Leek and parsnip gap filling

So having sowed some more carrots to spread the harvest a little and divided up the last of my shadier raised beds, it occurred to me that I should fill the gaps and plant the last of the square foot plots I’ve marked out. I have chosen two of my favourite winter vegetables, parsnips and leeks. My father, who changed career after decades of being a news editor and journalist to being the face of a popular tourism TV show about Portugal, once accidentally incited the rage of a small group of parsnip fanatics by claiming, on air, that the parsnip didn’t exist in Portugal. They were apoplectic in anger and demanded that he immediately cease and desist in his assertions that their beloved parsnip (the subject, it turns out, of an entire annual food festival in a northern Portuguese village) was foreign to the Luso community. The Portuguese take their culinary heritage very seriously. However, I was as surprised as my father to hear that parsnips existed in Portugal, having spent most of my childhood thinking it was completely normal for my English mother to furtively traffic in parsnips from the UK every year to have with our Christmas lunch (much to the consternation of my Portuguese family who professed bemusement at our “white carrots”). It was worth risking a slap on the wrist from customs. The beauty of a perfectly roasted, crisp and still slightly sticky golden parsnip is hard to surpass, unless it’s with the clean green flavours of a warming and comforting leek and potato soup, the aroma of which still reminds me of my mother. So this year I’ll hopefully have a meagre but lovely harvest of some of my favourite things that GarlicBoy and I can collect together and use to recreate some of my favourite recipes. 

Leeks and parsnips will soon grow here (I hope)

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We farm a three acre smallholding in Hampshire, England, having fled London in pursuit of the good life for our little family. We mess about with an assorted menagerie and try to be as self-sufficient as possible in meat and fruit and vegetables whilst enjoying our plot and an outdoors lifestyle with our son. I am the luckiest person that I know.

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