Parsnip puree with thyme, mustard and creme fraiche

I must be thinking of Thanksgiving and planning some nice sides or maybe it’s just that the weather temperature dropped a few degrees, but I am hankering after cold weather food.

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 12.41.56 PM

Serves 4

2 lbs parsnips
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 thyme sprigs
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 oz butter
2 to 3 tbsp creme fraiche
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Peel and roughly chop the parsnips and put into a saucepan. Cover with cold water and add a good pinch of salt and the thyme sprigs.
Bring to the boil over a medium heat, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes until the parsnips are really tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the heat and drain in a colander.
Discard the thyme sprigs.
Tip the hot parsnips into a blender or food processor and add the butter, mustard creme fraiche and seasoning.
Whiz to a smooth puree and check for seasoning. You will probably need more salt and a generous grinding of black pepper.
You can set it aside at this point, but if the puree needs to be warmed through before serving, stir it over a very low heat.


Slow-braised pork shoulder with cider and parsnips

Don’t you just love those long, slow braises when the house fills with the wonderful aroma and you can just leave the dish to cook itself slowly? The parsnips add a wonderful earthy sweetness to the dish too.

Screen Shot 2015-05-02 at 10.01.16 AM

Serves 4 to 5

2 tbsp olive oil
2lb 4oz pork shoulder, diced. (Sometimes this joint of meat is called Boston Butt)
2 onions, sliced
2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
3 parsnips, cut into chunks
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp plain flour
12 fl oz (330 mls) bottle of cider
28 fl oz (1 1/2 pints) chicken or pork stock
a good handful Italian parsley, chopped
mashed potato and greens, to serve (optional)

Heat oven to 350 F or 180C.
Heat the oil in a large lidded flameproof or Le Creuset braiser and brown the meat in batches, then set aside. Fry the onions, celery and parsnips with the bay leaves for 10 mins until golden brown. Sprinkle in the flour and give a good stir, then add the pork and any juices back to the dish.
Add the cider and stock so that the meat and vegetables are covered. Season and bring to a simmer, then cover and put in the oven for 2 hrs.
Serve sprinkled with parsley, with mashed potato and greens, if you like.

** One nice tip is that if the braise is too liquidy, take out the solids and boil the liquid down to reduce, then return the solids to the pan.

Prosciutto wrapped sea bass with roasted Autumn vegetables

I have been thinking about this recipe ever since I watched the “Barefoot Contessa” make it.
Finally I made it tonight with some modifications and it really is lovely with sweet roasted root vegetables, moist sea bass enclosed in the salty prosciutto, and the lovely woodsy flavor of the rosemary infused buttery lemon sauce.


Screen shot 2014-04-11 at 8.10.23 PM

Prep time 20 mins
Cooking time 1 hour
Serves 4, but is easily augmented

2 cups peeled, seeded and diced (1/2-inch) butternut squash
2 cups peeled and diced (1/2 inch) diced parsnips
2 cups peeled and diced (1/2 inch) diced carrots
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
4 ( 7 oz ) fillets skinless sea bass fillets
6 to 8 thin slices prosciutto di Parma
1/4 lb (1 stick) unsalted butter
6 good sprigs fresh rosemary
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

For the vegetables;
Put the butternut squash, parsnips and carrots in a large bowl.Finely cut 2 sprigs of the fresh rosemary and add to the vegetables. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp salt, 1 tsp pepper and the garlic. Add about 1/3 cup olive oil and toss together with your hands until well mixed together.
Line a shallow roasting tray with aluminum foil, spread the vegetables out in a single layer and roast for 30 mins, turning once during the cooking until they are tender and starting to brown.
Meanwhile, line another sheet pan with aluminum foil and place a baking rack on top of the foil.
Brush the fish fillets on both sides with olive oil and season liberally with salt and ground pepper.
Wrap each fillet with a slice or two of prosciutto to form a wide band around the center of the fillet.
Arrange the fillets on the rack with the prosciutto seam side down and roast for 10 to 15 minutes until barely cooked.
While the vegetables and fish are roasting, melt the butter over medium heat in a medium-sized saute pan.
Add the rosemary sprigs and cook over low heat until the rosemary leaves are crisp and the butter begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
Discard the rosemary, stir in the lemon juice and set aside.
To serve, place the vegetables in the middle of a shallow bowl, lay a piece of the prosciutto wrapped fish on top.
Spoon the butter/rosemary sauce over the fish and vegetables.
Garnish with a small sprig of rosemary and a wedge of lemon and serve hot.