there that I didn’t need to keep.  Myself and Mr Thrift looked at every bill we pay to see if we could possibly reduce it….unfortunately we are quite ‘bill savvy’ so we didn’t manage to make any savings, but it’s good to check every so often.

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Over the Christmas period myself and Mr Thrift surprisingly managed to buy lots of ‘whoopsies’ ….for some reason we seemed to be in the supermarket when they reduced their produce to ridicuously low prices.  So over Christmas I froze whatever I could and my freezers were bursting:

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The last photo shows the ready cooked beetroot that was reduced.  My dad sometimes buys this and pickles it, but as I already have pickled beetroot in my pantry I decided to cut it up and freeze it on a tray.  When it was frozen I put it in a bag and this way it is easy to take a few slices out at a time to defrost for sandwiches.

I also used the reduced parsnips and Chicken drumsticks in a chicken and parsnip stew which I cooked in my slow cooker.  By cooking it in the slow cooker you find that the chicken ‘falls off’ the bones easily and tastes so moist:

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Chicken and Parsnip Stew:

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6-8 chicken drumsticks or thighs

2 onions peeled and roughly chopped

4 -6 medium parsnips peeled and chopped into chunks

Hot Chicken stock to cover

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Put all the ingredients into a slow cooker making sure the hot stock covers the ingredients.

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Cook on ‘low’ for approximately 8 hours

Serve with vegetables of your choice:

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This week…

This week at home I decided to use up the mixed fruit that I had left over in my pantry.  I decided to make a fruit loaf (which I absolutely love).  It’s really easy to make in a bread maker and I used my bread slicer to cut it into nice thin slices.  This loaf freezes well so you can take a couple of slices out to defrost when required:

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A Fruit Loaf Recipe:

1 teaspoon of Fast Action Dried Yeast

400g Strong White Flour

2 teaspoon Granulated Sugar

75g margarine or butter

½ teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1 teaspoon Mixed Spice

2 Eggs

110ml Water

110ml Milk

300g Mixed Dried Fruit

 

Add all the above ingredients into a breadmaker EXCEPT the mixed fruit.

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Set your breadmaker to a ‘Basic bake loaf’ with raisens and add the mixed fruit when the breadmaker tells you too (that is approx. 47 mins after the start in mine but you will need to refer to your own manual).

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Enjoy it!

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In the garden this week:

This week in the garden I dug up my parsnips.  This is the first time I have grown a crop in this area so I wasn’t sure what they would be like….but they weren’t too bad (though most of them were a lot smaller than the ones I used to grow at the allotment -probably due to the condition of my soil):

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Parsnips next to a 30 cm ruler

Unfortunately some of the parsnips suffered from parsnip canker:

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“Parsnip Canker is a fungus that causes orange, brown, purple or black coloured rot, which usually starts at the top of the root.

I have read that the fungus is caused by drought, over-rich soil or damage to the crown, BUT I have also read that it is worse in wet, pooly drained soils as well”

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As you can see in my photo above, if the canker isn’t too bad the parsnip under the skin is usually fine to cook and eat.

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To avoid canker:

  • Rotate your crops
  • Don’t manure your soil before growing parsnips
  • Improve your drainage
  • Grow resistant varieties such as ‘Albion’or Hollow Crown

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As I had too many parsnips to eat in one go, I peeled and chopped them and then froze them on a tray (without blanching them).  When they were frozen I took them off the tray and bagged them up.

When I next cook a Sunday lunch I will roast them from frozen.

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Finally this week I brought my seed potatoes.  I chose my usual ‘Marfona’ which is a second early and ‘Desiree’ which is a red main crop potato.  I also brought some ‘picasso’ to plant in my mother in laws garden, which are an early main crop.

All the potatoes are now ‘chitting’ in our bedroom…..very romantic!

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That’s it for this week.

  Thank you for reading my blog today, I will be back next Friday as usual.

Have a good week!

 

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16 thoughts on “A Chicken and Parsnip Stew & A Fruit Loaf Recipe

  1. What a lovely thoughtful mum you are to get those beautiful curtains and cushions, made and wrapped for your daughter in time for Christmas. That will become one of her treasured memories like we discussed in a previous post!x

  2. Thank you for all the time you take out of your very full life to let us all know what you’ve been doing. It is SO interesting and appreciated. I am really really happy at how well Judy is now – it’s so very worrying when pets are ill. I’ve had dogs all my life and it never gets any easier trying not to worry but I’m terrible. My dog is my world, every one I have had has been. I worry about any dog that I know when they are ill and that includes your Judy, so thank you for being her first loving owner and making her into the calmer, happier dog that she is getting to be. You made those lovely curtains – there is no end to your talent! Cushion covers too – you should be very proud of yourself. Everything you do seems to turn out so well. Gardening, sewing, pet care, chef, family all-rounder, etc. etc! You should get a medal. Have a good weekend, Patricia xxx

    • What a lovely thing to say, but not everything turns out well lol. You are so right about worrying about pets….I think it is like having another child as I worry just as much about Judy as I do my girls.

      Have a great weekend too Patricia XX

  3. Hello, love how you did the cushions, perfect to set the curtains off Fruit loaf looks very tasty, the first thing I noticed was how evenly the fruit is distributed !

    Looking forward to next week
    Maureen X

    • I know what you mean Sue….the behaviourist has qualifications coming out of her ears but obviously couldn’t deal with Judy as she was so highly reactive to everything….and yes thank goodness we found our new trainer (who incidentally is not qualified but has so much more experience)

  4. I’m so glad Judy is back to normal! The curtain is very dramatic looking, and the pillows are nice, too. It’s great to see one’s home slowly improving by one’s own efforts, rather than spending lots of money.
    Parsnips aren’t as popular here as in your country, but I like to buy them in the winter, to have variety. It’s helpful to see that blanching isn’t necessary for everything – thanks for sharing! Your fruit bread looks really good – I may try it, but did you mean “strong” flour, rather than “string” flour? (which I think refers to bread flour).

  5. Our loft needs tackling too, 27 years of things to go through! It is a job that badly needs doing, we have been clearing out the house, garage, sheds so next is the loft. So very glad that Judy is so much better, she has done so well with her training. I shall try the fruit recipe something I have been meaning to have a try with my bread maker. The curtains and cushions look so lovely you have worked so hard. Do have a good week.
    Sue

  6. I like the sound of the chicken and parsnip stew. And my husband loves fruit bread. In December I managed to be in the supermarket a couple of times when there was yellow stickers with silly prices but I don’t usually find any meat – just bread and veg. It all helps : )

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