Saturday, 7 December 2013
We've just had a delightful mooch around a Christmas food market in nearby Oundle. This is a small market town that is fighting to keep its centre alive after a supermarket opened just outside town. Today's initiative was a huge success: it was a genuinely local market, with (mainly) regional producers selling their wares.
Produce markets such as these are never cheap, but if you choose carefully, it's possible to find some good buys. This cheese is so rich and mature, a little goes a long way.
A big box of shiny orange clementines: nothing says Christmas like these.
Crisp Fenland celery. A properly local delicacy. I bought some Stichelton cheese to eat with it.
In this month's local magazine, we have a recipe for some little parsnip blinis with blue cheese and walnuts. I made them last weekend, and they're delicious.
If you want to have a go, here's how. The recipe is courtesy of Riverford Organic Farms, the veg box people. They are gluten free.
3 large parsnips
2 large eggs, separated into yolks and whites
Dessert spoon of rice flour
30 ml creme fraiche (I used natural yogurt)
Butter and olive oil
100g Cropwell Bishop or another good quality blue cheese
Handful of toasted walnut halves
1 tablespoon honey (to mix with walnuts, if liked. I didn't!)
Chop the parsnips into half inch chunks, removing any woody bits. Saute gently in a pan of butter and olive oil until soft. Puree in a food processor, season with salt and pepper and leave to cool in the fridge. Mix the egg yolks, rice flour, cream and milk with the parsnip puree. Whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold these gently into the parsnip mixture, taking care to maintain as much air as you can. Heat a frying pan and melt butter with olive oil until it starts to foam. Drop a few spoonfuls of the mix into the pan, shaping into circles as you go. It is quite a thick mixture. Cook until golden brown on one side and flip over to finish the other. Cook in batches. To serve, top with some blue cheese, and a walnut half (coated in honey if preferred). You can freeze the blinis, just defrost and warm though to refresh.
I topped them with walnuts from our tree. I'll definitely be serving these at Christmas with some mulled wine or cider.