What Are Those?

Tuesday 6/5/2005

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Diary and Notes

I was in a bit of a hurry when I got home today and was short of vegetables too - open emergency order zeta3 - "Go to Kwik Save."

Kwik Save is close by, there's one just behind where I live and although not the best range of things are on always offer I knew I could at least buy some traditional British vegetables.

Before I make my point I should remind anyone reading this that as of 24/7/2005 I have given in ranting on my blog and have concentrated solely on writing either about food or complete stupidity (which is my forte). So this is not a rant, or even any form of complaing, I just feel a bit sad.

Kwik Save was fine, they had carrots, several types of cabbage, potatoes and parsnips, but it's the parsnips that have made me sad - and not because there was anything wrong with them, parsnips are lovely, one of my favourite vegetables - it was just when I got to the checkout the woman serving asked me what they were.

At first I thought I'd misheard and in my shock just said "What?" Quite loudly - she seemed a bit offended. It was true, she was asking me what the parsnips were.

This isn't the first time I've been asked what parsnips were by a checkout person, it happened to me in Germany also, but the Germans are not a traditional parsnip eating nation (as far as I know), wheras the parsnip has a place in British history predating even the beloved potato.

Parsnips are almost our national food.

How can anybody in Britain not know what a parsnip is?

It is an indictment of the sorry state of home cooking in Britain. Incidents like this are warning signs, bright red beacons in the mist, telling us that we are loosing something precious, something that once gone will never be recovered, our culinary heritage is being washed down the drain, chased off the map by fajita boxed meals, instant noodles and oven chips.

Oh well, at least a tasty rabbit will cheer me up - and tasty it was too.

The last time I had rabbit it was a traditonal British style rabbit pie, I've also had it in wine. This time I thought something Belgian, it's the first Belgian meal on my blog and excellent it was. This is more traditonally Belgian than even moules frites, this is Belgium on a plate, with spuds and rich gravy too - delicious.

A few years ago I spent two weeks in Hasselt in Belgium and the food was almost universally awful. The restaurants and cafés served up more processed food than a Little Chef - getting a decent meal was almost impossible. People tell me that I just went to the wrong place, I hope this is so, because I wouldn't want to see Belgium fall prey to a future of meals squirted from tubes and Soylent Green like I imagine will be Britain in twenty years.

Cake Blog

Chocolate and Custard Cake: From the Barbakan Deli in Chorlton. This was truly a work of art - almost perfect. It reminded me of my time in Göttingen and the delicious cakes of Cafë Hemer. Quite one of the best cakes I've had all year, sweet, moist and flavoursome. I will be going back to the Barabakan again and I suggest you all go too.


  • Rabbit and Prunes in Beer
  • Creamed Potatoes
  • Buttered Parsnips and Carrots
  • Savoy Cabbage
  • Bread and Butter


    Rabbit and Prunes in Beer
    1 Rabbit
    1 Tbsp Plain Flour
    2 Tbsp Olive Oil
    1 Medium Onion
    1 Rasher Bacon
    2 Cloves Garlic
    100 ml Chicken Stock
    1 Bottle Strong Dark Beer
    12 Dried Prunes
    1 Tbsp Cider Vinegar
    2 Bay Leaves
    6 Juniper Berries
    1 Clove
    1 tsp Dried Thyme
    Salt and Pepper


  • Pour the cider vinegar over the prunes and leave to infuse. Dust the rabbit pieces in seasoned flour and fry gently in olive oil. When beginning to brown remove and add the chopped onion, garlic and bacon to the pan. Cook until the bacon begins to crisp then return the rabbit and add the clove, bay leaves and bashed juniper berries. Pour over the beer and reduce to ½ volume. Pour in the chicken stock and the thyme, put the lid on and simmer for 1 hour. Half way through stir in the marinaded prunes.


    *All quantities are very approximate and for two people