Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Forking Parsnips

 Parsnips are one of those trusty crops you can rely on to bring a bit of winter cheer.  Provided you get them to germinate and don't lose the seedlings among weeds they look after themselves.  Come the first frosts you can start to dig them up and see what you have got...    Well not this year:

Carrots and Forked Parsnips

On the left carrots, on the right parsnips. It is noticeable that the white carrot has surpassed its brother parsnips, and that the parsnips are all forked.

To go back to spring, I tried a bit of an experiment this year growing the parsnips in root trainers (or more precisely toilet rolls).  As soon as the roots showed any sign of outgrowing their container I transplanted them out into a prepared bed.  My method of preparation was to make a tailor made conical hole for each plant with a stick (I didn't have a crowbar handy) and fill it with a mixture of soil, sand and compost. I avoided animal manure as this is known to cause forking.  I had it on good authority that this is how show parsnips are grown.  My results are rubbish, and worse, no good for the table.  Next year its back to the tried and trusted method:  Sow outdoor in March. Thin out and weed, but absolutely no transplanting.  You live and learn.  Now what are we going to do about our homegrown parsnips for Christmas Dinner tradition?

Just to show you the difference, here's a:

Link to Parsnip from 2011

and a

Link to Parsnip in 2010

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Croissant Another One Off

Today I achieved a baking ambition.  For the first time ever I made croissants:

 The first batch was a bit rushed (we wanted them for breakfast).  The second batch rose a bit more:


There's quite a pit of technique involved in layering the dough/butter and rolling them up.  They were just a little too "bready" so maybe next time I will use different flour mix (this was 100% strong white) and not work the dough quite so much. But make no mistake I am delighted with the results.

Went to the plot to work breakfast off: Not so pretty, but the bean pit in the foreground is coming on nicely!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Full of Beans

Today I shelled out the Canadian Wonder beans
Canadian Wonder
 It's been a good crop (last year they flopped - literally and the crop was lost)
Bean there...
 They have been drying for a week or two in their pods:

Dried Bean Pods

I maybe should have waited a bit longer before de-podding them, but I got fed up with them hanging around:

Drying in the bag
So although the runner beans have come to an end we will be enjoying our home grown beans for a while yet.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

I Guess That's That!

It has been a wonderfully extended season....

A Week Ago

...but all good things come to an end!


Friday, 8 November 2013

Baking Daze

Post holiday doldrums?
Cinnamon and Cream Cheese Swirls

I've been trying to increase the variety of my breads and revisited a few I haven't tried for a while.

Soft Pretzels
I was reminded to try these again after they featured on the GBB.

Rye Loaf
and this is the Rye recipe that works best (with a butter glaze).