Parsnip, Carrot and Apple Juice

It suddenly occurred to me that parsnip juice might be nice. After all it has such a delicious sweet and nutty taste, I thought it might really add interest to my recent juicing craze, so I tried it out with a few carrots and some apples to see how it turned out, and I recon it is one of my favourite juices yet.

And would you believe it, parsnips are really good for you too. I seem to have had a cough that has lasted for ever, so I was pleased to hear that they contain phosphorus-chlorine elements which bring particular benefits to the lung and bronchial systems. They are also contain a high level of potassium, which gives the brain cells a boost, which is something else I can always do with. Parsnips are also packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties and rich in phytonutrients that may prevent certain types of cancers. Finally, if that was not enough they contain Vitamin B, C, E, K and Folic Acid and high levels of Potassium, Manganese, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Zinc, and Iron. So get juicing!

Parsnip, Carrot and Apple Juice

Makes one large glass

2 parsnips

2 carrots

2 apples

Chill the veg and fruit. No need to peel. Top and tail the carrots and parsnips and quarter the apples. Juice and drink.

Tagliatelle with Roast Parsnips, Leeks, Bacon & Cream

I have made pasta dishes similar to this one before, but it occurred to me that you could add all sorts of different roast root vegetables, just to get even move goodness in your diet. Bacon and parsnips is a winning combination and along with the leeks, this made a really tasty dinner.

Tagliatelle with Roast Parsnips, Leeks, Bacon & Cream

Serves 2

Extra virgin olive oil

1 large parsnip

6 slices thin-cut smoked streaky bacon, cut into small strips

1 large leek or 2 small, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise, shredded crosswise and washed

100mls double cream

125g Tagliatelle

Finely grated Parmesan or Grana Padano

Preheat the oven to 180C. Peel and cut the parsnip into 1cm cubes. Toss in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Tip onto a lined roasting tray and cook in the oven for about 30 minutes or so until tender and golden brown. Stir once or twice to ensure even cooking.

Meanwhile heat some oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring often, until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, 5-8 minutes. Add leeks and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook over a low heat for as long as possible, stirring often, until leeks first completely soften and then begin to caramelize. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Add the cream to the leeks and some of the pasta water so that you have a nice creamy consistency but not too dry. Check seasoning. Drain pasta and add to the leeks and bacon. Add the parmesan to taste and serve straight away.

Parsnip Puree

Apart from roasting parsnips this Parsnip Puree is really the most delicious way to eat this lovely root vegetable. You will see it on lots of expensive restaurant menus served up alongside sea bass or scallops, fillet steak or venison, often topped with complimenting parsnip crisps of crispy fried pancetta. You will recognise it, as it will be smeared on your plate in a teardrop shape which seems to be obligatory when serving purees in posh restaurants.

If you can’t afford to go to expensive restaurants, give it a try at home. It is super indulgent and somehow tastes expensive, especially with a little drizzle on white truffle oil and is a really good way of spoiling yourself when you feel you deserve a treat.

Parsnip Puree

450g parsnips (about 3) peeled, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

125 mls (½ cup) double cream

125 mls (½ cup whole milk

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Sea salt

Bring parsnips, garlic, cream, milk, and butter to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until parsnips are very soft, 10–15 minutes. You should be able to mash them with a wooden spoon. Uncover and if necessary reduce any liquid, or add a little water depending on how dry it is; season with salt. Purée with a hand blender until  really smooth. Unlike potato, you cannot over puree it. Add pepper if you like – white pepper if you want to be poncy.

Purée can be made 1 day ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Reheat over medium-low, stirring often.

Parsnip Crisps

The second parsnip recipe for this week, are these absolutely delicious Parsnip Crisps. These make a great snack and since parsnips are really good for you – containing high levels of potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, and iron, in addition to an impressive range of vitamins, including vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K, as well as high levels of fibre and some protein, this makes them sound a healthy alternative to potato crisps, so brilliant for the kids.

You could also try flavouring them. I always think parsnips go particularly well with curry spices, particularly chilli and cumin, so try adding a little spice to the salt when seasoning them, before cooking. If you want to impress, try garnishing a bowl of Curried Parsnip Soup with a few on top.


Parsnip Crisps  


Olive oil or sunflower oil

Spices if you like

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Peel the parsnips and then either keep on peeling strips of parsnip with your potato peeler, or use a mandolin and place in a large bowl with the sunflower oil. Season with salt pepper and toss well.

Arrange the parsnip strips in single layers on large baking trays. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, turning halfway, until golden and crisp. Sprinkle with a little extra salt while warm and serve.


