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Christmas parsnips

Mulled wine is being sold on the South Bank, lights are dazzling the Strand, and Michael Buble has been wheeled out of the cupboard to provide the soundtrack to Sainsbury’s – it’s that time of year again, and Christmas means parsnips.

But too often those haunting parsnips of school make an appearance on the dining table. Those squelchy, mushy, flatulent chunks of sugary weirdness that are neither as solid as roast potatoes nor as earthy as carrots – something is just off.

Well, try these ones. On a bed of a whipped stilton crème fraiche, speckled with black pepper. Roasted until just crisping with piquant cranberries straight from the store cupboard. Piled high on a board and topped generously with toasted walnuts and parsley, the green flecks refreshing on a Christmas table.

This could work as a starter or a side, and it gives the underrated parsnip a moment to shine.

  • 30g stilton or other hard blue cheese, crumbled

  • 100ml crème fraiche

  • 2 parsnips, cut into batons

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tbsp cranberry sauce

  • 20g walnuts

  • 20g parsley, chopped

  • Drizzle of honey

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

2. Mix the olive oil and the cranberry sauce in a bowl.

3. Lay the parsnips out in a baking dish and toss them in the cranberry mix.

4. Bake for 20 minutes or until slightly crispy.

5. Beat the crème fraiche and the stilton hard until they combine.

6. Season with a lot of black pepper.

7. Toast the walnuts and then chop them.

To assemble, smear the creme fraiche mixture over a board. Top with the parsnips, then scatter over the walnuts and the parsley. Finish with a drizzle of honey.

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