How to cook perfect parsnips

Parsnips are a staple of Christmas dinner. They have been growing all year in the soil and you’ve had to wait until they’ve had a least one decent frost before you can dig them up. Parsnips, like Brussels sprouts, are a very misunderstood vegetable, but we love them and this is how I cook mine.

You’ll need:

Parsnips, plain flour, semolina, salt and pepper, olive oil, parmesan

Peel your parsnips and cut off the tops and the bottoms. Cut your parsnips into pieces about 4 inches long and 2 inches wide (this is only a rough size). Once they are cut, place them in a large sauce pan, and cover with cold water. Put on the heat, and bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes, then drain, and lay them on a clean tea towel to dry.

In a dish put a mixture of plain flour, semolina, and salt & pepper. Mix it to combine.

Get a baking tray, and put some olive oil on it, and put it in the oven, at about gas mark 6 for about 5-10 minutes.

While the oil is heating up, get each parsnip piece, and dredge them in the flour mixture.

When they are are all done, take the tray out of the oven, and carefully put the parsnips in the oil. Be very careful as the oil will be very hot. Put them back in the oven and roast for about 30-40 minutes, turning each parsnip over half way through the cooking time.

When the parsnips are a lovely golden brown, place them on a serving plate, and scatter some grated parmesan over the top.

 

 

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The best shortbread cookies you’ll ever taste!! Honestly!!

When the weather outside is very cold, frosty, and wet, playing in the garden isn’t an option. So you can either do a massive pile of ironing (nah!), or those other boring household chores that you try and put off for as long as possible (do I have to?). Instead, you can get out your cookery books, look through the recipe books, and bake some of the most wonderful shortbread cookies ever. You can add whatever flavourings you like, just keep the basic shortbread the same.

So why not make the house smell wonderful, and once you’ve made your cookies, sit down with a couple of them and a nice cup of tea. The ironing can wait for another day…..

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Listeners’ Question Time – Bestseller Experiment ep70

Mark Stay Writes

The new episode of the podcast is online. This was a live recording, inasmuch as were live on Youtube for our Patreon supporters who had either sent questions in advance or were asking them in real time. It’s a format we tried on the launch day for Back to Reality, and I really enjoy it. We talk about mailing list and blog tips, the differences between developmental edits, copy edits and line edits, private Pinterest boards and all sorts of other shizzle.

If you want in on this next time, then come and support us over at Patreon.

In the meantime, you can listen to this week’s podcast here.

And if you’re a fantasy fan, be sure to check out our interview with legend and all-round nice guy Tad Williams here.

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And I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t mention that Back to Reality is…

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The battle of the tree roots!

Another cold, but dry day in Kent. So I was back out in the garden, digging out the rest of the soil for the base of the chicken’s house. This last bit was a little more tricky than before, as I had to contend with some rather large tree roots. But with the help of a saw and a bit of flexing of my muscles, I soon showed them who was boss.

Plus a few more interesting finds along the way.

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A Christmas gift for my chickens!

Whether it’ll all be ready for Christmas I don’t know, only time will tell, and if the weather behaves. Today I started digging out the base where I need to lay the concrete base for the chickens new shed to go on. Some of the digging was easy and other bit were a right pain in the backside, because there are still some massive tree roots in the ground. Still I’ll get them out. How far I’ll get today is another matter. But I’ve got all afternoon (well until it gets dark), so off we go.

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25 things I’ve learned from 25 years in books…

Mark Stay Writes

December 1992: Charles and Di announced their separation, the NET book agreement was still in place, Amazon was still just a river to most people, and a fresh-faced bookseller started a temporary Christmas placement at Waterstones in Dorking.

dscf0171.jpg Me and Horrid Henry before the TV and movie money changed him…

I’ve been selling books for 25 years (I only meant to stay for Christmas!) and I thought I could share a few of the things I’ve learned on the way, though I suspect the final tip is the only one of true practical use…

25 things I’ve learned from 25 years in books:

1. Be professional and courteous to everyone you meet and work with. It’s a small industry.
2. Amazon is all about the customer. Keep that in mind with every dealing you have with them.
3. Formats may change, genres will wax and wane, but people will always want…

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All marked out…….

I’m all marked out, it took a whole lot of planning, and a handful of weeding. I’m all marked out, it’s hard to dig you sometimes, when I’m forking and shovelling you around.

The trees are out, the fencing is up and now I can decide where everything is definitely going to go. So come and see what I have decided. There’s still a huge amount to do, but slowly but surely it’s coming together.

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