Parsnip, Potato and Thyme Gratin

I love parsnips and although they are a sign that winter is really here, the thought of Roast Beef, Yorkshire Pudding, Roast Potatoes, Brussel Sprouts , Roast Parsnips and lashings of home-made Horseradish Sauce, is so thrilling that I can almost excuse the short days and freezing weather.  But what else is there to do with a parsnip apart from roasting it? This week I check out two now parsnip recipes, the first – a warming Parsnip, Potato and Thyme Gratin. Really easy to make, really good to eat!


Parsnip, Potato and Thyme Gratin

700g parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced (use a mandolin or food processor)

300g potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

400g double cream

100mls milk

Small bunch of thyme, tied with string into a bundle

3 cloves of garlic, peeled

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the cream and milk in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and thyme bundle. Reduce the cream slowly to cook the garlic and allow the thyme to infuse. Boil gently for about 30 minutes whilst you prep your potatoes and parsnips. Keep an eye that it does not boil over or stick. Pre-heat the oven to 170C. Layer the potatoes and parsnips in a gratin dish. Season the cream and squeeze out as much flavour from the thyme bundle as possible, into the cream. The cream should taste a little too salty.  Remember you are not only seasoning the cream, but the parsnips and potatoes as well. Pour the cream mixture over the potatoes and parsnips and cover with tin foil.  Cook in the oven for about an hour until a knife inserts easily into the middle. Remove the tinfoil and return to the oven for a final 10 minutes until golden brown.


Turlu Turlu

Good to my word, I tried out a fresh tomato sauce, just to see how it turned out. As far as I know, there are two schools of tomato sauce. The Italian version which consists of no more than olive oil, garlic and tomatoes and maybe a little basil, or the French version which can contain pretty much anything. I believe that this is because the Italian version relies heavily on superb ingredients, including very good tinned Italian plum tomatoes, so I decided to opt for the French. I used some onion, celery and garlic in my base, sweated down with olive oil and I added some wild dried Oregano. The results where certainly good enough for this week’s recipe of Turlu Turlu. This is a sort of Turkish Ratatouille, and just the sort of recipe I love. It literally means hotchpotch and can incorporate any number of different vegetables mixed with chickpeas, tomato sauce and lots of herbs. It is a great use up dish and I had a whole array of vegetables in the bottom of my fridge, which all went in, including beetroot, parsnips, red onions, red peppers, courgettes, sweet potatoes, fennel and carrots and of course, the tomatoes. But you could have added potatoes, squash, green peppers, cauliflower, aubergine or any other vegetable you have to hand.

veg for Turlu Turlu

This recipe seems a little more complicated than it is, but only because I insist on separating the vegetables up which cook better on their own. They need a lot of room and different times and this way, all your vegetables are perfectly roasted. It is worth the effort.

As for my tomato sauce – I am not sure it was good enough to just serve on its own with pasta but I will keep working on it and let you know how I get on.

Turlu Turlu 2

Turlu Turlu
Serves 4
1 red onions, cut into into 8 wedges through the root
1 large red bell pepper, de-seeded, and cut into large bit-sized chunks
1 head fennel, cut into into 8 wedges through the root
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into large bit-sized chunks
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into large bit-sized chunks
A few beetroot, peeled and cut into large bit-sized chunks
3 courgettes, cut into 1cm slices, slightly on the diagonal
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried chili flakes, or to taste

For the sauce
6 Large ripe tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 stick celery, finely chopped
2 small onions, finely sliced

1 tin chickpeas, drained
Freshly chopped coriander
Freshly chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Toss the red onion and red pepper with some coriander, cumin, chilli flakes, salt, black pepper and olive oil. Tip onto a tray and put in the oven. Toss the fennel with some coriander, cumin, chilli flakes, salt, black pepper and olive oil. Tip onto a tray, making sure as much surface area as possible is in contact with the tray and put in the oven. Combine the root vegetables – parsnips, beetroot and sweet potato. Toss with some coriander, cumin, chilli flakes, salt, black pepper and olive oil. Tip onto a tray and put in the oven. Toss the courgettes with some coriander, cumin, chilli flakes, salt, black pepper and olive oil. Tip onto a tray, make sure as much surface area as possible is in contact with the tray and put in the oven. You will have to check your veg regularly, and rotate veg to ensure even cooking, When your veg are cooked and a little caramelised remove them. Each tray will slightly different time. Meanwhile make your sauce. Sauté the onion and celery slowly in plenty of olive oil, for a s long as possible. Meanwhile, put a large saucepan of water on to boil. Cut a small cross in the top of your tomatoes. Add them to the pan of boiling water and boil for 1-2 minutes, until the skins begin to come away. Remove them with a slotted spoon and plunge them into a bowl of cold water. Remove the skins and roughly chop. Add the garlic to the onions and fry a minute more before adding the tomatoes. Cook down gently until the tomatoes have completely dissolved, Season with salt and pepper and oregano. Puree with a hand blender.

