It’s been rather an odd year, produce-wise. Our onion crop was virtually non existent but the leeks have done as well as ever. The autumn raspberries are still fruiting, but there are only about 10 red cabbages. In August the butternut squashes decided that the growing season was over, shed their leaves and hardened up. Many of them are oval rather than the traditional shape, and they have a more dense texture than usual. In spite of that the celeriac has not done too badly at all, a bit small, but I always thought that they needed a long growing season. Plenty of carrots, but no parsnips, gardening always seems rather a lottery to me, and more so because we grow on an allotment, so don’t see it daily.
One of our favourite Autumn and Winter meals is Vegetable Crumble which we begin to eat as the new root vegetables are harvested. I’ve never thought of it as a budget meal as we love it so much, but I suppose it would fit into that category. The original idea came from Cranks Restaurant at Dartington, long since gone.
For the crumble topping
Butter or margarine 4oz (100g)
100% flour 6oz (175 g)
Cheddar cheese, grated 4oz (100g)
Mixed nuts, chopped 3oz (75g)
Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles
fine crumbs. Add the cheese and nuts
Mixed root vegetables (parsnip
swede, potato, carrot, etc.) 1½ lb (675g)
Large onion or a mixture of onion and leek
Butter or margarine 2.oz (50g)
Flour or cornflour to thicken
Tomatoes 8oz (225g) fresh or well drained from a can
Vegetable stock ½pt (300 ml) (Knorr or Kallo Vegetable stock cubes)
Milk ¼ pt (142 ml)
Parsley, chopped 3tbsp (45ml)
Salt & pepper to taste
Chop the vegetables, then melt the butter in a large
saucepan and saute the onion until transparent. Add the
prepared vegetables and cook over gentle heat, stirring
occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in the flour, then add
the remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil, reduce heat,
cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the
vegetables are just tender. Transfer to an ovenproof dish.
Press the crumble topping over the vegetables and bake
in the oven at 190°C (375°F/Mark 5) for about ¾ hour,
This really is a meal in itself but we usually have a green vegetable with it, and I have been known to serve it to accompany steak.