Now and Zen
Gardening and cooking page
a tasty way to cook parsnips
2lb (500g) parsnips 2 medium onions
3oz (90g) blue cheese 8oz (250g) green or brown lentils
8oz (250g) spinach 2 cloves garlic
2oz (60g) butter 1 tsp mixed sweet herbs
Preheat the oven to 350F, 180C, Gas Mark 4. Wash the lentils. Put them in a pan with water covering by a good inch. Cover and cook until soft. Add more water if necessary. Chop the parsnips, peeling only if necessary. Cover with water, cover the pan, and boil until soft. Reserve the stock. Put the parsnips, blue cheese and butter in a bowl and mash until creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chop the onions and garlic. Fry in the oil in a saucepan until soft. Add the cooked lentils, spinach, herbs and 0.25 of a pint (145ml) of parsnip stock. Cook all together for taste. Put the lentil spinach mixture into a baking dish and cover with the parsnip mash. Bake in the oven for about thirty minutes until the top is brown.
GROWING: Globe artichokes can be grown from seed. Sow the seed 1.5 cm deep in a seed bed in March-April. Transplant to their permanent position when large enough to handle. Water well. Allow 60-90 cms between each plant as they will eventually reach a height of 1.5 metres.
HARVESTING: The plants will produce usable heads in July-October of their second year and thereafter become very prolific. Keep roots moist during the summer.
EATING: You eat the thistle-like heads when they are still in the bud stage before they flower. They should be lightly boiled in lightly salted water. Only the bases of the outer bracts can be eaten. Lift in the fingers and nibble the soft parts off. As you progress towards the centre you will find that larger ares of the inner bracts are edible until you come to a soft centre, which is wholly edible and especially delicious. Globe artichokes are best eaten with olive oil and butter or butter substitute. Their very special flavour makes them well worth persevering with, and their unopened flower heads remind us of the budding lotus.
Banana Nut Bread
Sift half pound of wholemeal self raising flour with a pinch of salt. Rub in 2 oz of margarine. Add 2 oz caster sugar and 2 oz chopped walnuts. Blend in beaten egg with 3 oz malt syrup* and stir in two smoothly mashed bananas. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well. Place into greased loaf tin and bake for about one hour at 360 degrees F. Slice and butter when cold.
* = Rice syrup or golden syrup may be used instead of malt syrup. Rice syrup, which can be obtained from all good health food shops, is delicious used on cereals in place of sugar, which is bad for the teeth.
from Now And Zen - January 2000