ArchiveFebruary 13, 2022

Valentine’s Day

Who doesn’t get an Oops in their tummy at the thought of Valentine’s Day even if it’s just a trip down memory lane!  Back to boarding school, when one waited for days in a mixture of apprehension and excitement for the post to be delivered on Valentine’s Day hoping for at least one card to giggle about and muse over who the anonymous sender might be?  One year, I got several Valentine’s cards, my class were mightily impressed and a touch jealous, I was the envy of all my pals, a very sweet memorable moment!

No question of romantic dinners or Valentine’s Day Balls on Valentine’s Day last year, we were in the midst of Lockdown.  So this year, let’s ramp up the excitement.  I love bunting and it’s so easy to make (or buy) a few strands to drape across the office or kitchen, add a few balloons and sparklers and you’ve already created the vibe and livened up everyone’s day. 

How about making a few heart-shaped cookies or maybe a gorgeous cake to share at work.  That’ll get everyone’s attention, it’s all about the fun…

If you are short of ideas, just take to the internet to be inspired and amused – there are a million suggestions…whatever ‘floats your boat’…how about a romantic hill hike or cycle and a picnic.  Maybe ice skating or whale watching followed by cocktails and a romantic dinner for two!

If you haven’t already booked a special table at your favourite restaurant or café, it’s probably too late now but how about a Valentine’s Day Cook-in with a group of friends, I know Valentine’s Day is supposed to be all about couples but first the fun and laughs, the romance can come a little later.  So into the kitchen for a bit of communal cooking.  The ‘refusers’ can make the cocktails and pour the fizz, then lay the table and sprinkle on the confetti (bit early) or sparklers. 

Oysters have long been considered an aphrodisiac, all that zinc does the trick…it’s so fun opening them and if you’ve never tried one, now’s the time.

I’m also going to suggest a chunky vegetable soup as a starter, it’s super delicious, comforting.  A few friends working together will make short work of all the vegetable chopping.  Add a can of cannellini beans and a few rounds of chorizo to make it even more substantial and delicious, and a slick of parsley oil for a ‘cheffy’ touch. 

Definitely, make some bread, even a few cheesy scones, everyone will love the magic and they are made in minutes.  For the main course, I’m going to suggest roast chicken, who doesn’t love roast chicken and even total beginners can slather a bit of herbs or spices over the breast and legs and pop it into the oven.  Chop a few potatoes into wedges and maybe sprinkle them with smoked paprika or some gutsy Winter herbs and a pinch of chilli for extra excitement.  Add a few chunks of carrot, parsnip and Jerusalem artichokes (or maybe not!) for a one-dish side.  All you’ll need then, is a good green salad to make way for some sweet treats.  Radicchios are all the rage on New York and London menus so look out for some pink radicchio, tardivo and some bitter leaves to add to your salad. 

For pudding, I’m going to break all my rules, around season and suggest a raspberry fool with some heart-shaped cookies.  It’s so easy to make, beyond delicious even when made with Winter raspberries and you can ‘zhuzh’ it up in lots of cute ways – it will become a favourite ‘go to’ dessert. 

And finally, how about a little heart-shaped cheese.  Pop along to Sheridans Cheesemongers or On The Pig’s Back in the English Market to pick up a Coeur de Neufchâtel, an adorable, soft heart-shaped goat cheese from Normandy in France.  Sit around the table and tuck in. 

What fun you’ll have and yet again you’ll find, there’s something in the old saying ‘the way to everyone’s heart is through their tummy’…

But, if you’re not wanting to be ‘coupled up’ why not spread the joy, drop a Valentine’s card or a bunch of flowers into a family member or a lonely neighbour to bring a smile to their day.  Happy Valentine’s Day to you all….

Oysters with Asian Vinaigrette

Even though Pacific oysters are available year-round, they are best in winter.  I love native oysters au nature just with a squirt of lemon juice but this dressing really adds excitement to the gigas oysters. 

