Monday 10 October 2011

The first of the Winter veg

After a couple of weeks of warm sunny weather at the end of September and beginning of October, we are now back to weather that is more typical of this time of year - cooler, greyer, windier...

At this time of year, wild game, such as pheasant, hare, partridge and venison is at its best, so I decided to cook a meal based around some venison steaks. Naturally enough, I felt this to be an ideal opportunity to bring in the first of my Winter veg. [Ali: Although these veg have been growing throughout the Summer, the fact that they are harvested in Autumn/Winter makes them Winter veg, at least for me!].

In the photo above you can see Red Cabbage, Celeriac, Parsnips, Carrots, French Beans and several types of Chilli. I would class the first three as Winter veg.

Red Cabbage "Marner Langerrot"
The cabbage was not huge, but it was very dense. It weighed 900 grams.

Celeriac "Brilliant"
Likewise, the much-anticipated Celeriac was disappointingly diminutive (300 grams), but the flavour was very strong.

Parsnip "Panache"
The Parsnips were "not bad", as we say here in England when we are mildly satisfied. A bit more canker than I expected, since this variety ("Panache F1") is supposed to be very canker-resistant, but it's only skin-deep and doesn't affect the flesh inside, and the roots are a decent size and quite straight. They just wouldn't win any prizes at a veg show!

So this was our meal then:
Venison steaks (beaten out very thin, then marinated with Bay leaves, Thyme, crushed Juniper berries and a splash of Gin)
Celeriac and potato mash
Braised Red Cabbage
Roast Parsnips

Wine : Concha Y Toro Chilean Carmenere 2009

Dessert:  fresh mango, with raspberries from the garden.

Does that sound OK?

I have to say that the flavour of home-grown veg is way superior to shop-bought stuff. Those parsnips were sweet and fragrant and strongly-flavoured. The ones you get in the shops have probably been harvested weeks earlier and their flavour soon fades - sometimes to practically nothing. This is why parsnips people sometimes say that parsnips are tasteless! And the celeriac: well, even a tiny quantity goes a long way because of its pungency. Potatoes for texture; celeriac for flavour; perfect combination.


  1. Fabulous! Love all the info re menu! :)

  2. Shame you didn't grow the mango as well - or did you?

  3. Elaine; No, I didn't grow the mango (regrettably) - nor the deer for the venison!

  4. Wow, that looks tasty, especially the parsnips, one of my favourite. Chicken dinner for us tonight, with shop bought everything!

  5. That really looks good. I am hoping to have deer soon myself, if they keep walking across my front yard every morning, sooner or later, Phil is going to get us one, lol. Love the vegetables, hope my "winter" vegetables grow as well.

  6. Your veg looks tasty and the meal scrumptious. So satisfying cooking & eating your own veg!

  7. Parsnips are my favourite, I haven't pulled any of mine up yet. I've never tried growing or eating celeriac, perhaps one to try. I've heard many people say that they have trouble growing it though.

  8. I love braised red cabbage - we usually make a whole lot and either freeze some of reheat it the next day. It seems to get even better then.

  9. Super impressed with the celeraic, jealous of the cabbage - mine are still not hearting...coveteous of the parsnip - I love spicy parsnip soup.

  10. What - the deer and mango were not homegrown? No straight lines of deer in the garden??

    I am very envious of your celeriac. I tried to grow some over winter (it may have been the wrong time of year here - I will have to check) and not one seed even sprouted. I adore a celeriac mash - promise me that one day before we die we'll all go down to Hazel's and you and the cook prepare us a feast :)

  11. They all look good. This has been my first year on my allotment and I didn't really get organised enough to sort out my winter crops so I'm really envious. But I have plans for next year which definitely includes celeriac.

  12. It's funny but almost everything that you've listed here, except mangoes, seems so exotic to me. In fact, I've never tried parsnips, celeriac, juniper berries or raspberries. Red cabbage is a novelty that I buy from the specialty shops.
    Mango seems to be the only item that I've had in a previous garden. In fact a single mango tree can yields 100s of mangoes that we don't quite know what to do with them.
    Loved the first picture; it's so full of colour.

  13. Mark I'm envious to say the least. The last week in the garden has left me somewhat disheartened with the whole thing. If I can't get the seeds to come up or get safely past the tender seedling stage there's not a lot of hope for a bountiful harvest for me. I hope enjoyed yours, the meal looks wonderful - and as a parsnip person I truly hope I can these to work for me when I plant them later in the year.

  14. How did you cook the parsnips? Are they roasted?

  15. You know how to put a meal together Mark, that sounds - and looks - utterly delicious. I've still not pulled my sole celeriac, I can't decide whether to mash it like you did or roast it.


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