Parsnip, potato and cheese cakes

Despite the fact that we're now into January we still have leftover parsnips from Christmas. My mum and dad came to us for Christmas Day this year and Dad's ever-prolific allotment did us (or rather him) proud once again. Even though we only used half of the parsnips he brought with him, and I've used one of them for these, there are still two huge and rather gnarly parsnips in the fridge waiting to be used.


These parsnip, potato and cheese cakes are a great way of hiding vegetables in food for picky eaters. My kids have eaten parsnips on a number of occasions but usually when they appear undisguised they get ignored. So I must admit to not telling them that there were parsnips in these, and just described them as potato cakes. And to my astonishment they both ate a whole cake each - a definite sneaky veg success.

The recipe for these little cakes is really easy and they can either be eaten as the main feature of a vegetarian meal, perhaps with some green vegetables or baked beans, are a great accompaniment to a roast dinner, or you could have them as we did today with sausages, peas and green beans on the side.

Ingredients (makes 12)
350g parsnips, peeled and chopped (prepared weight)
350g white potatoes, peeled and chopped (prepared weight)
1 tbsp butter
Pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp milk
120g grated cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten
Plain flour
Breadcrumbs (I used panko)
Butter (for frying)

Boil the parsnips and potatoes together until soft. Drain and mash together with the butter, nutmeg and milk until you have a smooth and fluffy mash.

Allow to cool a little so you can handle it. Mix in the grated cheese. Divide the mixture into 12 small cakes or patties.

Line up three small bowls, the first containing some plain flour, the second the beaten egg and the third the breadcrumbs. Coat the cakes one by one in plain flour, then beaten egg and lastly in breadcrumbs.

Heat a small amount of butter in a non stick frying pan over a low-medium heat and fry the cakes a few at a time for around five-ten minutes on each side until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper.

I often lightly fry them and then finish them off in the oven. This means you can prepare them in advance and then reheat them when you want to eat them. You can also allow them to cool, wrap them individually in cling film and freeze and then reheat from frozen for 20-30 minutes in a 200°C oven.

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