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Most have thick white stems, which need longer cooking than the leaves - but some stems are attractively multi-coloured. They can be cooked as a separate vegetable, served simply with butter or the green leaves simply added for the last two minutes or so. The mangel was a development, as was sugar beet.

If you enjoy cooking take a minute to look at ‘Simon Scrutton French Cookery Classes’ on Google – and learn how to make top class bistro-style dishes. Suitable for beginners upwards. Small classes.

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