I wasn't intending to go (or rather for husband to go) shopping again until after Christmas, but read on social media that Aldi were selling packs of veg for just 19p each. They did it this time last year, in common with most of the supermarkets....in fact, if I remember rightly, one or two of the supermarkets ended up giving away some of their veg packs free a couple of days before Christmas. Anyway, I thought this was too good an offer to miss, so we went to Aldi early yesterday morning, arriving about 5 minutes before it opened. Somewhat surprisingly, there were only 4 other people waiting there, so we had the shop virtually to ourselves.....it's a new (opened just last year I think) and large store, so plenty of space. We got straight onto a till and were out very quickly. I bought 4 packs of parsnips, 3 of carrots, 1 red and 1 white cabbage (they were huge so only needed one of each), 2 swedes, 2 packs of sprouts and 2 bags of potatoes. Most of the veg has gone into baskets in our cold utility room, so will keep well until needed.
This morning I used 3 of the packs of parsnips to make a huge pan of spicy parsnip soup, some for lunch today and the rest will be frozen. I part roasted the parsnips, along with 2 large quartered onions, before tipping them into a saucepan with the spices - cumin, smoked paprika, ginger and some dried thyme. I then added some chicken stock out of the freezer, and topped up with water, and a spoonful of honey. It's simmering away now, once all the veg are soft I'll whizz it up with my stick blender and add some single cream.
The 4th pack of parsnips I prepped and part roasted, drizzled with a little oil and honey, they'll be frozen for use over the Christmas period. I'll do the same with some of the carrots over the next couple of days. One bag of sprouts will be blanched and frozen, the other will get used tomorrow with Sunday dinner, with leftovers to freeze for bubble and squeak. The cabbages, swedes and potatoes will last for ages in the utility room.
I read a recipe for a lovely winter salad in the Guardian paper the other day, I think it was a Nigel Slater recipe. Shred some red cabbage and red onion and braise it lightly in a pan with some olive oil and redcurrant jelly (I haven't got any but will use homemade cranberry sauce instead, which I think will work just as well). Tip into a bowl, including the juices, and mix in some chopped walnuts (I think Nigel may have used pecans....I haven't got them but do have walnuts), sliced apple (keep the peel on) and crumble in some Stilton. I reckon a splash each of lemon juice and balsamic vinegar will be lovely too. We'll be having this for lunch in the next few days.
I'm making mince pies today too, got enough previously made and frozen pastry for about 2 dozen pies. Got husband to peel and finely dice 3 of our homegrown apples to add to the (bought) mincemeat, along with a slug of ginger wine - he really likes that.