P1050387I feel like I’ve had a truly rural visit to England this time around – taking in the Sussex hills while chugging along in a steam engine and visiting a vintage tractor show – and today I concluded the trip with another countryside classic: Picking and cooking with homegrown produce.

I’ve been in New York for nearly two years now, and in that time, my mum and brother have cultivated an impressive greenhouse and vegetable patch. Today we had lots of relatives gathering at our house for a family reunion, so we decided to cook up a storm with produce from the garden.

It seemed such a simple pleasure that I can’t get in New York. (I could put a plant pot on my fire escape, but I’m not too sure it’d actually get any sun. Plus it wouldn’t be fair on Seamless.)P1050216

Basil

Basil

Cucumbers

Cucumbers

Not-quite-ripe tomatoes

Not-quite-ripe tomatoes

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Bay leaf

Bay leaf

Dyl and I picked parsley, coriander (cilantro to you Americans), bay leaves, cucumbers, lettuce, red lettuce and tomatoes, and he led me through the other budding plants: Butternut squash, potatoes, courgettes, beetroots, carrots, peas. Good job, the Warrens.

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Love how Dyl has paraded a collection of NYC-themed tees since I’ve been home

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Beetroot salad filled with our lovely garden herbs

We whipped up a green salad, a beetroot and tomato salad (using all of our herbs), and got to work on a parsnip roulade to go with it. This was another new experience – and to be honest, Mummy Warren should probably take all the credit for how delicious it was.

We used 450g parsnips, olive oil, 2 garlic cloves, 1 bay leaf, 5 large eggs, 85g Shropshire Blue cheese (we used cheddar because it’s vegetarian), 250g mascarpone, 2 tbsp pesto (we used red pepper pesto) and a tub of sun-dried tomatoes. And this is how we used them:

Recipe at the ready...

Recipe at the ready…

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Note our bay leaf! Then popped into the oven for 15 mins to roast

Chop the parsnips, add unpeeled garlic, 2 tbsp oil, salt and pepper – and the bay leaf

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Roast for 30 mins and discard the bay leaf

Add parsnips to the blender and squeeze out the roasted garlic into the mix, too

Add parsnips to the blender and squeeze out the roasted garlic into the mix, too

Blend with three of the egg yolks - add one by one

Blend with three of the egg yolks – add one by one

Add cheese - you're supposed to use blue cheese, but we opted for a veggie cheddar

Add cheese – you’re supposed to use blue cheese, but we opted for a veggie cheddar

Liki selflessly helps us clean up our spilled cheese

Liki selflessly helps us clean up our spilled cheese

Egg whites whipped up in the machine

Whip up the whites from the five eggs

Mix together

Mix together

Then pop in a tray

Then slather the mixture over a tray

And cook!

And cook!

Liki's already tired out

Liki’s already tired out

Cover with red pepper pesto

When it’s cool, cover with red pepper pesto

And slap on the cream cheese

And slap on the marscapone

Chopped sun-dried tomatoes

Chop some sun-dried tomatoes

Chuck them on top

Chuck them on top

Try to avoid getting told off by Mummy Warren

Try to avoid getting told off by Mummy Warren

And start to roll!

And start to roll!

I did nothing but stand back and watch

(I did nothing but stand back and watch)

Ta daaa

Ta daaa

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And then serve

And then serve

And then everyone arrived and tucked in.

With full bellies, we swapped news, played endless games of Bop It! and table football, and posed for photographs – which marked another first. Today’s the day I was with all of my British cousins for the first time ever – and aren’t they lovely? (Apart from a couple)

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The cousins with Nannie Jones

What a great trip home. Back to New York tonight!

Liki finishes off the meal with some ice cream

Liki finishes off the meal with some ice cream