Serves 4-6 as a starter

24 Pacific oysters

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon freshly ginger, grated

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons mirin

2 tablespoons soy sauce

4 spring onions, cut at an angle

1 teaspoon red chilli, cut at an angle

3 tablespoons sesame oil

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon finely chopped chives

To Serves

fresh seaweed (if available)

segments of lime

To make the Asian vinaigrette, mix all the ingredients in a glass jar, seal and shake well. If you can get some, place a little fresh seaweed on each plate.  Arrange 4-5 oysters per person on top and spoon a little vinaigrette over each one.  Serve on a bed of seaweed with  segments of lime.

Top Tip

If you can find some fresh seaweed e.g. bladderwrack, dip the fonds into boiling water for a second or two, they will turn bright green. Drop it straight into a bowl of iced water to prevent it cooking and to set the colour.  It will make an attractive garnish, which you could eat if you were very hungry but it doesn’t taste delicious!  Use it soon otherwise it will go slimy.

Chunky Valentine’s Vegetable Bean and Sausage Soup

Have fun chopping together, you’ll love tucking into this chunky soup.

Serves 8

225g (8oz) rindless streaky bacon, cut into 5mm (1/4 inch) lardons

2 tablespoons olive oil

225g (8oz) onions, chopped

300g (10oz) carrot, cut into 5mm (1/4 inch) dice

215g (7 1/2oz) celery, chopped into 5mm (1/4 inch) dice

125g (4 1/2oz) parsnips, chopped into 5mm (1/4 inch) dice

200g (7oz) white part of 1 leek, 5mm (1/4 inch) slices thick approx.

1 Kabanossi sausage, cut into 3mm (1/8 inch) thin slices

400g (1 x 14oz) can of tomatoes, chopped

salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar

1.7 litres (3 pints) good homemade chicken stock,

225g (8oz) haricot beans, cooked * (see recipe) or use a 400g (14oz) can


2 tablespoons parsley, freshly chopped

extra virgin olive oil (optional)

Prepare the vegetables. Put the olive oil in a saucepan, add the bacon* (see note at bottom of recipe) and sauté over a medium heat until it becomes crisp and golden, add the chopped onion, carrots and celery. Cover and sweat for five minutes, next add the parsnip and finely sliced leeks. Cover and sweat for a further 5 minutes. Slice the Kabanossi sausage thinly and add. Chop the tomatoes and add to the rest of the vegetables and the beans. Season with salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar, add the chicken stock. Allow to cook until all the vegetables are tender, 20 minutes approx. Taste and correct the seasoning. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, serve with lots of crusty bread.

* Soak the beans overnight in plenty of cold water.  Next day, strain the beans and cover with fresh cold water, add a bouquet garni, carrot and onion, cover and simmer until the beans are soft but not mushy – anything from 30-60 minutes.  Just before the end of cooking, add salt.  Remove the bouquet garni and vegetables and discard.

Cheddar Cheese Scones

These cheddar cheese scones are delicious served as an accompaniment to soup and made in minutes!

450g (1lb) white flour, preferably unbleached

1 level teaspoon salt

1 level teaspoon bread soda (bicarbonate of soda/baking soda)

sour milk or buttermilk to mix – 350-375ml (12-13fl oz) approx.

egg wash

110g (4oz) grated mature Irish Cheddar cheese

First fully preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas Mark 8.

Sieve the dry ingredients into a large bowl.  Make a well in the centre.  Pour most of the milk in at once.  Using one hand, mix in the flour from the sides of the bowl, adding more milk if necessary.  The dough should be softish, not too wet and sticky.  When it all comes together, turn it out onto a floured board, knead lightly for a second, just enough to tidy it up.  Pat the dough into a square about 2.5cm (1 inch) deep, brush with egg wash, cut into 12 square scones.  Dip the top of each scone into the grated cheddar cheese, place on a baking sheet.  Bake in a hot oven for 230°C/450°F/Gas Mark 8 for 15 minutes, then turn down the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6, for 5-10 minutes or until cooked.  Serve with soup as a snack.

A Roast Chicken with Winter Herbs and Gravy

Buy a gorgeous organic chicken for a treat, slather the breast and legs with a gutsy Winter herb or spice butter and tuck in. 

