Posted by: lialeendertz | January 30, 2011

New month’s resolutions

I am bad at spotting potential significant blogging moments. I somehow convinced myself that this blog was a full month and a bit older than it really is and so missed the opportunity to mark its momentous first birthday (Jan 7th as it turns out. No flowers, really). I think I once managed to write a ‘wimmins issues’ type post just a couple of days after International Women’s Day, which wasnt bad going, but now here I am on about resolutions on the eve of February.

But I am writing off January. Bad-health luck has left me in bed, a&e and emergency dentists for much of it. Work has suffered, I have suffered, the kids have suffered, and there’s been a sudden rush on number-recognition telephone buying among those I rely on for help. It’s been pants, but with last week’s root canal work I seem to have turned a corner. I feel well and healthy and vital for the first time since before Christmas, so – rather than melodramatically taking to my bed and writing off the whole year – I am setting January coolly aside and starting my resolutions afresh. And here they are:

1) Go back to netball – I managed this once before the tooth pain floored me. It was great – no, really! – and if I say it here I have to do it.

2) Stop saying ‘bugger’ – I seem to have lit upon this as acceptable now that my expletive of choice is out of the question, but it is almost as unedifying as The Bad Word, when a big-eyed, blonde, be-ringletted three-year old takes a liking to saying it. A lot.

3) Go out into the garden more: and hopefully – by extension – blog more frequently. Gardening alone is always a kind of meditation and clears the mind to let ideas in. When I don’t garden I don’t blog, and I’d like to blog more often. Wont make rash promises on that one though, given my past form.

4) Tackle the veg box head on, the moment it arrives on the doorstep.

While I was ill there was an inevitable slowing down of cooking from scratch, and we have ended up with quite an alarming root veg backlog, which is something no-one wants. And every thursday – ill or well – more parsnips arrive. I have been making a sort of curried parsnip soup like it’s going out of fashion, but I decided to try something fancy the other day and make some root veg crisps, like the ones you buy at huge expense on long train journeys. I thought it might make the kids eat root veg. Ha…

So, here comes the third in my very occasional series of recipes I made from the veg box* or allotment (here’s one and two). I took two beetroots, two oversized carrots, and two parsnips, sliced them up as fine as I could (you most probably have a fancy attachment on your fancy food processor that will do a better job), tossed them in a bit of sunflower oil sea salt and pepper and arranged them on separate trays (so they didn’t all turn beetrooty: no flies on me) in a hot oven. This, I think now, was a mistake. The ones on the edges burnt, the ones in the middle were soggy. I wonder if a low, slow oven might be better, to dry them out a bit and cook them more evenly. Thoughts welcome.

Despite their shortcomings and their dissimilarity to those posh packet ones, they looked beautiful, and tasted delicious, and it strikes me only now that they would make a perfect topping to lift that nth bowl of parsnip soup to another level. As it was the kids wouldn’t touch them (you saw that coming, dintcha?) but some friends happened to pop in at that moment and I looked like one of those proper mums who always has a healthy, home-made, organic root vegetable-based snack on the go. Always a bonus.

*If you are in the Bristol area (or even if you’re not) and if you happen to see this post before the 1st February (I know, this is getting less likely, but still, bear with me…) this is your very last chance to invest in The Community Farm, an exciting new Bristolian community funded agriculture venture and the people from whom I buy my very fine veg box. Buy! Support! Members get discounts on the very fine veg boxes too…



  1. Welcome back Lia, you’ve been ill you say…I hadnt noticed from your tweetzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  2. Eek! I tried to like your post but wasn’t a member and its too late in the evening to faff with that. I know exactly what you mean about tackling the veg box head on when it arrives. I get bored with making soup from wrinkly veg too and might try making wrinkly crisps next time as yours look so good.

    My little blonde, angelic big-eyed niece once turned to me apropos of nothing when we were sat in the back of the car and said by way of conversation “Mummy says I’m a little bugger”. I tried not to laugh and encourage her but I’m sure Mummy was absolutely right.

  3. Glad you’re feeling better – and writing off January and starting again seems a very good approach.

    If I thought the beetroot and parsnips crisps one can buy in packets were worth eating – I might try your recipe. But I don’t. (Too sweet for savoury.) If you could insist there’s no connection in flavours, I might consider it.

    Have a wonderful rest-of-the-year.


  4. Welcome back!! Delighted you’re better didn’t even know you were sick as seen a few of your tweets

  5. Sounds like you had a miserable and painful January. Glad you are better.

    However you seem to have been very prolific workwise recently. My copy of Gardens Illustrated has a big article on favourite flowers and a stunning review of CKs latest book, both under your name. That takes care of my revised planting plan for the garden and my birthday present request.

    My daughter, aged 4 – now aged 34, returned from nursery school and said “duck, pluck, bucket and” – seeing my face – “can I have an apple”. I’m now having to watch my ps and qs as well as the bs in front of my grandchildren. Amazing how children pick up certain words and always know when to use them for best effect.