Just before your final tray of veg is ready, add the chickpeas and tomato sauce to the tray and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Then remove and add all your veg together. Stir gently to avoid mushing up the veg. Allow to cool slightly before adding your herbs. Serve warm or room temperature.

Turlu Turlu 3

Parsnip, Brussel Sprout and Bacon Potato Cake

Finally, for this week, another one of my recipes from Riverford’s “Autumn and Winter Veg”. This is simply a basic Bubble and Squeak with a few extras thrown in. I always think it is better made with left over veg from Sunday lunch, than made to order, but it makes a great brunch either way. The combination of parsnips, Brussel sprouts and bacon is a particular favourite of mine, but you can throw in any cooked veg. If you have left over roast potatoes, you can use them instead of mash but you need to chop them up small and mush them up so your cakes stick together. I have even used up left over baked potatoes, scraping them out of their skins and mashing them up. Serve with a fried or poached egg and a couple of sausages would be nice too.

Bubble adn Squeak 2

Parsnip, Brussel Sprout and Bacon Potato Cake
Sometimes I add a teaspoon of mustard or horseradish sauce to the mix.
300-400g potatoes, peeled + cut into even sized pieces
200g Brussel sprouts, trimmed of the outer leaves
200g parsnips
8 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
3 tbsp oil
salt + pepper
Fine polenta

Cook the potatoes in salted water until soft. Drain well and mash while still warm. (You need to keep your mash as dry as possible so that the cakes hold together.) While the potatoes are cooking, cook the Brussel sprouts in plenty of salted boiling water. Drain well. Cut in half if large. Peel and cut the parsnips into even pieces, toss with salt, freshly ground black pepper and some good olive oil. Roast in a hot oven until soft and beginning to caramelize. Allow to cool and roughly chop the parsnips. Cut the bacon into fine lardons and fry in a little oil until really crispy. Drain. (Keep the oil to fry the cakes.) Mix the vegetables together with the mash and bacon, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Mould the mixture into little cakes. You can use polenta flour to help them not stick.
Heat some oil in a large, preferably non-stick, frying pan and cook the cakes until they are golden brown on each side. Finish them in the oven until hot all the way through.

parsnips 2

Parsnip & maple syrup cake

This week, I am still experimenting with my “cakes with vegetables in them.” I went to do a Riverford lunch last week and put one of my old favourites on the menu – Parsnip & Maple Syrup Cake but then I was a little concerned as I realised that although I have made it many times in the last few years, I hadn’t actually tried it in ages. Unfortunately, due to often having to make a dash for it at the end of my lunches, for the school run, I am rarely around to get to try the dessert. So I thought I had better test it out at home, just to see if it was up to scratch. And now sitting here, at my computer and just finishing off my third slice, I can happily say, “It is!”

Parsnip and Maple Syrup Cake

Parsnip & maple syrup cake
175g butter, plus extra for greasing
250g Demerara sugar
100ml maple syrup
3 large eggs
250g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp mixed spice
250g parsnips, peeled and grated
1 medium eating apple, peeled, cored and grated
50g pecans, roughly chopped
Zest and juice 1 small orange
Icing sugar, to serve

250g tub mascarpone
Maple syrup

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease a large loaf tin. Line with greaseproof paper. (I used a silicone one which did not need lining.) Melt butter, sugar and maple syrup in a pan over gentle heat, then cool slightly. Whisk the eggs into this mixture, then stir in the flour, baking powder and mixed spice, followed by the grated parsnip, apple, chopped pecans, orange zest and juice. Pour into the tin, then bake for 25-30 mins until the top spring back when pressed lightly and a skewer comes out clean.

Cool the cake slightly in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Just before serving, mix together the mascarpone with just enough maple syrup to sweeten. Spread over the top of the loaf. If you like, dust with icing sugar just before serving.

Parsnip and Maple Syrup Cake Crumbs

Curried Parsnip Soup

Finally, for this week, one of my favourite soups at this time of year, a spicy, warming bowl of Curried Parsnip Soup. A 70’s dinner party starter classic for those who were foody, in the know and well-read enough to own Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book, such as my mother. It seemed very modern at the time but it has stood the test of time and I have tweaked it just a little, removing the dated additions of cream and flour but to bring it bounding into the 21st century, I have added coconut milk and fresh coriander, probably scarcely available in those days.