Serves 4-6

1.5 – 2.3kg (4 1/2 – 5lbs) free range chicken, preferably organic

1 lemon, cut into slices

sprig of thyme (optional)

75g (3oz) butter

2 teaspoons smoked paprika and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley or 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary


600-900ml (1 – 1 1/2 pints) of stock from giblets or chicken stock


sprigs of flat parsley

First remove the wishbone from the neck end of the chicken, this is easily done by lifting back the loose neck, skin and cutting around the wishbone with a small knife – tug to remove, this isn’t at all essential but it does make carving much easier later on. Tuck the wing tips underneath the chicken to make a neat shape. Put the wishbone, giblets, carrot, onions, celery and herbs into a saucepan. Cover with cold water, bring to the boil, skin and simmer gently while the chicken is roasting.  This is the basis of the gravy.

Pop the lemon slices and sprig of thyme into the cavity of the chicken.

Mix the soft butter with the freshly chopped herbs or smoked paprika and chopped parsley.  Slather over the breast and legs.  Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Weigh the chicken and allow about 20 minutes to 450g (1lb) and 20 minutes over – put it on middle shelf in the oven. Baste a couple of times during the cooking with the buttery juices. The chicken is done when the juices are running clear or when the internal temperature reaches 75 – 80°C (165 – 175°F) on a meat thermometer.

Alternatively, to test prick the thickest part at the base of the thigh, hold a spoon underneath to collect the liquid, examine the juices – they should be clear.

Remove the chicken to a carving dish, keep it warm and allow it to rest while you make the gravy.

To make the gravy, tilt the roasting tin to one corner and spoon off the surplus fat from the juices and return the roasting pan to the stove. Deglaze the pan juices with the fat free stock from the giblets and bones (you will need 600-900ml (1 – 1 1/2 pints) depending on the size of the chicken). Using a whisk, stir and scrape well to dissolve the caramelized meat juices in the roasting pan. Boil it up well, season and thicken with a little roux if you like (the gravy should not be thick). Taste and correct seasoning, serve in a hot gravy boat.

Pop the chicken onto a nice carving dish surrounded by crispy roast potatoes and vegetables and a few sprigs of flat parsley, arm yourself with a sharp knife and bring it to the table. Carve as best you can and ignore rude remarks if you are still practicing but do try to organise it so that each person gets some brown and some white meat. Serve with the delicious gravy.

Autumn Raspberry Fool with Shortbread Biscuits

A Valentine’s Day present from Rory O’Connell, so easy to make even kitchen ‘newbies’ will be thrilled with the result of their efforts.  Any leftovers can be frozen to make a delicious raspberry ice-cream. 

Serves 4-5

250g (8oz) raspberries, fresh or frozen
60-75g (2 1/2 – 3oz) caster sugar
300ml (10fl oz) of whipped cream

Valentine’s Biscuits

Lay the raspberries out flat on a dish. Sprinkle on the caster sugar and allow to macerate for 1 hour. If you are using frozen berries this should be long enough for them to defrost. Puree the fruit in a liquidiser or blender. Pass the puree through a sieve to remove the seeds. Discard the seeds. Gently fold in the whipped cream. If you wish to create a “swirly” effect, just be a little light handed with the folding in of the cream. The fool is now ready to be served or can be chilled for serving later.  Serve with shortbread biscuits.

Valentine’s Biscuits

Note: This recipe was originally in imperial measurements, to get best results, weigh in oz.

Makes 12 approx.

3oz (75g) white flour or spelt flour

2oz (50g) butter

1oz (25g) caster sugar

Put the flour and sugar into a bowl, rub in the butter as for shortcrust pastry. Gather the mixture together and knead lightly. Roll out to 1cm (1/2 inch) thick.  Cut into rounds with a 6cm (2 1/2 inch) cutter or into heart shapes.  Bake in a moderate oven 170˚C/325˚F/Gas Mark 3 to pale brown, 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the biscuits. Remove and cool on a rack.  Sprinkle with caster or icing sugar.

Delicious biscuits to nibble but we also serve with fruit fools, compotes and ice-creams.

Note: Watch these biscuits really carefully in the oven. Because of the high sugar content they burn easily. They should be a pale golden – darker will be more bitter.