    Stay well


  6. Root canal? Ouch! What a horrid start to the year. And great reason to start again. I particularly applaud resolution 3, not just because I love your blog and would therefore love to read more posts from you but also because the garden – and now allotment – does the same for me, letting thoughts flow, making me feel almost meditative. Of course then suddenly hours have gone by and I’m exhausted and have forgotten to get anything ready for dinner or, this weekend, do the bird survey thingy…

    Hope the rest of 2011 is a distinct improvement on January.

  7. Youve got my slightly foggy brain going now….February resolutions….very nice idea. It allows you to replace/restart any of those ones from Jan that didnt stick. What I wise woman you are. Actually, maybe they could be Chinese New Year resolutions *warms to theme*

  8. January is always pants anyway, but January + tooth pain is a real bugger 😦

    Good to see you’re feeling better. I have some wrinkly parsnip to try the slow oven option on, so will report back later. I too am fed up of the umpteenth bowl of curried parsip soup.

  9. Hello there Lia,

    I roasted beetroot and parsnip on mesh trays in a very slow oven (80 C, no oil) and they were really quite good. Crisp, yet chewy….

  10. Apparently, bugger was the first swear word I ever said so clearly, it’s the expletive of choice for mothers. Glad you’re feeling better. Joe Brown once bought me a packet of said root veg crisps in an effort to see if I would eat beetroot in any form or fashion. One purple crisp in and the answer is no.

  11. Glad you are feeling better.January is a crap month at the best of times without being in immense pain too.x

  12. Mark – Easy to miss. I dont like to complain. Re: resolutions, I’m not a great believer in them, but those above seem manageable, so they will do. That is my final list.

    Arabella – the actual phrase my littlest one has taken a shine to is ‘You’re a silly bugger Mummy,’ which I DONT say. I’m blaming the grandparents.

    Esther – No, definitely has that sweet/savoury thing going on, so this one’s not for you.

    thegardendesignco – thank you! Sorry you missed me being ill. I’ll give you a full trun-though of my medical complaints, if you like…

    Jacqueline – You missed one! I also write a hellebore feature for that issue. I’m launching a takeover bid.

    Janet – yes, so important for me to get out there, and I really havent been. I think i start to feel quite sorry for myself when I dont for such a long spell. Thanks for lovely words re: blog.

    VP – the other problem with this ‘recipe’ of course, is that it doesnt actually use up vast amounts of parsnips…

    Liesbeth – thank you! Some guidance. Wonderful.

    Thursday – Well now… apparently my very first WORD was a swear word *proud face*. It was ‘fit’, a combination of two of my mother’s favourites, or so she believes.

    Michelle – Thanks lovely. Good to get it out of the way.

  13. You might be able to get rid of more of them if you switch to the Cajun Spice version which I did this afternoon. You might think that strange after my declaration earlier about not wanting any more spicy parsnip soup, but my husband was most enthusiastic. So that’s 3 parsnips taken care of in one day. Result 🙂

    Do you have a potato peeler? I found mine great for making nice thin ribbon like crisps. And just so it doesn’t get lost in the soup that is twitter (and for anyone tuning in here directly and desperate to know), gas mark 4-5 is what you need. 10 minutes on one side, flip them over and a further 5 minutes to finish. Delicioso – mwah!

  14. Glad you are feeling better. February’s a much better time to start new things anyway. I go for the slow, very low oven option, until more crispy than chewy. I like some Jerusalem artichokes for a different kind of sweetness and I assert they are less farty when slow cooked for a long time – I’m sure there’s something by Harold McGee that will back me up here…

  15. I can’t believe you see the ‘friends admiring my healthy homemade kids’ snacks’ as a secondary benefit. Quite franjly this would be my one and only motivation to do anything with a parsnip (beyond tossing it in the compost).

    Glad you’re back, glad you’re well.


  16. Our 3 year old says ‘big bum’ a lot, not quite bugger but not what you want them to come out with at the checkout queue!

  17. my kids used to say ‘Bassett’ sounds naughty but isn’t!! I yearn for parsnips – how strange the world is. And brussel sprouts…. and rhubarb…… and malt loaf (soreen) and branston pickle….

  18. Bethan’s other cousin, also eleven, excelled herself the other day, we are told, by dropping an icecube down her front in a posh restaurant and exclaiming ‘bollocks’ to a hushed room. We all know where is comes from.

    See you at Easter!

  19. Just found your blog and had to comment on the root veg crisps – they look great. Thanks to VP for the timings – I always leave mine in too long – no wonder the kids won’t eat them!

    I said ‘bugger’ once – when i was driving and a couple of days later my 8 year old said it. “Where have you heard that?” said I. “You say it Mummy” was the answer. Oops!

  20. Started reading the blog above just to glance through as with most, but read it start to finish and enjoyed it, Roxy the grandaughter picked up bogger from somewhere/someone when told she shouldn’t say it she made her own swear word up and some people are now Pogheads!

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