Finally, I know it is more trendy to make up your own Marsalas now a days, but quite frankly when I am pushed for time, which is most of the time, I opt for a readymade blend. The trick is to buy little, often and if need be discard old spices which no longer pack a punch. Go for a good one. I used Dalesford Organic Powder which was packed with flavour, but pretty hot, so mind how you go.

curried parsnip soup 2

Curried Parsnip Soup
Serves 4
A good glug of olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
450g parsnips, peeled and cubed
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 tin coconut milk
1 bunch fresh coriander, washed and chopped, stalks too
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large saucepan over medium heat add the olive oil and fry the onion in butter until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the parsnips, a good pinch of salt and some pepper and continue cooking for about another 20 minutes, stirring often to avoid catching. Add a little more oil if necessary. You want to cook the parsnip as long as possible to release their natural sugars and begin to caramelise. When you can break up the parsnips with a wooden spoon, add the garlic and curry powder and fry for a couple of minutes to release the flavours. Cover with plenty of water and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for about 10 minutes. Finally remove from the heat. add the whole bunch of coriander and puree with a liquidiser or hand blender. Stir in the coconut milk and heat through. Do not boil.Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Harissa Roast Vegetables with Coriander and Preserved Lemon Cous Cous & Tahini

This week I opted for a medium veg box less roots, and I have to say, I haven’t been quite so excited about my vegetable selection for a while. Sometimes I struggle for inspiration, for what to conjure up with yet more vegetables, but this week I could have used up my box three times over. The sight of parsnips and Brussel sprouts fills me with joy and is one of the few things I really look forwards to about winter – shorter days, central heating, layers of clothes, colds, mud and rain – no thank you but seasonal winter vegetables, being earthed up after a whole summer in the ground – now that’s a treat.

I started by putting nearly the whole box in one dish. A Moroccan inspired Harissa Roast Vegetables with Coriander and Preserved Lemon Cous Cous. I put in the red onions, the parsnips, the aubergine, the cauliflower and the courgettes. Then I threw in half a butternut squash I had left after making last week’s muffin. Had I had carrots, sweet potato or peppers in my box, they would have gone in too. You could serve this with Cauliflower Cous Cous, my obsession of the last few weeks but this week I was yearning for the real thing.

When it comes to Harissa, they vary in heat, so be careful. My favourite is Rose Harissa which is packed with flavour, without being overtly hot, so you can use generously.

Roast Veg in Tray

Harissa Roast Vegetables with Coriander and Preserved Lemon Cous Cous & Tahini
Serves 4
½ butternut squash, squash into bite-size pieces (you can leave skin on the squash, it’s up to you).
3 parsnips, peeled and cut into large bite-sized chunks
3 courgettes, thickly sliced 1 ½ cms
½ cauliflower broken in to large florets, each cut in half
4 garlic cloves, leave skin on
2 red onions, peeled and cut into wedges through the root
1 aubergine, cut into large bite-sized chunks
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp Ras el Hanuot
2 tbsp harissa paste
6 tbsp. Olive oil
2 tbsp. Tahini
1 lemon
200g couscous
Bunch of fresh coriander
4 small preserved lemons, seeds removed and finely chopped
Sea salt

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Mix the harissa with 5 tablespoons of the olive oil, the Ras el Hanout and the cumin seeds. Add a teaspoon of salt. Use this to coat the vegetables before roasting. It is important that they have enough room, spread out on baking trays. Some veg, such as courgettes and aubergines benefit from having a tray to themselves if you want to make sure they brown. Root vegetables such as parsnips and squash which cook in similar times can share a tray. They cauliflower, onions and garlic cloves go together on another. Roast for 15 minutes before checking and moving around the veg to ensure even cooking. Check again after another 15 minutes and remove or give longer. They should all be golden brown and tender.

Meanwhile, make the Tahini dressing by very simply adding the juice of half a lemon to the Tahini with a large pinch of salt. Stir in enough water to make a smooth, creamy consistency. Check seasoning and add more salt or lemon juice to taste.

Meanwhile put couscous into a large bowl and put the kettle on. Mix the final tablespoon of olive oil in with the cous cous and a large pinch of salt. Massage the oil into the cous cous and then cover with boiling water. Set aside for 10 mins. Fluff up with a fork.

Meanwhile, chop your coriander and preserved lemons and add to the cous cous when ready. When the roast veg are ready, toss together, check seasoning and pile onto of the cous cous. Drizzle with the Tahini sauce.

Cous cous