Sweet sour and spicy parsnips
Parsnips are our bumper crop at the moment. In typical Chinese style this dish takes a humble vegetable and creates a tasty vegan meal. All you need to add is a green vegetable and some rice.
The slightly spicy yet sweet and sour flavours complement the parsnips perfectly. The wood ears (dried fungus) also add depth to the texture of the dish.
2 medium to large parsnips; 10g wood ear mushrooms (hydrated in warm water). 3 cloves garlic – finely chopped; teaspoon finely chopped ginger; 2 spring onions – finely chopped; tbsp Pixian chilli bean paste*, tbsp cooking wine/sherry; 2 tsp sugar; 1 tbsp light soy sauce; 1 tbsp rrice vinegar ½ tsp cornflour dissolved in 1/2 cup water; extra water if needed. Coconut oil for frying.
Peel the parsnips. Cut in half vertically then cut each half into four strips. Finally cut the strips on an angle to create triangular pieces. (or dice if this is too complicated!). Clean the wood ears, rinse and drain, then break up the pieces.
Make a mix of the sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, and cornflour and water. Heat the wok, then add a good tbsp of oil and heat until it starts to move.
Add the ginger, garlic and spring onion and the chilli bean paste and stir until fragrant. Put in the parsnip pieces and fry for a minute or so to absorb the flavours. Add the cooking wine and then the liquid mix, and the wood ear mushrooms, stirring well. Allow to come to the boil, mix well then turn down. Simmer until the parsnips are soft (7 -10 minutes), adding extra water if necessary.
*You do need the Pixian chilli paste for an authentic flavour. If you cannot find it in your local Asian store try https://www.souschef.co.uk/products/szechuan-sichuan-chilli-bean-paste
Pumpkin and chickpea cottage pie with parsnip and potato top
Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients here. You can vary them to suit what’ s in the fridge. The important three are pumpkin (or you can use sweet potato or butternut), carrot and chickpeas. And do cut all the veg into chick pea size. This is a trick that I learnt in China as it provides what is known as good ‘mouth feel’ – complementary shapes with contrasting textures.
And I do recommend using a chutney as it provides a surprising sweet sour tang!
Vegetables for filling: 1/2 small pumpkin -peeled and diced; 1 red onion – cut into small dice; 200 grams cooked chick peas; 2 large carrots peeled and diced; 4 mushrooms diced; 2 pak choi (optional – I had them so I used them!) – cut into small squares and separate white stalks from green tops.
Seasonings: knob of ginger – chopped very finely; 1 tsp of garam masala*; 2 tsp of mild curry mix*; tbsp passata (optional);organic vegetable stock cube ( I use Kallo Yeast free); 2 heaped tsp of chutney of your choice.
Coconut oil or choice of fat.
*I make my own and will share the mixes soon
For the mash: 4 potatoes; 2 parsnips; your choice of coconut oil or another fat.
Seasonings: Himalayan rock salt and ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200 C. Peel and dice the pumpkin, coat with about a tbsp of oil of your choice, the garam masala, 1/2 tsp salt and roast for about 20 minutes until beginning to crisp. (I also used these pumpkin cubes for my the pasties below so you could make both together.)
While the pumpkin is roasting, peel the potatoes and parsnips. Chop roughly and boil until soft. Best do them separately as potatoes cook faster but you can use the same water.
When you drain them reserve a little of the water (minus any potato starch from the oven). Then mix together and mash, using the fat of your choice to bind them together.
Heat a frying pan or wok (I always use a wok). Add two tbsp oil then the ginger and onion, stir briefly, then add the diced carrot and mushroom and the white bits of the pak choi. Stir fry for a few minutes, then add the curry powder and crumble in the stock cube. This is where you can add the passata if you like a more homogenous filling (I don’t use it – its an Ayurvedic thing!!)
Either way, stir well, then add enough of the saved cooking water to cover and simmer for a few minutes till the carrots begin to soften. Adding more water if necessary. Stir in the pak choi greens.
Add the chick peas and mash very lightly with a potato masher just to soften them at the edges so the flavours can ente. Then add the roasted pumpkin and the chutney and mix well.
Scoop into an oven proof dish and top with potato and parsnip mash. Put into a preheated oven (180 C) and bake for 30 – 40 minutes until the top is crispy and the filling is bubbling through.
Spiced pumkin pasties
This Autumn recipe uses our homegrown pumpkin and leeks. It can be vegan or vegetarian and is truly Ayurvedic with warming spices to help digestion
The roasted pumpkin filling is actually so good that you could eat it alone. Great as a side vegetable, on couscous or in a risotto too. Or use it as a filling for a wrap. That being the case I haven’t been too specific with quantities….
The spice mix I used is a lovely warming Ayurvedic one which helps digestion and absorption. It includes cumin, cinnamon, cardamon, and small amounts of dry ginger, black pepper and ground cloves. If you buy a ready made garam masala and it would still be yummy.
Half a pumpkin chopped into small cubes, one large or two small leeks, one tbsp pine nuts, two tbsp coconut oil, one tsp garam masala or your own spice mix. 1/2 tsp Himalayan rock salt. Block of chilled shortcrust pastry – or make your own.
Turn the oven to 200c and put one tbsp oil on a tray to warm. Peel the pumpkin (I use a vegetable peeler), discard seeds and any stringy bits and chop into small dice. Mix the pumpkin cubes with the spices and salt. Remove the tray, toss the pumpkin in the oil, then roast for 20 minutes or until the pieces are transparent and have crispy edges.
Clean the leek/s and chop into squares or near enough. Heat the rest of the oil in a wok or frying pan then stir fry the leeks til they soften and then add the pine nuts and briefly stir. Mix with the cooked pumpkin and taste for seasoning to your taste.Flour a board and roll out the pastry. using a pudding or desert bowl cut out 6-8 circles. Cover half of the circle with a little pile of filling being careful to leave a space at the edge. Fold and press the edges together. I didn’t do any clever stuff but if you are good with pastry you can.
Put onto a greased baking sheet. Brush on a little oil or milk of your choice if you want a shiny top. And bake for about 20 minutes until lightly browned.
Best eaten hot but pretty good cold too.