Root veg gratin


This creamy mustardy gratin is just the ticket in this cold, bright weather and a luxurious way to treat the hearty organic roots from the veg box as they approach the end of their season.  Recipe from Nigel Slater in last weekend’s Observer food pages.

Feel free to adjust the proportions of the veg in the list according to what you have in stock at home. Or add in or substitute another root e.g. turnips. A good counterpoint – and a nod to Spring – would be a pile of fresh salad leaves or some gently stirfried chard or kale with a bit of garlic. 


  • parsnips 400g
  • swede 400g
  • carrots 250g
  • double cream 400ml
  • thyme sprigs 10
  • grain mustard 2 tbsp
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Peel the parsnips, then cut them into slices about 5mm thick (roughly the thickness two £1 coins on top of one another), then do the same with the swede.
  2. Warm the olive oil over a moderate heat on the hob in an ovenproof baking dish. Add the parsnips and swede and let them brown lightly on both sides. You may have to do this in batches, removing them as they become ready, and perhaps adding a little more oil if necessary.
  3. Scrub the carrots (no need to peel organic carrots), then slice and cook them in similar fashion. Return all the lightly browned roots to the pan, cover with a lid and let them cook for about 10 minutes.
  4. Pour the cream into a large jug, add the thyme sprigs, a grinding of pepper and a little salt to taste, then stir in the mustard. Layer the partially cooked roots – they should be just short of tender – in a baking dish, then pour in the cream.
  5. Bake for about 35 minutes till the vegetables are fully tender and the cream is bubbling between them.