The parsnip is a funny vegetable. It's undeniably a starchy root veg, but with a sweetness that always takes me by surprise. When some arrived in this week's veg box I knew I had a challenge on my hands, how to use these albino cousins to the carrot without getting bored of roast parsnips. Joyfully, that sweetness means that you can happily use parsnips in either savoury dishes or cakes with success.
One of the first gluten free cakes I ever made had mashed potato in it and, although it sounds weird, it was amazingly moist and distinctly unlike a cake made from potato. I was pretty sure that parsnips would work in the same way, and it seems I was right!
- 100g butter
- 100g dark brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 100g pecans, ground quite finely in the food processor
- 1 tsp baking powder
- a good grating of nutmeg
- 125g roasted parsnips, mashed
- Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy, then add the eggs, one at a time.
- Add the ground pecans, baking powder and nugmeg and mix well. Beat in the mashed parsnips until the mixture is smooth, with no lumps.
- Pour into a greased 1lb loaf tin and smooth down the surface. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 20-25 minutes until a skeker comes cleanly out the middle of the cake.
Part of the fun of a veg box is trying to work out how (and if) to get the items in the box to work together! I also got chestnuts and I know they would work with parsnips - they're also sweet and starchy, but with a smoky, nutty flavour - I had to make soup.
- 1 large leek, just the white part roughly chopped
- 350g (ish) parsnips, roughly chopped
- 200g ready to eat chestnuts
- 750ml vegetable stock
- salt and pepper, to taste
- some creme fraiche
- a knob of butter
- Set aside around four chestnuts and slice, don't add these to the soup!
- Heat a little oil in your sauce pan and add the leek. Cook them until soft then chuck in the parsnips, chestnuts and stock. Bring to the boil then simmer for about 20 minutes until the parsnips are tender.
- Blend the soup until smooth, in a blender, food processor or with a stick blender, then taste and season if it needs it.
- Heat the butter in a frying pan and add the reserved, chopped chestnuts. Fry for a few minutes until golden.
- Serve the soup with a dollop of creme fraiche and chopped chestnuts to stir through before eating.