However if they are too pale they will be undercooked and doughy.  Cool on a wire rack.

Winter Roots (Savoury)

You are loving those root veggie cakes in last week’s column, so staying with those delicious Winter roots this week, some savoury recipes…Several are new discoveries; others are old favourites.

Thinking about what to include made me realise just how much we rely on root vegetables as a foundation for so many dishes.  Potatoes are, of course, a powerhouse of nutrients, but also carrots, parsnips and swedes are inexpensive and produce so many delicious, nutritious and Wow-making dishes.  Not just comforting favourites – after all, who doesn’t love a time-honoured carrot and parsnip mash with lots of chopped parsley and a big dollop of butter. 

But have you been roasting your carrots?  This has been a revelation for me since I first tasted a delicious roast carrot, labne, pistachio and watercress dish at a restaurant in New York a couple of years ago.  Since then, I’ve been roasting roots in a myriad of different ways, not just a tray of diced vegetables, delicious as they can be when flavoured with gutsy Winter herbs, anointed with a good olive oil, and most importantly, served immediately.  Wizendy roast vegetables lose their charm very quickly when left in a warming oven.

Jerusalem artichokes are a ‘must have’ Winter root – if you haven’t already planted them in your garden or veg patch, do!  Anyone and I mean, anyone can grow them.  Where you plant one this year, you’ll dig up 8 or 10 next year.  Meanwhile, check out your Farmers Market or greengrocer or ask your supermarket to stock them and start to experiment.  They make delicious soups, gratins, purées and are sublime roasted.  Furthermore, they are magic from the nutritional point of view – the highest inulin of any vegetable so they stimulate beneficial microbes in your gut-biome – brilliant for both your physical and mental health…and that’s not a myth…

And don’t forget the humble Swede, many of our recipes elevate this ridiculously inexpensive Winter root to new heights.  Rory O’Connell slathers a delicious puree of Swedes with extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan.  We also love a gratin of Swedes with Thyme Leaves and Bacon and how about Persian Chickpea Stew which includes the aquafaba (cooking liquid from the tin) which gives the bean stew a delicious texture. 

Add some chunks to an Irish stew to up the vegetable content and boost the flavour even further.

Let’s not forget parsnips, now even sweeter after those few nights of frost – a simple salad of grated parsnips, dressed with lemon and honey is a revelation, fresh tasting and delicious and made in minutes.  We also love them roasted as a side or in combination with other vegetables, peppery rocket and winter greens in a salad.  Split them in half lengthways, then into manageable size pieces for extra impact. 

The possibilities are endless – here are a few suggestions and there are lots more in many of my cookbooks.  Have you come across my latest book ‘How To Cook’?  It’s got 100 simple recipes everyone should know and is getting lots of very positive feedback – thank you all.

Roast Carrots with Labneh, Pistachio and Watercress

Roast the carrots.  This salad is a game changer, inspired by a dish I enjoyed during my last visit to New York…

Serves 6

600g (1 1/4lbs) whole young carrots

4-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

a generous tablespoon of honey

1 teaspoon cumin, roasted and coarsely ground

1 teaspoon coriander, roasted and coarsely ground

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1-2 tablespoons Aleppo pepper

75-175g (3-6oz) Labneh (see recipe)

watercress or rocket leaves

50-75g (2-3oz) pistachio nuts, very coarsely chopped

sea salt flakes

extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas Mark 8

Scrub the carrots, dry, split in half lengthwise, if too big.  Put into a large bowl.  Drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil and honey.   Mix the roast and coarsely ground cumin and coriander together.  Sprinkle over the carrots.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, toss gently to coat evenly.  

Spread out in a roasting tin.   As soon as you put the trays into the oven reduce the heat to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.

Roast for 10-15 minutes, turning occasionally until the carrots are almost tender and caramelized at the ends and edges.

Remove from the oven.  Sprinkle with Aleppo pepper and toss.

To Serve

Put a few watercress springs on a plate.  Top with 3-5 pieces of roast carrot.  Add a few blobs of labneh and scatter with a sprinkling of coarse pistachio nuts, a few flakes of sea salt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Serve soon, best when the carrots are still slightly warm.

