Abel and Cole. I scheduled it for a week when I knew I'd be in most nights and was excited when I opened it last Friday to see what was within. I got a good mix of great looking produce: white onions, carrots, parsnips, white cabbage, apples, oranges, bananas, potatoes, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms. A good and useful haul of staples.
Towards the end of the year I stopped my weekly deliveries. It was a sad day but there were good reasons for it. I live on my own and my movements are unpredictable. One week I'll be here all week, the next I'll be travelling for work and the next I'll think that I'm going to be in but then I'll end up meeting friends for dinner/going out/having people round. The problem was that I simply couldn't get through all the fruit and veg, especially when I was away. Even with the smallest box, there was too much waste and I didn't always have the time to do something productive with the waste. So, reluctantly, I gave up on the box scheme.
Imagine my delight when I was contacted to ask if I'd like to receive a fruit and veg box from
I've used most of the contents in general cooking over the week but on Monday, I realised that the parsnips needed using up. Usually, I roast parsnips and serve them alongside a Sunday roast but on this occasion I decided to incorporate them into a casserole to take to work for lunches this week. It is so good to have hot food for lunch at work at this time of year and we all know that casserole improves with time. The parsnips added much to this very simple casserole - the flavour seeped agreeably through the stew and was deeply comforting. It really was very delicious and used three of my veg box ingredients: onions, carrots and parsnips!
It was also a great excuse to use the gorgeous heart-shaped Le Creuset baking dish that I received for Christmas from my work colleagues. Thank you!!
I've been quite vague about quantities - I didn't weigh the veg and just used what I had to hand. I've said the recipe serves four - it could probably go a little further if you had lots of sides. I was having it for lunch at work on its own so probably ate more than I would with potatoes and veg alongside.
Coming next: banana flapjacks!
Beef and parsnip casserole
700g cubed beef steak, suitable for stewing
3 tbsp plain flour
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tablespoon soft dark sugar
3 large parsnips (or 5 small ones!)
4 shallots or 2 medium onions
2 cloves garlic
1 large glass good red wine (not week-old dregs)
300ml beef stock
a few glugs of dark soy sauce
1. Pre-heat oven to 160C. Sprinkle the flour, sugar and ginger over the meat and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Brown the meat in batches in a olive oil. After each batch, remove with slotted spoon and set to one side.
2. Peel carrots and parsnips and chop into rough chunks. Chop shallots or onions into rough chunks too. Heat a little more olive oil in the casserole and add the onions - soften for 3-4 minutes and then add garlic, carrots and parsnips. Continue to sauté until the parsnips and carrots have started to colour.
3. Return meat to the casserole. Turn up heat and pour in the wine - sizzle and bubble for a couple of minutes, then add soy sauce, bay leaf and herbs. Pour stock over the top until meat is just covered (you may not need it all or you may need a touch more). Pop in the oven for around two hours - check every now and again and give a little stir. Add more stock if it is drying out.
4. Serve with jacket potatoes or mash and a green vegetable. Alternatively, pack into plastic containers and take to work for lunch with a crusty roll.