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Veg Box Challenge - Parsnip and Potatoes

Bute Produce grows spectacular parsnips!

I have just returned from the supermarket parsnip-less. We did the shop for our Christmas meal yesterday (Argyll Smokery hot smoked salmon with salad, beetroot and creamed horseradish to start, duck with roast winter veg, and Christmas pudding with salted caramel ice cream, since you asked) and the only thing we forgot to get was parsnips so I nipped into town today to pick them up - only there were none. I figured I'd get them in the bigger supermarket so popped round there - only there were none! I've picked up a small bunch of beetroot which we *might* make into a puree for the duck to sit on, but we'll see. However, the hubster just emerged victorious from a rummage in the crisper drawer...he found the remaining parsnip from our Bute Produce veg box. Huzzah!

Last week was quite a hectic week so I roped in the house chef for a bit of support with the #vegboxchallenge and it seemed right for him to do the parsnip dish as it was one handed down to him from his mother - roast parsnips with parmesan and cayenne. As such, there is no 'recipe' - they are...were...(she's no longer with us) instinctive cooks. He doesn't do recipes and if he does, they become more of a guide. It's quite simple and although it takes a little effort, the results are delicious. The parsnips should be peeled, topped and tailed, and cut in half. If they're quite chunky, as ours were, then you could half the halves but don't go much smaller than that. Set the the oven to 180 fan and then par-boil your parsnips - about 5-7 minutes in a pan of salted boiling water, then bring out to drain and dry off. Meanwhile, prepare a bowl containing lightly seasoned flour, a bowl containing a whisked egg, and a bowl containing grated parmesan mixed with cayenne pepper (to taste). Assembly line style, dip the parsnip pieces into the flour, then the egg and then the parmesan and cayenne mix. Make sure they're well coated all over and then place in a roasting tin and pop in the oven for 30 - 35 minutes or until golden brown. And lo, you shall have the most glorious sweet yet savoury, soft yet crispy parsnips.

The other recipe we did was the humble frittata. I wanted to use the potatoes in the veg box in a way that was perhaps slightly less ordinary and slightly less...'wintery'. So, avoiding boiling, mashing or roasting, I decided upon a frittata to use up some of the potatoes. I am a self-confessed egg fan: I love them in all manner of ways, boiled, scrambled, poached - runny yolk of course - and a frittata is another excellent way to get a good meal out of a box of eggs. A frittata is of course quite similar to an omelette or a tortilla but a few things distinguish the Italian from the French and Spanish options. To make a frittata, you whisk your eggs, mixing in any other ingredients you like, transfer it to a pan to cook and once it's started to set, you finish it in the oven. It's great for a lunch or a light supper, and there's always leftovers for your lunch box the next day. I'm a fan. Again, this is a really flexible dish, a good way to use up left-over vegetables in your fridge, so you don't need to adhere to a specific recipe - just chuck in what you've got.

You'll need a box of eggs - free range and large is preferable, even better if you happen to know the chickens in question - a frying pan, a little oil and your prepped ingredients. In our case, we used up some leftover bacon, some peas, some green beans and the potatoes. Wash the potatoes and slice them into discs - quite thin, about the thickness of a £1 coin or thereabouts (maybe 2cm). Lightly boil the peas and green beans, drain and set aside. Put some olive oil in the pan and fry off the potatoes and bacon gently on a medium heat, taking care not to break up the potatoes. Whisk up your box of eggs and season, then fold in your vegetables, bacon, and potatoes and pop the whole lot back into the frying pan. Cook gently over a medium heat for around 10 minutes until the egg mixture starts to set around the edges - don't worry that the top is still a wee bit runny. Place the pan under the grill for a few minutes to cook the top and then remove and allow to cool a little before turning out onto a plate. This will serve four people so quarter it up and serve it with a nice crisp salad. It's not massively photogenic but it is delicious!

Frittata with potatoes, peas, beans and bacon.

And there you have it! Two simple things to do with potatoes and parsnips! Frittatas can be just about anything you want - seriously, google and you'll see just how many different recipes there are. Chorizo is always a delicious addition and a wee grating of cheese over the top can add a nice flavour to it as well. Enjoy!

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