Soft Yoghurt Cheese – Labneh

This thick, creamy, soft cheese from the Middle East is so easy to make and so wonderfully smooth that your friends will be mightily impressed if you produce it for a dinner party. This is an old recipe. I believe that dairy items like these were once made everywhere in Europe and elsewhere over many centuries and then forgotten at some stage, probably during industrialisation, so I have borrowed from those places where the traditions survived. Labneh is a real treat and an easy way to dabble in cheesemaking. It is also much-loved by children and is a good way for you to pass on your knowledge of old skills to them. It can be used for sweet or savoury dishes.

Use whole-milk yogurt for a creamier cheese – this can be made from cow’s, sheep’s or goat’s milk. You can also use commercial yogurt.

Makes 500g (18oz) labneh approx.

1kg (2 1/4lbs) natural yoghurt

Line a strainer with a double thickness of sterilised cheesecloth. Place it over a bowl. Pour in the yogurt. Tie the four corners of the cheesecloth to make a loose bundle and suspend this bag of yogurt over a bowl. Leave it in a cool place to drip into the bowl for 8 hours. Then remove the cheesecloth and put the labneh in a bowl. Refrigerate overnight, and store until needed in a covered glass or plastic container. The liquid whey that has drained off can be fed to pigs or hens.


The labneh should be like softly whipped cream.  If thicker, simply stir back in some whey. 

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Avocado and Roasted Hazelnuts

Jerusalem artichokes are a sadly neglected winter vegetable. They look like knobbly potatoes and are a nuisance to peel, but if they are very fresh you can sometimes get away with just giving them a good scrub. Not only are they a smashing vegetable but they are also delicious in soups and gratins. They are a real gem from the gardeners point of view because the foliage grows into a hedge and provides shelter and cover for both compost heaps and pheasants!

Serves 8-10

50g (2oz) butter

1.1kg (2 1/2lbs) Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed, peeled and chopped

600g (1 1/4lbs) onions, chopped

salt and freshly ground pepper

1.2L (2 pints) light chicken stock (you may need a little more)

600ml (1 pint) creamy milk approx.


2 avocados, peeled and diced

4 tablespoons chopped roasted hazelnuts

4 tablespoons hazelnut oil

4 tablespoons chopped chives

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the artichokes and onions. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, cover and sweat gently for 10 minutes approx.  Add the stock and cook until the vegetables are soft. Liquidise and return to the heat. Thin to the required flavour and consistency with creamy milk and adjust the seasoning. This soup may need more stock depending on the thickness required.

Serve in soup bowls or in a soup tureen. Season the diced avocados with salt and pepper, then sprinkle the diced avocado and chopped roasted hazelnuts over the soup. Drizzle with a little hazelnut oil and chopped chives and serve.

Avocado and Roast Hazelnut Salsa

1 ripe avocado, halved, stone removed, peeled and diced into neat scant 1cm (1/2 inch) dice

3 tablespoons of hazelnuts, roasted, skinned and coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons of hazelnut or olive oil

1 tablespoon of chopped flat parsley

Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix the ingredients for the avocado and hazelnut garnish. Taste and correct seasoning. This mixture will sit quite happily in your fridge for an hour as the oil coating the avocado will prevent it from discolouring.

Persian Chickpea Stew

A veggie take on Khoresh Gheymeh which is usually made with beef.

Serves 4-6

100ml (3 1/2fl oz) extra virgin olive oil

400g (14oz) onions, peeled and finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon cumin, finely roasted and ground

1 teaspoon freshly roasted and ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

400g (14oz) very ripe tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and diced or 1 tin of chopped tomatoes in Winter

2 x 400ml (14fl oz) coconut milk

200ml (7fl oz) vegetable stock

100ml (3 1/2fl oz) aquafaba (liquid from tin of chickpeas)

175g (6oz) swede turnip, diced into 2cm (3/4 inch)

100g (3 1/2oz) potato, diced into 2cm (3/4 inch)

50g (2oz) sultanas

a generous pinch of saffron

1 x 400g (14oz) tin of chickpeas

salt and freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of sugar

freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime


1 large ripe tomato, deseeded and diced

50g (2oz) almonds, toasted and halved

100g (3 1/2oz) frozen desiccated coconut

1 generous handful of fresh coriander sprigs

Heat the extra virgin olive oil.  Add the onion and cook for 10-15 minutes on a medium heat until it starts to caramelize.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add all of the spices except the saffron and cook for a further 2 minutes.  Add the chopped tomatoes.  Cook for 5 minutes then add the coconut milk, stock and aquafaba.  Bring to the boil, add the swede turnip and diced potatoes, sultanas and saffron.  Season with salt and pepper and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.  Add the chickpeas.  Bring back to the boil and season with salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch of sugar.  Taste, correct the seasoning and add the juice of 1 lime or more to taste.  Garnish with the diced fresh tomato, toasted flaked almonds, frozen desiccated coconut and lots of fresh coriander.

Rory O’Connell’s Gratin of Swede Turnips, Potatoes, Thyme Leaves and Bacon Gratin

This is a robust warming gratin made with one of my favourite winter vegetables, the cheap and cheerful swede turnip.

Serves 8-10

450g (1lb) swede turnip, peeled and sliced into 4 mm slices

450g (1lb) potatoes, peeled and sliced into 3mm thick slices

110g (4oz) lardons of smoked or unsmoked bacon

1 tablespoon olive oil

110g (4oz) grated parmesan

1 teaspoon thyme leaves

350ml (12fl oz) cream or chicken stock (see recipe)

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 x 1.5 litre (2 1/2 pints) ovenproof gratin dish

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and season with a good pinch of salt. Drop in the sliced turnips, bring back to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. The turnips will have tenderized slightly but will not be fully cooked. Strain out the turnips, reserving the water for cooking the potatoes. Place the turnips on a tray lined with a tea towel.

Bring the water back to the boil and add the sliced potatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute only. Strain and rinse under the cold tap and place on a tray lined with a tea towel like the turnips.

Heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and add the bacon lardons. Cook, stirring until the bacon is crisp and golden.  Strain out the bacon and place on a piece of kitchen paper towel to drain.

To assemble the gratin, grease the gratin dish with a light smear of butter. Place on a layer of the turnips and potatoes, followed by a sprinkle of thyme leaves, a sprinkle of lardons of bacon and a sprinkle of the grated parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Splash on a little of the cream. Repeat the process finishing the gratin with a final sprinkle of the cheese.

Place the gratin in a bain-marie in the preheated oven and cook for 60-80 minutes. After 60 minutes, test the gratin with a skewer to see if the potatoes and turnips are tender. The skewer should go through the vegetables with no resistance and the top of the gratin should be a rich golden colour. The cooked gratin will sit happily in the oven for an hour before serving with the temperature reduced to 50°C/120°F/Gas Mark 1/4.

Roast Parsnip, Apple and Toasted Hazelnut Salad

Roast walnuts or pecans are also a good combination if hazelnuts are not available.  Swap out roast parsnips for Jerusalem artichokes here – also a delicious combo.

Serves 8

2 large or 4 medium sized parsnips

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or rapeseed oil

4 dessert apples, cut into eighths, cores removed

6 good handfuls of salad – tiny beetroot and kale leaves

75g (3oz) lightly toasted hazelnuts

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1 garlic clove, crushed to a paste with a little salt

1 teaspoon English mustard

2 teaspoons honey

1 tablespoon lemon juice

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or rapeseed oil

Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas Mark 8.

Peel and quarter the parsnips, remove the woody cores, then chop them into roughly 4cm (1 1/2 inch) pieces.

Put the parsnips on a large roasting tray in a single layer. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat them. Roast for 10 minutes, take them out of the oven and add the apple pieces and return to the oven for about 15 minutes or until everything is tender, golden and slightly caramelised.

Meanwhile, make the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together. 

When the parsnip and apple pieces are fully cooked, transfer them to a salad bowl and toss them in the dressing.  Taste and correct the seasoning.

Arrange a pile of salad leaves on a plate, top with the warm, dressed parsnip and apple.  Scatter with roughly chopped toasted hazelnuts.  Serve with crusty bread.


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